In the dharmashastras
there is a definite increase in the number of mixed castes who could not be left out of consideration of the Indian social fabric.
His consciousness reveals a chaotic mix of incommensurate, even opposed, notions derived from the discourse of vamashramadharma in the Dharmashastras
, the Upanishadic guna theory, (9) and the principles of karma, (10) all tendentiously assimilated to uphold a dualist Madhva metaphysics (99).
We will focus on the Dharmasutras (part of the larger body of texts known as the Dharmashastras
) in this essay to understand how and in what context the standard of truthfulness was sought to be upheld, and where/if they were or could be transgressed.
While the dharmashastras
, which are the Hindu religious laws, were being codified, Muslim laws were also transmogrified from a law that applied in both the public and the private realms--indeed, a legal system--into a law that operated only in the private sphere of family.
The classical Hindu law books of India (Dharmashastras
) such as the Manavadharmashastra (also called Manusmriti or The Laws of Manu) indicate that the righteous Hindu king is to rule in accordance with dharma or the Hindu moral order.
Hindu marriage is said to be derived from laws interpreted in the Dharmashastras
which in turn have their roots in the 3000-year-old hyms called Vedas and Smritis.
Further, in the Hindu tradition, the Dharmashastras
(the Treatises on Dharma) express the ideas that women are lower in the social order than men and that this is a result of negative karmic circumstances.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, both European and Indian scholars have been deeply involved in the study of caste, class, and race in India, but have relied on ancient normative literature, such as the dharmashastras
and older religious texts, to substantiate their theories of the origins and growth of caste.
(14.) Spivak's turn to the Hindu dharmashastras
in "Can the Subaltern Speak?"--a move that distinguishes her analysis of sati from Lata Maui's--speaks to the profound necessity of understanding the historical and conceptual limits of "the [colonial] invention of tradition." See Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, ed.
This irony can possibly be explained by the historical fact that the Hindu personal code, derived from the dharmashastras
, has never gained the foundational value for the Hindu community that the sharia has gained for the Muslim community.
Nowhere is the term "Hindu" ever mentioned in any scriptural work now revered by Hindus, not even in the normative and canonical texts of Brahmanism like the Dharmashastras
. (48) Though a notion of community existed in India, it was not one of a uniform, well-crystalized "Hindu" community.