Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WOMAN THEN AND NOW

Disclaimer Through this post I am neither trying to hurt the religious sentiments of any one nor am I insulting any God or religion. So anyone who doesn’t like my post please ignore this and don’t feel offended

I have been watching Ramayan serial on NDTV Imagine off and on from its beginning.

It is a very good effort by the producers to teach the young generation our rich mythological culture and make them realize the importance of family, family values, obedience and motivate them to read our sacred religious testament RAMAYAN. (my son also watches it almost regularly and he has come to know about this inspirational heritage of our culture and the value it teaches.

What I am commenting is on the status of women which is portrayed in Ramayan (in the serial as well as the sacred book)

Yesterday’s episode showed Luv Kush telling the whole of Ayodhya that they are Rams sons. But Ram to be a Just and principled King asks them to call Sita and to prove that they are indeed Ram’s son and she has to prove her Satitava. ( I suppose people from Indian origin will be aware of these religious facts and if not then please read it)

Once again I have nothing against the religious sentiments or our religion but what brought the anger in me to surface was the way Sita was made to prove her innocence ,her loyalty towards her husband and her purity again in again.
The Agnipraiksha ( One of its own kind, I have never heard of woman proving her chasteness any where else by passing through fire) which she had given after she was rescued from the clutches of Ravana , was that not enough , that now once again she was asked to prove to the whole world her purity?.
(Pray tell me how one can prove that one is loyal to her/his spouse? And how could she prove at that time (thousands of years ago) that Luv Kush are Ram’s sons (I suppose we didn’t have DNA Test at that time)

Why was Sita forced to face such an embarrassing situation?

This makes me wonder that position of woman in our society has not changed. It is still the same. During that era of our civilization, i.e. the Satyug period, women were subjected to such humiliation and even now we stand at the same platform. Women are degraded by the hands of their husbands, inlaws, children, unknown people, and religion and at times by the woman themselves.

(Today again in TOI there is mention of an 11 year old being raped by her father and the mother doesn’t have the guts to complaint against her husband)
and another case of a woman gang raped by 5 police man!!! where is the safety for woman?

Coming back to story of Ramayan

Think about the plight of Mandodari, wife of Ravan who was forced to live with the fact that her husband has kidnapped another woman and wants to marry her despite of him having sons of marriageable age.

Even now wives are facing the humiliation of living with and sheltering husbands who commit rape. Where is the change???

There are innumerable incidences in our history or religion where women were victimized, insulted and made to bow down to unreasonable dictates of husbands or men in general

I am unable to comprehend whether there has been emancipation of women or not over a period of time? If yes, then why the ban on Jeans in the girls colleges as it attracts boys and forces them to eve tease!!!!!, as if a fully covered women will not be eve teased by men?)

I am aware of the revolution in the fields of education, equality, employment, financial independence but at one time or other women are subjected to discrimination by the hands of men.

May be I am sounding confused (actually I am) because of jumbled up emotions and thoughts in my mind but the fact remains that my blood boils when I see members of my sex in such helpless situations.

i am no feminist but a normal woman who feels suffocated when i read about the injustice metted out the woman.

29 comments:

Zeba Talkhani said...

This happens everywhere. But because I am not well versed about the myth I will not comment. I love the topics you are choosing to write now a days. Your blog makes for an excellent read.

Meira said...

Hmm, you have a valid point. We're taught to look to the Ramayana as it portrays 'ideal men and women'. How, I fail to understand.

le embrouille blogueur said...

You are not confued (I think) ... I believe what you are, is "overwhelmed" with the attrocities....it is not easy to look at things (mythological) and realize nothing has changed for the women...the world went from DOS to VISTA...but the women are still at the end of the "to be respected" rung...great post !!

Gayathri said...

worse is the situation when a woman is crucified for her inability to conceive..
And when there's a sex scandal,the guy comes out with a clean chit,it's just the lady who suffers..sometimes i feel too,the society is grossly driven by MCP's..kya kare,..move on..

Dev said...

I read ur whole article..and its really touching. and i have become ur fan...
Really awesome...

Regards.

