Is Total Women’s Liberation a Mirage? Can Women achieve Absolute Liberty even by uniting for the cause, in the Misogynist Patriarchal Society, given their liability to exploitation and assault on their vulnerable body and sexuality?
I doubt it. For the Male Dominated society has always wanted and contrived to keep women under male subjugation, in the guise of religion and custom. Even the ancient sages were proponents and enforcers of that outlook. The Sage Manu, in his text Manu Smriti, has said clearly,
‘Na Stree Swatantryamarhati’ (Woman Cannot Have Freedom), as she has to depend on men throughout the various stages of her life!
(However, the people who quote Manusmriti to justify the subordination of women to men, conveniently forget that the same sage Manu has also stated,” Yatra Nari Pujyante, Tatra Ramanti Devta”, meaning “Where Women are worshipped, I.e. respected, There Dwell the Gods Too”! In other words, it is only those places or houses where women are treated with respect, which are blessed by the Gods! Also, Contrasting as it may seem in view of the
‘Na Stree Swatantryamarhati’ rhetoric in India, the Woman is also said to be a symbol of Female Power or ‘Shakti’, and the representative of the Goddess Durga, who is credited with having vanquished and killed 9 demons, and in whose honour, we have the Yearly ‘Navratri’ festival throughout India in
the Hindu month of Ashwin, which generally falls between the months of September and October!)
No doubt, the women of today are slightly better off than their predecessors due to their greater awareness of the dangers that they have to avoid, viz.
of sexual assault or kidnapping for immoral traffic, due to sex education, and the opportunity to learn the techniques of self-defense, such as Judo/Karate. One lady has also devised a kind of undergarment which serves to Ward off unsolicited advances of prowlers by sparking off an electric current
On pressure ; but of how much use is that, if a woman falls into the hands of a rapist gang? Some recommend that women keep some pungent spray or powder to throw in the eyes of molestors to give themselves time to escape. However, even to become moderately wise/selfsufficient to protect herself, a girl has to reach a certain age, of18/19 years.
Of course, the elderly women of the family must start making girls aware
of the danger of sexual abuse or abduction for immoral trafficking from
a young age, as soon as a girl is old enough to explain to her what abuse means, and how she should guard against it ; but how much can a little girl resist if, in spite of her protesting, an adult pedophile continues his advances, and uses the threat of killing or harming her seriously to intimidate her into submission? Therefore, it is advisable that that little girls should always be kept in the strict custody of close and elderly Female relatives or in a respectable, girls’ boarding school until they are old enough to be taught to take care of themselves.
Likewise, they should be allowed to use gadgets like Mobile phone or iPad/Laptop only after they are mature enough to know the proper use of it and whom to correspond with, and some responsible adult should monitor or supervise how the youngsters use the gadgets. (For that matter, the same thing applies when giving these things to boys).
Also, little girls including toddlers should not be undressed or bathed naked before men,even before those of the family, as some mothers/grandmothers do, for very few men are mature enough to refrain from being aroused by the sight of the vulnerable looking naked body of females,
however small, as some men themselves admit. Therefore, it is advisable that little girls, who are too young to be conscious of how they should sit and carry themselves before men, should be made to wear long knickers or shorts like boys as underwear, rather than short and tight fitting bikini type panties,which expose their buttocks, and more at times. I find that boys are covered more decently in shorts or half pants to prevent their genitals from being seen, then why not use the same type of wear for small or young girls too?
Grown up girls too have to be careful in that respect, as men regard short and low cut dresses as ‘provocative’, and a ‘call signal’ from women!)
For it is a mean tendency of the male-dominated society to blame a girl or woman for any mishandling by lustful men (who get easily aroused by
the slightest sight of the inner parts of girls’ bodies), no matter whose fault it may be.
Or, in the case of a child, the reaction is to not believe her at all, and instead rebuke her for making up tales!
These days, a girl also has to be careful before accepting lifts from anyone, or making friendship with any boy or man, even on Facebook, or going out late at night or to lonely places, for cases of date – rape, and blackmailing girls/women with vulgar MMS and CD made on them is on the rise.
The World has indeed become a wicked place, and a trap for innocent people in general, including both men and women, but for women
Besides, the biological structure of the female body is such that it makes her more violable and prone to both physical and mental suffering,ESP. If she conceives due to a sexual assault. So no matter who is at fault, it is always the woman who Suffers more, physically and emotionally, and sometimes, develops a permanent emotional scar, even if, say, timely measures are taken to save her Honour!
Perhaps, it may boost the Ego of women, who resent more restrictions on their freedom for their safety’s sake, if they consider that it is always the delicate but Precious jewels which need to be kept in safe custody in
Safe Deposit Vaults and not the rough Iron tools. So women need to observe more care and caution, as their sexuality is the centre of production of the next generation of human beings, and hence more precious than that of males. It is not a possession to be flaunted for fashion, or to be careless about!
Therefore, it is the duty of Society too to take more serious note of the rising incidence of crimes against women, and curb them, but unfortunately, our Society too is not living up to its responsibility, and thinks that it’s duty is over by condemning the errant men superficially, and blaming the women themselves for the atrocities committed against them !
So it seems that we will have to wait and just take care of ourselves till the atrocities on women and Good people, and Wickedness in general, cross all limits, and reach the Climax , when God Vishnu will wake up from his slumber on his ‘Ananthashayanam’, and restore righteousness, as per the promise of Krishna, his Purnaavtar’ or Complete Manifestation, during the battle of Mahabharata, viz.
