Emancipation of Women
Man has evolved from a monkey, there is enough evidence to prove it all. Whether Adam came first and how was it Eve, will someone come forward and tell us please? The Forbidden Apple they ate, the surrounding aura and atmosphere that made them copulate! They danced and pranced amongst trees, so salubrious and romantic was the breeze. They ate and slept in total abandon, their product of copulation came at random; and then began the vicious circle: the circle of love, sex, children and family! With this came responsibility, frustration and anger! And when the anger died down, it was back to love, sex, children and family! So much is spoken and written about this; we all know this, and so much more. But the question still remains: Who came first! Was it Adam and how was it Eve?
Will someone really answer this question?
By Physique and Personality, God made man more powerful, by the same standards he made a woman more fragile! Man, by his physical capabilities, wandered out of his abode in search of food, which, when he brought back home, the so called weaker sex, cooked and fed the brood. In due course in time, man took to shouldering the external responsibilities while the internal ones were left to be taken care of by the woman! The woman may appear more delicate, more fragile, more vulnerable! Therefore she has often been called as the weaker sex. In spite of this she willingly and easily shouldered her part of the duties with efficiency and ease and also learnt other aspects of home-keeping like stitching, knitting, embroidery, besides, maintenance of the home and hearth.
She also mastered the super specialities like painting, dancing, and music so as to be able to entertain her family in times of need! As time sped on, and on, man became more and more ‘Supreme’. He took command of Situations! He started making decisions! He even flaunted his male dominance on the poor mite – by sheer physical pressure (more so in the bed). His arrogance in behaviour, speech and act grew tremendously.
As time traversed the tide of centuries – a wee little thing called the ‘Grey Matter’ fluttered in a woman. You might like to call it the ‘quickening of the female mind’.
She started to use her BRAIN!
Since a woman is always quick to understand, quick to fathom and quick to comprehend, she quickly mastered the art of homemaking, but also started taking interest in the happenings outside the house. She slowly but definitely exercised her mind (utilised her spare time judiciously, and started picking up the threads of information, left scattered recklessly by the man)! She took to reading and writing, as did her man. She took to managing the small financial interactions at home, and while she sat through her leisure hours with the children (while they read and as she sat with them she also read a little bit more) and soon, though not very soon, emerged a semi-confident woman with the burning desire to step into the world with an urge to make her presence felt.
Man by now, was far too busy exploring other avenues. Man never was, in fact man never is really cut out to look into the aspects of grooming of the kith and kin. Slowly but deftly, as man traversed the diversities of science and technology, the woman with her steady pace began creeping into pastures hitherto forbidden by man!
She started to W-O-R-K!
She worked for pleasure!
She got some excitement!
She found some independence, and yes, she got quite a lot of money!
And, oh, what a thrill it was! Of doing something, however trivial, however small, of having made a niche for herself! And lo and behold!
Before man could do anything about it the woman had come of age!
The woman had come to stay!
The woman had not only made her presence felt, but she also had slowly but securely crafted an indelible impact on society!
The Progression of Women
The step-by-step advancement of women. The role of women in present day society is what I would now like to talk about. Before I really begin on the progression of women let me pause! Let me tell you that all that the woman has done or will do would not have been possible alone! I take this opportunity therefore to talk on behalf of all the women of my genre that it is not without an unflinching support from man – be it in the form of a father/father-in-law, brother/brother-in-law, son/son-in-law, uncle, husband, a friend or even a well-wisher – without their direct and indirect support we women would not have reached the levels that we have reached today!
Man may have been arrogant – Man may have been haughty! Man may have been Selfish! He may have terrorised his woman. He may have shown male superiority over his sister!
