An Essay And Article On Women Power
The Constitution of India enjoins upon every citizen of India the duty “to promote the common brotherhood of all the people of India and renounce any practice derogatory of the dignity of women.” The italicized portion of this imperative is highly important in as much as it seeks to secure women’s rightful place in the society. Our religious scriptures also enjoin upon us the duty to accord due respect to women. Gods live where women are worshiped. In this way our constitution legalizes what our scriptures prescribe as a social duty. The need to incorporate this injunction into the constitution of India arose due to the prevailing atmosphere in which women were denied the rightful place in the society and subjected to humiliations galore which reduced them to a position inferior to men. Despite clear injunctions in the scriptures we have been ill-treating women and have been showering scorn on them in various ways through centuries.
The average woman has always led a life not better than that of a slave, At all the stages of life, right from the childhood to the old age, she has been in a subordinate position to man. She has never been recognized as an independent entity free to select a course of her life at her own choice. Her good has always been said to be associated with the good of the husband whose service alone has been recognized as a way for her deliverance. To a wife, the only God worth worshipping is her husband regardless of the fact whether he treats her well or ill. The irony is that man is born of a woman and yet the latter is dominated by the former. She has been enslaved, degraded and subjected to various types of atrocities and tyrannies at the hands of man and the man- dominated society. Even the modem times have not brought liberation for her.
The gift of democracy which we have received from our earlier generation is denied to women, the principle of the basic equality of sexes has never been put into practice. It is only very recently that women have been granted adult franchise. Not to speak of the women of India, their counterparts in certain advanced countries too were never treated on a footing of equality with their men folk. Even in such an advanced country as the United Kingdom adult franchise to women was as late in coming as 1928. Switzerland which is regarded as synonymous with democracy also accorded this right to women very late. Women in France were enfranchised as late as 1956. The record in Asian and Arab countries has been particularly dismal.
Women Is A Gift of God
The Muslims have never treated their womenfolk on a footing of equality with men. The Shari at does not permit women to discard Purdah. The divorce laws are heavily tilted in men’s favor. Women can be bought and sold like commodities. Education has always been regarded as the sole preserve of men. All this is highly derogatory of women. It was but right and proper that we recognized this fact and vide 42nd Constitution (Amendment) Act 1976; Indian Parliament included in the fundamental duties of citizens our obligation to “renounce any practice derogatory of the dignity of women.” Few recognize the vast fund of energy a woman commands. She possesses unique power of tolerance. She is gifted with an incalculable capacity to endure suffering. The suffering involved in labour pains is beyond description and yet she undergoes all that gladly for the sake of the perpetuation of the human race.
She is capable of making the greatest possible sacrifice. In fact, she is an embodiment of power and energy. Most of our deities which represent power in various forms are, therefore, naturally in female form. The Kali, the Durga, the Bhawani are the incarnations of power. Even the mightiest demons have paid obeisance to the goddess of power, Kali, Every woman can be a Kali or a Durga when the- time comes. She possesses an invincible latent power which comes into play only on rare occasions. Rani Laxmi Bai was Durga incarnate in battle against the usurping British forces. Physically she was dead but the Durga in her still survives, it will never die. Woman’s tenderness on the other hand represents the constructive side of Nature. Her delicacy and the sense of dedication and devotion, her readiness to submit to the bitterest of trials and tribulations, her promptness to help and co-operate, have always been a source of inspiration to all humanity.
Behind all great achievements of men, there has been an unmistakable contribution of women. In many occupations a woman is fitter than a man. In respect of firmness of judgment and quickness of decision, she far surpasses man. Contributions of women through the ages in different fields of human endeavor belie Shakespeare’s dictum: Frailty thy name is woman. It was only a Joan of Arc who could allow herself to be burnt alive on the stakes in cold blood. What is noteworthy is the fact that women have always been greater in suffering than in normal situations. Such priceless jewels of humanity, which constitute approximately one half of the population, have unfortunately suffered disabilities galore which have deprived humanity of the immense advantages that could accrue to it if women were accorded the honour and respect and recognition they really deserve. A girl’s disabilities start right from the moment she sees the light of the day. Her birth is rarely an occasion for mirth and merriment as it is for a boy.
The entire household is drowned in despair and despondency if a daughter is born. In the bringing up of children, most parents treat her as an inferior being, an unwanted burden on them. There is a dear discrimination in favor of boys and against the girls in their upbringing. In matters of education, again, girls are blatantly discriminated against. That is why women’s education in India as well as in other countries lags far behind education for men. The biggest problem comes at the time of the marriage of the girl. The demon of dowry looks straight in the face of the parents. Inadequate dowry invites the wrath of the parents-in-law leading to strained relations between the parents of the girls and the parents of the boys, culminating often in the merciless murder of hapless girls. Many dear daughters of the parents have been snatched by this diabolical custom.
Couples who somehow come to be blessed with three or four daughters lose all charm of life. The marriages of their daughters become the be-all and end-all of their lives. All their ambitions to lift socially or economically in the social set-up are foundered on the rock of the abominable custom of dowry. The story does not end here. Women are subjected to various kinds of harassment and atrocities if they dare to come out of the four walls of their household. Even the slightest aberration on their part becomes a subject of criticism, calumny and condemnation, as if all the morals were meant exclusively for women, men going scot free of all blame even in cases in which the alleged depravity of women is the consequence of men’s seduction, rape or molestation. This is a clear case of moral or spiritual exploitation of women.
