WOMEN IN HINDU RELIGION
People has to be train and give value base education and teach the male child to learn that women’s are your mother, sister, grandmother are also human and they have wisdoms to decide what is right and what is wrong. It is their choice to decide their personal affairs and their decision leave it to her. Men should stop to interfere in women’s personal matter. All religions are manmade and actual disease is hiding there to defame women. Bengal’s famous writer Sarat Chandra Chatterji has written a lot of noble based on Indian society as a hole and open the ugly face of Indian subcontinent’s society irrespective of any religions. It is easy to give power but difficult to give wisdom. Treatment of disease is essential than cover-up the cancer by plastic surgery of a society unless and until proper treatment is there then no improvement can expect whether it is 65 years or 100 years the situation will remain same.
Due to social and religious stigma and poverty and lack of education facility to the women in the year 2013 India is in the bottom of the world’s maiden nutrition barometer along with countries like Angola, Cameroon, Congo and Yemen.
The barometer — announced by Save the Children which — has analyzed the governments’ commitments and outcomes in improving nutrition in 36 countries, which are home to 90% of undernourished children. The study has also compared the governments’ performance in tackling under nutrition and child mortality. It has found that India’s spectacular economic growth has not translated into better nutrition outcomes for many of her children.
The data shows that almost half of Indian children are underweight and stunted, and more than 70% of women and kids have serious nutritional deficiencies such as anemia. The report says that children in poor households are more than twice as likely to be stunted as those in affluent ones. However, even in the wealthiest 20% of the population, one child in five is undernourished. India’s performance in the barometer indicates both “frail commitments and outcomes”.
The number of children dying before their fifth birthday declined from 12 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011 globally. In contrast to this overall positive trend, progress in reducing childhood under nutrition has been tardy. It remains the underlying cause of more than a third of all child deaths worldwide at around 2.3 million in 2011. India’s neighbours like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal are also part of the report, but they fare better than the big brother in dealing with malnutrition.
Save the Children India’s CEO Thomas Chandy said, “We know the geographic areas and the social groups where malnutrition levels are the highest. We also know the reasons. The report is a pointer to the need to back political commitment with adequate resources and effective mechanisms.”
He added, “In India, states that have supported their policies and schemes with adequate resources and political will have done much better in dealing with malnutrition and child mortality and maternal mortality.” India’s spending on health is abysmally low, only 1.67% of the GDP has been earmarked in the 12th Plan. The report warned that India is likely to miss the Millennium Development Goal on child mortality.
While under-five mortality declined from 107 in 1995 to 64 in 2009, at the present rate India will reach 54 against the target of 42 by 2015. Malnutrition is one of the biggest underlying causes of child mortality in India. According to the report, maternal under nutrition, long-term exposure to a poor diet and repeated infections have also left 165-170 million children under-five stunted, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
“Stunting is a ‘hidden’ problem in many populations, and children may not appear undernourished. However, stunting indicates impairment to both physical and cognitive development, which can have lifetime consequences for a person’s health, educational attainment and economic productivity. Alarmingly, the proportion of wasted children (suffering acute weight loss) actually went up in the second half of the 2000s,” the report added. It cited that growth has lifted millions out of poverty but it has also been largely unequal, with the benefits accruing to a small segment of the population.
The report quoted PM Manmohan Singh, who recently referred to under nutrition levels as a “matter of national shame” with enormous costs in terms of health, well-being and economic development.
Save the Children recommends that countries revising or drafting nutrition plans should include national and sub-national targets for improving nutrition and reducing stunting.
This year has been a critical year for action on nutrition. In May, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on maternal, infant and young child nutrition, including a target to reduce the number of stunted kids by 40% by 2025.
This is not the first time that such a depressing picture has emerged on India’s social reality. Even so, it’s a shame for a country that boasts of being a top emerging economy with ambitions of being a world player. The fact remains that there is still shocking poverty in the country which, unless addressed, will stymie growth and kill our ambitions. The report draws attention to India’s ill-fed underbelly and exposes the failure of several schemes to address healthcare issues among the poor. Instead of reacting negatively to such assessments, the government should take them seriously and take up the challenge of providing basic nourishment to the poorest of the poor. If corruption is springing leaks in the delivery systems for the poor, it should be dealt with ruthlessly. Responsibilities for delivery need to be fixed and people held accountable.
66 years after British left this country, this report prove how the so called self-proclaimed rulers who suck the juice and throw the rind to the face of the poor? The intellectual class of a society is responsible to uplift of the society as a hole but Indian Intellectual class has prostitute their intellectuality towards uplift of downtrodden class. This will continue as long as hatred of country men will continue on the name of gender in all religion in India.
VEDAS NOT FOR WOMEN
In Madras a controversy arose on whether women can read the Veda or not. “No was the answer by the vedic scholars, who were consulted by the Tamil Nadu Government headed by a woman. Disclosing this in the State Assembly on 24.03.1995, in reply to a question raised by a woman AIADMK member, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister, Mr.M.Natesan Paulraj, said that according to the Agamas the Vedas should be taught only to men after their “Upanayanam” (thread ceremony) which is entitle Brahmins men only and without this nobody can read the Vedas. Those reading the Vedas should follow certain vigorous rules and it was impossible for women to observe them. As such the question of imparting training to them on the Vedas was ruled out. This clearly shows that except Brahmins men no other persons is allowed officially to read or recite the Vedas whatever mighty she or he is.
The study of the Veda was forbidden to her by Manu as it was to the Shudra.
II.66. Even for a woman the performance of the Sanskaras are necessary and they should be performed. But they should be performed without uttering the Veda Mantras.
IX.18 Woman has no right to study the Vedas.
That is why their sanskars are performed without the Veda Mantras. Women have no knowledge of religion because they have no right to know Vedas. The uttering of the Veda Mantras removes sin. As women cannot utter the Veda Mantras they are as UNCLEAN as UNTRUTH.
Offering sacrifices according to Brahmanism formed the very soul of religion. Yet Manu will not allow women to do that. He ordains that;
XI.36 A woman shall not perform the daily sacrifices prescribed by the Vedas.
XI.37. If she does it she will go to hell.
To disable her from performing such sacrifices Manu prevents her from getting the services of a Brahmin priest.
IV.205 A Brahmin must never eat food given at a sacrifice performed by a woman.
IV.206 Sacrifices performed by women are inauspicious and not acceptable to God. They should therefore be avoided.
A woman was not allowed to have any intellectual pursuit nor free will, nor freedom of thought. She was not allowed to join any heretical sect such as Buddhism. If she continued to adhere to it till death she was refused the libation of water after her death.
Following are the words which were expressed for the womenfolk in different manmade Hindu religious scriptures out of deep rooted hatred and jealousy to control them:
“With women there can be no lasting friendship; hearts of hyenas are the hearts of women”.
(Rig Veda 10.95.15)
“Truly there is no friendship with women, and theirs are the hearts of hyenas”. (Satapatha Brahmana, 220.127.116.11 cited in Pinkham, 1941;61)
(A woman) is the embodiment of rashness and a mine of vices. She is hypocritical, recalcitrant and treacherous…she is an obstacle to the path of devotion, a hindrance to emancipation…she is practically a sorceress (a magician) and represents vile desire. (Brahma Vaivarta, Prakriti Khanda 16.52-60, Sen, I, 132-133)
What do these biased observations made by the religious authority signify? It means that woman is born with evil inclinations and, therefore, all failings like craftiness, vanity and wickedness are seen as her natural endowments.
According to the Mahabharata the vices and faults of women were so many that a man would find it inadequate even if he had a hundred tongues, lived for a hundred years and did nothing else but narrated all of them. Among all her vices, her sensuality came in for the sharpest rebuke.
Woman’s role as a seducer of man is stressed and she is compared to the gateway to hell. She is accused of being lascivious, devoid of love for her husband and always tempting men. Her traits of inconsistency and fickleness are emphasized. Manu says:
IX.15 Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however, carefully they may be guarded in this (world)
IX.16. Knowing their disposition, which the Lord of creatures laid in them at the time of creation, to be such. (every) man should most strenuously exert himself to guard them.
IX.17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love for their) bed, (for their) seat and (for) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.
In the Ramayana woman is described as unstable and restless:
This had been the nature of the fair sex from the commencement of creation, that they gladden him that is well of, and forsake a person in adversity. And women imitate the instability of lightning, the sharpness of weapons, and the celerity of the eagle(guruda) and the wind. (Aranya Khand, 3:13; Dutt II 535)
Woman’s love is very dangerous said the Puranas:
The three kinds of wine are called Gaudi, the Paishti and the Madhvi, the forth sort of wine being the woman. It is the wine of woman’s love alone that can intoxicate the three worlds. Wine, only when drunk, produces intoxication whereas a woman, simply being looked at my madden the senses of man, and enshroud his consciousness in the darkness of nuisance. Hence a man should refrain from even beholding a woman, as she is wine to his eyes. (Agni 353,9-15 Dutt II 1301)
The Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas give the same verdict for woman, let us examine their verses:
The father of a woman shall protect her in her infancy; the husband, in her youth; and her son, in her old age; in absence whereof the duty of maintaining her shall devolve upon his friends and relatives. (Garudu, 95; Dutt p 27)
The slave, the son and the wife, (these three) are always dependent. They can have no wealth; for, whatever they possess belongs to their master. (Mahabharata, Sabha Parva 2.17.2; Dutt II 94)
One of the refuges of woman is her husband. A second is her son, and a third is her relatives; and a fourth she has none. (Ramayana Ayodhya Khanda 2.61, Dutt, I 362)
Women’s sexuality is seen as aggressive, therefore, the religious writers, most of them are men, lay down very strongly that a woman should always be protected by a man and never given independence because they cannot control their lust towards men. They declare that an ideal woman is the one who does not break this rule. But the men are free from all bindings, Why? There can be just one answer which is might is right. Physical control of women is the main reason for all kinds of harassment on them, though the women are biologically stronger than men. Their only fault is that they have womb to carry the child and bear the pail for whole life by that male child. If they decide to fight against all this unfairness then they can abort the man’s zygotes before the occurrence of such cruelties against them.
In Western society now the women prefers not to marry instead they choice to live together or get their children even without any wedlock as it suit them to be independent and brought up the children due to non-adjustment as being a husband. But being a boyfriend there is no problem to adjust and help.
Who is the ideal wife as per the Puranas?
She, who speaks sweetly to her husband and is a clever manager of household affairs, is a true wife. She who is one in spirit with her lord, and devotes her whole self to his happiness, is a true wife.
He whose wife decorates her person with sandal paste, and perfumes her body after her daily ablutions, talks little and agreeably, partakes of small quantities of food, is very fond of him and is constantly engaged in doing acts of piety and virtue with a view to bring happiness and prosperity in the house, and is ever ready to yield to procreative desires of her lord, who is not a man, but the lord of heaven. (Garuda 108; Dutt p-350)
Chastity is the most important component of the wife’s behavior but what component is important for the husband? Let us examine more about women in the context of Hindu religious scriptures.
Though destitute of virtue or seeking pleasure (elsewhere) or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a God by a faithful wife. (Manu V, 154)
To a woman, her husband constitutes her God. The husband is as pure as the Gods, and represents all virtues, (Brahma Vaivarta Krishna Janma Khanda, 57. 15-25, Sen II 329)
The sacred and imperative duty of a wife is to carry out the commands of her husband, and to live in perfect obedience to his wishes. (Garuda Purana 95 Dutt 270)
All these verses, from different sacred books of Hindu religion affirm the deep seated Hindu conception that a husband is a woman’s greatest deity and she should worship him, whatever his failings and short comings. Once he becomes a husband he is free to do whatever he likes with his wife, he will always be her God. What a tremendous freedom for the male? On the other hand what a good slavery for the women?
Religious barrier is one of the various obstacles which resist the uplift of the womenfolk. In Hindu religion which is governed by the Manu Smriti, its code of conduct is still alive in most of the villages in the Indian subcontinent. Manu can hardly be said to be tenderer to women. He starts with a low opinion of women.
II.213. It is the nature of women to seduce men in this (World) for that reason the wise are never unguarded in (The company of) females.
II.214. For women are able to lead astray in (this) world not only a food, but even a learned man, and to make his a slave of desire and anger.
II.215. One should not sit in a lonely place with one’s mother, sister or daughter; for the senses are powerful, and master even a learned man.
IX.14. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking); (It is enough that) he is a man; they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly.
IX.2 Day and night women must be kept in dependence by the males (of their families), and if they attach themselves to sexual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control.
IX.3 Her father protects her in childhood, her husband protects her in youth, and her sons protect her in old age; a woman is never fit for independence.
IX.5 Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling they may appear; for if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families.
IV.147. By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house.
V.149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, and sons; by leaving them she would make both her own and her husband’s families contemptible.
Therefore, women can be free only if they desire to become free from the clutches of men and throw away the instructions of these man made scriptures. But if the slaves enjoy their own slavery then nobody can save them.
Due to these above mentioned social and religious sanctions against women, dowry deaths are increasing, the demand for dowry is mounting high and sexual harassment is going up. It is coming on news and highlight the matter, it was persist in the society earlier also in one form or the other and high society people were involved and the news of their misdeed generally not allow to come out in the public.
Discrimination starts from the very moment a girl child is born. A girl child is always unwelcome in India, where the traditional blessing to a bride says, “May you bring forth a hundred sons,”.
