Meg Mohan

The Laws of Manu

Print 4
“By the sacred tradition the woman is considered to be the soil, the man is declared to be the seed; the production of all corporeal beings (takes place) through the union of the soil with the seed. On comparing the seed and the receptacle (of the seed), the seed is declared to be more important; for the offspring of all created beings is marked by the characteristics of the seed.”
— The Laws of Manu

A concept that piqued my interest was that of understanding the reflection of the strong codes set up by men in the past and the influence it has had on women in my culture's modern society. This has led me into photographically documenting myself, and the relationship I share with this culture.

In my photographs I have recreated the environment I was brought up in and the kind of restrictions women have had to face in my community for years. However old these practices are, the patriarchal society has always been resistant to the concept of adapting to the evolving culture.

They have created a system; a system we must always follow and never question. But what if we fear this system? What if our actions question these rules that we must always abide to? Must we express our feelings at all? Are these feelings a rebellious act of feminism? Maybe I should not voice them at all? Many would prefer my silence; however, I feel compelled to bring these feelings and issues to light. "Coercing a woman out of a burka is as bad as coercing her into one. It's not about the burka. It's about the coercion.”  - Arundhati Roy

 
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"Stridharmapaddhati: (a woman) should not show her navel; she should wear garments that extend to her ankles; and she should not expose her breasts."
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Saree in the background hung on the wall; A hand sewn book with my photographs and verses from Manusmriti and Stridharmapaddhati.

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