Role of Women in Indian Society
Essay No. 01
Democracy in India can be a success only when the Indian women are politically awakened. The political awakening cannot be an isolated phenomenon; it requires some changes in social structure so that woman can enjoy as important a place as man occupies. Moreover they should be free to express their opinion, to act as they like and to assert themselves in all departments of life. Unfortunately our customs and traditions conspired with her economic dependence to make her unimportant in our society. Parents hated the female child, husbands dominated them and the in-laws maltreated them. Under such circumstances no human being can develop his or her personality properly. If we want that women should also be enlightened participants in the working of democracy, it is necessary that their living conditions will have to be changed. For bringing this change only laws will not be sufficient. The hateful attitude of men cannot be weeded out till women face challenges and start playing an important role in society. One of the important responsibilities of women is that they should try to rear up their children in a manner that they become good citizens of the state. For suing so they will have to be properly educated, they will have to rise above narrow consideration, they will not be bogged down in the household chores. They will have to spare some time for the children who are the future nation. This does not mean that they are just to teach them books which they read at school. Rather they will have to inculcate the proper values of human life. Woman is most suitable for playing this role because she has patience which is necessary for handling a child, and the emotional touch which is necessary to work into the affections of the child. This role should be supplemented with restricting the size of the family because without doing so it will not be possible to educate the children properly. If the population explosion is somehow or other contained, it will save the country from a large number of hazards like unemployment, scarcity of food and abject living conditions.
Gone are the days when people used to think that man is for the outside world and woman only for the hearth. In fact by inducting herself in the outside world, she will be playing a more important role in the society. Women will be able to deal with the problems as they have the sense of the justice and consideration for the sufferer. It has been seen that women have proved to be better judges because they do not become mechanical in their outlook and ruthless in behaviour, they take a very impartial view, reason tampered with emotion, of all the problems. In the political sphere, it seems difficult to imagine a woman dictator and women politicians have been a great success because they look at the problems in a more methodical and balanced manner than men can. So, Indian women with their knowledge of handling the problem of the outside world should come to the fore, any try to find humanistic solution to the problem. If our life is humanistic perhaps a large number of the conflicts may be solved easily.
Women can play an important role in the society by preserving the culture and sub-culture of the country. As they have the imagination of an artist, insight of the most skilled person and conservatism of the orthodox, she is most suitable for preserving the culture of the country. She can make a mark in the domain of fine arts like painting, acting, dancing and music. Preservation of the culture is very important otherwise social aberrations will not allow the society to march forward properly. Even the most modern minded leader like Nehru did want to break with the past but he also wanted that the good things of the past must be preserved. This is possible if our culture is preserved through the cultural activities.
There are many hurdles in the way of women for playing their role properly. They have been so much entangled with the customs and rituals that it has become difficult for them either to spare time or to have a wider view of the whole life. In this respect the government will have to disseminate information properly. They should be able to play an important role. Similarly the economic dependence of women has made them subordinate to men. This subordination has been helped by the customs prevalent in India. Women should lead a life of honour and this has been beautifully illustrated by one of the world famous dramatist in his drama entitled `soap’. Till she becomes psychologically free she cannot play an important role. In addition to this she will have to take courage to defy all types of method which a man employs to keep her down. If she is able to change her attitude towards life i.e., if she starts thinking that she is destined to play an important role she will not be incapacitated by all types of inhibitions. In fact women should be allowed to play more important role in Indian society. Only then various problems of the society which are eroding our culture and also our social integrity can be checked. Till proper atmosphere is provided perhaps her role may not find recognition.
Essay No. 02
Place of Women in Society
Women form about one half of the total population of the world. Thus, they have every right to enjoy equal rights and duties with men.
It is, however, unfortunate that women have been neglected during the ages, particularly since the middle ages when they were pushed behind the four walls of the house and were forbidden to undertake any work which required calibre, enterprise and responsibility. They were considered weak, frail and inferior.
In ancient times women enjoyed high status in society. No yajna was considered complete unless a woman was present there. It is said that some women sages also wrote certain hymns of the Rig Veda.
