Tulasidas Misquoted!

Few readers quoted Tulasidas who said in Ramcharit Manas “Dhol gawar sudra pashu nari sakal tadan ke adhikari” = animals, illiterates, lower castes and women should be subjected to beating.

Our great “think tank” says that this explains a lot of untouchability (on caste basis) and state of women in ancient India. These issues have deep Vedic roots in past. This means Women and Shudras=Animals !! How degrading is that?

(Readers asked this question in relation with two articles – ‘Hindus Do Not Respect Women’ http://www.udaypai.in/hindus-dont-respect-women/ and ‘Do you believe in Caste’ http://www.udaypai.in/do-you-believe-in-caste/ )

“Udayji, your take on this…” request from many readers.

My first thought was that, Goswami Tulsidas might have written correctly. As I said in two articles, caste system and discrimination based on sex arrived in India from 1400-1500AD by invaders.
Tulasidas life period was during that time. In all probabilities he might have influenced by social changes. So it should be correct.

I am not good in Hindi. My father was a Hindi teacher and Hindi pundit. So I asked him the meaning of that sentence.

“Tulasidas was a great saint and bhakt of Rama – how could he discriminate human on basis of caste or sex?” he asked me. I felt ashamed about doubting the great saint for a moment.

He further explained the real meaning. The context was when Samudra (Sea) seeking forgiveness to Rama.

Dhol = drum, Gawanr = Ignorant and illiterate. Samudra says “I am like Dhol Ganvar” an idiotic person who keeps beating his own drum without listening to others.

Shudra = Worker (wrongly translated as lower caste), Pashu = animal and Nari = woman.

But, here it is written “Shudra Pashu Naari” which means women who behaves like a working animal and thus breaks the social order. (During those times Chastity was considered as a great virtue. A women goes to many men was guided or punished by authorities during those time).

Samudra says that I acted like such a woman so forgive me and please guide/punish me.

And for the sake of argument you can say the real meaning is “drum, idiot, worker, animal and woman should be punished.” But there is an issue with this. The word “tadan” has a different meaning.

My FB friend Keshav Singh Chauhan quoted his mother who belongs to Awadh region of U.P (Awdhi is the language – Dialect – in which Tulsi Ramayan is written here). According to him the word TADANA means to be taken care of or to be looked after with care (Tadna means looking) but self-styled “scholars” confused it with PRATADANA (meaning beating someone)!

If you learn history of English language you will know how the word “mistress” is used in various places during various time period – its meaning ranges from “rich lady” to “extramarital girlfriend”!
Not only Indian historians, but “scholars and thinkers” under payroll of evangelists-invaders combination with their greed can say anything to taint the scriptures and our great ancestors. It is a pity that many of us believe these totally baseless and misguided statements without researching and thinking for themselves.

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