The Atharvaveda says:-
“The birth of a girl grant it elsewhere, here let a son be born”.
Even today the tendency towards the abortion of a girl child is prevalent. Though the child’s sex depends exclusively upon a man yet the victim is always a woman if she gives birth to a girl child. She has to carry the wish of her husband. No body hears her cry whether she is right or wrong.
Woman should not have a right to divorce as Manu Smriti says:
IX 45. The husband is declared to be one with the wife, which means that there could be no separation once a woman is married.
Many Hindus stop here as though this is the whole story regarding Manu’s law of divorce. They keep on idolizing it and comfort their conscience by holding out the view that Manu regarded marriage as sacrament and therefore, did not allow divorce. This, of course, is far from the truth. His law against divorce had a very different motive. It did not tie up a man to a woman but it tied up the woman to a man. Thus the man was free, for Manu does not prevent a man from giving up his wife. Indeed he not only allows him to abandon his wife but he also permits him to sell her. But what prevents the wife from becoming free? See what Manu says:
IX 46. Neither by sale nor by repudiation is a wife released from her husband.
The meaning is that a wife, sold or repudiated by her husband, can never become the legitimate wife of another who may have bought or received her after she was repudiated. If this is not monstrous nothing can be. But Manu was not worried about the consideration of justice or injustice of his law. He wanted to deprive woman of the freedom she had under the Buddhist regime. He knew that by the misuse of her liberty, by her willingness to marry a Shudra the system of gradation of the Varna had been destroyed. Manu was outraged by her liberty and so he deprived her of it.
A wife was reduced by Manu to the level of a slave in the matter of property.
- 416 A wife, a son, and a slave, these three are declared to have no property; the wealth which they earn is (acquired) for him to whom they belong.
When she becomes a widow Manu allows her maintenance, if her husband was staying with her. In case her husband was living away from her then she is entitled to a widow’s estate in his property. But Manu never allows her to have any dominion over property.
A woman under the laws of Manu is subject to corporal punishment and Manu allows the husband the right to beat his wife.
VII.299. A wife, a son, a slave, a pupil and a younger brother of full blood, who have committed faults, may be beaten with a rope or a split bamboo. In the other matters woman was reduced by Manu to the same position as the Shudra.
Finally, a word regarding the ideal of life, Manu has sought to place before a woman. It had better be stated in his own words;
V.150 she must always be cheerful. Clever in the management of her household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils and economical in expenditure.
V.151. Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as he lives and when he is dead, she must not insult his memory.
V.153. the husband who wedded her with sacred Mantras, is always a source of happiness to his wife, both in season and out of season, in this world and in the next.
V.154.Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, yet a husband must be constantly worshipped as a God by a faithful wife.
V.155.No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women; if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that reason alone be exalted in heaven.
This is what Hindus regard as a very lofty ideal for a woman!
Before the days of Manu the position of woman was far better at the time of Yagnavalka, Gautama, Kautilya etc.
That a woman was entitled to Upanayan is clear from the Atharva Veda where a girl is spoken of as being eligible for marriage having finished her Brahmacharya. From the Shrauta Sutras it is clear that women could repeat the Mantras of the Vedas and that they were taught to read the Vedas. Panini’s Ashtaadhyai bears testimony to the fact that women attended Gurukul and studied the various Shakhas of the Veda and became expert in Mimansa. Patanjali’s Maha Bhashya shows that women were teachers and taught the Vedas to girl students. The stories of women entering into public discussion with men on most abstruse subjects of religion, philosophy and metaphysics are by no means few. The stories of public disputation between Janaka and Sulbha, between Yajnavalkya and Gargi, between Yajnavalkya and Maitrei and between Shankaracharya and Vidyadhari show that Indian women in pre-Manu’s time rose to the highest pinnacle of learning and education.
Saga Yagnavalkya considers women as being always pure, as Soma gave them purification, The Gandharva sweet speech and Agni the perfect purity. (yagnavalkya Smriti, I-71)
The Gautama Smriti says;
In the olden times, girls also used to wear the sacred thread on the shoulder and the munja-grass string round the waist, and to study the Vedas and recite the Gayatri. Aditya purana “permits Widow Marriage, 2nd marriage of women”.
Therefore, women in pre-Manu days were highly respected cannot be disputed. Among the Ratnis, who played so prominent a part in the coronation of the King in Ancient India, was the Queen. The King made her an offering as he did to the others. Not only did the King elect pay homage to the Queen, he also worshipped his other wives of lower castes1. In the same way the King offered salutation after the coronation ceremony to the ladies of the chiefs of the guilds2.
In the days of Kautilya, women3 were deemed to have attained their age of majority at 12 and men at 16. The age of majority was in all probability the age of marriage. That there were post-puberty marriages is evident from Baudhayanas Grihya Sutras4, Where an expiatory ceremony is specially prescribed in the case of a bride passing her menses on the occasion of her marriage.
Kautilya’s time there is no law for the age of consent. That is because marriages were post-puberty marriages and Kautilya is more concerned with cases in which a bride or a bridegroom is married without disclosing the fact of his or her having had sexual intercourse before marriage with another person or a maiden in menses having had sexual intercourse. In the former case Kautilya says 5.
- Ibid part ii, p17
- Ibid part ii, p82
- Sham Shastri, Kautilya’s Arthashastra p 175
- Buddhayana I.7.22
- Sham Shastri, Kautilya’s Arthashastra p 222
“Any person who has given a girl in marriage without announcing her guilt of having laid with another shall not only be punished with a fine but also be made to return the sulka and stridhana. Any person receiving a girl in marriage without announcing the blemishes of the bridegroom shall not only pay double the above fine, but also forfeit the sulka and stridhana(he paid the bride). In regard to the latter case the rule in Kautilya1 is: “It is no offence for a man of equal caste and rank to have connection with a maiden who has been unmarried three years after her first menses. Nor is it an offence for a man, even of different caste, to have connection with a maiden who has spent more than three years after her first menses and has no jewelry on her person.”
Unlike Manu, Kautilya preaches monogamy. Man can marry more than one wife only under certain conditions. They are given by Kautilya in the following terms2;
“If a woman either brings forth no (live) children, or has no male issue, or is barren, her husband shall wait for eight years (before marrying another). If she bears only a dead child, he has to wait for ten years. If she brings forth only females, he has to wait for twelve years.
Then if he is desirous of having sons, he may marry another. In case of violating this rule, he shall be made to pay her not only sulks, her property (stridhana) and an adequate monetary compensation (adhivedanika martham), but also a fine of 24 panas to the Government. Having given the necessary amount of sulk and property (stridhana), even to those women who had not received such things on the occasion of their marriage with him, and also having given his wives the proportionate compensation and an adequate subsistence (vrutti), he may marry any number of women; for women are created for the sake of sons”.
Unlike Manu in Kautilys’s time women could claim divorce on the ground of mutual enmity and hatred.
- Ibid part , p259
- Jaiswal, Indian polity part ii p-16
“A woman, hating her husband, cannot dissolve her marriage with him against his will. Nor can a man dissolve his marriage with his wife against her will. But from mutual enmity, divorce may be obtained (parasparam deveshanmokshah). If a man, apprehending danger from his wife, desires divorce (mokshamichchhet), he shall return to her whatever she had received (on the occasion of her marriage). If a woman, under the apprehension of danger from her husband, desires divorce, she shall forfeit her claim to her property. A Wife can abandon her husband if he has a bad character”.
“A woman who has a right to claim maintenance for an unlimited period of time shall be given as much food and clothing (grasacchadana) as necessary for her, or more than is necessary in proportion to the income of the maintainer (yathapurushaparivapam va). If the period (for which such things are to be given to her with one – tenth of the amount in addition) is limited, then a certain amount of money, Fixed in proportion to the income of the maintainer, shall be given to her; so also if she has not been given her sulka, property, and compensation due to her, for allowing her husband to re marry. If she places herself under the protection of any one belonging to her father-in-law’s family (svasurakula), or if she begins to live independently, then her husband shall not be sued for her maintenance. Thus the determination of the maintenance’s is dealt with.”
In the days of Kautilya there was no ban on a woman or a widow remarrying:
“On the death of her husband a woman, desirous to lead a pious life, shall at once receive not only her endowment and jewelry (sthapyabharanam), but also the balance of sulka due to her. If after obtaining these two things she remarried another, she shall be caused to pay them back together with interest on their value. If she is desirous of a second marriage (kutumbarkama), she shall be given on the occasion of her remarriage (nivesakale) whatever either her father in law or her husband or both had given to her”.
“If a widow marries any man other than of her father in laws choice (svasurapratilomyenanivishta), she shall forfeit whatever had been given to her by her father-in-law and her deceased husband.”
“The kinsmen (gnatis) of a woman shall return to her old father-in-law whatever property of her own she had taken with her while re-marrying a kinsman. Whoever justly takes a woman under his protection shall equally protect her property. No woman shall succeed in her attempt to establish her title to the property of her deceased husband, after she remarries.”
“If she lives a pious life, she may enjoy it (Dharmakama bhunjita). No woman with a son or sons shall (after remarriage) be at liberty to make free use of her own property (Stridhana); for that property of hers, her sons shall receive.”
“If a woman after remarriage attempts to take possession of her own property under the plea of maintaining her sons by her former husband, she shall be made to endow it in their name. If a woman has many male children by many husbands, then she shall conserve her property in the same condition as she had received it from her husbands. Even that property which has been given to her along with full powers of enjoyment and disposal, a remarried woman shall endow in the name of her sons.”
This practice was valid till the date of Drapadi who was married by 5 husbands and got sons by all of them as cited in the Mahabharata.
“A barren widow who is faithful to the bed of her dead husband may, under the protection of her teacher, enjoy her property as long as she lives; for it is to ward off calamities that women are endowed with property. On her death, her property shall pass into the hands of her kinsman(Dayada). If the husband is alive and the wife is dead, then her sons and daughters shall divide her property among themselves. If there are no sons, her daughters shall have it. In their absence her husband shall take that amount of money (sulka) which he has given her, and her relatives shall retake whatever in the shape of gift or dowry they had presented her. Thus the determination of the property of a woman is dealt with.”
“Wives who belong to Shudra, Vaisya, Kshatriya or Brahmin caste, and who have not given birth to children, should wait as long as a year, two, three and four years, respectively, for their husbands who have gone abroad for a short time; but if they have given birth to children, they should wait for their absent husbands for more than a year. If they are provided with maintenance, they should wait for twice the period of time mentioned. If they are not provided with, their well to do kinsmen should maintain them either for four or eight years. Then the Kinsmen should leave them to marry, after taking back what had been presented to them on the occasion of their marriages. If the husband is a Brahmins, studying abroad, his wife who has no issue should wait for him for ten years; but if she has given birth to children, she should wait for twelve years. If the husband is a servant of the king, his wife should wait for him till her death. Even if she bears children to a savarna husband, i.e. a second husband belonging to the same gotra as that of the former husband, with a view to avoid the extinction of her race, she shall not be liable to contempt thereof (Savarnataschaprajata na pavadam labheta). If the wife of an absent husband lacks maintenance and is deserted by well to do kinsmen, she may remarry one whom she likes and who is in a position to maintain her and relieve her misery.”
Unlike Manu, every precaution was taken to guarantee economic independence to a married woman. This is clear from the following provisions in Kautilya’s Arthashastra relating to a wife’s endowment and maintenance:
“Means of subsistence (vruti) or jewelry (abadhya) constitutes what is called the property of a woman. Means of subsistence, valued at above two thousand, shall be endowed (in her name). There is no limit to the amount of jewelry she could get. It is not wrong on the part of the wife to make use of this property in maintaining her son, her daughter-in law, or herself, if her absent husband has made no other provision for her maintenance. In calamities, disease and famine, in warding off dangers and in charitable acts, the husband, too, may make use of this property. There shall be no complaint against the enjoyment of this property by mutual consent by a couple who have brought forth a twin. Nor would there be any complaint if this property has been enjoyed for three years by those who are wedded in accordance with the customs of the first four kinds of marriages. But the enjoyment of this property in the cases of Gandharva and Asura marriages shall be liable to be restored together with interest on it. In the case of such marriages, as are called Rakshasa and Paisacha, the use of this property shall be dealt with as theft. Thus the duty of marriage is dealt with.”
Surprising as it may appear, in Kautilyas time a wife could bring an action in a court of law against her husband for assault and defamation.
In short in pre-Manu days a woman was free and an equal partner of man. Why did Manu degrade her?
Aryan ancestors practices:-
The following are the recorded meaning of verses from different sources in the ancient books. There is nothing new and nobody should feel hurt to read it. Truth should be reveled and this is only my Moto to record few of them.
The following cases show that there was no prohibition against a son cohabiting with his mother. There is the case of Pushan and his mother, Manu and Satrupa and Manu and Shradha. Attention may also be drawn to two other cases, Arjuna and Urvashi and Arjuna and Uttara. Uttaara was married to Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, when he was barely 16. Uttara was associated with Arjuna. He taught her music and dance. Uttara is described as being in love with Arjuna and Mahabharata speaks of their getting married as a natural sequel to their love affair. It is well known that Indra was the real father of Arjuna.
