In the Indian society goddesses have been placed on a very high pedestal. We celebrate two of our major festivals around these goddesses. One being the “Navratras” which salute the nine forms of the goddess, with each of the nine days dedicated to a different form of the goddess, the other major festival is the “Deepavali” which culminates with the “Lakshmi Pujan”.
Goddesses have been prayed to since time immemorial in our culture for fertility and wealth. They have been revered and looked with utmost respect in the eras and times. So much so that each village in India till now has their own “kuldevi” to whom prayers are offered upon marriage, birth of a child or any other auspicious occasion.
Each woman in her own right is a goddess in herself. The basic requirement of having a woman in to balance the man, it is the feminine which balances the masculine. The best example could be the merger of Lord Shiva with Vishnu, to form the “Ardhanashiwar”. This symbolises that there cannot be one being. It is the law of the nature to have both the feminine and the masculine form for the sustenance of the universe.
Right from the age of Vedas and Puranas, women power is considered supreme. From the very devout and sacred Sita to the bloodletting Kali, women have taken all forms and have been revered in all these forms. Why then do ordinary women face trouble? Is this just a notion in our heads that women who are symbols of reverence will only be respected? Others will be treated like muck?
The very fact that in today’s India women have stood up, they have come out of their homes to workplaces shows that time has come to give the respect denied to them over the years. It is high time people take a stock of their demarcating women to second citizens. Times have changed, we see so many single mothers living a life of dignity now. There are many more single women who choose to stay single and happy. Away from any binding relationship like marriage or even live in relationships. There are women who are now coming out in open exploring their sexuality and demanding that they be given the same status as usual Diaspora.
Education has opened avenues for women. Although, in the early nineteenth century there were many learned women and they played a very important role in supporting the men in the freedom struggle by standing shoulder to shoulder with them against the British, post independence, things have not been the same. It feels like we have regressed to the dark ages in the years that followed the independence of India. For some two to three decades, women were neglected and treated unfairly. Having a girl child was like calling for a suicide. Even the most educated in our society follow the un-evil practice of killing the unborn foetus if it is discovered that it is a girl. This lead to wide spread campaign of saving the girl child and with great effort laws have now been made to punish the culprits. With the advent of the twenty first century emphasis has again gone back to educating women and with the huge demand of human workforce in the working sector, women have sought to make the most of it. this despite the fact of managing a home, having babies, managing relatives, following rituals and being culturally sound. Women have never sighed away from multitasking. With the opportunity they get and with the help of other women (read mothers, mother in laws, daughters, daughter in laws, sister in laws, sisters) they have been able to lead a life of dignity and respect. Having their own financial freedom has lead to revolutionary change in the attitude of women. They now seem to enjoy the respect of their spouses as well. With the additional income coming into the household, life has become much more luxurious to live and enjoy.
It is women who procreate; who gives life and nourishes it; with her ability to carry a baby for nine months; go through the birth pain to deliver the baby, she has already attained a level of goddess. The divinity is for all to see. We just have to open our minds to accept this fact and treat women with utmost dignity. That women could be your wife, your daughter, your colleague at work, your co-commuter, your next door neighbour, your house help, your cook or just any other women. Restricting the respect only mothers and sisters is not acceptable.
The whole idea of having women is to balance out the male; The Yin balancing the Yan; The feminine balancing the masculine; If we just live with the masculine, where will we get the feminine to balance. This will go against the law of nature and will create a complete chaos and dis-balance. To live life fruitfully and have a generation to follow you, women are important and their divinity cannot be degraded at any cost.