Women’s status in mythological narratives and modern India

Status Of Women

Women in Indian society had covered long journey of struggle and fight in past few years to achieve the status they are enjoying. Ideal women of India, were in past decade use to be appreciated based on her characters like fidelity, chastity, servitude towards her husband and his family, obeisance, non-fickle mind behaviour, honesty, purity and many more. These were the few character stated by the society which then act as a prejudice. It ultimately led to men as a superior gender and women as an inferior gender.

Before that, in ancient India women in many places occupied an equal position as men. Many Hindu religious books for instant the Vedas; Ramayana, etc., have mentioned the names of several women who were greatest scholars, poets and philosophers. According to some ancient Hindu scriptures, a man without his wife cannot involve in any important religious rites. Whereas married men along with their wives are allowed to do. Wives are thus were called ‘Ardhangini’. Some Literary manuscripts have also mentioned about kingdom gained and lost due to a single woman. However, in the medieval period, women started to lost their statues considerably. Women were started considered to be inferior to men. Many ancient historians have called this period as the ‘dark age’ for the woman’s position as it became very miserable. Customs for instant purdah (a black cloth worn by women to cover their face), Sati (burning of widows with their husband death body), child marriage, bend widow marriage, and the prevalence of joint family systems have been the factors responsible for the injustice and inequality done towards women. Traditions such as Sati, jauhar, child marriage and devadasi have been banned but still it is practise in few remote areas of India.

There are some scholars who believe that, earlier women use to enjoy same statues as men in all the field. Patanjali and Katyana suggest that women were educated in Rig Vedic period. Rig Vedic verses mentioned that the women married at a mature age and were probably have right to select their husband. A popular statement characterizes the goddess in all the women manifestation which is: in times of prosperity she indeed is Lakshmi, who bestows prosperity in the homes of men; and in times of misfortune, she herself becomes the goddess of misfortune. The female is first of all sakti the energizing principle of the universe. The female is also prakriti (nature) the undifferentiated matter of the universe. According to Hindu cosmology, although without the female there would be no energy in the universe. The position of women in Hinduism is widely dependent on the specific text and context. Positive references are made to the ideal women in texts such as the Ramayana in which ‘Sitha’ the women who became the single mother of her children and Mahabharata which portrayed the strong women character ‘Draupadi’ ever transgender, while some texts such as the Manu Smriti advocate a restriction of women’s rights. The sakti traditions, focus their worship on the goddess Durga as the supreme embodiment of power and feminine strength. Vaishnavism and Shaivism both worship Lakshmi with Vishnu and Parvati with Shiva respectively as beings on an equal level of magnitude. Male deities as Shiva and Indra are believed in some traditions to themselves offer worship to the Goddess Durga. Shiva and Vishnu are also described as possessing feminine qualities represented through their Ardhanarishvara and Mohine forms respectively.

Tulsi is the goddess worshiped and revered in the form of a basil plant. The herb has medicinal as well as mythological importance in Hinduism. Ganga is the personification of the River Ganga and is a popular goddess in Hindu mythology. She is the daughter of Parvat Raj Himalaya or Himavan and sister to the goddess Parvati. Kali is the fierce representation of Shakti. She is also known as the destroyer or the one who liberates the soul and provides moksha or enlightenment. She is an incarnation of Parvati/Durga. Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom, music, and learning. She is also known as Sharada. Thus, these were the few examples of how women’s statues were represented in mythological era.

The status of Indian women has radically changing since independence of country. the structural and cultural changes provided equality of opportunities to women in education, employment and political participation. With the help of these changes, exploitation of women, to a great extent was reduced. More freedom and better orientation were provided to the women’s organisation to pursue their dreams and goal. In 19th century, the Indian National congress included women and elected Mrs. Annie Besant as its president of their party. One of the proudest moments for any Indian was when Mrs. Vijay Lakshmi Pandit was elected as the president of the U.N. General Assembly in 1953. Several acts came into being to eliminate social evils against women and uplift them in all the perception. Somewhere, women yet not received the deserving respect they all deserve off. Still people in society judge them on the basic of the clothes they were, the place they go or live and same sex marriage is again for the people of society is against the law of god. There are some houses still their who treat their son and daughter differently or in nutshell discrimination is still present. Laws against injustice haven’t fully practice in the society. Thus, Indian women have a long way to cover for their deserving rights and justice.