Consider the paternity of Yudhishtra. He was known as the eldest son of Pandu and Kunti. However, before marrying Pandu, Kunti had borne a son Karna by Dhurbasha. Pandu had been cursed to impotence. Under his instigation Kunti agreed to have intercourse with Dharma i.e. Bidur, who gave her Yudhishtra. Bhim through her intercourse with Karuti and Arjuna through her intercourse with Indra. Kunti’s co-wiffe Madhuri had relation with twin brothers and bore Nakul and Sahdev.
(Writer Kalkut has given details of this in the book names Pritha.)
Parashara Muni(Sage), on one of his travels across the country, halted for the night in a little hamlet on the banks of the river Yamuna. He was put up in the house of the village chief. When dawn broke, the chief asked his daughter, Satyavati, to ferry the sage to his next destination. When in the ferry, Parashara was offended by the stench of raw fish. He asked Satyavati as to from where the foul stench was emanating. Satyavati was a fisherman’s daughter, and pursued the same occupation. It was from her the stench emanated. Realizing this, Parashara gave her the epithet “Matsyagandha”, meaning “one with the smell of fish”. Satyavati was thoroughly ashamed. Parashara felt sorry for his cruelty, and instantly granted her the boon, that the finest fragrance may emit from her person.
Parashara grew attached to Satyavati, and desired to perform coitus with her. But Satyavati was terrified of him and gave an excuse that there were many people present on either sides of the Yamuna. So Parashara Muni, with his mystic power, created a dense sheet of mist around the boat. He then took her to an island on the Yamuna and in due course, they had a son, by name Vyāsa. But Parashara’s wandering ascetic life did not suit Satyavati, and the couple separated. Satyavati returned to her father after this, and in due course, married Śantanu.
Pandu’s own paternity was equally eccentric. His father had two wives Amba and Ambika. He was besotted by them and he died of over indulgence in sex without either of his wives bearing a child. Parasara and Satyavati had a son Vyas before she got married. Vyas had relations with Amba and Ambika. Ambika bore him Dhritrastra, who was born blind because she kept her eyes shut while having intercourse as Vyas was ugly looking.
Then we come to Draupadi who is described in the following words: “her complexion dark as the wood fuelling the fire, her eyes large as lotus petals, her locks blue and curly, her eyebrows arched and bosom deep, her nails convex and bright as burnished copper.”
She was won by Arjuna at an archery contest. But at the behest of her mother-in-law she agreed to become the wife of all the five brothers. Arjun was her first love but she had to serve the eldest brother Yudhishtra as a matter of duty. Dutifully she laid herself with him. However, he sensed that though she yielded her body to him, her heart and emotions were not in the act. Was this the reason behind Yudhishtras foolishly gambling away his kingdom and then Draupadi to the Kauravas?
Yudhishtra may have possessed her body but he failed to conquer her mind. Draupadi says:-
“”A woman is not merely, O Yudhishtra, the space between her legs she hides so carefully. Her mind is of her body, her body of her mind seamless, and mysterious, lovely and kind”. (Yudhister & Draupadi By Pavan K. Verma.)
Satyabhama asked Draupadi the secret of her power over her five husbands. According to the Mahabharata Draupadi warned her against talking or staying in private with her step-sons.
The case of a father marrying his daughter is reported, by the Matsya Purana, King Taittiri, an ancestor of Krishna, married his own daughter and begot on her a son by the name Nala. The case of a son cohabiting with his mother is found the conduct of Samba lived an illicit life with the wives of Krishna, his father, and how Krishna got angry and cursed Samba and his guilty wives on that account. There is a reference to this in the Mahabharate also. This corroborates what the Matsys Purana has said about Samba. Samba’s is not the only case. His brother Pradyumna married his foster mother Mayavati the wife of Sambara. (The book Samba by Kalkut has described in details)
Promiscuity in matters of sex becomes quite apparent if one were only to examine the rules of Niyoga which is the Aryan name for a system under which a woman who is wedded can beget on herself a progeny from another who is not her husband. This system resulted in a complete state of promiscuity for it was uncontrolled. In the first place, there was no limit to the number of Niyogas open to a women. Madhuti had one Niyoga allowed to her. Ambika had one actual Niyoga and another proposed. Sarandandayni had three. Pandu allowed his wife Kunti four Niyogas. Vyusistasva was permitted to have 7 and Vali is known to have allowed as many as 17 Niyoga,s 11 for his first wife and 6 for his second wife. Just as there was no limit to the numler of Niyogas so also there was no definition of the cases in which Niyoga was permissible. Niyoga took place in the life time of the husband and even in cases where the husband was not overcome by any congenital incapacity to procreate. The initiative was probably taken by the wife. The choice of a man was left to her. She was free to find out with whom she would unite a Niyoga and for how many times, in case she chose the same man. The Niyoga was another name for the illicit intercourse between men and women which lasted for one night or twelve years or more, with the husband a willing partner in this trade of fornication. (Dr.BRA, Maha Govt publication).
There was prevalent among the Aryans the practice of renting out their women to others for some time. As an illustration may be mentioned the story of Madhavi. The King Yayati gave his daughter Madhavi as an offering to his Guru Galav. Galav rented out the girl Madhavi to three kings, each for a fixed period. Thereafter, he gave her in marriage to Vishwamitra. She remained with him until a son was born to her. Thereafter, Galav took away the girl and gave her back to her father Yayati.
There was no rule of chastity for maidens. A girl could have sexual intercourse with and also progeny from anybody without contracting marriage. This is evident from the root meaning of the word Kanya which means a girl. Kanya comes from the root Kam which means a girl free to offer herself to any man. That they did offer themselves to any man and had children without contracting regular marriage is illustrated by the case of Kunti and Matsyagandha.
In the Rig Veda there is an episode related to Yama and Yami brother and sister. According to this episode Yami, the sister, invites her brother Yama to cohabit with her and becomes angry when he refuses to do so. Examine the conversation:-
(Yami speak). “I invite my friend to friendship, having come over the vast and desert ocean of Vedas, after reflecting, place in the earth the offspring (of thee) the father, endowed with excellent qualities.”
(Yama speaks). “Thy friend desires not this friendship, for although of one origin, he is of a different form; the hero sons of the great Asura are the upholders of heaven, enjoying vast renown.”
(Yami speaks). “The immortals take pleasure in (a union) like this which is forbidden to every mortal; let thy mind then concur with mine, and as the progenitor (of all) was the husband (of his daughter), do thou enjoy my person”.
(Yama speaks). “We have not done what was done formerly; for how can we who speak truth, utter now that which is untrue? Gandharva Ithe sun) was in the watery firmament, and the water was his bride. She is our common parent, hence our near affinity.”
(Yami speaks). “The divine Omni form generator twashtri, the progenitor, made us to husband and wife, even in the womb; none frustrate his undertaking; earth and heaven are conscious of this our (union).”
(Yama speaks). “Who knows anything of this (his) first day (of existence)? Who has beheld it? Who has here revealed it? The dwelling of Mitra and of Varuna is vast. What sayest thou, who punishes men with hell?
(Yami speaks). “The desire of Yama hath approached me, Yami, to lie with him in the same bed; I will abandon my person as a wife to her husband; let us exert ourselves in union like the two wheels of a wagon.”
(Yama speaks). “ The spies of the Gods, who wander upon earth, never stop, never close their eyes. Associate quickly, destructress, with some other than with me, and exert yourselves in union, like the two wheels of a wagon.”
(Yami speaks). “To him (Yama) let every worshipper sacrifice both day and night, on him let the eye of the Sun repeatedly rise; for him may the kindred pair (day and night) unite with heaven and earth. Yami will adhere to the non-affinity of Yama.”
(Yama speaks). “The subsequent ages will come, when sisters will choose one who is not a brother “(as a husband); therefore, auspicious one, choose another husband than me, and make thin arm a pillow for thy mate.
(Yami speaks). “Is he a brother whose sister has no lord? Is she a sister (on whose brother) misfortune approaches? Overcome by desire, I strongly urge this one request; unite thy person with mine.”
(Yama speaks). “I will not unite my person with thine; they call him who approaches a sister, a sinner. Enjoy pleasure with some other than me; thy brother, auspicious one, has no such desire.”
(Yami speaks). “Alas, Yama, thou art feeble; we understand not thy mind or thy heart. Some other female exuberances thee as a girth a horse, or as a creeper a tree.”
(Yama speaks). “Do thou, Yami, embrace another; and let another embrace thee as a creeper a tree; seek his affection, let him seek thine; and make a happy union.”
Brahma committed adultery with his daughter Saraswati. Shiva married his creator Devi and two other sisters ( from Devi Purana). Vashishta married his own daughter Shatrupa when she came of age. (Harivansha Adh ii). Manu married his daughter Ila (ibid Adh x). Janhu married his daughter Janhavi (ibid Adh xxvii). Surya married his daughter Usha (Yask Nirukta Ah V khand vi).
Dhahaprachetani and his son Soma cohabited with Marisha the daughter of Soma. (Haribansha adh ii).
Instances of a grandfather marrying his granddaughter are not rare. Daksha gave his daughter in marriage to his father Brahma and from that marriage was born the famous Narada. Dauhitra gave his 27 daughters to his father Soma for cohabitation and procreation.
The Adi Parva of the Mahabjarata gives a genealogy which begins from Brahmadeva. According to this geneology Brahma had three sons Marich, Daksha and Dharma and one daughter whose name the geneology, untortunately, does not give. In this very geneology it is stated that Daksha married the daughter of Brahma who was his sister and had a vast number of daughters. Other instances of marriages between brothers and sisters could be cited. For instances of marriages between brothers and sisters could be cited. For instance that of Pushaan and his sisters Accohoda and Amavasu, Purkutsa and Normoda, Viprachiti and Simhika, Nahusa and Viraja, Sukra-Usanas and Go, Amsumat and Yosoda, Dasaratha and Kausalya, Rama and Sita, Suka and Pivari, Draupadi and Prasti.
“Devi Bhagwat”, a prominent scripture, says that a Devi called Shri, created the whole world and that it is this Goddess who created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The book goes on to state that once the Devi desired to rub her palms. The rubbing of palms produced a blister. Out of this blister was born Bramha, Devi asked him to marry her, he refused saying that she was his mother. She got angry and burned Bramha alive by her wrath and he was reduced to ashes then and there. The Devi rubbed her palms a second time and had a second blister. Out of this second blister another son was born. This was Vishnu. She asked Vishnu to marry her. He also decline saying that she was his mother.
She got angry and burned down Vishnu to ashes. The Devi rubbed her palms a third time and had a third blister. Out of this third blister was born the third son, Shiva. She asked Shiva to marry her. Shiva replied: “I will, provide you assume another body”. She agreed. Just then Shiva’s eys fell on the two piles of ashes. The Devi replied that they are the ashes of his two brothers and that she had burnt theml because they had refused to marry her. On this Shiva said, ’How can I marry alone? You crate two other women who can marry my brothers. The Devi did as she was told and the three Gods were married to the Devi and her female creations. What is the moral of this story?
What was the role played by the Goddesses is a puzzle. When Gods were there to fight the Asuras, why were the Goddesses enrolled for this purpose> Why was Shiva’s Shakti dwelling in the Parvati, so dull, so dormant, and so inactive as to be non-existent?
Nowhere else have prostitutes consented to submit to sexual intercourse in public. But the practice existed among the Ancient Aryans. The Vedic Gods drank wine. Even Brahmin women were addicted to it. Drinking was not regarded as a sin; it was not even a vice, it was quite a respectable practice. The Rig-Veda says: ”Worship the sun before drinking madira (wine)”.
The Yajur Veda says “Oh, Deva Soma! being strengthened and invigorated by Sura (wine) by the pure spirit, please the Devas; give juicy food to the sacrifice and vigour to Brahmanas and Kshatriyas”.
The Mantra Brahmana says “ By which women have been made enjoyable by men, by which water has to be transformed into wine for the enjoyment of men…..”
The Aryans of pre-Buddhist days had no such ruled of prohibited degrees, as we have today, to govern their sexual or matrimonial relationships. When the Aryan community was engaged in worst kind of debauchery; social; religious and spiritual, then Buddha started the mission of his life.
At the time of Buddha every king had a hall attached to his palace, where he enjoyed gambling. Gambling had become as widespread among the Aryans as drinking. They staked kingdoms, dependents, relatives, slaves, servants. King Nala staked everything in gambling with Paskkar and lost everything except himself and his wife. Dharma gambled with such disastrous consequences although he was warned, and lost even his wife Draupadi. Rig-Veda contains lamentations of a poor Aryan ruined by gambling. In Kautilyas time there were gambling houses licensed by the king.
The Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata says: “Arjun and Shri Krishna drank wine made from honey and being sweet-scented and garlanded, wearing splendid clothes and ornaments, sat on a golden throne studded with various jewels. I saw Shrikrishna’s feet on Arjun’s lap and Arjun’s feet on Draupadi and Satyabhama’s lap”.
According to the Sankhyana-grahyasutra (I.22.13), a Mantra (X.184.1) accompanies the garbha-ceremony, suggesting that Vishnu is the efficacious protector of the embryos. In (Av-vii.17.4), Vishnu is clearly connected with the sex function as the protector of the semen, and Samajjani (I.156.2) facilitating easy birth.
The Ramayana, Uttar Khand says, “”Like Indra in the case of his wife Shachi, Ramachandra saw that Sita drank the purified honey called wine. Servants brought for Ramachandra meat and sweet fruit”.
