To Improve the life of Indian Women

It would help improve the quality of life of an educated, modern urban Indian woman if these things were in place:

  • Right to live alone, unchaperoned by a female relative or male presence in her life.
  • Right to not answer questions about whether  she is alone or single while she rents a place (her safety, security should be important from the very start.  What does it bloody matter as long as she pays rent and is from a decent family background: which should be evident with the way she carries herself, the way she dresses, uses words, her gesture, posture, demeanour. Most women colleague do not even get it that this is a trick question to gauge how much leverage the strangers would have on the woman’s life.   Women must understand that it is not necessary to determine rent or payment at all. You are renting the whole space paying for it, so what  does it matter to the landlord whether you are alone or single? If they are bad people though, this is exactly what they are looking for to arm twist for money or advantages.
  • Right not to give too much sensitive information like where she works, where her family is, how many members are there in her family, whether she is married or has a boy friend – especially this question bugsme like hell: how much she earns! She knows what she can afford, to guard against non payment of rent, she is paying a deposit that is advance rent, right?
  • Right to refuse her photograph / copy of appointment letter (the audacity of asking for something so personal as that! experience in Pune, Maharashtra) or give identity card / passport/ copies of PAN (permanent account number) / driving license to people that are practically strangers (the landlord/ broker)!
  • Right to have a receipt for money paid as rent/deposit for accommodation
  • Right to get a title / deed to property she rents/ buys, in a language she reads or speaks
  • Right to assistance by social self help groups if she loses important documents
  • Right to lodge an FIR in case of loss or theft of important documents like debit card or phone in the local outstation police station in the National language or in one she can speak/read.
  • Right to membership and stay in local YWCA even though she may be working and not a student or a Christian. And that withdue respect. She should not be treated like a scumbag that the YWCA is doing a favour to (Pune YWCA is horribly rude, refuses to allow electric points in rooms, and tries to rule ladies like ten year old kids: come back before 8 p.m., lights off after 9 p.m. , refusing address proof which is required to get a new telephone SIM in the new city as the other one would be on roaming charges now), asking for LOCAL references when they know you are from outside! New Delhi and Kolkata YWCA charges are exorbitantly high that only very high end corporate salaries can afford.
  • Better conditions and reasonable rates within means of non corporate women employees at private working women’s hostels
  • Better conditions (like electric points inside rooms so one can plug in a computer or light a mosquito repellent) at government ladies’ hostels.
  • Single room PG accommodation within reasonable rates : a working woman like a teacher would be carrying documents, work home – she would need privacy and safety of her stuff. In Ahmedabad and Pune they think you are a monster if you ask for single rooms and charge you INR 7000 (seven thousand). If you pay 4500 rupees you would get a reasonably decent house in a decent locality – only of course if you are married or have someone with you to share it. They do not give ‘nice’ houses on rent in ‘nice’ neighborhoods to single outstation ladies.
  • Women stop treating single women rudely, with mistrust, callously. “Why don’t you go back to your own city?” Halo! Why can’t she be where she chooses to be??? When you go to the US for your job, do they tell you to do that, “Hey why don’t you go back to India?” (makes me sick). Every city in my country is MY city. It is my birthright to be where I please, work where I please, choose to settle down where I like. I work hard. I pay my taxes.
  • Working women with PAN registration from one State should be able to file their Income tax returns from whichever city she might be in. I may not have address proof at the new city to be able to change my mailing address to get the address on PAN changed soon. Or I could be on a transferable job, travelling continuously, should be able to file the return from wherever I might be. I am trying to pay the government, TAKE the bloody money!
  • Address proof or employer’s certificate as soon as an employee steps into the company: from day 1 so she can get a house easily, get her new phone connection, gas, internet.
  • Right to the standard government tax rebate meant for women in India from employers. Some deduct 11% tax from salary that is way below the government taxable salary limits (I faced it in Ahmedabad itself, if you raise questions, they ask you to quit). Money can be very important when you have to pay rent and live on single income in an expensive city: please do not make it difficult by doing those other things that are not done anyway.
  • Right to appointment letters, salary certificates, Form 16*  from day1 of employment. (*necessary to file your IT returns – although I worked in some of the best schools here,  have not been able to file my return for the past three years I have been in this State). It is not feasible to go home and do it as we get holiday only during holidays when these offices also remain closed!
  • Employers with outstation women employees, maintain a database of (NOT reputable but) TRUSTWORHTY brokers, house lease information, tax return filing agents or simply a helpful and polite helpdesk that can help women with these small things that mean a lot of hassle when you are alone.
  • Right to adopt a child if she has a decent job even if she be single. Do not deny a child a healthy, capable mother she/he  might have or a safe home!
  • Right to have guests in the house: even though it be rented, it is still my home, I should be able to invite people home and I should be the one to judge who is safe for me and who is not.
  • Reservations in AC compartments when women are travelling overnight alone as it is unsafe for her in open-door-all-night sleeper coaches, especially going to the washroom at night alone, leaving her luggage.  Preference to a single woman over a single man in the Indian context especially would be in order (a large gang probably liquor movers that  boarded from Surat nearly threw me off the train during last Diwali because they claimed my seat, at midnight when I requested them to please vacate it).

