by Kunal Roy
Questioning the identity and recognition of the female race is really a matter to be read and thought about time and again. Over the years, she has been humiliated, tormented, disrespected, considered a commodity, and above all a creature of blood flesh, and muscles who is meant for physical gratification. Protest, an alien to her mental makeup. But whenever she has tried to raise her voice or claim her rights, she has been either throttled to death or made to sacrifice to prove her worth before the social milieu. The tale of injustice is still imprinted on their conscience. The heart still bleeds profusely. The cry of the soul still tears apart the sky! Instances from the past bear a strong testimony to the upheaval fettle of the woman race. Little do we realise their role and importance in the growth of our society. This is one of the reasons behind the disparity in the men-women ratio. And even the ages don’t know when the darkness will be dispelled and they will get back their honour and glory anew!
Let us look back to a few events which still manage to send the chill down our spine. We may not feel ashamed as the tendency of the masculine race is to smear them with blood! To make them comprehend their position, which is in fact nothing but below their feet. It seems every moment the rose is crushed under the wheels of chauvinism and vanity. This not only brings forth the grains of ego but also the devilish delight in the accepted sense of the term!
Each one of us is aware of the birth history of Lord Krishna. But a handful knows that Bhagavati Adishakti took her form at the same hour who predicted the death of Kansa in the hands of Krishna. Yet the place of Goddess was a temporary one here. Her existence was sacrificed for the sake of magnifying the image of the Lord, the hero of the epic! It is worth mentioning that the Goddess who is the one and only primordial force behind the entire creative process had to take a back seat here to show the strength of the masculine gender.
On the other hand, if we focus on the two primary characters of Mahabharata namely Draupadi and Chitrangada, differences of poles apart nature can be judged without any grain of doubt. Draupadi, the dark, heavenly maiden, born of the fire could not escape the severe humiliation, as her mother-in-law Kunti without even noticing her, asked her five sons to get her divided among them. Something she embraced willingly for the betterment of the society at large.
While Chitrangada, the princess of Manipur who was taught every lesson on the tactics of warfare by her father and brought up like a son, who would be enthroned after him, had become a deprived wife, despite being loyal. Her identity became muddled like the rest of the women! Though she managed to surface her hidden woman facets, seduced Arjuna, and married him too a number of questions still lurk at the corner of one’s heart. Wasn’t she too manly for anyone’s liking? Wasn’t she ill-bred, a misfit in the matter of heart, and be in someone’s arm? The answers are still too crucial to define! Tagore says she prayed. To be granted femininity, to be allowed beautiful. She prayed for a miracle, a transformation to become a girl for a year to fulfill all her natural wishes. Here too, it is noticed she was made to sacrifice, and move away from her actual wants and desires. She in fact realised that under the hegemony of Indraprastha, Manipur would be fortified and remain fearless. And not Arjuna who only enjoyed some typical moments of romance with her! Moreover, it is surprising to note that the tale of sacrifice didn’t stop here! The tales of such supreme women are beyond any conventional description.
Remember how Khana, the daughter of Moi Danob and daughter-in-law of Baraha, the much-famed astrologer of his times had to sacrifice her life by getting her tongue split into halves to teach the lesson of immortal sacrifice to the society. She was supposed to hold an honourable position in the King’s court after counting the number of stars in the blue sky. But the clash of ego and vanity made her lay down her life before the image of Lord Shiva. How painful it was! How awful it was!
Myriad illustrations are there to illumine and glorify their tales of the supreme. But there had been hardly an instance where they belittled themselves, rather at every single step they sharply showed the essence of sacrifice. After all, it takes a lot of mental stamina to sacrifice oneself to teach the “lessons of immortality”. However, the incorrigible masculine race will never be able to comprehend an iota of this axiom!
Focusing on Amrapali, the beautiful woman of Vaishali willingly chose to be the Nagarbadhu. This was simply because her father could not assure enough security for his daughter. Later her transformation into a court dancer and eventually seeking the path of peace bore a strong testimony to her nature of sacrifice to protect the society from every single bit of ill domination!
The Rajputs had never stayed behind this saga of willing sacrifice (on the part of the female race). Padmini of Chittor saved her honour and chastity, not enforced (as appeared), but a willing celebration of her life. Something to ponder on, something to get reviewed by the male chauvinist society!
A little after, if we have a look into the matter of our freedom struggle, the immense sacrifice and the contribution of the female race can be easily noticed and judged. Despite being put behind the bars and the inhuman torture where the teeth were broken, nails were ripped off, hair was cut and lips were burnt, they did not open their mouth. They knew their purpose well. The sacrifice made by them for the liberation of the society from the foreign yoke deserves a special mention here. Days fly away but the echoes of sacrifice can still be heard even in the cracks and fissures of a dilapidated mansion, tucked away at the farthest corner of the nation!
At this very hour when the ‘SciTech’ scenario has reached the tip, women are not behind men. They are working at par with the masculine gender. Yet torment refuses to leave them. Harmony is mercilessly destroyed by the discordant notes. They are beaten up, thrashed, tortured, ravished, and even slaughtered. The ‘passive status’ is never considered to be an act of complement in the whole process. But a sense of banality works with profundity!
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that though domestic violence is more, divorce is not younger than among those residing overseas. As global divorce rates rise, studies show that India ranks the lowest in the world- at less than 1 percent. Luxembourg has the highest rate, at 87 percent, and US records 46 percent.
The girl child is a curse, especially by the people of the remote corners. The abortion of the female embryos is the order of the day. A little girl child’s mouth is immersed in a bowl of milk containing the hemlock extracted from Dhutrophul’s seeds to make her die on her mother’s lap. Such examples are scattered all over the world. A timeless act. Time fleets away but the stories of their sacrifice will hopefully never end. Will society ever understand this? Will it ever show its respect to them? Else the days are not far away when an imbalance will be created to wreak havoc. Time to fathom, realise and apply. Are you listening to?
About the Author:
Kunal Roy was born in Kolkata. Right from his childhood, he has shown a tremendous interest in art and literature. With the passage of time, he has begun to pen articles, passages, and poems for different web portals, newspapers, and magazines. His works have also been recognized abroad. He has been awarded many times by the web magazines, printing and publishers guild, and others. In 2007 he received the best award for his dissertation on ‘Bhakti and Sufi Movements – A Socio-Religious Perspective’ from the department of Indology and Research Studies, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata. He has also translated three short stories of the book “Love in Siesta” by the author and columnist Avik Gangopadhya. His special areas of interest comprise art, philosophy, literature, sociology, mythology, and astrology. Currently, he is working with George Group of Colleges, Kolkata as an Assistant Professor of English Language and Communication. He is a permanent resident of Kolkata. The author can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org