There are instances which show that Aryan women were addicted to drink. Sudeshna, the wife of King Virat, tells her maid Sairandhri to go to Kichakas palace and bring Sura as she was dying to have a drink. Kausitaki Grihya Sutra I.11-12, describes an occasion where “Four or eight women who are not widowed, after having been regaled with wine and food are to dance, for four times, on the night previous to the wedding ceremony”.
What made the Aryans dissociate Vishnu from linga worship and associate it with Shiva?
There is a story; once Sarasvati, Laxmi and Parvati suggested their husbands to have Anusuya seduced. They went to Anusuya and persuaded her to serve them food in a naked condition. Her husband Atri arrived at that time and the three Gods turned into babies with one body three heads i.e. the Trimurthy.
The writer of Purana did not stop with degrading Brahma. He vilified him in the worst possible manner. He narrates the story of his having committed rape on his own daughter Sarasvati. The story appears in the Bhagwat Purana.
In Tantrik worship, even sexual intercourse with a woman is prescribed as part of the Puja. “”Megasthenes”” recorded that the ancient Brahmins were distrustful of their wives and did not communicate their metaphysical doctrine to women on the ground that being talkative they would communicate their knowledge to those who had no right to it.
Putrikaputra means a son born to a daughter. Its significance lies in the system under which a man who had a daughter but no son could have his daughter to cohabit with a man selected or appointed by him. If a girl gave birth to a son through such a sexual intercourse, he became the son of her father. It was because of this that the son was called Putrikaputra. A man’s right to compel his daughter to submit to sexual intercourse with a man of his choice in order to get a son for himself continued to exist even after the daughter was married. That is why a man was warned not to marry a girl who had no brothers.
The old system, the two stages of Vanaprastha or Sannyasi, did not involve any hardship or cruelty to wives and children. The new system introduced by Manu did. For to force a person to marry and then to permit him to abandon his wife is nothing short of cruelty if it did not involve criminality.
Nothing illustrates better the complete disregard for consanguinity in cohabitation in ancient India than the following story which is related in the Second Adyahya of the Harivamsha. According to it Soma was the son of ten fathers-suggesting the existence of Polyandry-each one of whom was called Pralheta. Soma had a daughter Marisha-the ten fathers of Soma and Soma himself cohabited with Marisha. This is a case of ten grandfathers and a father married to a woman who was a grand-daughter and daughter to her husbands. In the third Adhyaya of Harivamsha the author says that Daksha gave his daughter in marriage to his own father Brahma on whom Brahma begot a son who became famous as Narada. All these are cases cohabitation of Sapinda men, with Sapinda women.
What were the morals of the ancient Aryan Society? To tell the truth, nothing better than those of the common men. The looseness of morals among the Aryans is evidenced in many instances. But a few will suffice. Utanka was a pupil of Veda (the purohita of Janmejaya III). Veda’s wife requested Utanka to take the place of her husband and “approach” her for the sake of virtue. Another case that may be referred to in this connection is that of Uddalaka’s wife. She was free to go to other, either on her own free will, on in response to invitations. Shwetketu was her son by one of the pupils of her husband. These are not mere instances of laxity or adultery. These are cases of recognized latitudes which were allowed to Aryan women.
Mamata was the wife of Utathya. But Brashaspati, the Brother of Utathya, had free access to Mamata during the life time of Utathya. The approaches were considered as neither improper nor unlawful. The only objection that Mamata had once raised to him was to ask him to wait on account of her pregnancy.
Such immoralities were so common among he Brahmins that Draupadi, when she was called a cow by Duryodhana for her polyandry, felt sorry that her husbands were not Brahmins.
Let us examine the morality of the Rishis. What do we find? The first thing we find is the prevalence of bestiality among the Rishis. Take the case of Vibhandaka. In Adhyaya 100 of the Vana arva of the Mahabharata it is stated that he cohabited with a female deer and that the female deer bore a son to him who subsequently come to be known as Rishi Shranga. In Adhyaya 1 as well as in 118 of the Adi Parva of the Mahabharataa there is a narration on how Pandu, the father of the Pandavas received his curse from the Rishi Dama. Vyas says that the Rishi Dama was once engaged in the act of coitus with a female deer in a jungle. While so engaged Pandu shot him with an arrow before the Rishi was spent as a result of which Dama died. But before he died Dama uttered a curse saying that if Pandu ever thought of approaching his wife he would die instantly. Vyas tries to gloss this bestiality of the Rishi by saying that he and his wife had both taken the form of a deer. Other instances of such bestiality by the Rishi will not be difficult to find if a diligent search is made in the ancient religious literature of India.
A necessary part of the Ashvamedha was the introduction of the Sepas (penis) of the Medha (dead horse) into the Yoni (vagina of the chief wife of the Yajamana (the sacrifice), accompanied by the recital of long series of Mantras by the Brahmin priests. A Mantra in the Vajasaneya Samhita (xxiii.18) shows that ther used to be a competition among the Queens, as to, who was to receive the high honour of being served by the horse. More instances are available in the Yajur Veda.
Another heinous practice which is associated with the Rishis is the cohabitation with women in the open and within the sight of the public. In Adhyaya 63 of the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata there is a description of how the Rishi Parasara had sexual intercourse with Satyavati, alias Matsya Gandha a fisherman’s girl. He cohabited with her in the open and in public. Another similar instance is to be found in Adhyaya 104 of Adhi Parva. It is stated, therein, that the Rishi Dirghatama cohabited with a woman in the open. There are many such instances mentioned in the Mahabharata. There is however, no need to encumlber the record with them. For the word Ayonija is enough to prove the general existence of the practice. Most Hindus know that Sita, Draupladi and other nernwned women are spoken in relation to Ayonija. What they mean by Ayonija is a child born by immaculate conception. There is, however, no warrant from etymological point of view to give such a meaning to the word. The root meaning of the word Yoni is house. Yonija means a child born or conceived in the house. Ayonija means a child born or conceived outside the house. IF this is the correct etymology of Ayonija, it testifies to the practice of indulging in sexual intercourse in the open with the sight of the public.
Another practice which proves the remolting immorality of the Rishis is mentioned in the Chandyogya Upanishada. The Rishis had made a rule that if while they were engaged in performing a Yajna, a woman espressed a desire for sexual intercourse, the Rishi who was approached should immediately, without waiting for completion of the Yajna and without caring to retire in a secluded spot, proceed to commit sexual intercourse with her in the Yajna Mandap and in the sight of the public. This immoral act by the Rishi was elevated to the position of a religious observance and given the name of Vamadev-Vrata, which was later on revived as Vama-Marga.
This does not exhaust all that one finds in the ancient literature of the Aryans about the morality of the Rishis. One phase of their moral life remains to be mentioned.
The ancient Aryans were possessed with the desire to have better progeny which they accomplished by sending their wives to others and it was mostly to the Rishis who were regarded by the Aryans as pedigree cattle. The number of Rishes who figure in such cases form quite a formidable number. Indeed the Rishis seem to have made a regular trade in this kind of immorality and even kings asked them to impregnate the Queens.
The Devas were a powerful and the most licentious community. They even molested the wives of the Rishis. As a community they appear to have established an overlordship over the Aryan community, quiet early. This overlordship had become degenerated and the Aryan women had to prostitute themselves to satisfy the lust of the Devas. The Aryan took pride if their wives were in the keeping of a Deva and was impregnated by him. There is a mention in the Mahabharata and in the Harivamsha of sons born to Aryan women from Indra. Mention about Yama, Nasatya, Agni, Vayu and other Devas is so frequent that one is astounded at the scale on which such illicit intercourse was carried on. In the course of time the relationship between the Devas and the Aryans became stabilized and appears to have taken the form of feudalism. The Devas exacted two boons from the Aryans.
The first boon was the Yajnas which were periodic feasts given by the Aryans to the Devas. The Devas, in return, protected the Aryans in their fight against the Rakshasas, Daityas and Danavas. The Yajnas were nothing but feudal exactions of the Devas. If they have not been so understood it is largely because the word Deva, instead of being thought to be the name of a community, is regarded as a term for expressing the idea of God. This is quite wrong, at any rate, with regard to the early stages of the Aryan Society.
The second boon claimed by the Devas against the Aryans was the prior right to enjoy the Aryan women. This was systematized at a very early date. There is a mention of it in the Rig-Veda, in X.85.40, according to which the first right over an Aryan female was that of Soma, second of Gandharva, third of Agni and lastly of the Aryan. Even Aryan woman was hypothecated to some Deva who had a right to enjoy her first on becoming puber. Before she could be married to an Aryan she had to be redeemed by getting the right of the Deva extinguished by making him a proper payment.
The description of the marriage ceremony, given in the 7th Khandika of the 1st Adhyaya of the Ashvalayan Grahya Sutra, furnished the most cogent proof of the existence of the system. A careful and critical examination of the sutra reveals that at the marriage three Devas were present, Aryaman, Varuna and Pushan, obviously, because they had a right of prelibation over the bride. The first thing that the bridegroom does is to bring the bride near a stone slab and make her stand on it telling her “Tread on this stone, like a stone be firm. Overcome the enemies; tread the foes down”. This means that the bridegroom does it to liberate the bride from the physical control of the three Devas, whom he regards as his enemies. The Devas get angry and march on the bridegroom. The brother of the bride intervenes and tries to settle the dispute. He brings parched gram as an offering to the angry Deva with a view to buy off their rights over the bride. The brother then asks the bride to join her palms and make a hollow. He then fills the hollow of her palm with the parched grain and pours clarified butter on it and asks her to offer it to each Deva three times. This offering is called Avadana. While the bride is making this Avadana to the Deva the brother of the bride utters a statement which is very significant. He says “This girl is making this Avadan to the Aryaman Deva through Agni. Aryaman should, therefore, relinquish his right over the girl and should not disturb the possession of the bridegroom”. Separate Avadana are made by the bride to the other two Devas and each time the brother utters the same words. After the Avadana follows the pradakshana round the Agni which is called Saptapadi, afte which the marriage is complete. All this of course is very illuminating and throws a flood of light on the utter subjection of the Aryans to the Devas and the moral degradation of the Devas as well as of the Aryans.
The Aryans allowed their women to have sexual intercourse with any one of the class of Devas in the interest of good breeding. The Devas came to regard prelibation in respect of the Aryan women as their prescriptive right. No Aryan woman could be married unless this right of prelibation had been redeemed and the women released from the control of the Devas by offering what was called Avdan. The Lajja Hoame (akind of sacrifice) which is performed in every Hindu marriage and the details of which are given in the Ashwalayan Grahya Sutra is a relic of this act of redemption of the Aryan woman from the right of prelibation of the Devas.
The Avadan in the lajja Hoame is nothing but the price for the extinguishment of the right of the Devas over the Bridge. The Saptapadi, performed in all Hindu marriages and regarded as the most essential ceremony without which there is no lawful marriage, has an integral connection with this right of prelibation of the Devas.
We all know that Saptapadi, is the most essential ceremony in a Hindu marriage. But very few know the reason why it has so great an importance. Saptapadi re refers to that part of the marriage ceremony whe the bridegroom and the bride walk seven steps with each other. Why is this essential? The reason behind it is that the Devas, if they were dissatisfied with the compensation, could claim the woman before the seventh step was taken. After the seventh step was taken, the right of the Devas extinguished, and the bridegroom could take away the bride and the two would live as husband and wife without being obstructed or molested by the Devas.
The Mahabharata refers to two reformers Dirghatama and Shwetaketu. It was laid down by Shwetketu that marriage is indissoluble and there was to be no divorce. Dirghatama stopped polyandry and declared that a woman can have only one husband at a time. He also laid down conditions for regulating Niyog.
The story in the Buddha Ramayana is natural and not inconsistent with the Aryan rules of marriage. If the story is true, then Ramas marriage to Sita is no ideal to be copied. One of the virtues ascribed to Rama is that he was monogamous. It is difficult to understand how such a notion could have become common, for it has no foundation. In fact, even Valmiki refers to the many wives of Rama. These were of course in addition to his many concubines. In this he was the true son of his father Dasharatha who had not only the three wives often referred to, but many others.
It is Sita who expresses to Hanuman her desire to see Rama. Rama does not go to Sita, his own wife, who was kidnapped and confined by Ravana for more than 10 months. Sita is brought to him and what does Rama say to her when he sees her? It would be difficult to believe that any man with ordinary human kindness could address his wife, in such dire distress, as Rama addressed Sita when he met her in Lanka, if there was not the direct authority of Valmiki. This is how Rama Addressed her. (Yudhakanda sarga, 115 slokas I-23)
“I have got you as a prize in a war after conquering my enemy your captor. I have recovered my honour and punished my enemy. People have witnessed my military prowess and I am glad my labours have been rewarded. I came here to kill Ravana and wash off the dishonor. I did not take this trouble for your sake”.
Could there be anything more cruel than this conduct of Rama towards Sita? He further tells her:
“I suspect your conduct. You must have been spoiled by Ravana. Your very sight is revolting to me. O you daughter of Janaka, I allow you to go anywhere you like. I have nothing to do with you. I conquered you back and I am contented, for that was my object. I cannot believe that Ravana would have failed to enjoy a woman as beautiful as you are”.