“Yadaa Yadaa hi Dharmasya, Glanirbhavati Bharata,
Abhyutthanamadharmasya, Tadaatmanam Srijamyaham;
Paritraanaya Sadhunam, Vinaashayacha Dushkritam;
Dharmasaunsthapanarthaya, SAMBHAVAMI YUGE YUGE!”
– Whenever Righteousness deteriorates in the Land of Bharata,
(this should be interpreted as the World now, for at the time of writing the Epic Mahabharat, India that is Bharat, may have been the concept of
the people living then, of the World),
– To restore righteousness, Shall I incarnate myself;
– To Strengthen the Saintly or Good People, and Destroy Evil-Doers,
– To Reestablish Morality and Righteousness,Shall I Come From Time toTime!]
It is stated in the text ‘Bhagwata’, composed and recited by ShukMuni, the son of Veda Vyasa, to the King Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu, and grandson of Arjuna, and to Janmejaya, Parikshit’s son, after the Mahabharata war, that one sign of the approaching climax of wickedness and sin, particularly with reference to women, is that even girls of 8yrs age, (upto which age, girls were earlier supposed to be relative safe and ‘pure’ -for marriage, that is), will become pregnant! And true indeed, some years back, I read a report of a 9 yr old little girl in UK, having become pregnant because of being raped by a man in a park which fell on the way, while returning home from school. How much difference is there between 8 and 9 years of age? So, hopefully, the Saviour is on the Way to Deliver Humanity
from the Rot and Wickedness that has crept in over the ages !
However, that does not mean that in the meanwhile, women should sit only with hand over hand waiting for the Saviour/s to arrive, as Krishna did for
DraupadI, and put an end to the tyranny of some men backed by the Patriarchal society and government, to which many women are subject!
Not at all ! They would do well to remember that despite all the obstacles in the path of women, some women have still managed to make a name for themselves as powerful women, by sheer bravery and grit, like Jhansi ki Rani. So they have to unite among themselves for their rights such as- the right to live,
to personal security and the facilities like education and proper nutrition
as well as optimum Health Care, now available only to men, except in a few liberal minded circles, and try to gain the sympathy and support of right thinking men, like Rajah Ram Mohan Roy, who was instrumental in eradication of the inhuman age old custom of Sati till the last century in India, and similar other Social Reformers to combat the social evils.
By and by, the next incarnation of Lord Vishnu, or his messenger will also come to enlighten Humanity at large, and restore Kindness, Mutual Sympathy and Righteousness once again. For, if there are some bad and cruel men around in this world, there are also many good and kind men who would help women to fight for genuine causes.After all,as the saying goes,’God helps those who themselves’,be it personally or through the medium of noble and broadminded people, who’re strong supporters of justice for all!
All said and done, it is a Fact that to bring about any significant change in the
Repressive and OppressiveAttitude of men towards women, and for Success in the Cause of Women’s Liberation, the empathy and help of Liberal minded Men with goodwill towards the female gender will Have to be gained by return of a good turn and goodwill.
At this stage, it is imperative to make the point that women too should keep in mind that one good turn deserves another. If women want the help and sympathy of men, they too are obliged to give the same in return. I was greatly disturbed by the murder of Manish Misra, grandson of the sister of the former PM Vajpayeeji, at the hands of ruffians while travelling on a train. What upset me about the incident was that he intervened to save three girls who were being harassed by goons. The men left the girls but turned toward
Manish, and threw him out of the running train. What I felt sorry about was that the girls in the meanwhile, got down when the train stopped at a place for a short time, and went to another compartment, as though they did not have anything to do with the poor boy who got involved in the brawl for their sake. Was it not their duty to summon the support of the other passengers or railway police to rescue Manish, who had staked his own safety for them, when he too could have left the girls at the mercy of the molestors? This was not right of them, and it is simply not done. If women behave in such a self centred way, can anyone blame the gentlemen for
hesitating to rush gallantly to the rescue of damsels in distress?
(Moreover, women too should have a correct idea of the priorities for which they should strive, that is, things that are really of vital importance, such as – – The Right to Live – that is, abolition of cruel practices like Female Foeticide/Infanticide/Dowry murders in India, and Female circumcision, which is prevalent in the Middle East, which is said to be extremely painful, besides robbing the girl of having satisfactory sex subsequently.
– Right to personal security,viz. curbing the rape menace which has become alarmingly frequent all over the world these days,
– The Right of rape victims and women who have cheated or forced into becoming unmarried mothers to live honourably in society, Prevention of Immoral traffic, child marriage, wife-battering etc;
– And the Right to proper nourishment and education, and the freedom to make their own decisions, etc,
Rather than wasting their Woman Power in fighting for trivial things
like wearing topless dresses and mini skirts, or stage slut walks to express their protest over the restrictions on dress, as some women are doing!
The contribution of the 15year old Pakistani girl Malala Yousufzai, in striving, at her tender age, to get for herself as well as for all women the Right of Education at the risk of her life, is indeed worthy of praise and emulation by other women!
Women are however, perfectly within their rights to struggle for relief from
stiflingly excessive or repressive and uncomfortable codes of dress
like the Purdah, in one form or another, that are still imposed on women
in some traditional communities in India and elsewhere).
Along with the struggle for Individual Rights and Liberty, especially of Women, Humanity has to keep up its faith in the Divine Power nevertheless,
at the same time, and follow Lord Krishna’s advice,
“Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma Phaleshu Kadachana”
(One’s Right Is To Do Karma viz.Action, Not To The Fruit Of It),
hoping that it’s fight to overcome social evils will win the support of the Divine Power sooner or later, and that, ultimately, Goodness and Righteousness will see the Light of Day!
‘Woh Subah Kabhi To Aayegi”!