If I had a support group for women, these are things I would be looking at to change. Sensitivity and good taste is all it takes and a sense of the realities of a single woman’s life.


33 thoughts on “To Improve the life of Indian Women

  1. I’m wondering why women are treated by landlords in the way you suggest. Do they think that a single woman is likely to be a prostitute, for example? There must be reasons why they make life difficult for single women.

    • Vincent, reassuring to ‘see’ that you still read me.

      That could be one reason but the most imp one in context is one of jealousy – people, esply, women, are extremely jealous of single women that are happy and seem in their eyes to be living a life they never got to live. what they do not realize is, to live the way people like me do, we have to work harder than these lazy fat women and have to constantly live outside our comfort zones.
      It takes tremendous labor to live your dreams – but they believe we are irresponsible people living selfishly indulgent lives, why shd it be when they have to stay home and ‘slog’ their lives – that is where the poison and the will to ‘beat em down, the motherfuckers’ attitude comes from. As for men, “why should she be so happy when apparently she has nothing, not even a TV, yet she goes where she pleases, does not ‘do’ us, does not even ‘look’ at us, ignore us in fact?” so destroy the witch.

      Had I been weeping all the time, been a clinger, ugly, things might not have been this bad is what I believe now.

  2. That’s a long list, most of which should be true for anyone and everyone. What I’d like the most is for people to leave you alone. Asking personal questions, unfortunately, is a favorite social sport in India.

  3. I want to mention some seemingly minor issues but issues which are important when it comes to living and going about alone. The right to eat peacefully alone in a restaurant and not being seen as easy prey for men. The right to see a movie alone in a cinema hall without being seen as a prostitute!

  4. As you may know, it was difficult for immigrants from India, Pakistan & West Indies to find accommodation from English landlords in the Sixties and Seventies before the anti-discrimination legislation came in. Initially it was due to straightforward racial prejudice. As time went on, the jealousy was also felt. Just when the native English felt they could tolerate an under-class of immigrants, who would take up the worst accommodation and do the worst jobs, allowing the lowest English classes to profit and feel superior, these immigrants (who were often well-educated) would aspire to better jobs and better housing.

    I think it was at this point that the anti-discrimination laws started. But how the change started I have not researched: whether (as in the abolition of the slave trade) the lonely voices of activists struck at consciences, or what.

    I suggest the points you raise, which clearly are prompted by personal experience, need to be brought together with many other issues of women’s fair treatment and equality in India.

  5. WOW! Just wow is about all I can say to the things a woman must deal with in India. I doubt people in the western countries have any idea that there is this much discrimination ongoing in your country.

    What to do?

    To that question, I have no answer for you -other than to suggest that you leave your country but that is not a fair thing to suggest either as I am assuming you love your country too -as much as I love mine and as much as your male counterparts there love their country.