Quite naturally, Sita calls Rama low and mean. She tells him quite plainly, that she would have committed suicide and saved him all this trouble if she knew that he had abandoned her as she had been kidnapped. To give him no excuse Sita undertakes to prove her purity. She enters the fire and comes out unscathed.
Valmiki also gives a detailed description of how Rama spent his life in the Zenana. This Zenana was housed in a park called Ashoka Vana where Rama used to take his meals. The meal according to Valmiki, consisted of all kinds of delicious viands. They included flesh, fruits and liquor. Rama was not a teetotaler and drank liquor copiously. Valmiki records that Rama saw to it that Sita joined him in his drinking bouts. The Zenana had Apsaras, Uraga and Kinnari, who were accomplished in dancing and singing. Rama sat amidst these beautiful women. They entertained Rama and he garlanded them. Valmiki calls Rama a ‘Prince among women’. This was not a day’s affair. It was the regular course of his life.
Krishna was born at Mathura at midnight on the 8th day of the month of Bhadra. His father was Vasudeva who belonged to the Yadu race, and his mother Devaki, the daughter of Devaka the brother of Ugrasen, king of Mathura. Ugrasens wife had an illicit relationship with Drumila the Danava king of Saubha. From this relationship was born Kansa who was, in a sense, the cousin of Devaki. Krishnas youthful career was full of illicit relationships with the young women of Brindaban which are more popularly known as his Rasalilas. Rasa is a sort of circular dance in which the hands of the dancers, men and women, are joined together. Krishna, it is stated, often enjoyed this dance with the young Copies of Brindaban, who loved him passionately. These dances have been described in the Vishnu Purana, the Harivamsa and the Bhagavata. All these authorities interpret the Gopi’s love for Krishna as piety-love for God-and see nothing wrong in their amorous intrigues with him. However such affairs in the case of any other person would be considered as highly reprehensible. All the sources agree as to the general character of the affair-the scene, the time and season, the drawing of the women with sweet music, the dance, the amorous feelings of the women for Krishna, and their expression in various ways. But while the Vishnu Purana tries, not always successfully, to keep within the limits of decency, the Harivamsa is almost plainly indecent, and the Bhagavata throws away all reserve and revels in indecency.
Krishana’s illicit relation with the Gopi, Radha, is mentioned in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Krishan was married to Rukmini the daughter of King Rukmangad. Radha was also married. Krishna abandoned his lawfully wedded wife Rukmini and seduced Radha, wife of another man and lived with her in sin without remorse.(Vol-4,p333-336 Dr BRA (W&S)
NAYARS IN MALABAR:-
In the land of Malabar there is a caste called the Nayars and among them are noble men who have bo other duty than to serve in war. They always carry their arms withrsoever they go, some swords and shields, others bows and arrows, and yet others spears. They all live with the King, and the other great Lords. They receive stipends from the King or from the great Lords with whom they dwell. None can become a Nayar, save only he who is of the Nayar lineage. They are free from stain in their nobility. They will not touch anyone belonging to a low caste. Neither will they drink or eat save in the house of Nayar. These men are not married, their nephews (sister’s sons) are their heirs. The Nayar women of good birth are very independent, and dispose of themselves as they please with Brahmins and Nayars. However, they do not sleep with men of caste lower than their own under the pain of death. When a girl reaches the age of twelve years her mother holds a great ceremony. She asks her kinsfolk and friends to get ready to honour her daughter. She then asks of the kindred and especially of one particular kinsman or great friend to marry her daughter. The man willingly promises to do so and then he has a small jewel made. It contains half ducat of gold. On the fixed day the daughter is adorned with rich jewels and brought amidst as assembly of people. There is great rejoicing with music and singing. Then the kinsman or friend comes along with that jewel, and going through certain ceremonies, throes it around the girl’s neck. She wears it as a token for the rest of her life, and may then dispose of herself as she wills. The man departs from sleeping with her if he is her kinsman, otherwise, he may sleep with her, but is not obliged to do so. Thence forward, the mother goes about searching for some young men who would take away her daughter’s virginity. And when anyone has slept with her once, she is fit for association with men.
Then the mother again goes about enquiring among other young Nayars if they wish to support her daughter, and take her as a mistress. Three or four Nayars agree to keep her, and sleep with her, each paying her so much a day. The mores lovers she has the greater is her honour. Each one of them passes a day with her, from the midday of one day till the midday of the next day, and so they continue living peacefully without any disturbance or quarrels among them. If any of them wishes to leave her he leaves her, and takes another. The girl is also free to leave the man in case she is weary of him. If there are children they may have to stay with the mother who has to bring them up. The men are not given the responsibility of rearing the children, nor do the children become the heirs to their estates. The rule was, perhaps, established with a greater and deeper meaning. It is believed that the Kings of the Nayars instituted it in order that the Nayars should not be held back from their service by the burden and labour of rearing children. There are many such stories connected with the Malabar state. (Vol-3,p137-336 Dr BRA (W&S)
In Malabar, where the Sambandham form of marriage prevails, the servile classes, such as the Nairs, regard it an honour to have their females kept as mistresses by the Brahmins. Even the Kings invite Brahmins to deflower their queens on prima noctis. ( Dr BRA (W&S) vol-9, p451)
FROM OLD SCRIPTURES
Prof. Indra, M.A., Sastri Kavya Tiruth & Vidyalankar M.O.L. has published her work entitled ‘The status of women in Ancient India.’ The author has collected some statements about women from the scriptures of religion texts. Some extracts from her book (page no. 11 to 26 ) have been quoted below.
- Women have unsteady brains. They are untrustworthy. (Rig Veda 8.3.17).
- The friendship of women does not last long. Their nature is like that of the hyena. (Rig Veda10-95-10)
- Indra gives us the wives we want. (Rig Veda 4.17.16)
- The prayer offered to Indira by the sages: Indira! There is no one more exalted then you because you give wives and concubines to those who have no wives.( (Rig Veda 5.31.3).
- In the Vedic period women were among the awards given to those who were victorious in wars.
- After a victory the victorious men forcibly take away the women from their husbands and share them among themselves (the victors) just as robbers share the loot. ( Prof Ludwick says that for statements 5 and 6 there is evidence in the Vedas)
- Women will be adorned and taken to the camps of the victorious heroes. (Rig Veda 4.48.88).
- In the Vedic period women were treated as the property of men. (The Author)
- One should safeguard the fortresses one has captured just as a man (the common husband) safeguards his concubines. (Rig Veda 7.2.63).
- The above principle has been adopted by those who have enacted laws and by those who have composed epics. (The Author)
- Man should hold women among his possessions.
- Don’t leave the three things, namely, property, books and women under the domination of another man. (The Dharmic principle enunciated by Yagnya Valkiar).
- In accordance with the command of the Vedic scholar, men should consider their wives as pieces of property that have come to them as a result of the merit won by them in a previous birth or by God’s ordinance. (Bhismas pronouncement)
- We can learn from the Vedas that women lost their dignity step by step and became the objects of men’s indulgence. (the Author)
- According to a verse in Adharvana Veda, a wife is given by God to a husband to serve him and to bear him children.
- Further, she is referred to by her husband as his subordinate and slave. (Adharvana Veda 14.01.52)
- Even in later times, women were considered only as objects of men’s indulgence. (The Author)
- Women are born only to give pleasure to men and satisfy their lust. (This is the conviction of the authors of the Upanishad)
- Man suffered long without help. Finally, he got something in the shape of a wife to satisfy all his desires and give him every pleasure. (Pira Hatharanyaka 1-4)
- Later, we can see in the Dharma Sastras that the situation of women went down to a shockingly decadent state.(The Author)
- In ways, that will not suit human intelligence, imaginary blemishes and consequent censures have been associated with women. They are unlimited. (The Author)
- In demeaning women the Mahabharata and the other epics do not lag behind. (The Author)
- There is no need to worry about women because they are considered as domestic utensils. (The Author)
- Look at what Manu has said: Since women are by nature endowed with the ability to rob men of their morality, the men who live in the midst of women, have to protect themselves.
- In this way women will attract even educated men, tempt them to evil ways and enslave them to their own passion and lust. (Manu 2.24)
- Manu has not merely attributed imaginary qualities like love of lust, love of jewels and love of idleness to women but has described as their special characteristics, impure thoughts, anger, dishonesty, deceit and immorality. (The Author), I think this is now applicable for men only, who one way dislike women and on the other hand want’s to force themselves on her without her will, which is inhuman and called rape.
- This epic (Mahabharata) pours disgrace on women just as a serpent emits its poison on its victim. (Mahabharata Anushasanam 38, 12, 25, 29)
- No birth is worse than the birth of a woman. “Women are the root-cause of all evils”. If so then without a woman how can man will born or exist?
- Fire will not be satisfied with any amount of firewood. The sea is not satisfied with any amount of water the rivers bring. A murderer is not satisfied with the slaughter of any number of animals. Similarly, women are not satisfied with any number of men.
- Women are capable of producing harm equivalent to the combined effect of poisonous fungus, a tempest, Yama, the god of the underworld, a fire pit that throws out fire continuously, the source of a spring, the sharpness of a razor, strong poison, serpents and fire. (The Mahabharata)
- Yudhishtra, who lived in the Vedic period, has also condemned the nature of women as being very low and hateful. ( The Author regarding Mahabharata)
- A women’s intellect is too deep and too cunning to be grasped by others. (Mahabharata Anushan parva 39-8)
- We learn that Prahasbathi and other great intellectuals have derived the intellectual principles only by studying about the mental power of women. (the above 39-40)
- No creature is more sinful than a woman. She is like a burning fire. A woman’s constitution has in it qualities like deceit and also a razor’s sharpness of intellect. (the above 43-22)
- Women are terrible creatures and possess wild powers. They will not love or even like anyone other than those that give them sexual pleasure. (the above 43-23)
- Women are the Adharvana mantras that destroy life. (the above 43-24)
- Even if they agree to live with a man, later they will befriend another and get ready to desert the first companion. (the above 43-24)
- They will never be satisfied with one man. (the above 43-24)
- Men should never love them. They don’t have any quality that will excite the envy of others. Men should make use of women for sexual pleasure without developing any affection for them. Instead of doing this if a man trusts a woman, he will be definitely ruined. (the above 43-24)
- When the Devas found all men like Gods, they were disturbed and met the grandfather. The grandfather understood what was in their minds, and created women for the downfall of men.
- Therefore, it is believed that women have been created to cause the downfall of men.
- Women are considered unsteady because they are not strong and sturdy.
- Even if the women are kept well protected, because they are not by nature capable of steady and deep love, they will develop love for other men and prove disloyal to their husbands (Manu 9-15)
- Since the inception of the world, the nature of women has been full of cunning. Their minds are unsteady like water drops on a lotus leaf. By nature they are wicked and they can injure men like a sword. (The Ramayana, Aranya Kanda 13-5-6)
- The faces of women are like flowers; their words are like honey; but their minds are capable of causing injury to men like a sharp razor. Nobody has sounded the depth of their minds. (The epics that came after the Ramayana)
- There cannot be anybody who is truly loved by a woman.
- A woman will not hesitate to kill her husband or her children or her brothers or any other person in order to fulfill her aim.
- Women have been mercilessly compared to a tiger and have been ill-treated and disgraced. (Bagavatha skundam 4-14,42-8,4-36)
- Women are erratic and unsteady. (Sukra)
- The following eight qualities are the characteristic qualities of women. They are: uttering lies, unsteadiness, deceit, stupidity, greed, impurity, wickedness ad rashness. (Sukra 3-163)
- When women go wrong, you can give blows on their lips with a bamboo strip or a rope or with your hand. (Arthasastra 3-3-59)
- If a wife commits a mistake, she can be beaten with a bamboo plank or a rope.
- If women are proved to be dangerous and ruinous to the society, they may be killed.
- Chakra had killed a woman called Mandhara who wished to swallow the world.
- Because Kavya Madha did not want the people of the world to have any sleep, she was killed by Vishnu.
- Because Thadakai obstructed the performance of yagas in the cottages of hermits, Rama killed her. (Ramayana 25-17)
- The birth of a female child in a family is an occasion mot for rejoicing but for sorrow.
- In Adharvana veda male children are declared desirable and not female children.
- Let a female child be born somewhere else; here, let a male child be born. (Adharvana Veda 6-2-3)
- The prayer to God Bunga contains a wish that a male child and not female child should be born. (The above 8-6-25)
- Girl children should die. (kadabasan Hitha 27A)
- But because a daughter is given in marriage o somebody, in practice, she loses contact with the parents and is considered dead. (The author)
- The women captured from the enemy during a war and the women subjected to compulsion in connection with marriage should not be considered human and should be treated as household utensils. (Dr Abinash Chandra das who has written about the Rig Veda)
- This could be seen in the Vedic period. When Yudhishtra gambled with Sakuni, he used Draupadi as a stake. (the above)
- Valmiki has written that when there was no request from anybody, Rama orally declared that voluntarily and cheerfully he was giving his wife, all that he valued and his right over the administration of the land to Bharata. (The Ramayana 2.19.14)
- What other example are needed to show that is those days a wife was considered no more valuable than a vessel or an article.(The author)
- Unable to bear the separation from his wife, a gambler is sad. He is sad not merely because she is beautiful and he is attached to her but also because she is a fitting companion and a servant. (The Rig Veda 10-31-24)
- A gambler remarks in some other place that when he is engrossed in gambling, other people lay their hands on his wife.
