THE RSS’s cultural affiliate Sanskar Bharti is planning to tie up with the Union Ministry of Culture to promote activities that will “correct the lies that people have been fed” about ancient Hindu scriptures being “anti-Dalit and anti-woman”, starting with the Manusmriti, a senior office-bearer of the organisation told The Sunday Express.
According to Amir Chand, joint organisational secretary, Sanskar Bharti, the Sangh outfit believes that people should be educated about “the acceptance that our scriptures teach” through performing arts and awareness activities, such as seminars.
“We are debating the removal of portions from the Manusmriti, which are anti-Dalit and anti-woman and often quoted in arguments against Hindu scriptures,” he said.
“There are some references in Manusmriti where some objectionable things have been mentioned. It should be deleted. We do not support them. We have to see Manusmriti in today’s context. We will suggest to the government that they look into this,” said Chand.
When contacted by The Sunday Express, Union Minister of Culture, Mahesh Sharma said, “We have not received any such proposal. We will take cognizance once we get it.”
Manusmriti is a compilation of rules and regulations prepared by Manu meant for the conduct of a varnashrama, or a social system based on caste. Scholars date the codification by Manu to 200 CE, though claims are made for a much earlier date.
According to Chand, fresh research should be commissioned on Manusmriti.
“We believe that Manu was born 8,000 years ago… There are several versions of Manusmriti, which have been written 5,500 years after his birth and thus the credentials of the authors and their writings need to be questioned. It is a matter of research, someone needs to look in to this,” he said.
Chand said that the scriptures never “promoted anti-Dalit or anti-woman sentiments” and described such interpretations as “propaganda” and the result of “ignorance”.
“Many did not know that Rigveda has 47 richayen (hymns) written by a woman. How can such vedas be anti-woman? It is ignorance about our own scriptures that lead many to criticise them. I can understand that Manusmriti has something wrong, but that can be removed after thorough research into who wrote it,” said Chand.