THE PLACE OF WOMEN IN INDIAN SOCIETY
For thousands of years woman had a venerable place in Hindu society. It was said ‘Yatra Nariyastu Poojyante Ramane Tatra Devata’. The place where women are respected is the abode of gods. There was another saying too ‘Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi’. Mother and the motherland are more important even than heaven. Even some of the important words had a feminine concept as ‘Varum’ and ‘Sena’ i.e. a troop of soldiers or an army. Saraswati was a great scholar respected even by Shankaracharya. Chennamma, Rudramba, Mayanalla, Ahalya and Yakka were some other famous venerable ladies.
With the Muslim attacks in the eighth century and later the whole social set up of the society changed. Women were kept within the four walls of their houses to save them from molestation at the hands of the victors Thus women remained uneducated and illiterate. They lost their identity. Being weak they were looked down upon by men. They became the greatest sufferers in the caste ridden society. The new concept came that she depends upon the mercy of her parents before marriage, of husband after marriage and of sons in old age. She was rather a serf in the household. In spirit she is still considered inferior to man.
Woman gained a little importance during independence movement. After 1950 the incidence of education among women increased in cities. We can find a number of lady doctors, administrators, judges, professors and even police officers. In India to the society has grown a little frank and unconservative. It has given an edge to girls and women. Girls generally secure more marks and better ranks in High School and University examinations. In the High School and Higher Secondary Examination in Delhi many a time girls topped in all the streams. A girl from Chandigarh topped in the I.A.S. Examination.
In the urban well to do families and middle class educated families women are gaining their status. But in some parts dowry is responsible for downgrading them. It results even in their premature death. Moreover in villages woman is still a part of the household and the cattle—not a human being at par with man.