DK WOMEN CADRES BURNED THE TEXT IN PROTEST IN TN
“Girls are supposed to be in the custody of their father when they are children, women under the custody of their husband when married and under the custody of her son a widows, in no circumstances is the allowed to assert herself independently”
Chapter: V Verse: 148
Half of the humankind – womenfolk is put subservient to the rest half. It is the unkindest cut of all. To sustain this sort of subservience, religious sanction (of course, obnoxious) was added where in ‘god’ will intrude to justify the servitude so that women might not revolt against men. Their mindset is tuned to the belief that it is the divine ordination. Invariably all religions are advocating such subordination of women but vary only in degree. But in this land, the pseudo dominant religion excels the rest in the world in the degree of women servitude. In the name of glorification, the womenfolk in Hinduism are kept in the dark and ignorance. Even the educated among them are not free from this ignorance. The gravity of dominance over them and to uphold the sub human (in fact inhuman) principles and the resultant practices against them still continue. The servitude of womenfolk is not confined to a mere affair of a religion. For its sustenance, the dominant cult went a step ahead with exploitative intent and the religious prescriptions were converted as religious codes. Once religious codes are formulated, it becomes a ruling for the governing authority to enforce it. The so called elite educated mass may comment it as ‘a thing of past; they are quoted in vedas, smritis and for its popular adherence in ‘puranas’; they are irrelevant today’. Such perception about the religious code is founded on ignorance and sustained by adamant attitude that what they perceive is right and just. The rule of religious code is a continuous process. A few religious reformers whom this land had witnessed tried to change the codes but with little success.
The British rulers who ruled the land for more than two centuries tried to change the inhuman practices inflicted on womenfolk. But for the British rule, the Common Criminal Law would not be implemented; other Code of Manu was intact. They brought some legislation to protect the womenfolk. For instance abolition of sati in 1833, the British rulers passed orders, the execution of which in strict sense has not seen the light of day even today. The so called indigenous rulers after 1947, with some sort of progressive mind set tried to bring changes in the Hindu religious code by codification. On witnessing the resistance and opposition from the real ruling class, not only withdrew themselves but let down the progressive personalities whom they supported and propped up earlier for Hindu law codification, in an utter betrayal. Among the various codes of Hinduism, the prime and pivotal one is Manu smriti, which has dominated and has so for prevailed and still prevailing ruling orders. The Constitution of India which is the governing text of the State, despite its emphasis on bringing equality among the citizens has failed with blatant admission of its inability through its provisions viz. Article 372 thus:
Continuance in force of existing laws and their adaptation:
i) Notwithstanding the repeal by this Constitution of the enactments referred to in Article 395* but subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, all the laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution shall continue in force therein until altered or repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority.
(*Article 395: The Indian Independence Act 1947 and the Government of India Act 1935 together with all enactments amending or supplementing the latter Act……. are hereby repealed)
So Manu dharma is still ruling the rooster, authoritative as well as administrative as far as subservience of Hindu women in the society along with some other subservient provisions meant for men too.
Dravidar Kazhagam – Fight for Women’s Rights
The pivotal philosophy of the Social revolutionary Thanthai Periyar (1879 – 1973) who founded Dravidar Kazhagam(DK) is Self-Respect and Rationalism that are integral to humankind of which the women’s right occupies the prime place. The Rights of Hindu women to inherit the property of their father, which is available throughout the country at present has its origin by the passing of an exclusive resolution for it at the Madras Provincial First Self-Respect Conference in 1929 at Chengleput in Tamil Nadu, convened by Thanthai Periyar. Later, DK continues to remain as a pioneering movement for the cause of women’s liberation and fighting for their rights. In the DK Women’s Conference held at Thiruvarur on 17th December 2016 under the presidentship of Dr.K.Veeramani, President Dravidar Kazhagam, many historic resolutions were passed for the cause of women of which one was resolved to burn the text ‘Manu smriti’ which still upholds women subservience and demeans them through its verses. It was decided to burn the text of Manu smriti on the 98th birthday of Annai E.V.R.Maniammaiyar(1920 -1978), who succeeded Periyar and led the DK Movement.
DK Women Cadres burned the Text of Manu (a) dharma in Protest
The Women Wing and the Women Forum of DK organised the agitation of burning the text of ‘Manu smiriti’ on 10th March 2017 throughout Tamil Nadu. The brigades of women’s wing who burned the text includes, the elderly, the married, the youth, children and kids. Nearly 1000 women cadres were courted arrest. Burning the text of Manu (a) dharma received wide attention not only in Tamil Nadu but in the entire country. The spirit behind the burning of Manu smiriti has created a significant impact among the women folk and the political rulers who can legislate what is needed for the cause of women and repeal what remain as retrograde to them.