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Women In The Sacred Laws
Kulapati's Preface The Author
Foreword Prologue
The Dharma Sutras Contemporary Evidence
The Manu - Samhita The Later Law-Books
Digest On Hindu Law Espirit Des Lois
Major Sections

THE MANU-SAMHITA

This brief account reveals to us three stages in the development of the legal position of a Putrika: (1) the earliest when the only daughter inherited directly as the legal heir the property of her father, and she and her sons were counted as belonging to her father’s family: (2) this in later times created some difficulty in getting a husband for the maiden, as the man who married her was not able to provide a son eligible for the performance of the funeral oblations in his father’s family: (3) to get over this difficulty, the legal right of a Putrika was put aside, and it was transferred to her son, who could offer funeral oblations to his maternal grandfather, as his Son. 34

The third stage is represented in verses 127, 131-133 of the ninth chapter of Manu, and it cannot consistently be concluded that both the former verses 35 which strongly support the legal right of inheritance of a Putrika and these verses disallowing that right are from the same legislator and belong to the same period. These are in all probability an addition of later writers, and we find instances parallel to the former and in complete agreement with it in the earlier law-books and the Vedic literature.

In the Grhya rituals and in the older law books the marriage ritual was definitely instituted for persons who had attained marriageable age. But Manu legalizes child marriage. ‘To a distinguished hand some suitor of equal caste should a father give his daughter in accordance with the prescribed rule, though she should not have attained the proper age’. 36

It is a sin on the part of a father not to give his daughter in marriage at the proper time; 37 but, if she is not given, she should wait for a period of three years after attaining marriageable age and then choose for herself. 38 ‘This will not be considered a sin, 39 and hence the bridegroom is exempted from paying the usual fee for his bride’. 40 It evidently refers to the custom of paying a fee for the bride.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Manu-Samhita
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