Can women be compared to men? Are they equal to them? Given the biological differences, are women psychologically different from men or cerebrally inferior to them? This is a long far war which is infinitely unending and brain-draining. I say the answer ‘no’ but the millennia of oppression, perception and relegation have pushed the womenfolk downwards the human civilization.
With the nation set up on the blazing fire of transgression, hatred and violence, there is a constant need to go back to history — to the time where our leaders emplaced an example of veracity, morals and unwavering principles.
On the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I’m sharing some of his views that concern Indian society and humanity — that somehow also impacts the women of our country.
“Women have been suppressed under custom and law for which man was responsible and in the shaping of which she had no hand. Rules of social conduct must be framed by mutual cooperation and consultation. Women have been taught to regard themselves as slaves of men. Women must realize their full status and play their part as equals of men.” — Mahatma Gandhi.[Source]
According to Gandhi’s views, women should not be treated as objects of fascination or contentment but as ‘honored comrades in common service’.
We acknowledge Shastras that portrays Sita, Draupadi, and Damayanti as women of firm, pure and self-controlled character. Yes, they were firm and self-controlled, but how can one assess their purity, and based on what? Is purity only limited to sexual purity? Or is it the only aspect to judge the character of a woman?
Ages have passed, but the assessment of a woman based on her sexual purity, or say virginity, still holds for this society. Women like Sita, Draupadi, and Damayanti, though, stood up on their ‘character test’, yet, they were oppressed by the men of their society and succumbed to its social system.
These women cannot be considered as the ideal or role models for today’s women. Modern women are more aware of their rights and opportunities and therefore keep raising voice for it.
Both men and women are equal, and women must not have any legal disability which is not suffered by men.
Why is there all this morbid anxiety about female purity? Have women any say in the matter of male purity? Female or male purity cannot be superimposed from without.
Our society has always been obsessed with female purity right from the Satyuga — and it still burns flesh and souls for the same.
The dowry system is also a result of the caste system. Gandhiji was very clear about this right from the beginning — that ‘the abolition of caste will lead to the abolition of dowry’ and demanding dowry is nothing but discrediting womanhood and men demanding dowry must be excommunicated.
He always advocated inter-caste marriages and expected chivalry from men.
Mahatma Gandhi was always against child marriages and strongly supported remarriages for child widows. He believed that getting rid of enforced widowhood was one way to save society. He stated that widowhood imposed by religion or custom is an unbearable yoke and defiles the home by secret vice and degrades religion.
Though Gandhiji believed that marriage is a state of discipline, he also affirmed that the bond could be broken by one partner if the other one breaks discipline. Yes, divorce is not the only alternative, but marriages confer no right upon one partner to demand obedience of the other.
He supported women’s education immensely and encouraged them to uphold their natural rights. A woman should know the art of saying no even to her husband and must not agree to be a medium to satisfy her man’s carnal desire.
While his certain views don’t sync with modern society, what he wrote and expressed almost a century ago was a milestone for the women’s fight for her rights and needs.
At a time, when women are fighting for their freedom and society is burning in the name of over-liberated feminism, Infano aims at bringing you the stories of courage, inspiration and stubbornness that makes our womenfolk indispensable. #OpinionMatters
October 2 is also celebrated as International Day of Non-Violence to commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.