VCK-BJP Row in Tamil Nadu: How is Manusmriti Still Surviving Today?
The Big StoryOctober 28, 2020
00:17:3216.09 MB

VCK-BJP Row in Tamil Nadu: How is Manusmriti Still Surviving Today?

Manusmriti, a Sanskrit text dating back to 200 CE, and deemed by feminist anti-caste crusaders to be a regressive piece of writing, is back in a political row.

Despite the father of the Indian Constitution Dr BR Ambedkar himself burning this text in 1927 as a symbolic rejection, Manusmriti keeps coming back to contemporary political discourse. And this time as Tamil Nadu is gearing up for the state Assembly elections of 2021, Manusmriti is in the eye of a political storm between the BJP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi or the VCK.

The row has to do with VCK's Dalit founder and Chidambaram MP Thol Thirumavalavan's comments on the book. A small clip of Mr Thirumavalavan's speech from a web conference organised last month by the European Union Periyar Ambedkar Comrades’ Federation went viral on social media.

Calling for a ban on this book, the clip shows him quoting from the book to say it demeans women. He says “As per Hindu Dharma, all women are created by God as prostitutes. They are prostitutes as per Hindu Dharma...Manu Dharma. The status of all women is less than that of a man.”

And Kushboo Sundar who switched to the BJP from Congress only two weeks back jumped right in demanding an apology from him claiming he has insulted women and also that there's “not a single word (in the text) that demeans women”.

While the BJP's Tamil Nadu wing has shot down the row saying Manusmriti is a "non-issue" as India follows a Constitution, why is the text still dominating the political discourse? How is Manusmriti surviving today — is it just the text, or has it been imbued in everyday actions?


BJP's Khushbu Sundar Detained During Protest Amid Manusmriti Remarks Row

VCK calls for State-wide protest demanding ban on Manusmriti

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Kavita Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association Memeber, Politburo Member, of the CPI(ML) and author of "Fearless Freedom" 
Kutti Revathi, Tamil Nadu-based Dalit Poet
Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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