Slowly but surely I am losing faith in a religion which objectifies women and confines them to the narrow space in front of a man’s feet. With the recent spate of disrespect towards women, I look back proudly at my decision to not visit the Tirupathi Temple, a shrine to Hinduism, a religion which is a hypocrite at best when it comes to let women have their freedom. Manusmriti, which is supposed to be the guiding light of the Indian way of life, is condescending at best with respect to women. Look at the following laws and judge for yourself the sheer misogyny prevalent in the very mindset of one of our most respected sages:
Some of Manu’s laws pertaining to husband and wife (chapter ix):
2. Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control.
5. Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families.
13. Drinking (spirituous liquor), associating with wicked people, separation from the husband, rambling abroad, sleeping (at unseasonable hours), and dwelling in other men’s houses, are the six causes of the ruin of women.
17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.
30. But for disloyalty to her husband a wife is censured among men, and (in her next life) she is born in the womb of a jackal and tormented by diseases, the punishment of her sin.
And here are some of the others:
“A husband should be worshiped as a God.”
“A wife, a son, and a slave, these three are declared to have no property. The wealth which they earn is acquired for him to whom they belong.”
“Women, shudra (or sudra, lowest of four castes), dog and crow embody untruth, sin and darkness.”
“It is the nature of women to seduce men in this world, for that reason the wise never remain unguarded in the company of female.”
“A woman should not go to a meeting place; and they should not dance like the young, but sit at their proper places.”
And the worst of them all:
“A man can leave a barren woman after eight years and one who only gives birth to daughters.”
“If a woman should happen to merely to overhear recitations of Vedic mantras by chance, hot molten glass should be poured into her ears.”
So what can you expect of a society which has these very same values imbibed in them since their very foundation? All we can expect is a bunch of misguided two-faced holy men claiming to achieve nirvana for you and a plethora of misinformed people who believe women are destined to be objects only, used and thrown when no longer needed.
I stand ashamed as a man and my de facto religion by birth fails me, yet again.
Dear grandma and mother,
Do you realize now why I have never called myself a Hindu since childhood? And why I refused to put blind faith in the Holy Bhagavad Gita in its entirety?
“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
May I add “the treatment of women” too as a measurement of the progress of humankind?