- We can’t say that in the ancient days the status of a wife was better than that of a servant. (The author)
- The love of a woman is never constant. Her mind is donkey like.
In the Chandagya Upanishad, chapter II, Part -13, the following verses have been chanted as mantras:-
- Himkar is when one summons (the wife), prastav when he makes a proposal (to her), udgitha when he lies down (with her), prafihar when he lies down with her lying upon her nidhana, when one comes to or attains desideratum, nidhana when he, finishing, comes out of it. It is the vama devyan as interwoven into the copulation.
- He who knows about this Vama devayan as interwoven into the copulation becomes a partaker in the copulation, procreates himself out of every copulation, lives the full duration of life, lives long and becomes great in his posterity and in renown. His maxim is that he never withdraws or abstains from women.
- Indeed, the women, O Gautama, is the sacrificial fire, the lap or sexual organ its fuel, when one appeals to her, it is the smoke the vulva and flame, the insertion the coals, the sexual pleasure the sparks. (Chapter5, part-8)
- Into this fire, the Gods sacrifice the semen. Out of this sacrificial offering arises the foetus.(do)
WE can find the following in the “Brahdaranyak Upanishad”6th chapter, fourth Brahmanan:-
- Indeed, the essence of the created being is the earth, the essence of the earth is water, the essence of water are the plants, the essence of the plants are the blossoms or flowers, the essence of the flowers are the fruits, the essence of a fruit is man, the essence of a man is semen.
- Once Prajapati(Brahma) thought; “we;;, I will prepare a dwelling place for this (semen!”and he created woman. After he created her, he sat down near her to copulate. (‘adhah upasta’ which is explained by Sankara as he did the act of sitting down near her, this action is called the copulation-translator) And he stretched out to insert this soma-pressing stone which was directed in front and created with it. That is why man should adore the women in the lower (privy) parts and consider reproduction as an act of religious adoration. Sankara interprets the soma-pressing stone as the erect male reproduction organ, which as he further interprets, was inserted into the organ characteristic of the female.
- Her genital part is the sacrificial alter, (9) if he desires that she should love him, then after having inserted the thing (the reproductive organ) in her and after having joined his mouth with her mouth, he should stroke or caress her genitals and mutter the following verse:- “You originate out of every limb, you arise forth, out of the breath, you are the quintessence of the limbs, like a wild animal(which grown wild) hit with an arrow smeared with poison make her intoxicated and mad towards me.”
- Or if he wishes that a learned and celebrated son should be born to him-the son who would continually visit the assemblies of councilors, and who would be a popular orator (making speeches which people desire to hear) and who would study all the Vedas and attain the full duration of live-both should eat rice cooked with flesh and poured over with ghee, so that they would be able to get such a son, the flesh may be of a stud-bull or an (grown up) ox.
- Then he clings to her and says; I am ama(he), you are sa (she); you are sa on which ama depends. I am the heaven and you are the earth.
So let us proceed with the act and direct the semen in each other, as a preparation for a child, the son.
- Then he makes her thighs apart and says, “Make you asunder O heaven and earth!” Then after he has inserted the thing (the organ) and joined his mouth with her mouth, he strokes her thrice along the growing hair (anulomam-pubic hair), i.e. from above towards below and utters.. (Rig Veda 10-184) (These are some of selected extracts from the Veda Sastras, Puranas and epics of Aryan religion)
SOCIAL CUSTOMS IN THE NAME OF RELIGION TO KILL WOMEN
Sir John Aunstruther, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1797-1806), banned Sati (widow burning on her husband pyre)) in Calcutta and ordered “Whoever was found to be a party to any Sati in Culcutta should be indicted for murder in the Supreme Court”. (John Clark Marshman, op.cit,vol.II, p404). But unfortunately, a case of Sati took place on September 4, 1987 at Deorala in Sikar district of Rajasthan. Even after the passage of 200 years since the ban of this evil rite, it is still being glorified in some parts of the country. Here we must mention that no husband was even forced to burn himself with his wife’s pyre, since the practice of Sati began.
Charles Grant, in his treatise “The State of Society among Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain’, wrote that not less than 25,000 women were annually burnt in Bengal. When Bentinck passed his legislative enactment for the abolition of Sati, his order was given to Carey for translation by Henry Shakespeare, Secretary to the Government. It was a Sabbath day but Carey did not want to wait. He acted promptly as he thought that a day’s delay would cost a few more lives. He was happy to note that for the first time the Ganges flowed unblooded to the sea’.
But a Hindu intellectual, Mr.Rdhakanta Dev, came to resist this legislation and went to the court with his supporters. The Privy Council dismissed the petition on July 11, 1832, and the legal battle ended. Raja Rammohan Roy’s role in the abolition of Sati was also somewhat limited. However, he did play a vital role after Bentinck’s legislative enactment. Edward Thompson, an Oxford historian, advised his friend Jawaharlal Nehru to accept the fact that the entire credit for the abolition of sati must go to Bentinck alone.
Gladstone composed a long poem “The Suttee’’ and paid a glowing tribute to Bentinck:-
It was thin the bloodless crown to win,
Proud victor over deeds of death and sin.
Spirit of England’s fame, no longer dim,
A voice of thunder, thou didst speak in him;
Echoed the glad command from shore to shore, And murder’s ghastly flame ascends no more.
When Raja Suchet Singh, Brother of Raja Gulab Singh, was killed at a place few miles from Lahore, his ten wives and three hundred unmarried ladies of his Zenana committed Sati. Mr. James Erskine, the British Agent who was in the neighbourhood, moved with a force to Ahmednagar to prevent the Ranis from committing Sati when Karan Singh, the Chief of Ahmednagar died. The Ranis were dragged to the river despite their loud cries and appeals. The unfortunate Ranis were “stupefied with narcotics and immersed in alcohol”.
When Raja Budh Singh of Bundi, who was one of the generals of Aurangzeb, died, eighty–four women committed Sati. On the death of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Marwar sixty-four women burnt themselves. The records further show 237 Satis taking place with the death of nine Maharanas of Bundi.
In Sind Bentinck’s regulation of 1829, was not operative. The priests said that it was a very sacred religious rite which must not be meddled with and that all natives had customs which should be respected. TO this Mr.Napier replied:
“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom, prepare the funeral pile. But my nation also has a custom. When men burn women we hang them and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall, therefore, erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let everybody act according to national customs.” Sati, disappeared from Sind, thereafter.
There is no doubt about the fact that a large number of lives were saved by this noble legislation.
Emperor Akbar said: “It is the custom in Hindustan for a woman to burn herself however unwilling she may be, on her husband’s death and give her priceless life with a cheerful countenance conceiving it to be the means of her husband’s salvation”.
He discouraged the practice of Sati, and on one occasion rode nearly a hundred miles at utmost speed to rescue the daughter of the Raja of Jodhpur. He exercised, as was his wont, a judicious restraint in the criticism of the rite of Sati. He had no sympathy for the practice and pitied the lot of the helpless widow who sacrificed herself. He ordered that the kotwal be instructed not to allow women to be burnt contrary to their inclination. He also encouraged widow-remarriage.
But in the 762 years of Muslim rule, this inhuman act was going on without any resistance from the ruler whether by a country law or by a personal virtue. This was a tragic history of the Muslim ruler’s in such a long period in India.
Thevenot and Careri confirm that after the performance of Sati the Brahmins had the right to touch the ashes and gather all the melted gold, silver and copper. The Brahmins received from wealthy families as much as two hundred rupees on the occasion of widow-burning.
The Brahmin priests had knowledge about the juice of some herbs which when mixed with sandal paste and rubbed over the body would render the Sati insensible to heat. The juice can be comparable to an anesthesia.
INHUMAN ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF SATI
Advocate: I alluded to the real reason of our anxiety to persuaded widows to follow their husbands, and for our endeavours to burn them, pressed down with ropes; viz. That woman is by nature of inferior understanding, without resolution, unworthy of trust, subject to passions, and void of virtuous knowledge. They, according to the precepts of the Shastra, are not allowed to marry again after the demise of their husbands, and are consequently deprived at once, of all worldly pleasures. Hence it is evident, that death to these unfortunate widows is preferable to existence; for the great difficulty which a widow may experience by living a purely ascetic life, as prescribed by the Shastras, is obvious. Therefore, if she does not perform concremation, it is probable that she may be guilty of such acts as may bring disgrace upon her paternal and maternal relations and those that may be connected with her husband. Under these circumstances, we instruct them, from their early life, in the idea of concremation, holding out to them heavenly enjoyments in company with their husbands as well as the beatitude of their relations, both by birth and marriage, and their reputation in this world. From this many of them, on the death of their husbands, become desirous of accompanying them; but to remove every chance of their trying to escape from the blazing fire, in burning them we first tie them down to the pile.
HUMANTARIUN ARGUMENT AGAINST SATI
The reason you have assigned for burning widows alive is indeed your true motive, as we are well aware; but the faults which you have inputted to women are not planted in their constitution by nature. It would be, therefore, grossly criminal to condemn that sex to death merely as a precaution. By ascribing to them all sorts of improper conduct, you have indeed, successfully persuaded the Hindu community to look down upon them as contemptible and mischievous creatures, hence they have been subjected to constant miseries. I have, therefore, to offer a few remarks on this head.
Women are in general inferior to men in bodily strength and energy. Consequently, the male section of the community, taking advantage of their corporeal weakness, have denied to them those excellent merits that they are entitled to by nature, and afterwards they are apt to say that women are naturally incapable of acquiring those merits. But if we give the subject consideration, we may easily assert whether or not your accusation against them is consistent with justice. Look after the merit list of modern day school/collage results, you will find out they are outnumber in merit list among their counterpart means male.
As to their inferiority in point understanding, when did you ever afford them a fair opportunity of exhibiting their natural capacity? How then can you accuse them of want of understanding? If, after the impart of knowledge and wisdom, a person cannot comprehend or retain what he has been taught, we may consider him as deficient; but as you keep women generally void of education and acquirements, you cannot therefore, in justice, pronounce on their inferiority. On the contrary, Leelavatee, Bhanumat, the wife of the Prince of Kurnat, and that of Kalidas, are celebrated for their thorough knowledge of all the Shastras; moreover in the Vrihadaranyak Upanishad of the Yajur Veda it is clearly stated, that Yagnavalkya imparted divine knowledge of the most difficult nature to his wife Maitreyee, who was able to follow and completely attain it.
Secondly, you charge them with want of resolution, at which I feel exceedingly surprised. We constantly perceive, in a country where the name of death makes the male shudder that the female, from her firmness of mind, offers to burn with the corpse of her deceased husband; and yet you accuse her of deficiency in point of resolution.
Thirdly, with regard to their trustworthiness, let us look minutely into the conduct of both sexes, and we may be enabled to ascertain which of them is more frequently guilty of betraying friends. If we enumerate such women in each village or town as have been deceived by men, and such men as have been betrayed by women, I presume that the number of the deceived women would be found ten times greater than that of the betrayed by men. “Virginity no longer precious for modern women” but what about men? Males are conscious about their honesty of loyalty towards their womenfolk. Men are, in general, able to read and write, and manage public affairs, by means of which they easily promulgate such faults as women occasionally commit, but never consider as criminal the misconduct of men towards women. However, it must be acknowledged that women have one fault. By considering others equally void of duplicity as themselves they give their confidence too readily, from which they suffer much misery, even so far that some of them are misled to suffer themselves to be burnt to death.
In the fourth place, the question of their subjection to the passions can be judged by the custom of marriage and its effect on the respective sexes. A man may marry two or three sometimes even ten wives or more; while a woman, who marries but one husband, desires at his death to follow him, forsaking all worldly enjoyments, or chooses to lead the austere life of an ascetic.
If a man can marry two women at a time then why can’t a woman marry two men at a time? Biologically women sexuality are more powerful than men, even some occasion they alone at a time are force to manage more than a dozen or more normally satisfying men’s sexual act. Are men capable to do it? Like Devdasi System, Devadasi means the servant of God in the Hindu temple who marries the God. She dances, plays songs before the God, the priest and before other notable persons who give her the necessary amount to maintain her daily livelihood. Anybody can enjoy these Devadasis as it is their duty to serve the people as an offering to God. Think of in the name of God this abuse against womanhood has got recognition in temples. Old Devadasis in the Tirupati temple were marked with a hot iron rod on their breast and buttock to identify them and this mark was called the ‘Seal of Lord Venkateshwara’. The new name given to these Devadasis is ‘Kalijug Laksmi’ which means Goddesses of the Dark Age.
Jogini system exists in Andhra Pradesh in the the district of Telengana & Nizamabad. It has been recorded that there are 10,000 and 25,000 Joginis, respectively, in these two districts. This news was published in the National Institute of Social Science Action and read by the then Governor of A.P.Smt.Kumudbin Joshi. Under this system a poor villagers sell their daughters to urban landlords who take the charge of the girls and arrange for their marriage with God when they are about 5-9 years old. Later when they reach their puberty age the moneylenders possess them. The children born out of these girls have no right over their father’s property. The female child follows her mother’s footstep. (Change of Society by Jatin Bagchi (Bengali)
Fifthly, the accusation of their want of virtuous knowledge is an injustice, observe what pain, what slighting, what contempt, and what afflictions their virtue enables them to tolerate.