In the present age, there has been a lot of awakening among women in many countries, particularly the countries which are partially or completely westernized.
Women have now got the right to vote. They have equal fundamental rights and duties with men. They are considered fit to be selected to most of the jobs. Now, we have women officers, judges, magistrates, advocates, teachers, doctors, pilots, engine drivers, architects, engineers, entrepreneurs, managers, etc. In fact, they are there in every field including sports, religion, dance, music, film industry, manufacturing industry, publishing industry, etc.
Modern women, especially in high society, are generally highly educated. But the condition of women in lower society, particularly in rural and slum areas, is still far from satisfactory. These women are still steeped in ignorance, illiteracy and superstition.
Crimes against women such as rapes, murders, exploitation, etc. are increasing these days in spite of the National Commission for Women and so many other bodies to look after the welfare of women. Day in and day out, we have so many dowry deaths. It is the need of the hour that more attention should be paid to women’s welfare and uplift.
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THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN MODERN INDIA
The women of India have into come their own. They are playing their roles in all walks of life shoulder to shoulder men. There are women in Foreign Service, in the Indian Administrative Service, in medicine, in Education, in business, as Company Directors, as computer operators and stenographers, as receptionists, as air hostesses, as politicians and even the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, led them to a destination where sky is the limit.
Now women in service have even become a common sight and they have proved that they possess good capacity to handle jobs better than men.
It was in the fitness of things that the United Nations Organization declared 1975 as International Women’s Year. At that time Mrs. Indira Gandhi was also the Prime Minister of India and Mrs. Bhandarnaike was the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, another intelligent woman. In India women have been up and doing well in all walks of life, Mrs. Sucheta Kripalani was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Mrs. Vijaya Laxmi Pandit was the President of the United Nations Organization in the early days after independence.
In the olden and golden days of Indian history, when the Aryans came to India, women enjoyed equality with men. Women in ancient India enjoyed a much higher status than their descendants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From the earliest days there had been many notable women in India-poets, scholars, capable administrations and leaders of religious movements. Lila wati the great mathematician during the time of the Aryans, Ahalyabai Holkar, the excellent administrator of Indore State and Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi are a few such examples. In the sweep of centuries, under the Muslim domination, India women, like the Muslim women, were confined to their household duties, but under the inspiring leadership of Mahataia Gandhi, the women of India have regained their confidence and initiative and now they are marching shoulder to shoulder and abreast with their men folk.
The cause of women was earnestly sponsored by our late Prime Minister Pandit Nehru in the Lok Sabha. and the Hindu Code Bill came to fie debated in it, then after a good deal of delay due to stiff opposition of its clauses which were to settle major issues, the greater parts of the Hindu code Bill were passed and this has given women right to a share in parental property equally with her brothers
But that is not the total story. The increasing demand for dowry has led to the tragic phenomenon of bride-burning. Many brides have been burnt with gas stoves under the pretext of natural accidents because they could not bring the adequate dowry demanded by their in-laws. That is the saddest part of the whole story. In that direction there is need for the greatest reform. Marriage should be simplified. There should be love marriages. Boys and girls should marry themselves. There should be no dowry. Unless marital relations are improved there can be no equal status for men and women. At the same time both men and women should realize thus that rights can not suffice until the duties in their parts are realized.
They should remember “there can be no right without duties. The interdependence of man and woman cannot be over looked and they have essentially to be united in a matrimonial alliance for the propagation of the-human race.
The women of India have still to go a long way to claim their rightful position in the polity of India. We are still far
off from the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi set before the womanhood of the country. We have some Shakuntalas of the
conception of Kalidas and some Sitas of the conception of Valmiki but equality for women is still a great way off. There is no Lib Movement in India as in America but women’s liberation movement in USA is seeking sexual equality rather than social equality In India women have enjoyed the highest status as goddesses and the, ideals of motherhood are, very high in India. Our temples ring with slogans like “Jai Mata ki”
Inspite of all the above said eulogy for the women the stark reality observed by the United Nations is “Woman: constituted half the world’s population perform nearly two-third of the work but have received one-tenth of the world’s income”.
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