The social system in the post-vedic era, as far as I understand, was based on the Manu Sanhita, which layed the foundation of our modern society. As far as my understanding goes, Manu was no less sharp and visionary than Chanakya…Barring the fact that Chanakya’s intelligence was based on human’s natural characteristics and instincts…And he was a true nationalist at heart and welfare for all was his ultimate intention.
Whereas, if I consider what Manu had on his mind for the women folks was really unfair… because he kept property, cattle, and females in almost same category. He designed his system keeping men as the center of everything that is good and all growth-related aspects of life, including education, finance, politics, cultural, art, music, spiritual…revolved around the men folk only. Whereas the women were just an instrumental to the overall development of men, only to be used as a fertilizer for the growth of the tree. That’s the only role she has to play, as a supporting role to the main character. She doesn’t, rather shouldn’t have anything to do with her own growth, whatever that might be.
Painting by Kumaraswamy B
As a reward, she gets the position of being addressed as the ‘devi’, who can sacrifice her own self for the sake of the men in her life. But the irony is that the act of making sacrifices is not by choice. It’s by rule, by custom, and as if, by default!
The women in the family have to earn love and respect by dint of their ability to sacrifice and to serve. Whereas, the men demand love and respect for they are biologically males and so, by design they are supposed to receive so. Being responsible, caring, faithful, and trustworthy are secondary ‘good to have’ qualities. Women are supposed to accept and love their men as they are. For women, it’s a lifelong ordeal, constantly proving themselves in different roles…Proving themselves here means serving as long as they can.
Even after practising the equal rights in our country and women proving their capabilities in almost all realms, the undercurrent of the social system is these same old fundamentals, set by Manu. Till now, no women in this country ever can make an honest statement that she never faced any instance of gender bias or never had to accept unfair deals in her life only because she was a woman.
I suppose, this phenomenon is common across generations, social status, educational qualifications, beyond borders, and across nations.
The question is, why it has to be like that? Is it so necessary?
Do not refer to those strong women who made it big and had set awesome examples for the possibilities and capabilities in women. We know it already that we have, if not more, equal and all humanely possibilities as men. Let’s discuss the lives of those extraordinarily successful women, who made history and inspired generations to come, for the adversities and unfair situations they had faced throughout their lives, in personal, social, and professional spheres, just because they were women by birth.
Robyn Ressom Art
From a psychological point of view, if men laugh at us saying women are their own enemies, jealous to the core to the other…I say that this jealousy is a type of strong competition, which is stemming out of a deep sense of prolonged injustice and insecurities, plus the need (not want), of keeping control or holding power over the men in their life.
If women are given respect as equals and accepted for what they are, when there will be no need to use the men for their own requirements, there will never be ugly jealousy and unhealthy competition between women in the same family.
If men laugh at us or retort saying women use their sexuality or their physical beauty to get things done, what if I say that most men understand that language only? Men hardly look at women beyond their physical beauty, virtues and qualities become secondary or not considered at all, depending on how they have been raised. Krishna in the Geeta said that one should use shaam, daam, dand, bhed, or whatever it takes…And it includes Vishnu’s taking up the form of a lusty damsel to lure the Asuras to rescue the amrita bhanda from them. Women too have the right to get things done and talk in a language the person in concern understands.
Do I sound feminist? If it makes me sound as a men-hater, let me strike out the notion. No, I am not. I just am pointing out the bleak areas, when the society has been unfair to women, where the system has gone wrong, where the men forgot to appreciate the biological difference and accept women as they are, with all their strengths and weaknesses, without setting any rule or role play for them to follow without questioning, and suppressing their inner calls. When men took the women for granted for all the supports to fulfill their dreams, their karma and their dharma, their inner calls…Out of love or for sheer call of duty as wives…That never mattered so far. It is, as if, by default, women are born for this purpose — to be useful to men. The women should or cannot expect any support, any participation from the men, when the dreams, the inner calls, the dharma or karma (did our social rule suggestion books ever stated of any dharma or karma for women beyond the boundaries of the family? I doubt.) are those of the women. Then it becomes their lone struggle and a fight against the entire society starting from her own home and the injected guilt inside her.
Why it has to be like that? Is it really so necessary to keep a so-called balance in the society? Where did it bring any balance anyway?
Do you vouch of any balance when new concepts like ‘marital rape’ are a legal controversy, and a man can even rape a woman apart from his uncontrollable sexual desire, just to remind her that she is a ‘woman’ first and a human later?
The balance we see in the society is not an outcome of the prelevent system. But this balance is dangerously resting on a dwindling thread, which entirely depends on the women’s ability or decision to remain submissive, oppressed, accepting the unfair deals owing to the fact that they are naturally and fundamentally made of love and other virtues including altruism and last but no the least, their ability to forgive. Sadly, all of these are taken for granted, till the time they stand up for themselves and earn the label of a badass for themselves.
Let’s see, as long as we are alive…How far men and women are going to take it like this, for how long and at what cost.