But a wee little crack he could not see. The crack that forced him to tumble down his pent-up emotions – from a man to a woman – in the form of a father to a daughter! And while he showered his emotions, out came the little mite! She fluttered her feathers, and as he pampered her and put her through semi-equal facilities with the other male siblings, the woman in her ‘surfaced’. It is here that the woman got an opportunity to learn, to grasp, to fathom! Slowly and gradually she got an education, and with it came the poise & confidence, surety and perseverance, and soon there emerged a respectable qualified smart yet demure, but definitely A Deliberate Daunting Female! Ready, ready to take on the world – the world where we are in today – the world wherein, in the last hundred years, both man and woman have seen so, so much! Hundred years of evolution – hundred years wherein, in the beginning was an era of no bijali to so much of bijali, no telephones to mobile phones, no modes of transport to jet planes, no proper working stations to fiberglass homes, no scope for fast travel to travel to the Mars and to the Moon! This list is endless. This debate can go on and on and on! This, by itself, is a burning topic. We are here today not to discuss the advancement of technology in the new millennium. But to try, and see and analyse the Role of Women in the present day society.
I am no connoisseur of women.
I am no expert on women!
I repeat, I am no authority on women.
I have not read books on women’s rights!
I do not belong to any commission for women!
The only thing I possess is a burning desire for the women! For all kinds of women.
I believe, I perceive – a woman is a gamut of so, so much! She is the pivotal point of the house. She is the fulcrum of a large machine, the engine room of the Titanic, the centre from where the spider starts to make its web. She is the controller of all activities, she is the adhesive, the binder, the glue!
The health and the happiness of home revolve around her!
Classification of Women
1st Classification: Inside the home / Outside Home
Inside the home: As a daughter/sister/wife/mother/mother-in-law.
As a maker of the institute, as the breaker of the home.
Outside home: Part Time Worker / Full Time Worker
2nd Classification: Woman – Married/ Otherwise
Otherwise: Spinster (by mutual choice or circumstantial)/ Divorcee/Widow (destiny)!
3rd Classification: Under Subjugation by Man
a) As a Child: Baby
b) As a Wife: Biwi
c) As an Amma: Bebe
With respectability/with reserved respectability
Respectability: A Masi/Mami/Chachi/Tai/Nani/Dadi/Mata/Saas/Bahu/Jagat Mata/Devi
Reserved respectability: As a Girlfriend/Mistress/Keep/Other Woman/Sautan/Vamp/Sex Worker/Eunuch
Besides care of the hearth and the home as we have discussed she spread her feathers – fluttering and traversing hitherto forbidden pastures, she moved on and on and on!
Initially all she did was cooking, baby bearing, home keeping, babysitting. Later it went on to dancing, embroidery, painting.
All activities in and around the hearth and the home.
Next, as and when she got some Education – Confidence, Poise, Grit and Determination slowly fell into her lap, which she welcomed with outstretched arms!
Hand in hand, she stepped into the man’s shoes and then, first as a teacher, a typist , a tailor, a cook, a nurse, and many more avenues started opening up!
With further deliberations, slowly and steadily she stepped into the roles of a doctor, engineer, scientist, computer professional, musician, chartered accountant, company secretary, dancer, chef, and many Governmental and Private and Corporate jobs. Nowadays you can find ladies even in areas of total male dominance: Politics, Mining, Marine Engineering, Space Engineering, Archeology, Aeronautical Engineering, Geology, and even as Deep Sea Divers and Mountaineers.
In fact, all this sounds so nice and rosy – it all seems so beautifully calm!
But is it really so?
While women have risen, while women have awakened, while women have now come to stay, while women have now taken leadership positions – all is not as rosy as it should really be!
The Ego, the psyche of man has slowly been hurt.
Some have been hurt.
Some have been misled.
Some have not been able to adjust.
Some have not shed their Male – Pseudo Arrogance!
Those few, who have not been able to strike a balance, nor adjust with the rise of their female counterparts,
They have struck back!
Such people have revolted.
In some cases women have been at fault (I do not deny that, but that is yet another topic for yet another debate at yet another date).
On many occasions, a woman has been hurt.
She has been struck – physically and mentally or both!
She has been unnecessarily maligned!
She has been taken for a ride, she has been used, misused and also abused!
She has been Deprived, Denied, even Ostracized!
The list is endless!
If it were not so, what was the need for Female Feminists to have been born?
Some NGOs hold black flag marches in silent protest?
The National Commission of Women to make waves?
Yes, despite it being the 21st millennium, despite there being so much of modernism in every sense of the world, there is gross injustice to women.
