I just finished reading Chanakya Neeti, and found myself deeply shocked, and confused as to how a great scholar, an exceptional economist, and a clever administrator like him could be such a misogynist.
Undoubtedly, this book has some really good analogies, and some very wise thoughts. But largely this book is chauvinistic and misogynistic. The fact that it was written in another time does very little to provide a defense for such views. If it is so anachronistic and doesn’t apply to the current social environment, then why is it so widely read and appreciated?
Every mention of women in this book is either about her being a prostitute, or about how she should take care of her ‘character’, or how she ought to be faithful, or how deceitful she can be. No words like ‘character’ or ‘faithful’ are used in the context of men.
I wonder how many men this book has misled. If anything needs to be banned it is the anti-women parts in this book.
Here are 14 utterly outrageous and funny anti-women quotes in Chanakya Neeti that will make you cringe:
1. Women have a knack of talking to one man, casting an askew glance at another and loving secretly a third man. They can’t devotedly love just one man. (Material for the next sexist Honey Singh song?)
2. A woman quickly depletes a man’s potency but milk immediately restores it. Also, an added justification by the translator : ‘Ayurveda also believes that if a man drinks hot milk quickly after copulation, his strength gets revived’. (Now Now Now, a woman does what?)
3. The brass pot can be cleaned with ash, copper gets cleaned with acids, menstruation purifies women and the river water becomes potable after flowing through rapids. (Now that’s quite a comparison. So if menstruation purifies women, then how and when do they exactly become impure again?)
4. A woman is a liar, deceitful, foolish, greedy, impious and cruel. These are the innate attributes of a woman. (Wow, quite polite, and what about men? No mention.)
5. It is better not to have a king than having a king who is a tyrant; not to have a friend than having a wicked friend; not to have a wife than having an unfaithful wife. (What about unfaithful husbands? No mention. )
6. A woman doesn’t become as pious by giving alms, performing rigid austerities, and fasts and visiting sacred places, as by having the water she gets by washing her husband’s feet. (Wait. Whattt?)
7. The wife’s sins are suffered by the husband. (And the husband’s sins? oh of course, he can’t be sinful.)
8. A roving king, a roving brahman, and a roving Yogi are adored, but a roving woman is doomed. Meaning- an efficient ruler is always on a move, a brahman should not be attached to a particular place and so should move around to gain knowledge, and the same is true for a Yogi. But if a woman keeps on moving she exposes herself to a variety of dangers which could bring her disrepute or even the way to doom. (So that’s where they get the idea of ‘keeping women at home’ from.)
9. For good days one should save money, women should be protected even if it takes the money saved. But for self preservation the money and the women should be sacrificed. (Let’s talk about commodifying women.)
10. Fire, water, women, fool, snake and the royal family- beware of all these. They can prove fatal. (Women can be fatal. hmmm.. Our very own Honey Singh thinks the same-
‘I swear choti dress me bomb lagdi menu?’)
11. An unsatisfied brahman and a satisfied king perish. A shy prostitute and a shameless bride of a noble family perish. Meaning: A prostitute’s profession is such that if she is shy she loses her clientele. But the bride of a noble family has to be shy to win everyone’s respect. (Some professional advice for prostitutes. Because that’s the only profession mentioned by him for women.)
12. Learn courtesy from princes, sweet speech from the learned scholars, lying from gamblers, and deceit from women. (Ok so women do know something after all.)
13. Compared to males, females eat twice the amount of food, possess cleverness four times, display courage six times and have hunger for sex eight times. (Now how on earth did he measure that?)
14. A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night. (No comments.)
PS: The cover page says ‘more than 20,00,000 copies sold’. I wonder if ML Sharma owns one too. *Sigh*