    The best I can offer is that you -and other women like-minded -join together to try to find ways to get the government to change the laws of the land. How difficult that could or would be for you and other women to do that, only you would know the answer to that.

    I can only point to the examples set by many women in this country who worked -and who paid dearly too in many instances -to bring about the freedoms women in the US have today. But the changes they fought for and won didn’t come about quickly here either. It took many, many years before the suffragette movement gained the right for women to be recognized with the vote. And, that certainly was not the end of the issues women had to fight to see them ended here either. Discrimination, based on sex, still is an on-going thing here but we do have basic rights to privacy now and recourse too if those rights are violated.

    What do you think you -and other women -would be willing to try to alleviate these issues in your country?

    I’m sorry I can not offer you any sure-fire or fast solutions to the issues you cited other than to give moral support from afar and offer prayers that you and your fellow women can organize and get some changes begin to happen.

    • “I can only point to the examples set by many women in this country who worked -and who paid dearly too in many instances -to bring about the freedoms women in the US have today” please lead me to their storis of change, assist me in my research or connect me to activists if you know of any – am so grateful you came, just seeing you here mkes me feel so much better

  6. as u know I dont use my fingers on keyboard much still I believe they are better used in turning pages but I must accept you have offerd me an elaborate dinner.
    It may cause indigestion becos I havent left anything & enjoyed most of the dishes…Rights of women,your diary at kokata…gay marriage..
    worth reading.
    I kept on telling u when you were grumblimg at kolkata that you should get out of the city.

    Its not becos u dont belong to the city.
    The ciy doesnt belong to u.
    Even to me.
    I preeched that you should never marry a person u love….
    if you are marriage hungry then to keep the ball rolling marry a person who loves u….
    difficult equation..very few agreed when I was at college…now ,if I blog I am sure it would be an instant hit….
    I managed to stay at the city becos the city loves me & since I have compromised
    but I didnt like u to compromise…not that u wont…except genius, people are dominated by their circumstances..
    but I didnt like you to since you had so many options I believed…you were no common girl…you belonged art film when the city lived on swapan saha .your only enemy I could find was you.You ought to have come in terms with yourself.I knew Kolkata would not allow you to leave with dignity you want becos people here are more curious about others than themselves.I am the opposte.I could have stood by u but that neede quality time I didnt have.
    I always believed to do a job successfully one must be focussed.It applies from eating to intercorse.A healthy habit.
    when you used to tell me u have few options….that why I knew you had…
    you will agree Danny boyle was right
    life teaches million answers.

    • While am thankful for your comment I fail to see the relevance of your views to the issues mentioned here.

      Do you realize hundreds of thousands of women are denied these basic human rights every day, women that may hve been taught to take it silently bec they believe it is ‘normal’

  7. Whoa! This is a huge list of demands. They seem personal irritants of your life so perhaps you seem frustrated (and probably need sympathetic ear right now) but I can’t see how these apply to only women and nor do I buy 90% of these wishes.

    Your profound declaration of “To Improve the life of Indian Women” is quickly dwarfed by much selfish “life of an educated, modern urban Indian woman”. Most things you want are your legal rights anyway and their intrusion is as much for you as for anybody else. Then the list goes on to include cheaper rents and train reservations…clearly your idea seems to be to demand rights as well as favours!

    • Rolling: “Reservations in AC compartments when women are travelling overnight alone ” Where am I asking for cheaper rent 🙂

      2)”Most things you want are your legal rights anyway”
      You are right! Why not extend social support when you see it violated and single women being harassed?

      3) Ashish: “seem personal irritants ” “can’t see how these apply to only women”
      you are right. They affect everyone, they are not personal.

      4) Asish: “I dont buy 90% ”
      There are 21 points, 90% of these would amount to 18. Since you are an IIM alumni, you surely expect a good quality life, tell me, which of the 21 are the ones YOU could live without ?

