I stumbled upon another example of hypocrisy in the in Indian Society. The Indian Society holds the Manusmruti in highest regard, and much of the characteristics of Indian Society, including the oppression of women in all stages, has been dictated largely because of this document. Or at least, the document that is close to religious law has been used as an excuse for the oppression. This very document quotes :
“Marriage is of eight kinds – brahma (mutual consent of both the bride and groom), deva (gift of richly adorned daughter to an officiating priest of a great yajna), arsha (daughter in lieu of consideration given by the groom), prajapathi (mutual consent of families), asura (marriage upon bribing of the bride and groom), gandharva (intercourse of maiden and her lover out of sexual desire), rakshasa (forceful abduction of bride), pisacha (where bride is intoxicated, sleeping, mentally disordered), in the order of piety of the marriage.” (III: 21 to 34)
Notice how what we call in modern times ‘a love marriage’, is held “most pious”. Makes me think about all the stories about disgruntled families in India that encourage or discourage marriages between lovers. There are these gruesome tales of couples being driven to suicide and even being murdered.
Further, the mention of gandharva suggests that pre-marital sex was obviously very much part of Indian culture. Notice a pattern of ignorance in our society now ? We still consider pre-marital sex a Western fad, that ‘good’ boys and girls do not indulge in. What BS!
Admittedly, I am no scholar on these texts, yet, I am a skeptic of convention and these things make me question.
If one becomes a little petty, one could decipher that an arrange marriage is about 25% less pious than a love marriage, and only 12.5% more pious than pre-marital sex. Comparing it to the other end of the spectrum, pre-marital sex is about 25% better than intoxicating your bride. 🙂
Ok ok, the last part is a far-shot. But you get the point.