"The Dharmashastras are bound to shock the sensibilities of many educated modern men and women. These scriptures belong to an age when people conducted their lives based on certain beliefs, values, traditions and assumptions. It is not fair to judge them based on our present day values and social norms. On the positive side Hinduism marched ahead while these law books lost their relevance and fell aside into the dustbin of history. The books have become relics of the past while Hinduism assimilated new currents of thought and transformed itself into a progressive, evolving and expanding religious tradition."
"Some of the laws prescribed in the Dharama Sutras are therefore bound to offend the sensibilities and sentiments of many modern day Hindus, who have been brought upon the values of equality, individual liberty and social justice. Many verses in these scriptures stand in contrast to these fundamental values that define many democratic societies today and characterize the free world. Readers are requested to consider these scriptures from an academic or historical point of view to understand the times they represent. To consider them as the authoritative text books of present day moral or social values of Hinduism would be an anathema. They belong to a particular time frame and represent certain social and moral values most of which are irrelevant today."
Manu Is so much biased and prejudiced against woman that he denies her any property and marital rights. Even the
Vedas proclaim that the mind of a woman is uncontrollable and there can be no friendship with women for they have wicked hearts. Later works of sruti have also described women as weak and wretched", and no sympathy or kindness must be shown to a woman. In Dharmasastra the position of woman sank to an all time low level.
Criticisms of the Laws of Manu
Present-day scholars have criticized the work significantly. The rigidity in the caste system and the contemptible attitude towards women are not acceptable today. The almost divine reverence shown to the Brahmin caste and the despicable attitude towards the 'Sudras' (the lowest caste) is objectionable. The Sudras were forbidden to participate in the Brahmin rituals and were subjected to severe punishments whereas the Brahmins were exempted from any kind of reprimand for crimes. The practice of medicine was prohibited to the upper caste. Women were considered inept, inconsistent, and sensual and were restrained from learning the Vedic texts or participating in important social functions. They were kept in abject subjugation all their lives.