Oct 04, 2023
Oct 04, 2023
by Durga Patva
... from Sati Pratha to the Attainment of the Moon
Men and women are the two wheels which govern the society. In ancient India, women’s place was next to god. They were the symbol of godly power. They were given the most creditable and praiseworthy place. They were equal to men. They were entitled to the study of the Vedas and to the Chanting of the Gayatri Mantra.They had all kinds of freedom and used to take part in every activity. Napoleon also accepted that a notion of great country cannot be assumed without the women when he said, “give us good women, we will have a great civilization / give us good mothers, we will have a great nation. So a good and developed country’s fantasy cannot be assumed without giving respect to the women.
Woman’s power has been praised time to time by many philosophers. Women play many roles in their life like the role of a daughter, sister, mother, wife and teacher too. Once the famous philosopher Plato wrote that, “God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers” (Google) God blessed them with the power of human creation. That’s why they had a high position in the society.
In the ancient myth women were so powerful that they might be able to save their husband from the icy hand of death. In this respect we have the example of Sati Madalsa, and Savitri. In spite of it a mother is the first teacher for a child its best example is the brave worrier Shivajee who became a great king due to the supervision of his mother Jijabai. Apart from it women were frequently participated in the battle field with their husband just as Kaikeyi did for her husband Dassratha in the Ramayana.
Another example of the brave woman of India is the great Queen Rani Durgavati who reigned better her kingdom after the death of her husband. These are so many great Indian ladies who freely used to take part in politics. Jhansi ki Rani Laxmibai is the example of the brave Indian Ladies who fought against the English till her last breath. If these women could fight for the sake of her country, it was because of their bringing up which was equal to the men. It also shows that women were given an honourable place and equal right as men since the ancient time. If the women of a nation remain uneducated that a nation can never be progressive. In ancient time women were given high place and respect so it was the golden period for the women. So it is clear that, for the development of a nation, it is necessary to respect women because a woman is that mother who gives birth the future of a nation.
Women started losing their position during the Buddha period. But with the reign of Mohammedans over India women’s condition became very bad or miserable due to the purdah System, early marriage, illiteracy because during the reign of Mohammedans they remained closed in the four walls of the house. Boys were given preference to girls. They were deprived of education and did not have the right to go anywhere without having male permission or protection. They had a limited area of cooking, sewing and embroidery. Sati Pratha was one of the curses for the medieval Indian women. The literary meaning of sati represents “Pure Woman.” In this tradition widow woman has to burn at the funeral pyre of her husband sometimes it was with the consent of the woman and sometimes they forcibly burnt with her dead husband’s pyre. But this tradition completely abolished by the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Rai, “the first leader of the Indian social enlightenment” (Srivastawa). A great change in the condition of women after independence has brought about through the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi. There are so many reformers who contributed a lot to the welfare of women Dr. S. Radhakrishnan is one of those. He laid emphasis on the women’s education.
Indian constitution is democratic in which everyone has equal rights. So in Indian constitution women have the equal place and social justice according to law. Either in Panchayat or in Municipality reservation seats is there for them. So in the modern India the condition of women is fast changing. They are given equal rights with men and they are taking part in all the social, domestic and political activities freely. They were educated and had the right of equality with men. In the reign of British their condition was good they had right of education. In 21st century society needs today women whose minds are disciplined so that they contribute in the development of the country. Now they are not remained the puppets in the hands of in-laws who used to cook food and do the domestic works only. They are participating in each educational or professional and technological area by working with shoulder to shoulder with men.
They are working in the department supposed to be better only for men. They are free to choose their career as a police officer, pilot, telephone operator, typist, receptionist, doctors, and athlete and engineer and so on. They are earning name and fame on their own account. In each field, they proved that they have better power of doing something than men. They are showing their brilliancy through dancing, singing, writing, painting, and acting, cooking, and teaching and so on. They are going to the moon and made their country proud in this connection we have the example of Indian- American astronaut Kalpana Chawla, was the first Indian woman in space and one of the seven astronauts who lost their lives in the space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003” (Singh). Women played an important role in political area too they used to enjoy the status of MPs, MLA, ministers. For example, Mrs Vijaya Lxmi Pandit was our high commissioner in England for some time. Mrs Padmaja Naidu was the governor of Best Bengal for a long time. Smt. Sucheta Kripalani was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for some time. Our worthy Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi brought a complete recognition of modern Indian women on the world map. For the present time Miss Jai Lalitha also got a wide popularity as the chief minister of Tamilnadu.
A new aspect of women in politics occurred in recent years. In the ancient time political field was not good for the women, but with the changing scenario most of the women have been entering into politics. Puja Mondel writes in different view, “if we take women’s participation in politics as one of the measurements of their emancipation, we find at present their number is very low in comparison to men in state assembly and parliament.” But in 21st century not only Indian women but also the women of entire world are enjoying the different post and appellation in politics it is perhaps because of what Sohini Paul and Anupama Mehta wrote in their article on Firstpost.com, “to remedy the low participation of women electors india in 1994 established quotas vide the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments to reserve 33 per cent of the seats in local government for women.” Women from all over the world have frequently apprehended the political sword of state firmly in their hands whenever necessary. India has also seen such persuasive female political symbol from time to time. Sometimes women’s patterns and politically aware mannerisms have been valued by many and sometimes condemned by many more. Nevertheless, their involvement can never be ignored because in modern India women are doing what is not easy to do for men they have been managing their domestic and professional life well.
There are some Indian women who are the life model for many people like Mrs Sonia Gandhi, all in all for the Indian national congress party. Another popular lady in congress party is Sheila Dikshit. She was the chief minister of Delhi from 1998 to 2013. She also became the governor of Kerala. Another example of woman empowerment in India is the first woman chief minister of West Bengal is Mamata Banergee. She also worked as the railway minister in India. Jayalalitha remained on the post of chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Mayawati, four time chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is also the vital inspiration for Dalits women of India. Vasundhara Raje is the other powerful name in Indian politics who became the first woman chief minister of Rajasthan. Ambika Soni as served as the Union Minister of Information. Supriya Sule and Agatha Sangma, are other prominent woman politicians in India. Another famous name of Indian woman politician is Sushma Swaraj, became a Member of Parliament seven times, three time member of the Legislative Assembly. She is in present time the Union Minister of External Affairs of India. She is the second woman after Indira Gandhi who got this position. Miss Uma Bharti, Miss Mayavati and Smt Sushma Swaraj are also well known around. Talking about women’s empowerment in the context of democratic India it cannot be possible to complete the debate without taking the name of the honourable president and first woman president of India Mrs Pratibha Patil.
To conclude, there is no doubt that in the ancient time politics was not the best place for women, but woman politician is the demand of the present scenario for the welfare of women and for the development of a country. Indian women are getting more name and fame with their hard, daring work in such a challenging atmosphere. They are not only house wives now they are scattering their versatility in different fields. They are the representatives of their country India. There is no exaggeration, in saying that Indian women are playing a significant part in making India great.
More by : Durga Patva