      5) Enforced, would these NOT benefit you too? Wdnt you like a rent receipt when you pay rent? Wdnt you appreciate living in a good locality even if you are not married? Wdnt you like to have your tax not deducted illegally, when the govt allows for rebate ? (This is the only one seemingly personal issue there, but I know for a fact that half the women employees are never paid the proper govt scale whether in school or private sectors. 🙂 You know it too.

  8. Well, while I agree with you, I guess some of the things are necessary whether you are a man or a woman. Pts no. 3 & 4 – Where you work & copy of appointment letter are reqd for lease purposes even in Mumbai which is a very liberal city in India compared to others.

    Most of these have become important to check terrorism activities. Not your fault or anyone else’s. We have become extra careful.

    In Maharashtra (I am not aware of other states), you can not expect paper work to be done in your language or sometimes even in English. They’ll mostly be in Marathi but at some places (e.g police station) they make a point to translate it to you in Hindi. But not everywhere. I have to write about my experiences, I have been asked to do so many times.. 🙂

    Also, I travel alone long distances many times… not always by air and till now I have not faced any major problems in trains. No one picks me up or drops me at station/airport. It’s my choice. I can only say that one has to be a little careful and attentive. I have gone to movies alone, eaten at restaurants alone. Not a big deal.

    Yes, right to live alone & peacefully is not too much to ask for.

    I am sorry, you had to go thru all this. Cheer up now !! World is not that bad . 🙂

    • but it needn’t be, Cuckoo, do you realize that? the State exists to make life easier for its citizens, not make them vulnerable to exploitation and social aggression or harm.

  9. Hella,
    The list you have mentioned is still smaller, compared to what is actually being put forth.
    We had many talks about liberal women, but still entire culture (Indian) is not ready to take up idea.
    Here still individuality of a person is questioned. Spare Female, even males are. But being a male dominated society females face the song more often.
    For certain aspect and social security i would definitely ask for proofs and ask for authenticity of the same.

    • “certain aspect and social security i would definitely ask for proofs and ask for authenticity of the same.”
      fully agree. can we design the identification, to do it so the vulnerable single woman gets at least two layers of protection?

  10. Living in India as a single woman is difficult.

    Like someone mentioned in the comments, many of these apply to both men and women.

    Have you shifted to Pune now?!

    • “Have you shifted to Pune now?!”
      In Ahmedabad, witnessing how subtly repression is perpetrated by WOMEN in this state. When and if I manage to get out alive, I would want to record that She lacks true education, is ignorant of her own power and status and is never taught History.

      She never gets to eat enough, nurture her mind or feed her heart. No one loves her, they desire her – use her, abuse her, eventually, she turns into this frightened, hungry, greedy, vicious creature, that vandalises and destroys – a Kali.

      “Like someone mentioned in the comments, many of these apply to both men and women.”
      Exactly, so let us stand up together and fight it? In thought and speech at least?

      “Living in India as a single woman is difficult.”
      Shdnt hve been – but they studiously avoid teaching women History 🙂 so she never does come to know what she has lost over the years! and she stays lost and fallen.

  11. Interesting, a few days ago I had an argument with another guy from a different culture who thinks that the locals “victimise” their women/girls. My argument that North-Indians treat all women badly irrespective of where they are from. I think just the existence of a woman is a problem in this country. It is amazing that you look around in a crowded market and you do not even see many around. Women in India are perpetually confined and closeted.

    • This comment, plus the “possibly related post (automatically generated)” above which links to a piece on another blog Is it against Indian culture for women to be seen in pubs?”, has triggered a different angle in my understanding of the matter.

      It seems there is an argument which says “Indian culture is a precious thing, it is what distinguishes us from the nasty West”. This is an argument which many Westerners, who don’t know India, may sympathise with. I’m a Westerner and have visited India briefly only. But I see that one of the enduring aspects of Indian culture is its resistance to certain types of change. Any attitude of victimising women and girls can only be perpetuated because a majority of women collude with it, perhaps seeing advantage in it. In my immediate neighbourhood here in England, almost all my neighbours are of Pakistani origin, from a wave of immigration to the furniture factories in the Fifties and Sixties. Many women speak no English at all. A few of the young ones, who certainly speak English, being born and educated here, choose to wear a black costume which conceals the whole body, with only a slit for eyes – a costume which appears aggressive rather than modest, because it signifies complete withdrawal from community life outside the home. Within the home these married women – mothers, grandmothers and perhaps great-grandmothers – are powerful, and they don’t have to face the world.

