Manusmriti (shredded and pulped)
2017 – ongoing
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, 1927. 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.
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. Simultaneously, the paper, now plain, opens up the possibilities of handing over its power to someone else.
Manu in white, made in 2017, Amsterdam
Manu walls, 5, made in 2019, Pune
Manu in the land and sea, made in 2019, Ghent, USA.
Part of Art Omi collection.