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ANCIENT INDIAN DATTAKA SYSTEM
Ancient people think that laws are the gifts of God and the discovery of the sages. This view appears to be similar to the Ancient Hindu view that Brahma created Dharma as law. Kautilya in his Arthasastra has given a classification of the different branches of learning namely Anviksiki, Trayi, Varta" and Dandariiti. In this Anviksiki is the branch of study for logic. In Ancient European theory, law is the embodiment of eternal justice.1 Manu, Yajnavalkya and Vasista define law as the practice of the Sistas or Sadacaras. Secular law is also a branch of Dharma. In the Srnrti literature the word, Dharma was used in a very comprehensive sense. According to Katyayana, the etymological meaning of the word Vyavahara indicates that removal of various doubts.2 In Ancient Indian Literature many records say that the number of Srnrtis were about 100.
Srnrtis deal with a host of subjects such as domestic rituals, customary rites, inheritance etc. Adoption is a breach of Vyavahara portion. The Smritis like Manu, Yajnavalkya, Kapila, Lohita, Angira &Ankara strongly discuss about the law of adoption and inheritance of the adoption child. Anandadeva has compiled a vast digest called Smrtikaustubha divided into several sections. The portion of Samskarakaustubha on the subject of adoption is frequently cited as Dattadidhiti.3
1. (p. 136, The Wonder that is Hindu Dharma, R.C.
Gupta). 2. ('Vi' means various 'ava' means doubt and 'hara' removal. (P. 136, The Wonder that is Hindu Dharma).
3. (P. 955,56,vol. I, part II, History of Dharmasastra, P.V. Kane)
notice (Abbe J. A. Dubbois, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies).
It is a treaty of great important and deserves to be studies along with the Dattakamimamsa and Vyavaharamayukha and other similar works. Abbe J. A.Dubbois in his work about manners and customs of the Indian people in general has given an exhaustive details regarding adoption based on his own observances and texts that have come to his notice.1 Adoption is a process to incorporate a child permanently into a family with all the rights of a natural child, in which he was not been born. The concept of adoption as a welfare measure is of recent origin. Traditionally, a child was adopted for temporal and spiritual purposes and more recently, to satisfy the emotional and parental instincts of the adopters. (Adoption Law, D.C. Manuja). Manu says, 'by a son, a man attains victory over all people; by a son's son he enjoys immortality; and after words by the son of that grandson he reaches the solar abode (Manu. 9/137). According to Arthashastra and other Ancient Jurisprudent texts, the inheritance of a person is divided in various modes, i.e. by caste, category and pratiloma Anukuna sons. Here there is a discussion about the 12 kinds of sons. They are Aurasa, Ksetraja, Dattaka, Putrikaputra, Krtrima, Gudaja, Apavidha, Kanlna, Sahodhaja, Knta, Paunarbha and Svayamdatta. In the absence of Aurasa, Ksetraja equals to that place. After these two sons, most of the Smritis give importance to Data otherwise called as Datrima or Dattaka.
1.(Abbe J. A. Dubbois, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies).vijnanacintamani ejournal of sngscollege.info
In the Smritis literature, the law of adoption was parent based and not child based. The Smrtikaras suggested that only one son could be adopted for the continuation of the family line and to offer oblations to the deceased ancestors. The Dharmasastras deals in detail with the qualifications of the male child to be taken in adoption. The adopted son is uprooted from his natural family and transplanted in to adoptive family like a natural son. But at present the law of adoption among Hindu is completely regulated by the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956.1 The whole Smritis and Purina’s ordain that an only son shouldn't given or received in an adoption. Another common judgment is that, adoption should be done by caste or gotra based. Manu, Yajnavalkya and other Smrtikaras declare that the sale and gift of children to be sinful. It points out that the practice of sale and gift of children in ancient India. But the Smrtikaras recognized adoption.