DevPalmistry |Lines tell the story of ur life

ZiLliOnBiG said...

Humm, your concern is genuine... There are so much happenings that one gets to read, rape, torture, burning alive by in-laws....women have been and i feel would be exploited in the future as well.

probably the solution is that women should care for themselves. They should develop a sense of independence and strength. They should stop feeling inferior to men. Whenever women feel they are feeble and weak, men take advantage.

They have take up issues with themselves. Confront them with all strentght. I know a lot of strong women who would kick the ass of men, if a man ever dare attack them. But we have very few women that way.
What say? Very nice post as ever from you. TC

Milan Mehta said...

Good point. I think that despite the advancements it seems that the thinking of male dominant society isn't changing and they still the women to prove their trust and loyalty towards them. I ask them why are't men asked to do the same, who does it always have to be women??????

Ms. Neha Gandhi said...

its a great post...
i dont have much to comment on this issue...as i am not sure how much i believe in the truthfulness of Ramayana...

but i do understand the plight of the female sex... its as if they are not safe anywhere...not even in the family and not even with the protectors of law and order

anyways... i really love ur stand on some topics...if u r not a feminist...then u should be one...because u can really make a difference

The Panorama said...

I love this post, however I wonder why do you need to apologise and emphasise that you are not a feminist? Isn't that also because feminism has been criticised so much that even women are now afraid to all themselves feminist...yet male chauvenism is flourishing unabashedly...so please Anju, do not be apologetic.
I too am appalled that women choose to protect the men who rape their own daughters but think again...does this poor woman have a choice? It is her husband who is also the provider in the family, who is the perpetrator. Isn't it difficult for her to stand up to him?
We expect women to stand up against rape and humiliation but isn't it the responsibilty of a the whole society as such to give women respect and equal rights?
We need to empower the yoing women so that tomorrow she ma not be dependent on a man.

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Smitha said...

Such a relevant post! I feel the same way you do too. Every time I hear Ram being called the 'ideal man' - I get so angry! How can we idolize someone who treated his wife so badly! Or is it just a concocted story to ensure male supremacy ?

Women are not really safe anywhere are they? When fathers can rape- what more can one say?

Mimi said...

HI!!!
I will be Praying for you and for the country of India, as it needs a miracle from God to stop these senseless acts against women and especially children.I'm so glad you have a VOICE to speak out and raise concerns about womens rights. We women here in America would never allow our husbands or any Male to do such a thing, well actually they're have been several instances where it happens, but not often and it is a sad thing. Keep speaking out, the more awareness brings change!!!
God Bless you
jamie--mimi

sm said...

first of all let me congrulate for you writing this post.People are so afraid to even ask the questions.
what i wanted to say in the comment is i will say by asking you a question.
When male boys watch this serial particualary this episode and people say its dharma serial what effect it will have on young minds,young boys? what they will learn from this episode.

AnjuGandhi said...

Milan I like your both the posts, very thought generating
@ SM honestly I have no answer to your question. such mythological serials claim that they are installing family and moral values in the todays generation ( at least the serial in question is ) but then I dont know how much the younger generation is learning from it.
just one small incidnece in favour of your question (again no offence meant to any GOD or any one) -- On krishna janamashtami some boys were found eve teasing , when scolded for that. do you know what answer they gave? " Bhagwan Krishna bhi to gopyio ko chedte they ( even Lord Krishna used to tease girls so we are following him.

Durga Nandan said...

And they call Rama Purusha Uthamma! :)

Swatantra said...

Bravo!!

One really need lot of confidence to put such thoughts into beutiful words. I loved reading this post. I agree that we feel suffocated when we read about these things.

GOD BLESS!!

Charity Joy Bell Childs said...

This is something that one thinks to be so far-detached from oneself, until one experiences it first hand.

The Panorama said...

Idiots will always twist religion out of context to suit their own purpose. It is true that Lord Krishna used to tease the Gopis but the big difference is that the Gopis loved his teasing and it was more a game between them. Lord Krishna was adored by many women.
It is really unfortunate that some idiots do not learn the real essence of our two great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharta. Ram was called the perfect son, perfect king and perfect man.
Krishna was against injustice and suppression.
How many of these boys can lay claim to such high thinking?

partywithneha said...

