The plight of female in Indian society

A Visualisation

It was the brilliant Vedic era when Indian woman was honoured as goddess Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati and put on the pedestals of glory. And so went the saying 'Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devta' - where woman are worshiped, God resides. In other words it was the matriarchal society with woman having her own prerogatives or better to say there was hardly a line of demarcation between man and a woman.

With the advent of civilisation, rules changed, norms changed, even the dogmas, so did the society with human values taking a strident turn prevalent before. The 'Nari tu Narayani' woman worshiped as goddess turned out to be a slave in the hands of her male counterparts, faced social taboos and even indignations. Gradually she started losing her liberty, priority and liabilities. In fact she started losing her own identity in the course of time and became mere puppets dancing to the tunes of the patriarchs. The whole permutation and combination of that golden era changed resulting in the outcome of chaotic patriarchal society which blurred the human values to a great extent.

Since the dawn of that golden period,the condition of woman in the society took a drastic turn not within a year or two but for centuries and the plight was such that it went to the mires. The sole reason being the mindset of woman which moulded according to the theories imposed upon her by the so called 'Elites'. She started realising herself as the 'frail' being, succumbed to her fate and the repercussion thereof was that she got humiliated, pestered and subjugated. She lost the whole lot of herself in the sands of time.

But to state the condition of females in Indian society, a lot many books have been written, theories formulated, but the plight remains the same in the general term through the years. Even I being a spokesperson from the woman's front, while narrating the plight, many a times I feel disheartened at the sorry state of affairs and bewildered at her haplessness. In todays term, though things have changed a lot but by and large it is still the same forbidden state where women are fighting for their own rights and opportunities.

What is utmost important here is to understand why men don't realise the importance of woman. Is it mere saying 'The hands that rock the cradle, rules the world' or truth? Perhaps in between the two aspects or both. To me she can carry out both household chores and political affairs with equal gusto. Durgawati, Maitreyi, Razia Sultana, Lakshmibai, Indira Gandhi to name the few amongst many. With equal rights and privileges she is the conquerer and can outshine men but every time her dominance has been inhibited, her worth underestimated and her values undermined.

Always remaining at the mercy of her male counterparts,she got care and guidance by her father in her childhood,by her husband in her youth and by her own son in her old age. As a result she became a mere object rather than a human being. But in spite of all these things had been good enough till this object became a plaything in the hands of men who started exploiting her in all possible ways through all possible means. Alas! she has been doomed at the behest of men, her honour maligned, her chastity and modesty outraged through incestuous means.

This could be the most heinous and gruesome act against woman where she is bullied not only physically or abused sexually but traumatised mentally as well. Each day when we turn to the pages of newspaper, we have the numbness-pain to learn how a helpless girl is outraged by a man's devilish acts. Every time I ponder, what is the outcome of such brutal acts, only culprit's fulfillment of selfish desires, the victim's pain and misery or something else.

Since few years, when I started residing in Noida, I was trembled at the thought when I came to know of the barbaric act against woman for such things were rare in small towns I had been staying so far. But very soon it was realised that at such suburban places and outskirts of Metro cities, things do happen, may be because of over density of population. Then I came to encounter topics as 'Delhi is not safe for women', 'The most unsafe city-Delhi' etc. Of course people behind such crimes are few but they have brought ignominy to the whole society.

Till date I had never come across such a heart-rendering news until the recent 'Nithari-incident' which rocked the whole nation. One can never give the slightest thought that two demons in human-figure can so unrelentingly butcher innocent children and women to satisfy their lustful desires. This brutal killing has evoked weltschmerz. To me no other crime can be so atrocious and indignant than the sexual exploitation murder of innocent children. For days and months discussions got the headway,the culprits still awaiting their final verdict but whatever punishment be awarded to them,it would be meager on their part. What irks me the most is that,female, whether she be a child or a grown-up is nowhere safe. Perhaps this is the reason that she is shielded within the facades of her house.

Another incidence that I recall is female-infanticide specially prominent in Haryana. A survey reports that sex-ratio in Haryana is so disproportionate that men there need to marry women from the outside states and if howsoever she gives birth to a girl-child, she is either pestered or deprived of her child before it's birth. Similar is the case of Punjab and Rajasthan. Gender-bias is still rampant not only in backward and downtrodden society, even the upper-urban class has not remained untouched. A girl child is still discriminated from her male siblings and deprived of equal rights and opportunities. Such unscrupulous acts create maniac in the whole society.

Irrespective of such atrocities and violence against women,families are there who support in the welfare and upliftment of female section. Kerala, the only state surpasses all other states and is unbiased of any sort of discrimination between the two sexes. With their undaunting determination and coveted efforts, women have reached to the pinnacles of glory. Mother Teresa, Kiran Bedi, Bachhendri Pal, Sucheta Kriplani, Santosh Yadav, Arundhati Rai, Shobha De, Medhapatekar, Kalpana Chawala, Sonia Gandhi, Sania Mirza are the few many Indians who have brought forth woman empowerment. De facto is that woman epitomises life, is an embodiment of virtue and an icon of human values.

Notwithstanding the fact that woman organisations have made revolutionary changes in the whole arena of women upliftment and measures taken far and wide one can't help thinking that still the mindset of men need to be changed. In “Vedanta Samhita” it has been narrated 'Janani Janmabhoomishch Swargadapi Gariyasi', both mother and motherland are far above the heaven. As Gandhiji said, educating a girl means educating the whole family for she is the other wheel of the family-chariot. For years she has been physically, emotionally and psychologically exploited and whenever the sanctity of woman violated, Durga, the epitome of strength and power re-incarnated bringing out the doomsday of human follies and vices. She is the creator for she fructifies and fosters life. The plight of women in India is of great concern. I wish, woman no more remains the synonymous of, 'frailty, thy name is woman'. It's high time that she be restored to the same pedestal of glory she was there long time before.

Alpana Singh
17th of March 2007
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