Third Lecture in Languages in History series
February 19 @ 1:40 pm - 2:45 pm
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Within the Indian knowledge system, Dharmashastra is a distinct discipline which deals with norms to guide and regulate human conduct. It covers the entire spectrum of human activities and man’s duties towards all other existences from self, to gods, to ancestors, to other people – individuals and social groups and communities and to all other living and non-living beings. Dharmashastra is a living tradition of nearly two thousand five hundred years. Though, Dharmashastra claims to be inviolable, even a cursory glance at the available Dharmashastra texts, written largely in Sanskrit, shows sweeping changes in many fields. Vigorous attempts to maintain the status quo are met with equally energetic efforts to bring about changes to suit the changed social environment. In my talk I shall focus on the nature of the debate around women’s right to property, with particular reference to the rights of a widow who has no son.
Ashutosh Dayal Mathur is Visiting Faculty at Ashoka University, and Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. In his long tenure at St. Stephen’s College since 1981, he has taught kavya, darshana, Dharmashastra and other subjects to undergraduates. He also conducts special programmes for teaching Sanskrit to scholars across disciplines at St. Stephen’s School for Languages. Dr Mathur has been associated with the Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi in various capacities, as a research supervisor for PhD scholars, member of committees concerned with syllabus, courses, departmental research, as well as a paper setter and examiner. Additionally, he has created customized modules for foreigners interested in learning Sanskrit. Dr Mathur’s primary interest is in Hindu law as depicted in ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, and he has presented several papers on various aspects of Hindu law at seminars and conferences. His book, Medieval Hindu Law: Historical Evolution and Enlightened Rebellion, has been published by the Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2007.