By Sudha Dixit
We are celebrating women’s day. At least one day has been dedicated to women forget about the rest of three sixty four days of the year. Many women are not even aware of this day or its significance. For them it’s like any other day – full of slogging, hardship and boredom.
We know about the theory of evolution. We joke about simians being our ancestors; but the real joke is on women. Everything has evolved and is in the process of evolving still. We have come a long way from parchment to paper. The art and privilege of writing is not confined to sages only. Everybody can write. Thus new and revolutionary ideas are brought forth. Men keep benefiting from such ideas and facilities. Yet, where women are concerned there is hardly any change. Their standing and roles are ever archaic. Why is it so?
The first reason is the blatant fact that the authors of these holy books were all men. They wrote only from men’s point of views and for their well being only. Lion’s share of all good things went to men and leftovers were thrown to women. Women were made a lesser being. Whether men possessed brain or not they were considered superior because of their sheer animal strength. Women, even those with higher intelligence were reduced to be subservient to men.
There were some wise men too. They knew the worm turns and that no one can be suppressed for long unless handled diplomatically .They found the formula to appease belligerent ladies. O the clever sage deified women saying “Gods reside where women are worshipped.” The less diplomatic radicals came out with repartee citing Manu Smriti : – “ Father protects during childhood, husband during youth and son during old age. No woman deserves freedom. Feminists may retort, saying “ Mother looks after during babyhood to teenage, wife during youth(no man can or does look after himself) and also during old age( you see, men retire women never). So no man deserves freedom. Well it’s a wishful thinking. Feminists are in minority (how about reservation for them!) come on think of it. The traditionalists and the radicals are saying the same thing. There is no contradiction between what they imply. One is rude, the other is sophisticated; but the gist of the matter is same. Women can be placed on pedestal, be worshipped and yet, need not be free.
A very pertinent question is do we women want to be worshipped at the cost of our freedom ? Would any man prefer to be revered, well taken care of and live in jail(happily) ? Some say in those days, women had right to ‘swayamvara’- meaning ‘choosing one’s own groom’. Well, did they really have the freedom to choose? The suitors would come, pass some test to win the lady as prize – be it Sita or Draupadi . The bride had to marry the winner. Sita would have been married to Ravana, had he been able to break Shiva’s Bow.
The society was feudal. Men could even kidnap the girl and marry her. It was claimed that the girls, in question, were in love with the kidnapper. Really! This myth is laid down by the narrators, who obviously were men. No one said that the girl eloped with her lover.
Cut to the present times. Capitalists would consider a woman an item that he can bargain for and purchase. Socialists may claim that women have freedom to leave their men, may be in theory. The reality is different. There is a catch and that is finance. Women cannot leave their home (or men) because they are not financially independent . Don’t jump to conclusion that men are being the ‘provider’ hence justified. No sir. Women slog and do much more work than they are ‘paid for’ in terms of protection etc.
So what does “Women’s Day” mean? Zero, It’s as hollow as the slogan “Yatr naryastu poojyante, ramante tatr devtah”— Gods reside where women are worshipped. Unless and until we let the scriptures evolve, edit or simply rubbish them – there is no salvation for women. There is no Women’s Day.
About The Author: Sudha Dixit is from Lucknow and studied at Aligarh Muslim Univ., Lucknow Univ. and Banaras Hindu University. She currently resides in Bangalore. She writes articles, poems in both Hindi & English. Her hobbies include painting and reading.