Women need not be dependent – I

Woman is the goddess of art and emotions. Man has a concentration of courage and endurance. A complete personality emerges only upon combining the two.

Nature has created all categories of creatures in the forms of male and female. Both live together and assist each other. From the time of pregnancy to child rearing, both shoulder the responsibility together. Birds, for example, work together to create a nest. For this purpose, they do not hesitate to get or give help.

Being a more evolved creature, this collaboration should be to an even larger degree in man, “When the natural attraction brings them together, the purpose behind it is obviously that they compliment each other. Woman is the goddess of art and emotions. Man has a concentration of courage and endurance. A complete personality emerges only upon combining the two. Evolution from imperfection to perfection is the purpose of bringing both the genders together. Only with their mutual cooperation, the cart of life can run smoothly on its track. Both should not only distribute tasks amongst themselves but also practice to assist each other if needed. This is indeed the social and natural purpose behind creation of the combination of male and female.

As long as this tradition was appropriately followed, this communion was successful and it benefited both men and women and the wheel of social system rolled on smoothly.

Misfortune struck when man gave undue importance to carnality, made it an addiction and like addicts made a mountain out of this molehill. When this belief reached mischievous heights in the medieval times of cultural downfall, then it brought forth unforeseen consequences. When defiance rode high then man thought of exploiting the temporary weakness of the woman during pregnancy. The physical weakness and inability to produce during the days of pregnancy were blown out of proportions and woman was taught to remain a slave to man, follow him blindly and be satisfied with the food and shelter provided to her in return. By and large, her ambitions to ascend were suppressed and the thoughts of equality with man be buried. She was supposed to expect nothing from man except what is needed for basic survival. The logic given was that when the primary responsibility of reproduction has been laid on her then she must accept it as her destiny and remain content.

The logic sounded convincing and it was adopted as a tradition. The leash continued to be tightened until woman remained only a medium for sexual satisfaction of man.

This leash was tightened both from outside and from within. Externally, she was confined within the house walls and made to hide inside a veil. She was restricted from moving around alone. Terming this bondage as the curse of being a woman, she was forced by the male dominated society to live a disdainful life. Inhuman customs such as committing sati, shaving off/tonsuring the head, begging at the shrines etc., were initiated as these traditions helped the family members to get rid of the responsibility of supporting the widow and also, helped keep the widow away from laying claims to her husband’s property.

From the inside, woman was weakened to such an extent that she starting believing herself to simply be an object of desire and busied herself in putting on make-up and in looking more attractive and seductive. She started shunning hard labour in order to avoid its adverse impact on her tenderness and beauty. She started believing that her welfare was in dressing up like dolls and attracting her husband.

After this noose was tightened around her from both outside and inside, woman became crippled and helpless. She was brought to a situation where she was completely dependent on man. When this became a custom and the environment got tuned according to this belief then who could show resistance against it? How could anyone dare go against the tide? Men saw their benefits in this tradition. After all, they were getting maids in return for basic food, water and clothes. Why would they let the situation change? Women too had no other resort. By the time women reached the threshold of youth, they became mothers to many children. The upbringing of these children was so difficult that a mother was incapable of handling them alone. This gave rise to a tradition that is still being followed. Women in many parts of the world have remained dependent on their providers like a pet animal depends on its owner.

Even in the modern era of intellectual ascent and civilization, in several societies, especially in the developing and under developed world, she has no right to think of her development. She is not allowed to even express desire for independence. She is left to survive like a piece of rotting garbage and has to bury her desire for respect to some remote corner of her heart. What respect does a slave need? When there is enough food to fill the stomach and clothes to cover the body then why long for love and respect?

While there is some difference in the state of a woman in developed and developing nations, it is fundamentally identical. In developing or underdeveloped nations, she is under tremendous pressure and has to spend her days in a state of helplessness. In developed nations, she is encouraged to become more attractive and seductive so that she starts giving greater importance to comforts and glamour, and, on her own, feels tempted to earn the man’s favour. The result of the temptation is that she can be seen exposing her body a lot more and attracting the onlookers. This rising enthusiasm has created an ambience, especially in the developed world where coyness, which was once an asset of the woman, is hardly seen anywhere. Sometimes under the tag of ‘bold and beautiful’, sometimes of the glamour of ‘models of commercial advertisements’, she is being exploited or letting herself so in several ways in ultra modern societies.

This is not development. It is a pitiable expression of lack of self-respect. In both the developed and the developing nations, the women have their own unique plights and compulsions.

Courtesy: Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya and Dr. Pranav Pandya


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