There are many Kooleen Brahmins who marry ten,fifteen or more wives for the sake of money, who never see the greater of them after the day of marriage, and visit others only three or four times in the course of their life. Still most of those women, even without seeing or receiving any support from their husbands, living dependent on their fathers or brothers, and suffering much distress, continue to preserve their virtue. As recorded by the then noted writer Iswar Chandra Bidyasagar, the 55 years old Iswar Chand Mukhopadhyaya had 107 wives. The wives were aged between 3 months to 20 years for a 60-70 years old Kulin Brahmin. He has given a chart with names and addresses of some more people. (Bidhya Sagar publication p-201-208, 2nd part)
Bamuner Maya (Daughter of a Brahmin), Is one of the famous noble by Sarat Chandra Chaterji he has describe in this noble the system of Kuleen in Bengal practiced by Brahmins and Kayastha’s . In this book Sandha forced to tell her story to her lover Arun that she is not a daughter of a Brahmin. She described that her grandmother has narrated her life story, unknowingly she was forced to sleep with a barber instead of her husband Mukund Mukherji. This barber Hiru was the helper of her husband Mukunda Mukherji. Hiru was deputed by Mukund Mukherji to collect money from his young wives.
Hiru was used to come and introduced him as Mukund Mukherji, as no body then identify him and he used to come to Sandha’s grandmother’s house as she was very beautiful and in this way she become pregnant by Hiru barber. By the time few people has identified Hirus real caste and exposed his identity. In this way Sandha’s father Prianath was born and both mother and son left in Varanasi to hide the story.
When Hiru exposed then he admitted all what he has done and how he followed the instructions from his master Mukund Mukherji. He also admitted that he used to collect money from 10-12 places by using this same tricks as Mukund Mukherji. Hiru explained that he is not alone in this business and many more kulleen Brahmins are doing the same things.
When Indians, bring their wives to live with them, what misery do the women not suffer? During marriage the wife is recognized as the other half of her husband, but afterwards she is treated worse than animals. For the woman is employed to do the work of a slave in the house. She is made to clean the house very early in the morning, to scour the dishes, to wash the floor, to cook night and day, to prepare and serve food for her husband, father–in-law, mother–in-law, sister–in-law, brother–in-law, friends and relatives. For amongst Indians, relatives reside together, and form large families. If in the preparation or while serving the victuals they commit the smallest, fault, what insult do they not receive from their husbands, their mothers-in-law, and the younger brothers of their husbands? After all the male members of the family have satisfied themselves, the women content themselves with what is left, whether sufficient in quantity or not. Where Indians are not wealthy, their women are obliged to attend to their cows, and to prepare the cow-dung for fuel. In the afternoon they fetch water from the river or tank, and at night perform the office of menial servants in making the beds. In case of any fault or omission in the performance of these labours they receive cruel treatment. Should the husband acquire wealth, he indulges in criminal amours to her perfect knowledge and almost under her eyes, and does not see her perhaps even once a month. As long as the husband is poor, she suffers every kind of trouble, and when he becomes rich she is altogether heart-broken. All this pain and affliction her virtue alone enables her to support. Where a husband takes two or three wives to live with, they are subjected to mental miseries and constant quarrels. They virtuously endure even this distressed situation. Sometimes it happens that the husband, from a preference for one of his wives, behaves cruelly to another. Amongst the lower classes and those members of the better class who have not associated with good company, the wife, on the slightest fault, or even on bare suspicion of her misconduct, is chastised as a thief. Respect for virtue and the concern for reputation generally makes them forgive even this treatment. If, unable to bear such cruel usage, a wife leaves her husband’s house to live separately then the influence of the husband with the magisterial authority is generally sufficient to place her again in his hands. In revenge for her quitting him, he seizes every pretext to torment her in various ways, and sometimes even puts her to death. These are facts occurring every day and are not to be denied. What I lament is that, seeing the women thus dependent and exposed to every misery you feel for them no compassion that might exempt them from being tied down and burnt to death.
One common image of a woman, which is neither Hindu nor Muslim, nor Christian and others is that of an Indian woman as an embodiment of suffering, self-sacrifice and self-effacement. This is very obvious in Indian movies, literature and art. An Indian woman is overtly or covertly told that she is a true woman only when she suffers in silence, toils and labours and serves herself last. It is a very noble image, which many women have accepted as their sacred role, and perhaps this is the secret behind many a successful marriage. But what has it done to women?
The Constitution of India has given equal rights to every citizen irrespective of sex, religion, Caste etc, and our women should work to uphold the probation for their benefit. By imparting proper education and providing equal facilities the condition of the fair sex can be improved. Until or unless it provides equal opportunities to both sexes there is little hope to improve the condition of the women.
SOCIAL REFORM LIKE HINDU CODE BILL
Once Dr.B.R.Ambedkar the first law minister of free India and the chairman of Constitution draft committee, an architecture to frame the modern Indian constitution, which helps to build the modern India as we experienced today. He argued to the Hindu social reformists regarding the uplift of women and downtrodden people in India from the period Hindu rule to Muslim rule then British rule. He said that Hindus say that their civilization is older than any civilization, Hinduism as a religion is superior to any other religion. If this is so, how is that Hinduism failed to elevate these people, bring them enlightenment and hope; how is it that it failed even to reclaim them; how is it that it stood with folded hands when millions and millions were taking to life of shame and crime? What is the answer to this? The only answer is that Hinduism is overwhelmed with the fear of pollution. It has not got the power to purity. It has not the impulse to serve and that is because by its very nature it is inhuman and immoral. It is a misnomer to call it religion. Its philosophy is opposed to the very thing for which religion stands.
Further he said, “In our Constitution we adopted a middle course; the course that we adopted was this, that while we will permit people to practice and to profess their religion and incidentally, to have their personal law because the personal law is so embedded in their religion, yet the State has retained, all along in article 25, the right to interfere in the personal law of any community in this country. There can be no argument against that. That is my point. The only question is the time, the occasion and the circumstances.
I want to assert in this House, while I am here, that I shall here no argument from any community saying that this Parliament has no right to interfere in their personal law or any other laws. This Parliament is absolutely supreme and we deal with any community so far as their personal law is concerned apart from their religion. Let no community be in a state of mind that they are immune from the sovereign authority of this Parliament.
Then the President of India was threaten that if the Hindu code bill passed in the Parliament then he will send it to reconsider again as this bill to modify and codify certain laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, adoption and property rights for the female child.
Here I have quoted some important portions of the debate in the Parliament regarding the Hindu code bill, submitted by the then law Minister Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.
- B.R.Ambedkar:…….. The original Bill said that the daughter shall get a share equal to half the share of the son and in order to make equity equitable in devising the line of succession to the stridhan property of the woman they had also provided that in that case the son will take one half of what the daughter takes, so that the daughter will take one half of the father’s and the son will take one half of the mother’s property. I can’t say that was an inequitable propositions but somehow the Select Committee…. And I believe I can say, against the best part of their judgment increased in their enthusiasm the share of the daughter in the father’s property from one half to one full share, equal to the of the son. (An Honourable Member: “The son is also given.”)
I am aware of that. With regard to succession to females there are only two changes which the Select Committee has made. Under the existing rule the husband of a woman, in the case of succession to females, comes much later under the Hindu law and that provision was included by the old Rau Committee. The Select Committee felt that it was rather unjust, because it may be it is often possible that much of the property which is called stridhan property or property which comes into the hands of a woman may and perhaps does, to a very large extent come from the husband and if the husband is the principal source of the property, that comes into the hands of the woman, it is not proper that it should be passed on to other stridhan heirs, so that the husband now shares the stridhan, simultaneously, with the other heirs of a woman. Since the Bill increased the share of the daughter in the father’s property they also pari passu made the share of the son in the mother’s stridhan property equal to that of the daughter…………
- Vol-14, part -1 of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar’s Writings & Speeches.
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar: …….. Consequently, what will happen in the Hindu society as far as marriage law is concerned if there will be a competition between the old and the new systems? We hope that those who are following the new path will win subsequently. But, as I say, if they do not, we are quite content to allow two parallel systems of marriage to be operative in this country and anyone may make his own choice. There is no violation of Shastra, no violation of a Smriti at all.
With regard to Monogamy it may be said that it is a new innovation. But I must point out that I do think that any member in this house will be able to point out, having regard for customary law or having regard for our Shatras, that a Hindu husband had at all times an unfettered, unqualified right to Polygamy. That was never the case. Even today, in certain parts of South India there are people who follow this, for instance a section of the Nattukottai Chettiyars. The case has been reported in the reports of the Privy Council itself and I am not depending on mere hearsay evidence. Among these people there is a custom that a husband cannot marry a second wife unless he obtains the consent of his first wife. Secondly, when consent is obtained he must allot to her a certain amount of property which I think is called moppu in the Tamil Language. That property becomes her absolute property so that if after her consent the husband marries and ill-treats her, she has a certain amount of economic competence in her own hands to lead an independent life. I cite that as an illustration to show that there has not been an unqualified right for Polygamy.
A second illustration which I would like to give would be from the Arthashastra by Kautilyla. I do not know how many members of the House have perused that book; I suppose many of them have. If they have, they will realize that the right to marry a second wife has been considerably limited by Kautilya. In the first place, no man can remarry for the first ten or twelve years because he should be satisfied that the woman is not capable of producing children. That was one limitation. The second limitation imposed by Kautilya on the right of the second marriage was that the husband was to return to the woman all the Stridhan that she had acquired at the time of marriage. It is only under these two conditions that Kautilya’s Arthashastra permitted a Hindu husband to marry for the second time.
Thirdly, in our own country, in the legislation that has been passed in various provinces, monogamy has been prescribed. For instance, both the marumakkathayam and the aliyasanthanam law prescribe monogamy as a rule of marital life. Similarly, the recent legislation that has been passed in Bombay, Madras and Baroda prescribes monogamy.
I hope the House will see from the instances I have given that; we are not making any very radical or revolutionary change. We have precedent for what we are doing, both in the laws that have been passed by various states in India and also in the ancient shastras such as Kautilya’s Arthashastra. If I may go further, we have got the precedent of the whole world which recognizes monogamy as the most salutary principle so far as marital relations are concerned.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta (Delhi): What about the Mohammedan Law?
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar: We shall come to Mohammedan law later. Coming to the question of divorce, here again I should like to submit to the House that this is in no way an innovation. Everybody in this House knows that the community of the Shudras has customary divorce. However, no body has even probably made any calculation as to the total number of Shudras who go to compose the Hindu society, but I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that the Shudras form practically 90 percent of the total population of the Hindus. What are called the ‘regenerated’ classes probably do not fill more than ten percent of the total population of this country, and the question that I want to ask you all is this: Are you going to have the law of 90 percent of the people as the general law of this country, or are you going to have the law of 10 percent of the people being imposed upon the 90 percent? That is a simple question which every member must answer and can answer.
So far as the ‘regenerated’ classes are concerned there was a time, if one refers for instance to the time when the Narada Smriti or the Parashara Smriti were written, when the smritis recognized that a woman can divorce her husband if he has abandoned her. If he dies or if he has taken parivraja then she was entitled to have a second husband. Consequently, at a later stage I may read to you some extracts from your Shastras. (A member: “Your Shastras?”. Yes, because I belong to a different caste.
I shall read the extracts to show that what has actually happened in this country is that somehow, unfortunately, unnoticed, unconsciously; custom has been allowed to trample upon the texts of the Shastras which were all in favour of the right sort of marital relations. My submission, therefore, to the house is that whatever new principles have been introduced in the laws of marriage or divorce are both just and reasonable and have been amply supported by our Shastras as well as by the experiences of the world as a whole.
With regard to adoption, there are again three points of controversy. One point of controversy with regard to adoption is this, that like the old Hindu law we do not make similarity or identity of caste a requisite for a valid adoption. We follow the same rule that we have followed with regard to marriage. Here again, I may say that if a Brahmin wants to adopt a Brahmin boy, he is free to do so. If Kayasth wants to adopt a Kayasth boy, he is free to do so. If a Shudra wants to adopt a boy of his own community he is free to do so. If a Brahmin is so enlightened as not to adopt a boy belonging to his own community but adopts a Shudra, he is even permitted to do so. There is therefore, no kind of imposition.
Now, I come to woman’s property. I do not know how many members of this house are familiar with the intricacies of this subject.
So far as I have been able to study this subject, I do not think that there is any other subject in the Hindu Law which is as complicated, as intricate as the subject of women’s property. (A Member: “As the woman herself?”) As the woman herself. If you ask the question, what is stridhan, before answering that question, you have to ask another question and find an answer for it. You must first of all ask, ’whether she is a maiden’ or ‘whether she is a married women’. Because, what property is stridhan and what property is not stridhan depends upon the status of the woman? Certain property is stridhan if she has obtained it while she is a maiden; certain property is not stridhan if she has obtained it after marriage. Consequently, if you ask the question what is the line of inheritance to the stridhan, you have again to ask the question whether the stridhan belongs to a maiden or the stridhan belongs to a married woman. When you come to the question of succession to a married woman’s property, you have again to ask the question, does she belong to the Bengal School or does she belong to the Mitakshara School. If you ask the question whether she belongs to the Mitakshara School, you will never be able to find a definite answer unless you probe further and ask whether she belongs to the Mithila School or the Banaras School or some other School…………….
