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By Sumit Priya on Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 01:33 pm: Edit Post
Recently a matrimonial advertisement in a leading newspaper stated: -
Wanted alliance for a 29/5'6" software engineer boy. Caste no bar. The girl should be beautiful and carry backless choli with ease and hold a cigar in left hand and wine glass in the right hand gracefully.
Let us investigate the position of women in India throughout history.
During prehistoric age the position of women was similar to that of cattle stock. Just like the cattle the number of women in a group signified the power of the group. Most of the time these people indulged in hunting or fighting over cattle and/or women.
Not much is know about the Indus Valley Civilization. From artifacts it appears that this civilized society had respect for women, as archeologists have found many idols of mother goddess.
In ancient India women had very high position in society. Education was wide spread among them and they actively participated in social and political life. (Sanghamitra, daughter of Ashoka the Great, was a celebrity Buddhist scholar.) It is believed many women were involved in scientific research too. Queens ruled in many kingdoms or shared equal power with kings.
During the Medieval period there was a steady decline in the position of women in India. Education was barred and their role was confined to home making. They had no say in the financial, social or political issues.
During the Modern period, before independence, there were social reformers like Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar etc. and social writers like Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore etc. who did their bit for upliftment of women. Lord Bentic who banned the Sati - Pratha and started English education in India sowed the seeds of their process of upliftment. Though the western philosophy, gained by English education, was !
limited only to the elite schools and colleges were set up for girls too, in this period.
In the post-independence period English education gained patronage even in the middle class. Writers like Mahadevi Varma, Jainendra, Agyeya (Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayana) etc. have portrayed women 'powerful characters' in their literature and made women to realize their potential. Their literature was appreciated by masses and slowly, but surely, the society started to change. People realized that a married couple is like two equal wheels of a cart. And thus women started contributing to society on many fronts, joining hands to their counterpart.
This was followed by another social revolution that was initiated by the economic liberalization in the early 90's. During this period a heroine in a typical bollywood film was defined as 'one who wears mini-skirt in the starting of film and ends with a sari'. This indicates that the society accepted a bold girlfriend but the wife as a typical Bharitya Nari only.
In the post liberalization era having a bold n beautiful girlfriend has become a status symbol. Searching for a fashionable girlfriend is a major thrust of life for young's and they expect their wife to be an equal partner in their life, contributing in the economic front too.
Now it appears a wife has again become a piece of jewellery which men flaunt with full ostentation. Backless is not only a fashion statement; it is also an indication of the boldness of the wearer. As far as smoking and drinking is concerned these have become part and parcel of today's social life. People who do not indulge in these activities are considered backward and gawar. At least one thing has not changed; people still want a beautiful wife.
People want these kinds of so-called bold wife because these traits are considered as modernity in the present day society. This means they would be able to identify with the present society, mingle with them with ease and become in tune!
with times. Such wife can also be useful in situations like pleasing the boss to get that undeserved promotion or to impress the client to strike a deal.
Whether this is what Woman's Lib is all about or is this going back to square one (a woman as an object in the prehistoric age) or it is just a means to achieve success at any cost; it is difficult to tell. It seems it is a combination of all these factors. What is evident that it is an indication of degradation of society and of the fact that our society has become hollow by the corrosions and decays. Whatever we see is just a shell; inside there is no intellectuality, no morality, no compa