      Responding to your invitations lower down in this comments column, Nabinatris, I could give no pointers on how one could be an activist to change anything, in such a society.

      It seems to me that in a “free” country change comes when it is advantageous to those concerned. It’s plain that though India is a huge democracy, with many virtues that the rest of the world envies, it is extremely conservative in social matters: which is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

      However, just as in any class or society, we cannot rely on the prospect of changing things that don’t suit us (unless we are one of the few called to such a vocation). So in the meantime we have to defend ourselves against the undesirable aspects of where we live, no more so than in India, where as I understand it, life for millions is extremely challenging.

      • @Vincent, India is one of the few countries in the world that worships its women in its religious texts. Shakti is envisioned as a Woman among Hindus. Hindu women were allowed to choose their own husbands in sayambhar sabhas. Hindu women could walk up to man of their choice and ask for his company or even to conceive his children!

        That is what sets India apart from the world. Kamasutra is the first text in the world that ‘studies’ sex in all its social and physical dimensions.

        So it is a shock to see we are regressing now – esply, NOW, in the twenty first century.

        @Odzer: “Women in India are perpetually confined and closeted”
        exactly. just like the Gays and Lesbians and other marginalized people of the world. and what is frightening is how systematically women are cut off from their History.

        How do you feel about it, Odzer? Can a ‘modern’ society function, democracy sustain itself, children realize their full potential unless women learn to stand up for themselves and demand quality life?

        • @ Rolling : The problem is that Indian society is collapsing and has been collapsing for the last couple of thousand of years. If you go back enough you will notice it started somewhere when they started closeting off the women. So in a way I should have used the word “decaying” instead of collapsing. Its a slow, painful death of a once great nation. The only way to deal with this situation is just to find a corner that is not rotten and slice it off.

  12. Partha loves to say – One gets a life one deserves – your article is full of contradictions, as a couple of writers have put in some items are relevant to both men and women, and the feeling one gets is that you want the privileges of belonging to the fairer sex in the form of reservation in AC Compartments, database of trustworthy brokers as well as no questions being asked on your status when you go to rent a flat as a single woman. We happen to have a flat on rent in Golf Green, Kolkata and we have consciously decided to let it out only to families with strong credentials, we do not let out our flat to college students of either sex or to single people again of either sex. When you let a virtual stranger rent your property you have to be very careful about who your tenants are going to be , you have the right to choose your tenant specially these days when security is a big issue. The landlord may not necessarily have less than noble intentions when he checks your family background etc specially when you are new to the city with no references, your demeanor, appearance may show that you have good breeding but appearances can be deceiving. A landlord would be foolish not to get a thorough check done before letting out his property to somebody only because he/she looks like he belongs to a good family. Kasab looks cool and like a gentleman – would you advocate that anybody give his/her flat on rent to somebody like him just by his/her looks? I would think not. We have a social obligation here and if any criminal or nefarious/illegal activities are conducted at a rented flat the authorities would question whether the landlord had exercised due diligence and caution while letting out the flat. And the question that bugs you the most regarding whether you earn enough to pay the rent – you may know that you earn enough but that fact is not publicly known to your prospective landlords, the deposit can cover only some months rent, the eviction norms in India are pretty much in favour of tenants, landlords would be within their right to ensure that their tenants are financially capable individuals. I would be surprised if anybody did not ask to check your credentials before renting out a property to you, you would do the same if you were a landlord and not the tenant.

    Income Tax Returns can be filed online now, the physical copy has to filed with the office having jurisdiction within 30 days of online filing.

