[Via Anji Vikarabad]
On December 25th, 2012, students in University of Hyderabad, led by the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA), burnt a copy of the Manusmriti in the campus, which they called the ‘most notorious’, ‘barbaric’ religious text ever produced.
25th December is an auspicious day in the history of Dalitbahujan struggles because it was on this day that in the year 1927, under the leadership of Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, thousands of Dalits and other like-minded people and a large number of women supporters had gathered at Mahad to burn down the Manusmriti.
The students urged that 25th December should be celebrated as ‘Human Rights Liberation Day‘, as the most notorious text which suppressed the Shudras and Women of this Country was turned to ashes on this day. They expressed their deepest gratitude to our liberator Dr.B.R. Ambedkar who had replaced the Manusmriti with the Indian Constitution embedded with the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The reasons for the students burning Manusmriti were the same as those so eloquently delineated by Babasaheb, nearly a century ago. The following is the text of the arguments put forth by Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) to support their actions:
Manusmriti is a religious document of Hindus and was perceived as the constitution by Hindus until the country got its independence. Prior to independence, Manusmriti served as a crucial document on which our society was (is) based. Here are some of the excerpts from the notorious text of Manusmriti portraying barbaric and venomous Brahmanism which spewed its venom against Women and Shudras (present day OBCs and untouchables).
Manusmriti on Shudras
• Whatever exists in the world is the property of the Brahmana; on account of the excellence of his origin the Brahmana is indeed, entitled to it all (Chapter 2 – Verse 100).
• A Shudra, whether bought or unbought, he may be compelled to do servile work; for he was created by the Self-existent (Svayambhu) to be the slave of a Brahmana (Ch8, verse 413).
• If a Shudra intentionally listens to the vedas, then his ears should be filled with (molten) lead and lac; if he utters the veda, then his tongue should be cut off; if he has mastered the veda, his body should be cut to pieces (Chapter 12 Verse 4).
• No collection of wealth must be made by a Shudra, even though he be able (to do it); for a Shudra who has acquired wealth, gives pain to Brahmans (Chapter 10 verse 129).
Manusmriti on Women
• Women have no business with the text of the Veda (Chapter 9 Verse 18).
• One should not accept meals from a family exclusively dominated/managed by women (Chapter 4 Verse 217).
• Girls are supposed to be in the custody of fathers when they are children, women must be under the custody of their husbands when married and under the custody of their sons as widows. In no circumstances is she allowed to assert herself independently (Chapter 5 Verse 151).
• Men may be lacking virtue, be sexual perverts, immoral and devoid of any good qualities, and yet women must constantly worship and serve their husbands (Chapter 5 Verse 157).
• Women have no divine right to perform any religious ritual, nor make vows or observe a fast. Her only duty is to obey and please her husband (Chapter 5 Verse 158).
It is very important that customs, rituals and texts which perpetuate inequality and hatred among people be opposed unequivocally. As a part of his war on inequalities in Hinduism, Ambedkar burnt this dangerous book on Dec 25th, 1927. To observe this day of enlightenment we are burning Manusmriti at 4:00 PM in Shopping Complex on 25th December, 2012.
~ Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA).