With reference to women, despite being one of the earliest and most authoritative law texts, there are several contradicting verses in manusmriti. Discuss the stand of Manu giving your arguments.

Contrary to the common belief that Manusmriti is anti-women, it holds women in high esteem. According to it, the land where women are honoured becomes the favourite abode of gods. There is one shloka which mentions “Na stree svaatantryam arhati”, which has been translated as “woman does not deserve independence”. This shloka has been taken as the anti-woman stance of Manu. However, “svaatantryam” here actually refers to “depending on one’s own self for sustenance”, which was correct in the prevalent conditions in those times. In Manu’s perception, a woman is, by her very nature, so divine and unique that she should never be left to fend for herself. It is the duty of society to protect and take good care of her — by her father during childhood, husband in her youth, and son in her old age.


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