By Rajyashri Goody
A copy of the Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu law text dated from 2nd century BCE to 3rd century CE, was publicly burnt by Dr. Ambedkar on the 25th of December, 1928. The revered text carries rules within it that are discriminatory in nature, particularly towards lower castes and women. As so-called untouchables were not allowed to be educated, leaving most of the community illiterate, many couldn't even understand the text that rooted them within the caste system. The burning of the Manusmriti every year by Dalits across the country is a symbol of rejection of the religious basis of untouchability.
Since 2017, Rajyashri Goody
has been turning copies of the Manusmriti into paper pulp. Shredded and pulped, with only a few remnants of its words visible, this is an attempt to negate the power of the Manusmriti, of the Written Word. The possibilities of the paper are now open.
As part of Five Million Incidents, Rajyashri will be tearing copies of the Manusmriti, turning them into paper pulp, and then making laddoos
from them. This process will go on for three days, and will be live streamed until the laddoos
On the 10th of November, a website called powerandpulp.com
will be launched, with works by over 30 artists. These works are created on or with plain paper made earlier by Rajyashri from the Manusmriti, and the artists involved who have been engaging with the paper for the past eight months.