    Right to adopt a child should, I agree be available to a single mother or a single father, though a child needs both parents to make childhood meaningful for those of us who choose to stay single but want the pleasures of parenthood the option should definitely be made available. But adoption norms are very strict in India, again with reason, there have been cases where children have be transshipped overseas to lead miserable lives, there have been cases where children have been adopted for their organs – one cannot be too careful about screening the prospective parents.

    The only issues that I found to have merit in your article was the right to stay out late if one wishes to, right to invite guests over at whatever time at rented accommodations – there are security issues involved, I as a woman would not venture out alone at night even with friends I know unless I have family with me, but that is my mental make up, it need not necessarily be the right approach or reflect your thinking process.

    I have taken strong exception to the use of the words “lazy fat women” – just because some women have chosen not be single does not necessarily empower you to hurl verbal abuse at them. Some of us, maybe fat, may be working much more than single women do, we have to work at our jobs with the inherent stress and strain of such jobs, then come back home, be a wife, a mother, a daughter in law, a daughter, a sister, a friend ………….women are built that way, we can absorb a lot, we can do things in a day most men cannot do in a week and even a woman’s worst enemy cannot call another woman and particularly the category of women you have dealt in your article , the educated, modern, urban woman lazy. It is very easy to criticize the life that you don’t know – live it for one day, your understanding of how much hard work a modern, educated, urban woman puts in on a regular day would definitely change. Just as you say that you are chasing your dreams, the average Indian modern, educated, urban woman may have a dream of a fulfilling career and a decent family. Dreams may differ and we may be living our dreams – I certainly am- it is very presumptuous on your part to assume that only people who have to struggle with the society have dreams that they are chasing. I am not aware as to why you have chosen to live outside your comfort zone and what is the point that you are trying to make or what your dreams are, I only hope that you know what they are but I am smelling frustration here, the jealousy could be the other way around, you may be jealous of the lives other women are leading – a fulfilling life, a life which has its ups and its downs, its highs and its lows but at the end of the day when she comes back home tired she has a shoulder to lean on, the knowledge that come what may someone is always there for her, the knowledge that she had the good fortune to give birth to a child who will be her legacy to the world, the list goes on…………… No sane woman who has all this could be jealous of a person who is by her own admission living outside her comfort zone. The other issues like Form 16, appointment letters, tax deductions – at the cost of repetition, men as well as women have these issues. Cannot comment on plug points as thankfully I have no experience of the kind that I can relate too, can be very frustrating, only am not sure if men are guaranteed plug points in the accommodations that they have to rent when they work out of town. Men take note.

    About women treating other women with respect –have you been respectful of other women when you call them fat and lazy without apparent reason or provocation? May be your attitude does not generate respect from others both men and women- I do not know you, have only heard about you from Partha, and have spoken to you on one forgettable occasion but will still venture a suggestion, not everybody is out to get you, do you or whatever. The world is a very beautiful place, learn to enjoy its beauties.

    I a working woman in my late thirties, I am told that I am good looking, I travel alone quite frequently for work, I stay at hotels alone, eat at the restaurants alone, nobody ever has tried to approach me or tried to be fresh with me. Your article is not a true representation of the life of a modern, educated, urban Indian woman and my response was only to give your readers a true idea about some of the issues you have raised. Your article is titled To improve the Life of Indian Women, goes on to deal with the life of modern, educated, urban women but actually deals with very personal experiences of a single woman. Feels like you have only vented your frustration but this blog is also read by people outside India who may develop misconceptions about India on the basis of your article. There have been some responses where people have been shocked at the level of discrimination – this is not warranted and has compelled me to attempt to put things in their correct perspective. There is some discrimination happening in India on the basis of gender no doubt but you have not even touched the basic issues. Issues like sexual harassment at workplace – though its not relevant to India alone, issues like equal opportunity, equal pay for equal merit- be it male or female, on a micro level – who is expected to leave his/her job to tend to children in the absence of a support system, who is expected to give up a lucrative job just because his/her spouse has been transferred, who is expected to stay at home to tend to a sick child even when there are unavoidable issues at work, issues like is a woman equipped to handle a polygamous husband, is a woman trained to think from a very early age that she has to work for a living and that there are no free lunches, issues like arranged marriages still happening in urban India, issues like asking for stricter punishment for rape, quicker resolution of cases where women have been victimized because they are women ………..I could go on. Women in India have at times abused the power that laws in India grant them, Section 498 of the IPC has been misused by educated women so much that on most of these cases it is the men who would get the sympathy. Again some of these issues may be relevant to other developing economies as well but these are some of the issues being a thinking woman I feel that need to be taken up.

