Women don’t deserve Freedom ?


This is one of the hymns, much quoted on freedom of women. It says:

पिता रक्शति कौमरे भर्ता रक्शति यव्वना |
पुत्रः रक्शति वार्धक्ये नस्त्री स्वतन्त्र्यमर्हति ||

Pita rakshati kaumare, bharta raskshati youvana,
putrah rakshati varddhakye, na stree swatantryam arhati

Translation: A woman is protected by father in childhood, her husband protects her in youth, and in old age she should be protected by her son. At no stage in life should a woman be left alone and destitute. She deserves protection by man at every stage in her life. – Manusmriti.

Now, there are strong arguments that this hymn is being misinterpreted. I opine it might now have been, it made perfect sense provided the social context of 2nd century BCE. Also, If at all they wanted “women deserve protection” to be written, it could’ve been stree rakshanmarhati or anything else he likes, sanskrit pretty much never runs out of good vocab.