Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Women in indigenous way of life

Amidst the ups and down of the Vedic community overpowering clergy and it s oppression of women,-silently and steadfastedly the ethnic people maintained the culture of equality without intellectualizing the issue.
Toughened by the life they lead these women though illiterate and uneducated have poetry handed from generation to generation through the oral tradition. Widow Remarriage is an acceptable norm. Infidelity is a non-existent concept as need for multiple partners is also accepted. A married woman need not have a clandestine affair is open and accepted.
Woman power was recognized and honoured. The women did not have become masculine for this (I mean wear pants)
Decline in feminine power
The revival of woman power took a reversal due to Muslim invasion. Major changes occurred in the political and social lives to the invader women were objects and Bart arable, chastity and virginity became very important social restrictions were established with a vengeance. Child marriage, sati and dowry were also revived. Child marriages resulted in increased widowhood. Emergence of devadasi cult and their relegation to prostitution is also seen
Over emphasis on monogamy and chastity leady to the practise of sati – the glorification and adulation brought about by it to families ensured that the system stayed.
Advent of the invaders also saw the emergence of the parda.

Monday, October 6, 2008

women in jainism

The laws of Svetaketu and the smirtis oppressed women though women accepted it is beyond me.
The Mahabharata probably is most confused –
Madri’s suicide though appreciated is underplayed. Yet it could have inspired generations of sati’s
Satyavati’s remarriage is underplayed
Kunti is glorified as mother superior
Gandhari’s gesture of blinding herself is represented to make it palatable to the male ego

The entire exercise I think came when teachers and knowledge keepers became selfish, and handed them only to progeny many a times not so worthy. This could given rise to a class of clergy.
And clergy in every religion exists to keep power within its grasp. Oppressing everything and everyone else.
Early rebels came as jains though the digambara cult placed a dilemma.
Jainism reveres women in two classes. The Shravaki and the sanyasini
The sanyasini is what all of know.
The shravaki were like the pre-clergy Vedic women. They were independent people when it came to spiritual and intellectual quest and practise, and equal partners to their men in life and living.
Disrespect to women was a punishable offence.
Jain women were known to supervise and head social and religious causes independent of their men.
Marriage though not confining remarriage was not acceptable.
May due to prevalent Hindu influence Jainism could not really free the women from shackles.