Empowering the Women in Modern India

This is just to gain a political mileage and these political parties want to make an issue of it with hardly any earnest desire to empower the women of the country with this status. They hardly have any regard for womanhood of the country or hardly have any keenness to give them respectability.

Women have been at the receiving end in our country ever since times immemorial. In ancient India, there had been women scholarly and eminent like Gargi and Maitryei but then Draupadi and Sita are symbols of suffering too. They had to suffer only because they were women and could be put to the litmus test in the fire or exiled or to be lost to the opponent in the game of dice.

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In later history during the Hindu period no, women can be named as outstanding in any field and then during the Muslim rule women were either shut up in the harems or homes or if they moved out, it was in veils.

There is a long tale of woes of women who were either abducted or raped or forcibly converted and married.

Meera Bai, the great devotee of Lord Krishna and a real saint in her own right, had to suffer a poisoned chalice for her devotion to Lord Krishna and was considered to have turned into a woman of ill-fame. The Rajput women had to willingly or even per force, offer themselves to the pyre along with the dead bodies of their husbands.

‘Sati’was the great name assigned to this act of suicide and people eulogized the act. Rani Durgawati, Maharani Laxmi Bai rose to fame as the great warrior ladies but in their own right.

It has been, of course, the modern age which saw the rise of women in all fields and there are names to be reckoned with in the field of politics, in the field of art and literature and as social workers.

Annie Besant, Sarojini Naidu, Vijai Laxmi Pandit, Kamla Nehru, Mahadevi Verma, Amrit Shergil, Kamaladas Chattopadhyay and a host of other poetesses, novelists, social workers and political leaders rose to fame.

Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India; Najma Heptullah was the Vice-President of the Rajya Sabha. There are several ladies who are members of the Parliament or members of the legislatures; there are artists, dancers, musicians, film actresses who have achieved international fame in their own fields.

In the field of education, ladies have been great educationists, they have been vice-chancellors of the universities, and they have been judges of the High Court, even of the Supreme Court.

All this shows how the womanhood of India is emerging out of their cocoon and shining out. But the percentage of such distinguished ladies is a very negligible one.

Women in the towns have taken up professionalism and are working as officers, or in offices, private and government. They are the copartners of their husbands in business or in running the household. Women in the villages are still illiterate and are just housewives, looking after the home, cooking, cleaning and rearing children. They still suffer deprivation and neglect.

The women in the towns — inspire of all their openness in life, inspire of all the qualification and experience that they might have earned still suffer from a discrimination in as much as they are still required to look after the homes and are still treated as housewives —that being considered as the main field of their activity.

Women are described as the ‘better-half of men but actually they are the ‘worse half — have to be responsible for running the home, even if they are heading and running an office. They are still subjected to subjugation of their husbands, are teased in the trains and molested by their superiors in offices. It is still a male dominated society in India.

The birth of a female child is still not treated as happy an incident as the birth of a male-child is. Eve-teasing, abduction and rapes are daily news on the front page of the newspapers. Even Deepa Mehta, a lady film maker goes to paint a widow as a whore in her latest movie’Water’. Actresses in the

Indian cinema has to agree to reveal their bodies more than keep it under veil. Those are the demands of the viewers and the producers and directors take the plea that they have to cater to the popular taste and to the popular demand. All this means that women still are treated as show pieces.

It is now that the Supreme Court has come out to empower the mother the right to act as the guardian of her children. The former Home Minister, Sri L.K. Advani made a pronouncement that a rapist should be awarded death penalty. The Human Rights activists have really helped woman to win their rights.

The fact of facts is that mothers should play their « part in according equal preference to the male and the female child. Women should honour women and create for them a place of equal status.

Men shall have to toe the line — they shall not be able to ignore their daughters’ rights. The husbands should give the real ‘better-half status to their wives. The sun has begun to shine on the horizon and the women’s face in modern India has begun to glow up. This is a happy sign and a welcome augury.