Manu Smriti: b. New Controversy Allegedly Raza spoke ill of Hindus – What is the background?



bbc-BBC Tamil

By BBC News Tamil


Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 0:29 [IST]

Ah Rasa

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Ah Rasa

Manusmriti, widely known as Manu Neethi, and Hinduism etc. are the subject of debate from time to time in Tamil Nadu. Now, former Union Minister and DMK M. Piumana b. A video of Raza speaking about Hinduism in a recent program is being widely shared on social media.

Speaking at an event in Chennai, he said, “If you are not a Parsi, if you are not a Christian, if you are not a Muslim, the Supreme Court says that you can only be a Hindu. Is there such cruelty in any other country? As long as you are a Hindu, you are a Shudra.”

In this case, BJP’s state president Annamalai, A. Sharing the video recording of Raza’s speech on his page, he posted, “Sad state of political discourse in Tamil Nadu. DMK MP is once again spewing hatred on one community and only aims to appease other communities. The mentality of these political leaders who think that Tamil Nadu belongs to them is very unfortunate.”

In this matter, the Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party has lodged a complaint with the police that A.Rasa is spreading ideas against a particular religion to incite religious riots in Tamil Nadu.

Following this, against the Hindus b. Raza’s alleged comments have sparked debate on social media.

Regarding this controversy, Chennai-based senior journalist A. S. BBC Tamil spoke to Panneerselvath.

“BJP is doing many things to divert the attention that Rahul Gandhi’s foot pilgrimage is getting. One of them is to dispute what Aa Raza said. He has not said anything new. He has already said things that are common sense for 150 years,” says Panneerselavam.

“The Dravidian movement has been seen as anti-Hindu since Periyar’s time,” we asked him. To that he said, “Periyar never used a religious phrase. He presents a politics based on a love that transcends religion. It is absurd to narrow it down to religious politics.

What is the justification in taking only a part of the video where Raza spoke and making it controversial? It should be published in its entirety,” says Panneerselvam.

In this situation, after the idea that it is an anti-Hindu trend is spreading. On his Twitter page, Raza asked, “Who are the Sutras? Aren’t they Hindus? Why are they vilified in scriptures including Manusmriti and denied their right to education-employment-temple entry? How is the Dravidian movement, which has reclaimed these rights of 90% Hindus through political power and lobbying, an enemy of Hindus?” He had posted that.

Regarding this, A. S. Panneerselvam says, “He talks about the foundation of ‘social justice’. If you look at what is fundamental to this social justice, it is not to enslave one’s fellow human beings and not to commit humiliating acts. This is basic social justice that is universally accepted. How can this be made controversial?” He questions.

In this sense, social justice is something that the Dravidian movement has been dealing with for years. When asked if there is a situation that needs to be handled differently from the period of Periyar, he replied, “Some things cannot be handled differently. For example, we have been fighting against Sanatana since the time of Buddha. But we cannot leave the matter as it is today. Some things, viz. We should continue to fight for things that establish social justice,” he said.

In 2020, Liberation Tigers Party leader Thirumavalavan had spoken in an online meeting saying that this Manusmriti had been derogatory about women. A portion of his speech was widely shared on social media by Hindu right-wing supporters. They also accused Thirumavalavan of insulting women.

Actress Khushpu, who recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, also criticized Thirumavalavan in a press conference.

The Liberation Tigers Party held a protest in Chennai on Saturday demanding a ban on Manusmriti. Meanwhile, a case has been registered against Thirumavalavan for his speech.

What is the history of Manu Smriti??

What exactly is this Manusmriti? What is its history?

Manu Smriti is widely believed to have laid down the rules governing social strata in ancient times.

‘Smritis’ are in the Indian Vedic tradition, next in merit to the Vedas called ‘Sruti’. Apart from Manu Smriti there are many more smritis. Each of these is known by the name of the author.

Talking about the content of these, history professor A. Karunanandan says that everything is in the Vedas. Actually there is no such thing in Vedas. They simply refer to fighting wars and vows. Unlike the Vedas, he says, the Smritis are the laws for unequivocal implementation.

Professor Karunanandan gave a detailed answer to the question of the origin, period, why and by whom of Smritis.

From his interview:

‘In the beginning there were only three varunas…’

“Brahmins and Aryans confuse the two words as one. Aryans is a racial term.

When the Aryans first entered India, they had no contact with the other inhabitants.

They formed three different sects within their race.




For them race is the world and they used the word ‘Vis’ to refer to the entire race. ‘Vis’ means world. From these vises they chose the priests to conduct the rituals. They were called Brahmins. Then they chose ‘Rajaniyars’ or ‘Shatriyars’ to lead the armies.

Apart from these, the term ‘Vaisyars’ was used to refer to other civilians. The word Visyars is derived from the word Vis. So, Vaishyas means people of the world,” said Karunanandan.

Initially the first two Varunathas were not decided on the basis of birth. They chose them. Later, he says, those in the first two varunas sanctified this division and made it permanent, based on birth, to maintain their positions.

Historian Romila Thapar says, “Earlier Vedas do not even have four varuna system. Later Vedas also talk about three varuna system. This is called ‘Dreyi’.

That is, the ritual division, the military division, and the rest of the public, which existed within the Aryan race, were the divisions of this initial period of varuna.

How did the fourth varuna come about?

This division remained as long as the Aryans remained nomadic and migratory. After reaching places like the banks of the Ganges and settling permanently, they had to come into contact with the civilized society. There was a situation where some of them had to be accepted as rulers.

In that situation, Smritis were created to control them and make them rule under the leadership of Aryan Brahmins,” says Karunanandan. The black-skinned non-Aryan people they had newly contacted were already highly civilized and knew many things such as building buildings and making tools. He says that the Smritis added a new division called Shudra as the fourth.

“Sutra means technique. So those who know sutra are Shudras.

Till then the Aryans did not know how to build large structures. Most of their constructions are barns. So they wanted to exploit the civilized people who were industrialized instead of conquering and destroying them. So the Smritis are the rules that cover how to rule them.

Some of the locals were recognized as Shatriyas when they were given the status of rulers. They ruled according to the laws laid down by these Smritis.

Local rulers with such black complexion became incarnations of Gods like Rama, Krishna etc.

More than ten Smritis are known. But it is said that there are more than 200 Smritis. “Manu Smriti is one of these,” says Karunanandan.

What does Manusmriti say?

  • “Manusmriti makes intermingling between these four Varunas punishable.
  • The Manu Smriti also laid down rules governing women, the largest working class, who were engaged in domestic labor, land labor, spinning, and weaving.
  • Women have no colour. No right. Women do not have the right to wear poo-nul. Upanayanam is marriage for women. The Manu Smriti, which defines marriage as a Kannika Danam before flowering, denies the right of women to live alone. It also stipulates that they should live under the protection of some man be it father, brother, husband or son.
  • Smriti says it is the duty of women to give birth. Manusmriti lays down that women who are unfit to bear children, who are prone to disease, and who continue to give birth to female children can be excluded.
  • Similarly, Manu Smriti states that a Shudra has no possessions or rights.

It allows men of higher caste to have relations with women of lower caste. This is called anuloma. But people from the lower caste are prevented from having relations with women from the upper caste,” says Karunanandan.

Later, when Sagars, Parthiphars, Greeks etc. entered India with an army, many of them had to be accepted as kings. Then, he says, those among them who accepted this four-varuna system and agreed to rule were accepted as Shatriya Varuna.

Manu Smriti was written around AD. It may be the first century, says Karunanandan.

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Manu Smriti: What is the background of which DMK MP’s controversial speech?

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