Very true. Nothing has changed even though centuries have gone by.

sm said...

this is for panorama
what about perfect husband.
perfect father.

sm said...

thanks for visiting my site. about my questin you have answered perfectly by giving other example.I agree with you.

Parita said...

I totally agree with, i really dont think woman are safe anywhere, its kinda sad situation! i really like the topics you choose!

Imp's Mom said...

this is the one reason why I do not watch ramayan... its too hypocritical and full of double standards, I used to enjoy watchin git as a kid, but not anymore... at one end women are worshiped and the other they are humiliated... even wrote a poem on it...

i am no feminist but a normal woman who feels suffocated when i read about the injustice metted out the woman. AMEN.

thnx for stopping by :)

SJ said...

Ha Anju, I have the answer to this at my post. You looked at only Ramayana I made some analysis of Mahabaratha as well. They make me sick :(

indianhomemaker said...

Absolutely loved this post. I agree with you on your response to the comment by Sm, we should consider the impact of these serials on our children. You will also love to read an article called Yes to Sita No to Ram by Manushi, it is about Indians asked the Ramayana serial director not to show Sita's being sent to the exile after the dhobi's comment. It seems a large majority of Indians disapprove of Rama's weakness in exiling his pregnant wife. Let me find the link, the article also speaks about how people of Mithila (Sit's maika) express their displeasure till today, to the way their princess was treated. Maybe we aught to write Ramayana and show how Sita was picked up from the jungle by her parents and how well she ruled their kingdom and continued to do so with her two boys Luv and Kush. Ram had made a choice he should have lived with it. (No offence to anybody's religious sentiments, I am a Hindu and the Ramayana is as much mine as any other Hindus).

The Panorama said...

This is to answer sm..I delibrately left that part out snce it is sort of controversial. Yet seen from a different perspective, he was also the perfect husband because he slept on the floor, showing solidarity with his banished wife.
His role as a king came into conflict with his role as a father and husband but being the the just king, he bowed to the wishes of his people.

But like I said, it is of course how one interprets it.

Deepa said...

The point I make is that the Ramayana is written by a man. Whether the Valmiki Ramayan, Tulsi Ramayan or Khumba Ramayana. All written by men. Can we wonder that women's potrayals suffered at their hands?! I never liked the serial. The earlier DD version with its cardboard sets and over the top histrionics nor the present version (assume its a different version. I have never seen it). As an epic, I suppose it has a place in Indian culture and way of life and there are lessons to be learnt from it. But I have always thought it to be a very linear way of looking at things. Good or bad. Black or white. I much prefer the Mahabharata which I find easier to identify with.

If you're looking to read "different" versions of these epics, I suggest you try Ashok Banker's 'Siege of Mithila' (book 2 of his Ramayana series) for its interesting depiction of Sita as a warrior princess. Quite a refreshing change. Also suggest you read Pratibha Ray's 'Yagyaseni' which is the story of Draupadi told from a WOMAN'S point of view.

And as another reader has commented - never apologise for being a feminist. A feminist is a person (man or woman) who supports women's rights - the right to life, education, good health care, a violence free life, a life of equality and dignity. So why hesitate to call oneself that? I wear the badge with pride. And so should you!!

Anonymous said...

.........and did Sita ask Rama about his innocence/commitment to her even once????
Is not marriage all about trust......

Chrysalis said...

Anju ji : I could have written this post ...an almost similar one sometime back...Now I know different.
I think you did not understand what has been written in Ramayan...and the serial I will not comment because they are of pure entertainment value..they do not depict things in their full essence...I do not watch TV.
I will do a post on this very soon. I am stalling it because though I know what you have written is not true and also what I once beleived does not hold good...I do not think I am good enough a writer and still in Class KG of my Rediscovering Hinduism/ Spirituality School :) to do it complete justice....But I will certainly attempt.
Thanks for allowing a healthy discussion. I appreciate it a lot.

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