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Indian woman.. Changes and Challenges!

August 7, 2008

Author: Radhesh

Disclaimer : This article is written by one of my friends, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The word ‘prayer’ is what sums up a life lead well and truthfully, is what I feel. Just let it be one of silent and humble devotion. The only true way that my religion requires for salvation, freedom, nirvana or mukti or whatever you may call it, is to free oneself of desires and possessions.

When you pray and you truly pray, not the usual standing before god and begging for all material things instead of worshipping, will you find that freedom.

I look upon a true Hindu woman and her life as a personification of the word prayer or a better ‘Aradhana’ , as in Sanskrit. She literally gives her entire life in all of hers, as a mother, sister, daughter and beloved wife for the happiness and comforts of the ones she loves. not a single demand for herself, even when she is selfish, it is for someone who she loves and not for her own. That is the the ideal of Hinduism in all its hidden glory, giving up our egos and comforts for others.

And yet these hundreds of years of selfless sacrifice have brought our race to nothing but to look upon women as something of a commodity, a possession. She is a thing and not a sentient being, who is to work ceaselessly for the comfort of man. she is not to have a say in her life, all of her life.

Most males and Indians are no exception, rather more aggressive in this respect, suffer from a false sense of mastership. they have over generations come to believe that women are created to serve and please them only. We comfortably forget that our mothers, sister, wives and daughters do not obey or follow us only because of our ‘Manliness’ alone. They do it more so because of the love they possess, for which they are ready to vanquish their egos and themselves too. May be it is selfless or selfish, but that is the case in most instances.

However these long times of servile love has imbued both men and women with decadence. Much as men can’t handle strong and independent women, the fairer sex has also learnt to forgo correct and right things for the sake of ‘Family’ as well as their own selfish nature; the latter being a by-product of sense of self preservation. And each successive generation of parents and teachers have only reinforced these beliefs in the coming ones with their skewed visions and teachings.

The result? We have a society where men are considered inferior to each other and women, to all men; for ‘the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’. And when those hands themselves are weak, what do we expect them to raise other than a race of bigots and maniacs. Those who are never given a choice in their lives, what education and culture will they give to their offspring save fear and hidden malice and distrust.

And this has created a paradox in recent times and more so with our generation. the older ones, our mothers and all are still rooted to the old and orthodox ideas of their inherent inferior position in family in family and society. The newer generations however fare no better and are caught in a doldrums as if. Most of them coming from ‘strict’ and middle class families when living, reading and working in the home towns are typically the ‘Good girls’. And these same women when away from families are easy preys to a hundred temptations, waiting to beguile and destroy them.

And famished as they are, for the simple wants of freedom to think and choose, many cross over the lines just trying to experiment or have fun. the simplest evidence to illustrate these are the demographical data which clearly show the rise of smoking and drinking among women, not only in big metros but all over the nation. These two vices earlier considered the supreme taboo are now termed as casual and cool. And these are eating into the very roots of our culture and civilization as Hindus and Indians as well. Various social magazines proudly carry out sex surveys that celebrate ‘the coming of age of the Indian women’ . Replete with lurid articles on the ever increasing promiscuity in our country and new ‘brave’ concepts as ‘Live-in relations’ , where both men and women are reduced to the state of mere concubines or as in Hindi the word ‘Rakhail’ I do not know what they are trying to prove. The popular modes of entertainment viz. television and cinema seem to harp on the axes premarital and post marital relationships and other such misguided openness. And the phenomenon are no longer confined to large cities and metros, but also common in the smaller towns.

A question however arises. Are women only to be blamed for this condition? To a large extent we may use the doctrine of self responsibility and other such things but everyone knows the adage “You need two hands to clap.” So the society must accept the other half of the responsibility. A horse if kept in confinement for long, will naturally hesitate to walk into a open space even if left free. Yet after a few half hearted canters, it will run in every direction without knowing where to go. Too thirsty a man drinks water in large gulps not caring about the taste and quality. Therefore, it is quite natural that our womenfolk the modern, educated and self reliant, but away from the family are prone to practises which are physically and emotionally destructive.

All of this raises a need for a solution if there is one. Is it ? I think there is. however it will take some time. When a river breaks a dam, the first rush always brings the filth and silt which has been collecting against the wall for so many years. Similarily, this ongoing upheaval and change in the women around us is but normal sign of the process in motion. This eruption of so called ‘repressed sexuality’ and other forms of femine transformations, both good and bad. However as the flow come to a normal level in due course of time, the river will become life giving once more.

It is our collective responsibility to understand and assimilate the good things that have come from these transformation. All of us the parents, teachers, friends, colleagues and most of all, each individual especially the modern Indian women must understand their rights and roles. Theirs is a delicate and very important role in our culture. they must learn to get their rights as responsible adults and do their rightful duties.

We want to go back to the days of Savitri the ever pure and ever free, who chose her own husband fully knowing the consequences. Let the daughter of Modern India be once more Rani ahalya bai, Jhansi Rani Laxmibai and virago chennama of Kittur. The age old gender bias and the religious narrow-mindedness are sending us back to the medival ages. We need to turn back and move ahead.

the only thing neede is to provide right example before our children and everyone else and believing in the choices they make.

We need to be their guides and not their masters.And then only once more the pious motherland of ours reverberate with the chants of

"Yatra naari pujyante, ramanti tatra deavata"

Verily the gods reside, where the women are worshipped..

Amen…

Thanks for your time and patience

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. compulsivewriter permalink
    August 8, 2008 10:51 am

    very well put… I like the fact that you’ve referenced Shlokas and Ruchas. However, if a woman wants to break free of the customs that have held her back for centuries, it will shock a few.
    There is nothing wrong with being open in one’s relationship, as long as it is for the right reasons. What media is doing, is that its creating flaky, superficial reasons that the young minds believe are the right ones to take the big step.
    It is a highly personal choice. And why should women or men be worshipped, they should only be respected as people, not because of their gender!

  2. August 8, 2008 9:17 pm

    A carefully thought and written article. Like the above commenter has said, why is the gender becoming more important when it comes to issues like smoking and drinking ? When men are also able to do all that freely and without remorse, pointing out women (even if it is a new trend) is not fair. Whatever is driving people (both men and women) towards these things, they should remember that they would have to pay back for all this one day. And that day, it will not be principal alone, but with the rising inflation, a huge accumilated interest too!

    Destination Infinity.

  3. August 8, 2008 10:08 pm

    a lot of thought into the post…

    but why all this? i mean why all this talk about freeing ourselves etc? The major problem occurred when we mis interpreted whatever was said….some time i have noticed that certain things have been mixed deliberately,so that everyone gets something out of it.Forcing things is not the way and i am against any type of forcing…the eg of the dam was a good one…..responsibility is when a person understands what he/she has to do and does it…for creating understanding we need to forget forcing and think about actually showing people things…..i think that is what we all need to learn….

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