*Manusmruti Dahan- A milestone in the history of Indian feminist and Revolutionary movement.* Indian Stree Mukti Diwas/ Day for Women’s Dignity is commemorated of burning the Manusmruti by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on 25th December 1927 at Mahad. Manusmruti a book which epitomized and legitimised the subhuman existence of the socially and culturally downtrodden in the Indian society, especially the dalits and the women. To underline the fact of societal violence which continues unabated till date, we have been celebrating this day as Stree Mukti Divas for last 94 years. All women are victims of the patriarchal social system at different levels. Dalit women is a dalit among the dalits and doubly exploited. Before discussing the issue of deprivation of development it is important to understand the concept of development. In case of women, the overall development of their self image and identity is the real key of their development. The Brahmanical culture has relegated shudras and women to the level of animals which is evident from the lines of Tulsidas which say; ” Pashu Ganwar Dhol aur Nari
ye sab taadan ke Adhikari ” .Manusmruti was the main legal reference text for the Indian social system. The Varna system was justified and supported by it.This religious Doctrine played a significant role in strengthening the psychological slavery of Indian women who accepted it as their duty. Through manusmruti it was engraved on the minds of the women that well-being of their man was their own well-being and their Dharma and this Dharma was the only way to Moksha for them. This doctrines played a significant role in sustaining the rituals and Varna system and strengthening the unequal inhuman social system.
Like in India in no other country of the world was such barbaric and cruel customs have ever been practiced such as pouring molten lead into the ears of women and shudras who listen to the Vedic verses and burning woman alive as Sati after the death of her husband or to extract more dowry. According to Buddha – The one who first attacked on the Indian caste system and gave path of equality, Fraternity and Brotherhood to all mankind and the same path followers Sant Kabir, Tukaram Maharaj, Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj it was very clear that for the dawn of a new egalitarian society, dominance of religion on intellectual and social sphere must be completely destroyed and that is why Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar took of firm decision to burn manusmruti. Mahatma Phule had made an appeal to burn Manusmruti and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar brought this to reality. On 25th December 1927 manusmruti was burnt at the hands of a Brahman colleague Shri Bapusaheb Sahastrabuddhe and 5 to 6 untouchables at manusmruti Dahan Bhumi place, during the Chavadar Tale Satyagraha at Mahad. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar said *”We refuse to be controlled and bound by the Shastras and Smritis composed in the dark ages and base our claims on Justice and Humanity”*. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was nowhere under naive impression, that mere burning of Manusmruti would uproot the domination which is an integral part of the society. But it was an essential step in the process of giving a fatal blow to the brahmanical hegemony. An ideological attack on manusmruti was essential to give a self realization to women and shudras and to awaken them and organize them.Therefore Manusmruti Dahan is a historical beginning of Liberation of Indian women and shudras. While speaking about the Bonfire of manusmruti Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in an interview with a T V Parvate in 1938 said “The Bonfire of manusmruti was quiet intentional.It was because we view it as a symbol of injustice under which we have been crushed for centuries. Because of its teaching we have been ground down under despicable poverty and so we clashed, stalked everything took our lives in our hands and performed the deed”.
The beginning of Indian democratic movement started with the acceptance of a constitution based on parliamentary democracy and simultaneously refusing manusmruti, to the basic Universal values like Pradnya, Sheel, Karuna, Freedom, Equality, Fraternity, Democracy, Truth, Ahimsa and Social Justice. This is the base of our women’s Liberation movement. Last but not the least I would like to quote Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar quotes in which he says *”You must destroy the religion of the Shrutis and the Smrutis. Nothing else will avail. Hinduism is a veritable Chamber of Horrors and it must die for caste to vanish. I believe in the religion of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”* I strongly feel that this day symbolizes the beginning of Indian women’s liberation. On 25th December 1927 Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar burnt manusmruti on the same day in 1954 he got installed the Statue of Buddha in Dehuroad, Maharashtra. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar described the history of India is nothing but the conflict between Buddhism and Brahmanism. The burning of Manu and establishing the Statue of Buddha are the symbolic gestures in the Liberation of movement of the untouchables. Manu is the name of Evil that destroyed humanity fully and completely. If the women of India read manusmruti they will not only burn the manusmruti but also destroy the source of Manu which is Brahmanism. If the shudras, the OBC read the manusmruti they will At Once Up their Revolution against it. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar sketch a clearer spiritual path for his people– the path of Buddha. Buddha not only taught the methods to liberate human Minds and human societies but also destroyed a Brahmanism in the past and the remarkable revolution of Buddha was counted with the counter revolution. The true celebration of manusmruti Dahan Din is to come up with the realization that women has self dignity, to come together awaken and organize themselves to truly celebrate the Liberation of Indian women. I appeal all the Indian women to free themselves from the mental slavery and organize themselves irrespective of caste, religion, race to develop a constitutional country.
Manusmruti have been projecting women not only as dependent but a major source of grief to the family if not controlled with proper stringency. The social opprobrium of the women continued with Manusmruti suggesting that women should concentrate on the tasks they are good at ie., bearing progeny. It has explicitly promoted child marriages, dowry, SATI, sexual assault and even today we are observing the impacts of Manu.
According to National Commission for Women Nature wise report of year 2020 only filed cases
acid attack cases……..11
Dowry deaths …………330
Right dignity life……7715
We have observed 46 percent rise in complaints in the first eight months of the year 2021 according to NSW.
this is the current situation of our country. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar burnt Manusmruti 94 years back but till date the seeds of Manu are sprouting in the Society, Politics, Administration and because of which Country is on the path of Anarchy and Monarchy and division on the basis of caste and religion. We should unite on the thoughts and preachings of Buddha, Saint Kabir, Saint Tukaram Maharaj, Shahu Maharaj, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Phule, Savitrimai, Babasaheb Ambedkar to reconstruct a new Indian Society based on Pradnya, Sheel, Karuna, Equality, Fraternity and Brotherhood.
Mrs. Ashwini Kamble
Krantijyoti Savitrimai Phule Samta Manch,