Woman as an Individual..........
My intention to write this article on woman to let her know, with the advancement and progress of Indian Civilization and Culture, how the Indian woman has been loosing her dignity and respect in the society, And how she is at the back foot of the society. Why is she treated just as a commodity with having no identity and free existence? She had a glorious past but with the due course of time, how she was degraded in the society.
India is a country of different religion and castes, and has a splendid history of 5000 years. It is the only alive ancient civilization and culture worldwide. That started from The Vedic Era. That was the time when woman had a prestigious and respectful place in the society. Her presence was must in the every walks of life. She had her own identity in spite of being married. Even she had full right to choose her husband (Regveda-mantra-10.27.12). If she was widow, she could live with her parents and could retain the ancestral property.In Vedic period woman could roam fearlessly even in the nights.
She was taken as a powerful element of the society as man. In the oldest scriptures Rigveda- It is clearly indicated that, how woman was established as a Power (she had given the name-“Shakti”) in the society with dignity and respect. That’s why she held more arms than man. It was sure sign of woman’s safety in the society, she need more protection than man. If we see the picture of the Hindu Goddess like Kali, Durga, these pictures show the goddess are having 18-20 hands, holding different types of arms in their hands. On the other side, Gods like Shiva, Vishnu hold 6-8 arms in their respective hands. Many hands of Gods and the Goddess are symbolic to show their power and the necessity of the arms accordingly. It means woman need more protection than man and she knew how to protect herself. Man should be safe for the country and society but woman should be saved from the illegal elements of the society.
Woman were given military education. As it is inscribed in the holy book the Ramayana, How Kaikeyi, the queen of Mithila helped her husband Janak- the king of Mithila in the battle field. Goddess kali, Chamunda, Durga fought against the Mahishasur, Tarkasur like demons and won the war. There is authentic proof that in Vedic Era, women got training to protect themselves.They had given special army training and learnt war tactics. And that was not happened in a single day. That was before the Buddha Period.The Goddess Kali and Durga fought against the demons very cleverly and skillfully and now they are worshiped in India by the Hindus but it is shameful that neither the society respect their women not the society award of the bravery of these goddess.
Woman was said to be 'Vira' (वीरा). This ward symbolizes the brave and daring child. There is also a word in Sanskrit for woman - 'Purndhi'-(पुरंधि) मेंस 'One who retain the city' or better to say "One who protects the city".In that era where man took charge of the state or nation, woman took responsibility of the city. So there was division of work and labour. Where there is responsibility, there is always respect. That clearly show that woman equally held the duty and power as man in every field of the society and state.
She was calling as 'Vira' (वीरा ) in childhood, 'Purundhi' (पुरुंधी ) in youth and 'Shakti' (शक्ति ) after marriage.And that was her personification. She proved herself in respective age. A very popular name was also was given to the woman 'Arya' means 'superior or brave woman'. So anybody can ask- How such woman would be the weaker section of the society. It happened in the later centuries and it was done intentionally.
The Indian woman who had a glorious past and got education in the Gurukul, soon lost that respect and dignity,as the time passed and the caste system entered in the Indian society- Every thing was changed and restriction imposed on woman and the down trodden people of society. Woman who took active part in every religious occasion with her husband ,was kept aside and the Brahmin caste took her place. Her progress was debarred and she was forcefully kept on the four walls of home.
Woman is defined as the other half of the World, the first half is the man. She is the representative of the half human race but .........but in the name of equality with man, she is still at the back foot. In the whole world, not even a single country, woman has no equal status as man. There are many countries where the freedom of woman is still a dream. If woman has freedom, it is restricted. Neither of any country can दावा that woman is totally free in their country but constitutionally she is equal to man. So on writing she has equal status as man but factually this is still a dream for her.
Country like India, where woman has a status of the goddess and it is also written in the ancient inscription:-
“यत्र नार्यस्तु पूजयन्ते, रमन्ते तत्र देवता........."
Where woman is worshiped, God is there.
How ironical is this, on the other hand this ancient inscription debarred the freedom of woman, as written in the epic Mahabharata:-
"न स्त्री स्वतंत्र महर्ती."
Woman has no right to freedom. This shloka clearly underlines the status of woman in Indian society. The freedom of Indian woman can be a thought but not the reality. In India, it is still in practice that she can't live independently and this is hundreds of century’s old tradition............as it is also written in the Vashishtha Dharma sutra.
"पिता रक्षति कौमारे, भरता रक्षति यौवने;
रक्षति स्थविरे पुत्र, न स्त्री स्वतंत्रता महर्ती."
It is very meaningful that the man as father can protect her virginity in her childhood, as husband protects her youth and as son protects her in her old age. It means, she has no independent existence. In the name of protection of the Woman, it is enough reason to put her in shackles. There are many-many quotes for woman to interdict her in the name of morality and ethics. Woman obligates not to enter into the temples during her monthly period, there are some temples where women are not allowed but man are happily allowed, how ironical it is..!!, most of the temples belong to the different goddess.
In Indian society, woman is always said to follow her husband or the man. It is clearly directed in the Vrahadarnyak Upanishad……….
“Pati va anu jaya.”(पति व अनु जया)
Means, “after the husband”. How intelligent and capable a woman is, her place always is after the man.
So whatever woman achieved in centuries in the name of freedom, respect and prestige was gone in the coming centuries.In the Vedic era where woman was an Individual, turned into one of the commodity of home in the later centuries and her position has becoming worst to worst in the last century.
Now a days women is progressing in every walk of life. She is getting better and equal opportunity with man. She enters on those fields that are restructured to her. She is proving better manager, consultant, politician etc. than man. She has now economic independence. She is now not in the four wall of home. It seems a bright picture of woman. But is this real.....? No.!! this is one side of the picture, the other side is dark and horrifying. Woman still has no right to choose her life partner, if she does; she is killed in the name of honour killing. She has restriction to choose her career. The raising graph of crime against woman shows that woman is not sage in the Indian society and she is raped, abused -every type of the crime that dishonor the woman's dignity and respect is going on in a very rapid manner. The picture is very very shameful - the hands that are responsible for the safety of woman are disrespecting her.
Woman is taken herself for granted, she feels herself a 'bechari'. Until or bless woman respect herself and capable of protecting herself, she won't be taken as an individual in the society. Woman should raise her hands against any type of crime staging her. If she wants back those glorious days of Vedic Era, she has treat herself as a human being and not allow anybody to insult her or disrespect her. For this she has to open her mind and eyes. Don't follow the western lifestyle, it shouldn't be her way of life because this is not the road to get those golden days of Indian woman. Mental freedom is must for her individuality. This is the change that needs every Indian woman and the Indian society as a whole. And all this is not done without the active participation of Indian man. So what do you say an Indian Man....!!