    If I have been harsh in my comments will request you to bear with me on this and will also request you to be more responsible in penning articles which have the capacity to influence the views of your readers about our country.

    • yes, you are beautiful, Mrs Sarkar, I could be the hundredth monkey…thank you, for your thoughtful comment.

      can hope to truthfully write only about my own experiences. I consider, it is average, averagely unconventional, ordinary, middleclass enough, to be representative of the lives of thousands of singles like me, from around the world, men, women and marginalized people from all walks of life. my struggles with discrimination on the basis of marital status, social connections, gender, repression is probably similar to a few of their own.

    • Hi I have realized who you are. I have known you from your Durgapur through to your Infar days even before I knew P. You are married, extremely rich, have both parents alive and still supporting you by taking care of your baby son almost on a daily bsais, your husband is a very successful industrialist who supports you in every way, socially, financially, you have another scaffold in your expat sister and brother-in-law who takes care of your overseas holidays, there are half a dozen domestic staff at home plus all the members of staff that work for you 🙂 by virtue of your money and business connections, you have the administration in your pocket, you go clubbing with the most powerful people in the city, in one of the premier clubs of Kolkata.

      yes, I guess you would be the best person to campaign for single people’s welfare 😉

  13. Rolling :
    Vincent, India is one of the few countries in the world that worships its women in its religious texts. Shakti is envisioned as a Woman among Hindus. Hindu women were allowed to choose their own husbands in sayambhar sabhas. Hindu women could walk up to man of their choice and ask for his company or even to conceive his children!
    That is what sets India apart from the world. Kamasutra is the first text in the world that ’studies’ sex in all its social and physical dimensions.
    So it is a shock to see we are regressing now – esply, NOW, in the twenty first century.

    Hm, the fact that something exists in a religious text doesn’t necessarily mean it is part of the culture, either when the text was written or thereafter. If you saying we are regressing now in the 21st century, do you imply that women had these freedoms in the 20th century? 19th? 18th?

    • well, this is complicated, women’s status in the ancient period in the history of India was far developed than it is now. Unlike in the West and Middle East, India did not repress its women then – Rohini, after whom one of our satellites is named, was an astronomer. If India is to progress today, it seems we have to go ‘back’ to being what we were in the ancient times 🙂 I know it sounds funny. But the times you mention, mark the period with the advent and rise of the Middle Eastern Muslims in the throne of Delhi, the race that brought in ‘parda’, ‘hijab’, ‘burqa’…

      • So it’s Islamic domination (the Mogul Empire) which messed up the Hindu heaven on earth? Well, I am glad the British are not blamed. As I learned in school, they abolished the practice of suttee.

        • may not be entirely. (mind you am no Historian or have adequate training) the reasons could hve been:
          1) the number of educated, accomplished women was rather small. they had to find a way to limit the possibility of her walking away is maybe why we have the legend of Manu.
          2) the Muslims, they looked upon the more liberal, relaxed (by their standards) Hindu women as ‘available’, so a measure of countering was necessary. the woman got pushed inside perhaps, for her own protection.
          remember, when they came from the middle east, we were rich, oil dollar was yet to happen. women in affluent cultures always enjoyed good position (case in point, the West now; notice tho, the Arab world continues without social reforms still now)

          you are right, the Brits are responsible for quite a number of good things we enjoy today. in fact, on my Aug 15, Independence day post, I paid a tribute to the foreigners in my own way. Tagore had pointed out that the concept of ‘nationality’ is one of the most imp lessons we learned from the West.

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