Women of all levels of literacy are being targeted.
No level is being spared!
If we feel it is illiteracy and living in remote areas that lead to lack of knowledge, to lack of information on Rights for Women, then the highly literate, highly professional, highly placed have also at times been scapegoats in the hands of man.
If man sets his mind he physically abuses her – as is rampant in the uneducated classes (like the jhuggis)!
If he sets his mind he emotionally blackmails her (semi-literate and low middle class category).
If he cannot do anything else, it is SOCIAL BOYCOT and/or flaunting of his MACHO image (that is exploitation of male supremacy by sheer sexual harassment –
I do not have to prove a point)!
A peep into any of the registers of the Crimes Against Women Cells, NGO files, or the National Commission of Women will show THE GORY details.
I am NO man-hater!
I am NO active feminist!
But YES, I do feel for the ‘W’.
While man is incomplete without his Eve and the Eve is absolutely nothing without her Adam, then why do we get into such situations where we have to get into such Permutations and Combinations of the mind, the Complexities of Life & Entanglements so full of strife?
Why can we not follow the simple rule of ‘The Rule of KISS’.
Actually KISS stands for: Keep it Simple Stupid!
Make your man your best friend. The man cannot think the way a woman can, the man is basically a simple person at heart. Keep him devoid of entanglements, treat him with tender loving care.
He is fragile: treat him like crystal glass.
I want to mention an anecdote I read in the Times of India a few years ago: The then US President George Bush once said about his wife, “Laura, my fabulous first lady!”
Why can’t our men say this about us?
Why should our man say, “Oh! It’s ok, gadi to chal rahi hai, chal ho jayegi!”
Or he might say, “My wife is an excellent hostess, a perfect mother!”
Or he might say to himself, “She is perfect in bed!! But, she is awkward to my family!”
Why do we give him this opportunity?
A son may say.
“My mother is the greatest! No one can cook better than her!
She smothers everyone with overwhelming affection !
Par pata nahin meri biwi ke sath kya ho jata hai usko?”
Why does he say this?
This brings me to another burning issue!
The peculiar relationship of a woman with another woman. Why does one woman pull the other down?
Why does one woman back-bite the other?
Be it in any form – female sibling rivalry, mother-daughter competition, saas-bahu rivalry, nanad-bhabhi ego.
Saas-Bahu being the most important!
But for today, I think it should suffice if I say,
“We as women must make an endeavour:
Be honest to ourselves, honest to each other, respect ourselves, respect each other, be proud of ourselves, be proud of each other, prioritise ourselves, prioritise each other!”
Let’s make a commitment to ourselves, the women of today – just like we have a government of the people, for the people, by the people, let’s form a commitment.
A commitment of the women, for the women, by the women!
If we do this, if we stand by this, if we want to buy this, if we vouch by this,
No man can do us apart! No man can hurt another woman!
United we stand, divided we fall!
Let’s end with An Agenda
We will not tolerate abuse of any kind – be it physical, mental, social, or racial.
You may not like your daughter-in-law. You may hate her, you may want to do nothing with her, but you still have a bond with her – a big big bond – the bond of being of the same sex. She is a woman, you are a woman, Goddammit! Is it not reason enough to stand by her?
Let’s join hands today. Let’s join hands as of now, let’s hold an olive branch of womanhood!
Let me not leave this article without saying that, if we can put aside our petty jealousies and enemies of women against women, then and only then can we say that we have achieved it!
If we do this, very soon the Women’s Reservation Bill will start making waves!
It’s all about solidarity, unity, integrity of women.
Really, why did we let all this happen?
Who wrote The Shastras? Man of course.
Who wrote the Granthas? Man of course!
We could not do anything then, but who will do it now?
Can anyone guess?
I do apologize to my menfolk if they feel I am too poignant!
I mean no harm to no one.
Women to Women – WW Rule.
Women divided by women – we get ruled!
Will we let it happen now?
About the Author
Dr Amita Bahl
MBBS with PG diploma in Disaster Mgmt, Retired from MOHFW
Active Volunteer with Project StepOne
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author’s own and do not express the views or opinions of Project StepOne as an organization.