In India, woman is seen as a Goddess. She is given the names of Laxmi- Goddess of prosperity, Saraswati- Goddess of knowledge, Parvati- Goddess of love, compassion and motherliness, Kali- Goddess of destruction and so on. However, these statuses of women are confined to the mythological books and ancient Vedas alone. In real world, women actually don’t get these places of honor and respect. According to the scriptures of Ling Puran and Seven Secrets of Shiv Ling, men and women are equal; incomplete without one another. Woman signifies power and love- the two assets she possesses to conquer the world, the hearts. But the question is- do women today really signify power? Do women connote power of headship? Do they hold power to guard their self-respect from the worst? Are they genuinely considered equal to men? The answer to all these questions is a big NO. Since the beginning of Kalyug (The Age of Downfall), mankind has been doing things against the scriptures; the world developed into a male-dominant settlement. Since the mark of this age, women have been considered weak, delicate and powerless. The male-dominant class structured the society and culture in such a manner that the women were suppressed and their rights were seized in the name of traditions, beliefs, modesty, introversion, HAYA (shyness) and honor. Such a miserable situation of women was not only prevalent in India but also in other parts of the globe.
According to the philosophy of ancient philosopher, writer and composer- Rousseau, of 18th century, women should be trained in home- science alone. Their moral duty is only to look after husband, children and household and shouldn’t be allowed to gain higher education. This philosophy of Rousseau makes it self-evident that even learnt men of that century preferred women to be in dark. However, with the passage of time, things revolutionized in the west due to eradication of illiteracy and sagacious attitudes of people. Few decades ago, women in Indian societies were not even allowed to speak or express their thoughts openly in front of men. Being a woman was as if a crime. Adopting silence and tolerance as a mark of womanhood was like a universal law acceptable since birth. During the Pre-British period, many females were forcefully sold away to brothels where they led lives stained by brutality, disgrace and trauma. Poor peasants and farmers, overwhelmed by liabilities, had no option left other than publically auctioning their daughters or wives to clear the debts payable to landlords. The Sati system was considered key and holy practice by the Hindus during the early centuries. Clitoral circumcision in Moslem culture is still prevalent. Is this what the Scriptures teach us? We got to think over it.
With the passage of time, ancient traditional India rose into today’s modern India and along rose the expectations of better conditions for women in the country. Literacy rate increased, infrastructure developed, attitudes of people changed, new trends and fashion came into seen. But did hostility against women cease completely? No! It didn’t. There are many women in today’s contemporary society who still are the victims of all sorts of violence, the violence which is probably hidden underneath the glitterati of the metropolis.
Why only women in the name of culture have to face undignified life? The preceding generation parents teach their daughter to “Tolerate”-To tolerate injustice for the status in society, to tolerate for the future of her children, to tolerate for the sake of her “Sindoor”- the emblem of marriage, to tolerate just because she is a woman and is bound to bow her head in front of her man. Does this connote Indian culture? No. We have to get ourselves corrected and redefine culture. The true meaning of culture is understanding and appreciating human intellect. But we Indians in the name of culture exploit women to the fullest. We pompously boast Indian culture over western civilization. But hold on! Are we Indians civilized enough to confer a dignified life to each woman? The answer to this question lies in the daily newspapers. There is unquestionably a need to revise the philosophy of Indian culture whereby every Indian understands that the essence of culture lies in giving and taking respect equally. Only when we realize this we shall attain ‘esprit de corps’ and all women can lead a respectable life.
AUTHOR : RASHMI RAVIKUMAR
PUBLISHED BY : SHWETA AGARWAL