The committee, in my judgment, very rightly, came to the conclusion that if in certain cases women were competent and intelligent to sell and l dispose of their property, they must be held to be competent in respect of the disposal of the other property also. That is the reason why the committee has made this rule that women should now possess absolute property.
The other question that arises on this issue is that women’s property is the share of the daughter. I know it would be a very great under-statement to say that this is a ticklish question; it is a very anxious question. Today there are many people in this world and in India, both orthodox and unorthodox, who cannot help producing daughters: they do. I do not know what would happen to this world if daughters were not born. At the same time, they do not want to extend to the daughter the same love and affection which a parent is bound to extend both to the male and female issue………………..
She has always been there both according to the Mitakshara and according to the Dayabhaga. The only innovation which the Bill seeks to make is to raise the status of the daughter. Under the Bill she becomes a simultaneous heir, along with the widow of the predeceased son and the widow of the predeceased son of a predeceased son………………….
There is no doubt that the two Smritikars whom I have mentioned, Yyagnavalkya and Manu, rank the highest among the 137 who had tried their hands in framing Smrities. Both of them have stated that the daughter is entitled to one forth share. It is a pity that somehow, for some reason, custom has destroyed the efficacy of that text; otherwise, the daughters would have been, on the basis of our own Smritis, entitled to get one fourth share….. I have not the least doubt about it that if the Privy Council had not given the decision, that custom will override text, some lawyer, some judge would have found it quite possible to unearth the texts of Yagnavalkya and Manusmriti, and women today would have been enjoying, if not more, at least one fourth of the share of their property.
The original Bill had raised the share of the daughter to one half. My Select Committee went a step further and made her share full and equal to that of the son…………
Shrimati Renuka Ray (West Bengal: General): Unanimously!
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Was it a compromise between twice the share of a son claimed and half the share provided in the Bill?
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar: It was not a compromise. My enemies combined with my enthusiastic supporters and my enemies thought that they might damn the Bill by making it appear worse than it was.
Shri H.V.Kamath: Have you any enemies?
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar: However, this is the position, namely, so far as the daughter’s share is concerned, the only innovation that we are making is that her share is increased and that we bring her in line with the son or the widow……………….
We examined the Muslim system of inheritance, the Parsi system of inheritance, the Indian Succession Act and the line of succession that had been laid down and we also examined the British system of inheritance, and nowhere could we find any case where a daughter was excluded from a share. There is no system anywhere in the world where a daughter has been excluded…………………
Shrimati G. Durgabai (Madras: General):…………………………
May I ask what sort of affection it is on the part of the brother’s if it would not sustain a little more strain on their own self-interest? May I also ask that if no share is given to the daughter will the brother’s love increase? …………
What they mean by fragmentation I feel, is the diminution of the share which they will get if the daughter is also given a share, the daughter being of the same flesh and blood, should there be so much uproar, I ask, if a share is sought to be given to her? ……
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: ……………..
A man had the Mahabyarata and the Ramayana recited in his house for six months. Thereafter, he asked his daughter, “You have heard the story. What is the lesson you derive?” “Well,” replied the daughter, “from the Mahabharata I learn that I can have five husbands as Draupadi had five husbands.” From whole of the Mahabharata this is all that she learnt. Enquired about the lesson she derived from the Ramayana the daughter-in-law replied, “It is very clear. As soon as my husband dies I can get married to my husband’s brother. You know what happened after Rabvana dies, his widow Mandodari married his brother Bibhisan.” ………
Smt Kamala Chaudhari (UP General):-…………………………..
If, however, a widowed sister happens to come and live in that very home, her place is in the kitchen and her lot is none better than that of a cook. In the home where, the brothers enjoy life on the strength of the father’s property, the father’s wealth, in that very home I have seen, with my own eyes, the sister pining for milk for her young children. She too has the desire that her children should have good things to eat and good clothes to wear and that they should receive good education in the same way as her brothers children. But the law has sealed her mouth. She is tongue tied and dare not give vent to her feelings. I would like, very respectfully, to ask those people, who are opposing this provision today, whether this is in accordance with Hindu law and, if so, which school of our philosophy sanctions this injustice towards woman. Hence, I think that the provision related to the daughter having a share in her father’s property is very much in consonance with the times and compatible with our faith and culture and I hope it will be considered in a very generous spirit. …..
Nature has made a boy and a girl equal in the eyes of their parents. Then why is it that a boy should have a share in his father’s property but a girl should have none? I feel that is also a kind of injustice. This is another matter that in view of the present set-up of our society some people might, per chance, be entertaining doubts and anticipating difficulties with regard to the practical application of this Bill, because the position occupied by a “”son-in-law”” in our society is rather peculiar. All his life he is called Jamai babu or pahuna (the Guest) and never becomes a member of the family he marries into. I feel that if the daughter is conceded this right, the result would be that the son of another family who comes in as the son-in-law could also live as a member of the daughter’s family as if he were a third son to the father who already has two, and this should encourage mutual love and affection. The argument that this would strain relations between brothers and sisters or break them for good cannot appeal to me.
Shrimati G.Durgabai: ……………
It is said that the greater prosperity of the people in Bengal and their increasing commercial enterprise is to a large extent due to the Dayabhaga system. …….
A FLUID STATE
Women in India is honoured and venerated, exalted to the status of Mother Goddess and is worshipped as Durga, Kali, Lakshmi and in various other forms. This deification celebrates her universal power which evokes both fear and reverence. The concept of ardhanariswara is a symbolic representation of the fact that man is incomplete without woman, and yet, she is treated as an animal on an inanimate commodity. She is castigated for her assumed fickleness and fragility. Being supposedly inconsistent she needs protection at every state of her life. Perhaps this belief tries to justify the authority of the father, husband and son, on her entire existence.
The ideology of female subordination has been weaved into our social-political fabric. It is pervasive and has penetrated into every layer of our society affecting our views and ethos. From birth the male child is conditioned to expect that his every wish will be fulfilled. On the other hand only women have the child carrying womb and it is absent to the male. Sex determination start to detect whether the new formed embryos is male or female and some cases force the woman to abort it if fined it is a female. After birth she start to suffer, neglected and crushed one way or the other, she comes to expect very little from her life in the patriarch society which rule by law made by male. In most cases by the time she is an adult, she loses all self-worth or respect for herself. She falls in the habit of accepting all the humiliation heaped on her. The social system is predominantly characterized by patriarchy. After marriage a girl finds herself in a new home amidst absolute strangers. The children born to her belong to her husband’s lineage. The male members of the family, generally, possess all power. Of course, a female headed household is not unheard of, but matriarchy is a concept prevalent in just a few pockets of the society. Northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya and adjoining state report less violent against women due to influence of matriarchy.
Women are more readily defiled. They become easy targets of biased social attitudes. There still exists a strong sense of restrain on any action taken by a woman. Even today unfair rules and restrictions are imposed upon her all in the name of culture, tradition and religious dictation. The patrilineal part of the society expects several virtues in a woman. It has set up double standards in maintaining different yardsticks to measure the degree of chastity in a man and a woman. In this context a hypocritical attitude is sharply evident. Man claims to the open-minded. He presents himself as promoter of gender equality. But on the question of adultery he refuses to compromise with any weakness shown by his counterpart. It is most ironical how he himself indulges in similar acts of immorality and usually manages to get away with it without even feeling the slightest pangs of conscience. While the men make could proclamation before their girlfriends that they love them for their unconventional sexual mores they readily submit when their parents fix up their marriages with virtuous young maidens of the appropriate cast and community.
Distinction is made even in the allocation of duties to both the sexes. The management of the house hold is considered invariably, as the woman’s responsibility. Demands of higher standards of living and increasing costs have forced women to share the burden of earning livelihood. Apart from this in a good number of cases it is the urge to make oneself self-sufficient which has inspired the fair-sex to enter the professional world of hardships. Whatever the cause may be, it has made life more difficult and of course, challenging for women. Now a day they have to work equally hard both at home and outside. Even daily laborers both works hole day and women used to come back and do all the house hold work and to do all duties for the children on the other hand men used to drinks and sometimes beat the wife.
At home they have to care for the needs of every family member. Any lapse on their part is seriously condemned. Outside the four walls of the house they have to cope with every stress and perhaps more than what a man does. Moreover, a man will never accept the fact that his wife earns more than him or is more competent than him. Numerous expectations from all fronts leave her drained of all her energy and spirit. The mindset of a large segment of the society has not changed or will not change automatically as they enjoy the life on the cost of others hard work. Only revolt can change the mentality and teach them the language of equality, liberty and fraternity. It is not uncommon for men to watch their favourite programs on television, while their wives, at that very hour, prepare dishes and wash utensils. This simple instance from everyday life reveals a lot.
Wives normally end up playing nurses and maids to their husbands, besides of course, being the outlet of sexual urges for them. They expect no gratitude or praise for combining their many roles as income-providers, super-moms and efficient housekeepers. If they slip up any one role, it becomes a matter of life and death for them.
Modern man is supposedly enlightened. But even today infertility of a woman is considered a curse. She is expected to give birth to a male child. No family is complete without a son. The scale tilts in favour of boys. This bias remains in the minds of those who otherwise claim to be the supporters of gender-equality. The age-old, deep-rooted, traditional prejudice against girls still persists. To have a son is considered as a privilege and is a cherished notion with even those people who are moderately free from a narrow-mindedness. The attitude of the people remains almost unchanged-the jubilations on the birth of a girl child are perfunctory as compared to the absolute ecstasy at the birth of a male child.
It’s long since women have been discriminated and marginalized. Their oppressed state has attracted the serious attention of many social reformers who have done substantial work to support women’s emancipation. The strong urge to break away from a life of disrespect has inspired woman, now and then, to rise in revolt against any effort to subdue and exploit her. But even today, due to some loopholes, women’s complete liberation remains an unfulfilled desire. Any attempt by the fair sex to secure for themselves a life of pride and recognition has earned them innumerable challenges. Even no, the story of a woman ‘making a mark’ leaves many of us amazed and quite a few of us insecure and bitter.
In the last few decades the general awareness about the degraded status of women in society has become quite prominent. The vital role played by women in various national liberation movements shows that they are genuinely capable of acting with courage and conviction. If the goal is to end inequality and injustice then the first step towards fulfilling it had been taken long time back. Various women’s movements have given voice to the suppressed status of women, each carrying its own ideology, perspective and approach. Serious attempts have been made to draw attention towards lack of education among women, unfair religious customs, social beliefs and superstitions.
Despite constitutional mandate and court judgments providing gender equality, instances of discrimination against women are routine. One frequently reads of bride-burning and dowry deaths. The laws prohibiting it, are comprehensive, the penalties are stiff. Yet, we see an increase in dowry-related violence. As long as men-women relationships are built on an edifice of inequality and fear, such forms of violence will remain an ugly reality in our lives.
The promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women are fundamental issues for any society that hopes to make social progress and achieve human rights goals. New ways need to be found to maintain the momentum for the attainment of women’s liberation. It is impossible to end gender biased violence without the unadulterated involvement of men. There has to be a transformation in the gender stereotyping that has kept women confined to subservient roles and has made men to believe that violence is an acceptable way to deal with problems at all levels. All barriers to full equality have to be repealed. Social and traditional obstacles to women’s education, employment and all other aspects are to be eradicated.
The present picture is grim. There has been progress with regard to gender issues but a Herculean effort is still needed to hasten change. In order to make man-woman equality a reality, the human mind will have to liberate itself from many obsolete concepts. This will allow the egalitarian principles to elevate our social life. The phenomenon of women’s oppression is deep-rooted and old and specially it is supported by the religious dictate. Compared to this the changes made are neither long-lasting nor omnipresent. The eternal question remains unanswered as to how and when will women ultimately achieve the unfulfilled dream of a completely free and respectful life. All we can do is to move ahead with a strong hope that twenty five years down the line man and woman will stand on the same platform to make this world a better place to live in for all.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HINDU CODE BILL
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar said: No law passed by the Indian Legislature in the past or likely to be passed in the future can be compared to it (Hindu code bill) in point of its significance. To leave inequality between class and class, between sex and sex, which is the soul of Hindu society, untouched, and to go on passing legislation relating to economic problems is to make a farce of our Constitution and to build a palace on a dung heap.
He asked the opponent that they have forgotten the provisions contained in the Indian Constitution. Article 15 of the Indian Constitution which we have passed says, in definite and clear terms, under Fundamental Rights:
Article 15 says ”The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”.
MAN AN WOMAN ON EQUAL FOOTING
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar said, “Our progress will be greatly accelerated if male education is pursued side by side with the female education, the fruits of which you can very well see verified in your own daughter”.
- The Hindu code places women on per with men in matter of property, adoption and marriage. She can now choose her spouse from any caste, high or low, a privilege previously enjoyed by man only.
- She has been given absolute right on her property.
- Can inherit as mother, sister, or daughter in the property of the deceased, equally with the sons.
- The adopted son cannot deprive her of her share in her husband’s property.
- A girl can also be adopted.
- For adoption the wife’s consent is necessary.
- A destitute man can claim maintenance from his more fortunate wife.
Later Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was forced to resign from the Cabinet since he was not allowed to pass the Hindu Code Bill. It can be easily judged that he was fully committed towards the development of the fair sex and their equal rights.