The troubles and miseries of widows know no bounds. The widowed women are looked down upon as social outcastes. Most of them come to be associated with ill-omens. If you are faced with the sight of a widow while starting on your journey for a certain purpose, you will be advised to postpone the mission. The travails undergone by a deserted or a divorced woman hardly need to be described. Even normally, women are not treated as human beings but as chattels or commodities. In olden times the status of a king or prince was known by the number of women he kept in his herm. Even Lord Krishna had eighteen thousand wives. Emperor Akbar organized sex fairs in which lovely and attractive girls were indentified, bought and enslaved to quench the lust of the monarch. For centuries women had no property rights. They had no succession rights either. In some social rituals the sight of a woman was taken as an ominous one. The deserted women were branded as sorceresses or witches.
Even in the modem times and even in educated households girls are taught only duties and responsibilities, all rights belong to the boys and hell awaits a newly married woman who begets daughters and no sons. In most households women are expected to be at the beck and call of their husbands, to show servility and be always in the feet of men who have every freedom to use them as shoes or kick them away depending upon their whims. What an irony indeed! In the same society and in the same household apartheid is practiced. There are two sets of laws: one for the privileged males and the other for the deprived tribe of women. This state of affairs in the man-dominated society has led to consequences the negative results of which tell upon both the women as individuals and the society whose part they are. In such an unjust society, women suffer greatly.
Their physical development suffers, their mental advancement is retarded, and their moral and spiritual growth gets baulked. The situation is responsible for the formation of complexes in women, inferiority complex and then the complex of revenge against the society. Their unconscious mind harbors an attitude of revolt which often expresses in suicides or murders. The incidence of larger number of suicides among women than among men is accounted for by this factor. The women remain stunted personalities, which make for an irreparable loss not only for themselves but also for the society of which they are a part. Society is deprived of the great contribution which women could have been able to make if they had been allowed free and unhindered development of their personalities. III-treatment of women results in incapacitation of one half of the population.
The children born of such women do not grow to their full potential for their initial environment itself is one of restraints, controls and restrictions. Ultimately the whole society suffers including those who perpetrate this injustice and crime on women. The individual in such a society does not become what it is in him or her to become, leading to the ill- development of the society as a whole. That we have had to suffer servitude for such a long period of time in history; that the entire society “has had to undergo indignities and ignominies for centuries, is all due to the mountains of injustices heaped on the woman the mother of man. We were delivered from the shackles of enslavement and could win our independence back when women contributed their might in the freedom movement.
Mahatma Gandhi and a host of other leaders connected with the freedom movement realized this and set out to liberate women in order to enlist their valued co-operation in the long and strenuous struggle. At that time Smt. Sarojini Naidu had said, ‘The time has come when women can no longer seek immunity behind the shelter of their sex, but must share equally with their men comrades all the perils and sacrifices for the liberation of their country.” There is no wonder that thousands of women came forward and made the greatest sacrifices for the freedom of their country. That we are free today is due to the tremendous momentum lent to the struggle by women. But the real freedom still eludes our grasp. We have yet to win economic, social, cultural, moral and spiritual freedom in order to make our political freedom meaningful and significant. That cannot be possible without the development of women. The time has come for adopting a revolutionary approach.
The nation, and for that matter the world, can be lifted to heights of achievement and distinction only when men and women both without any distinction of sex play their full part. Emancipation of women is indispensable. Let us recognize the power inherent in the womanhood. The measures taken so far for the amelioration of the lot of women are yet inadequate to realize that power. Fullest development of their personalities is the first condition for the release of that mighty reservoir of power. Sex distinction is made by Nature only for the perpetuation of the human race. For any other purpose any distinction made between the boy and the girl, any discrimination in favor or against either of them would reverse the process of the release of the potential which has of late begun. Women power is unfathomable.
The achievements of such women as Vijai Laxmi Pandit, Indira Gandhi, Sirimavo Bhandarnaike, Mrs. Aquino and earlier of Pandita Ramabai and Sarojini Naidu and a host of others in the freedom movement and of women luminaries in several fields of human endeavor throughout the ages have demonstrated beyond all doubt the tremendous potential hidden in womanhood. Even today women have given a good account of themselves as teachers, educationists, scientists, engineers, Administrators and politicians. Their performances in their respective fields have been more shining and bright than those of men. Certainly the future is with women as the past has been with men. The time is not far off when the birth of a girl will be an occasion for mirth and merriment in the household and that of a boy of an uncertain future.
Women power is going to assert itself; the wheel of change is now set to move in women’s favor.
Let us say a few words about women empowerment. In free India and also elsewhere the realization has dawned about the tremendous potential of womanhood for bringing about a qualitative change in our social life. Measures for the empowerment of women are, therefore, being taken. Reservation for women in jobs and in legislative assemblies and other democratic institutions right from the Parliament down to the village Panchayats is round the comer. Steps are being taken in government service to allow out of turn promotions to women. Girls’ education is receiving top- priority, with a number of Indian states already having made female education upto Intermediate level free. Thinking is also afoot to make degree and university education also free for women. Measures are also being taken to make women self-reliant economically in the rural India. Excellence in every field of life is no longer a man’s preserve. Women power is asserting itself surely and expeditiously.
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