Delhi HC Judge Says “Manusmriti Gave Women Respectable Position.” Twitter, And We, Object, Your Honour
While we all know that several parts of the Indian culture are all about women and respect women, there are some scriptures that do not speak in our favour. As someone who has studied law, allow me to point out that a lot of our laws are built upon our culture, traditions and values but it also changes with time. This is also why it’s not uncommon for advocates and judges in the courts of India to quote our Indian scriptures. But in order to quote something right, one needs to have adequate knowledge about it. Recently, Delhi High Court’s Justice Prathiba M Singh came under fire when Twitter found out that she has incorrectly quoted Indian scripture. Justice Singh has said that Indian women are blessed as our culture and scriptures give women respectable position. She went on to state that Manusmriti also says that if one doesn’t respect and honour women, our prayers are meaningless.
Indian women are blessed; scriptures like Manusmriti give a very respectable position to women: Justice Prathiba M Singh
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) August 11, 2022
Justice Prathiba M Singh of the Delhi High Court was speaking at the inaugural session of a conference on ‘Facing the unseen barriers: Addressing Challenges faced by Women in Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Mathematics (STEM)’ organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It was during her address at the event when the Justice spoke about how Indian scriptures have given women a more respectable and honourable position while stating that Manusmriti says that one’s prayers reap no benefits if a woman is not respected and honoured. “I think our ancestors and Vedic scriptures knew very well how to respect women,” said the Justice as quoted by Bar and Bench.
Soon after Justice Prathiba M Singh’s comments were shared on Twitter, tweeple were quick to point out that her remarks were factually incorrect. Several users pointed out that the Indian scripture was actually sexist and if India was to go by the scripture the judge would not have been a judge in the first place.
Agar india mei constitution ki jagah manusmriti hoti toh ye mohtarma judge nahi hoti, judicial system hih nahi hota.
Brahminvaadi hindutva ki soch desh ko vinaash k aur lejati hai. https://t.co/xDLebZyBzX
— Zubair Memon (@ZuberMedia) August 11, 2022
Another user went as far as sharing text from the scripture and pointing out that Manusmriti actually shames women. The user pointed out that period shaming, body shaming, character assassination, and kink-shaming were a part of the Indian scripture.
3.239: Period shaming
3.10/11: Body shaming
2.213/214: Kink shaming
9.13/14: Character shaming
— Amit Schandillia (@Schandillia) August 11, 2022
Manusmriti is the most discriminatory book to be ever written. It's contents include many discriminatory texts within it and it propagates Brahminical Supremacy and Patriarchy. Babasaheb Ambedkar did not burn the Manusmriti just like that ….. https://t.co/PBBLeemLDa
— राफाएल (Bab Cosperency) (@GoanBoy001) August 11, 2022
Several others pointed out that the Justice herself hasn’t read the Indian scripture and lacks an in-depth understanding of it while others joked that they’d like to read the revised edition of Manusmriti.
I suspect Justice Singh hasn't read the whole Manusmriti yet. https://t.co/lsRf0x74Sh
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) August 11, 2022
Nice! Would like to get my hands on this revised edition of the Manusmriti https://t.co/zwkPbVsbTA
— Nikita Sonavane (@glorious_gluten) August 11, 2022
Apart from this, tweeple also shared translated text from the Indian scripture to showcase that it was not in favour of women.
— Pamanduu 🇮🇳 (@Pamanduu) August 11, 2022
I understand that this was an attempt by the judge to point out that parts of our culture respect and honour women but Manusmirti was definitely not the right example. Considering Justice Singh’s profession, it’s essential to understand that research and accurate knowledge is extremely important for all our sakes and that seems to be missing in this case. But having said that, it’s also crucial to understand that the woman in question is a judge in the Indian Judicial system and while she may have shared inaccurate information, to shame her on social media is unacceptable. Tweeple need to find a way to point out her mistake in a gentle and respectful manner.
Also Read: Working For Lower Wages Has Been Officially Linked With A Weaker Mental Health. Sigh! Another Bad News For Women
Speaking at the event, Justice Singh had also said that Asian countries are much better at respecting women due to cultural and religious backgrounds. She went on to call India progressive in terms of having women in leadership roles and also said that working women need to strengthen the Indian family system’s core values and live in joint families as that can also aid their careers. She also spoke about the biases and taboos around the women in legal profession and litigation.
Photo Credits: Twitter