1. (pl85. Indian Family Law vol.II,Adv. K. Sreedharavariar) In ancient Indian Jurisprudence adoption ceremony (Dattahoma) is the
The age of adoption is also an important point in ancient and modern jurisprudence. . Most of the earlier law givers points out, the best time of adoption are three to five years old. But Vyavaharamayukha permit an old age adoption too. Under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, an adoptive father is at least 21 years older than the person to be adopted and admits an unmarried man or woman can adopt a child with the age difference of 21 years. In ancient Indian Jurisprudence adoption ceremony(Dattahoma) is the
valuable witness of the adoption. Godavarma says that for the validity of adoption the adopter should invite his relatives, Acaryas, King etc. Now days the District Court should have Jurisdiction to conduct adoption proceedings. The Smrtikaras also discuss about the inheritance of an adopted child. They say if a person takes a child as his own, he will be the authority or heir of the whole properties. But if a boy is born after adoption, the adopted child is entitled for the property. In the Vedic period of Indian law, Practice of adoption was not often resorted to the failure of male offspring. The Hindu law of adoption is mainly founded on the religious belief that a son is absolutely essential for spiritual salvation. In 1956 the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act was passed to remove adoption of child without judicial dicta. Any way issue lessens is an unbearable mental affliction and it is same as the pain or grief of foundling. Adoption may be given protection or dependence to this foundling. The legal adoption is valued and permitted for ever.
REFERENCE: 1. Dattakamimamsavyakhya of Godavarmaraja, An unpublished manuscript. 2. Dattakamimamsa of Nandapandita, ed., Sankarasastri, Anandasram, Poona,1954. 3. Sankarasmrti, ed., T.C. Parameswaramussath, Bharatavilasam Thrissur, 1925. 4. Smrtisandarbha (vol. I to VI), Nag, Delhi, 1988. 5. Adoption Law and Practice, D.C. Manooja, Deep&Deep, Delhi, 1987. 6. Indian Family Law, Vol.I&II, Adv. K. Sreedharavariar, TVM.1987. 7. ArthasastraofKautilya(Tran.),KVM,Sahitya Academy, Thrissur, 1998. 8. History of Dharmasastra, P.V.Kane,BORl,1974.
As per earlier historical accounts a natural born was taking to be the sole representative of a man and acceptance of secondary sons by adoption - was downright denounced. In this regard it is significant to note that ancient Hindus scriptures never legitimized any son other
than the natural born [aurasa] to be begotten by a man. The rejection of adoption on the earlier annals of history can be evidenced from the following extract from Rig Veda: "oh Agni, no son is he who spring from others,"1 It even went to the extent o observing that considering sons Bi gotten by others as ones own was the "path of fools and such a child should not be taken nor even be though of in the mind"2 this condemnation of seconcfmy sons is further manifest from the grihayasrtras, which provide he code for domestic rituals in the ancient Vedic society, overtly excluded rituals for the taking of a secondary son.3 With the advent of Dharmashastras, the institution of adoption eventually received societal acceptance and became ingrained in Hindu mores there by altering the concept of son ship forever,"
1. Paras Diwan, Law of Adoption, Minority, Guardianship and Custody 2 (Universal Law Publishers, 3rd ed. 2000) 2. Rig-Veda VII,4, 7-8 3. Naresh Chandra Sengupta, Evolution of Ancient Indian Law 138-139 (Eastern Law House, 1953).
The Dharmashastras, in particular, imposed myriad restrictions and ritualistic obligations to be performed prior to undertaking the act of adoption. To illustrate a few, the adopted had to be, as a rule, a sapinda implying that the person had to be related through some common ancestor of the individual seeking to adopt. However, if a sapinda wasn't available, then a sagotra and if neither were available then only one could
adopt a bhinna – gotra sapinda. There were further precincts of caste and gotra imposed for an adoption to be conferred legitimacy.1 A primary reason for the evolution of adoption laws in Hindu religion has been due to the importance Hindus attach to a male child. Every Hindu was enjoined by scriptures to have his own natural born son (aursa putra), only failing which he was permitted to have secondary sons. Moreover, only a male child could be adopted and the taking of a female born was not accorded acceptance in early Hindu philosophy. A second limb of justification for the ancient law prescribing for an exclusive male adoption could be owing to the fact that the scriptures did not permit the wife or a daughter to perform the funeral rites of a man or utter sacred texts, is as a result, she could not, in theory, redeem the deceased from hell or save from the suffering of the after life.
1. Dattaka Mimansa,II, 74-78, Dattaka Chandrikal, 16; Mitakshara I, ix, 9
vijnanacintamani ejournal of sngscollege.info http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:vOi9CQ1JOKsJ:www.sngscollege.i nfo/articles/ambika.pdf+ancient+adoption&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=in Hinduism and Children at http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinliuismlhchiidren.htm. (As on March 23,2005) Naresh Chandra Sengupta, Evolution ofAncientIndian Law 138-139 (Eastern Law House, 1953). Paras Diwan, Law of Adoption, Minority, Guardianship and Custody 2 (Universal Law Publishers, 3rd ed. 2000)
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