Women and the Indian society

Our women have a great part to play in the progress of our country, as the mental and physical contact of women with life is much more lasting and comprehensive than that of men. For nothing was it said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. In the apron string of women is hidden the revolutionary energy, which can establish paradise on this earth – Dr Rajendra Prasad.

Woman is the magnificent creation of god, a multi faceted personality with the power of benevolence, adjustability, integrity and tolerance. She is companion of man, gifted with equal mental faculty, a protector and provider, the embodiment of love and affection. The role given to women in a society is a measuring rod and true index of its civilisation and cultural attainment.

With the dawn of freedom, particularly during India’s national struggle, the position of women took a turn for the better. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Dr Rajendra Prasad began to think deeply about the urgent need of women’s emancipation. They realized that so long as women of the country were not uplifted and granted equal status with men in all walks of life – political, social, economic, domestic, educational, India could neither progress nor make any significant advance in any field.

Gandhiji gave a clarion call for women’s participation in the freedom movement. Sarojini Naidu, Meera Ben, Sucheta Kripalani, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Aruna Asaf Ali were some of the leading women freedom fighters. In the post independence, women have played a significant role as doctors, engineers, judges, pilots, scientists, diplomats, legislators and even as prime minister.

Indira Gandhi, our late prime minister, was held in high esteem the world over. Vijayalakshmi Pandit created a record by becoming the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly. In the modern age, we find the role of women in every field. The myth that certain fields were only meant for men has been demolished by women. Women have proved to be more vibrant, dynamic, sincere and perfect in every field. They have the ability to immerse themselves wholly in any task they undertake.

Modern women in the present age occupy top rank and attain immense success in all the fields such as sports, politics, performing arts, police, administration, medicine and etc. Mother Teresa, P T Usha, M S Subbulakshmi, Kiran Bedi, Dr Padmavathi, Sushma Swaraj, the great environmentalist and social activist Medha Patkar and Promilla Kalhan have become great names in different fields of their work.

Now with the encouragement of co-education, women have cast off the age old inferiority complex and are marching side by side with men in every walk of life. Women are actually proving to be academically better and socially more active. When we come across the results of competitive examinations in all India civil services and Indian universities we are happily surprised to note that women capture most of the merit seats. They are also aware of the fast changing social milieu and they are making sustained efforts to scale the leaders of social progress by dint of their zeal and dynamism. They are contributing extensively towards the social transformation and building of the nation.

Women writers like Mahashweta Devi, Pratibha Roy, and Arundati Roy have established their credentials in the modern literary world and contributed to the literacy excellence of the nation. It is heartening to know that today we have in India the educated women who are very keen on taking up administration work. We are amazed to see the fantastic work. Women are serving as officers, typists, clerks and receptionists. It has been noticed that they are quick to understand every work and have won the applause from the bureaucracy.

In the field of healthcare also women as doctors and nurses can give a healing touch to patients. It has been found that women on account of their tender hearts are better nurses and due to their naturally delicate and soft hands they are better doctors. Therefore it can be said, “A woman’s voice is a cure and her touch a balm”.

Florence Nightingale, the lady with a lamp, made history and showed the way to womankind and how efficiently and nobly women can mitigate the sufferings of humanity in war and epidemic. Even in the area of family planning women can render admirable service of explaining to the village women the importance of family planning by taking into them confidence and can guide them by creating awareness about different methods of birth control. If all educated women accept the challenge of time and make up their mind to serve the nation in checking the population growth, it will greatly put in to the socio-economic evolution of the nation.

Women are no longer physically unfit for military and police departments. In the whole length and breadth of India, everyone has read and heard of Kiran Bedi, an IPS officer with an iron hand and a soft heart craving for reformation in the state of prisons in India. India doesn’t lack in womanpower. With the leadership taken by Ahluwalia we shall soon have skilled women pilots to take up to the realm of the sky.

Really women are less selfish and more dedicated to duty and have much patience than men by nature. In order to make optimum use of our vast womanpower, we must liberate Indian woman of many social taboos. However, mere legislation cannot emancipate the lot of our women. This needs a radical change in our mental make up and our social structure. For this, we shall have to foster a social emancipating spirit in our everyday life. The conservative male chauvinistic attitude shall have to give way to liberalism. It can be said with a sense of pride and confidence that the future of women in India is quite bright and prosperity will be safe in their hands.

In order to give them more scope of participation in the economic growth of the country, the government has implemented major programs like Mahila Samridhi Yojana, women’s development corporation, etc. The female literacy on the whole is on the rise. According to Rabindranath Tagore, “Woman is god’s best creation,” she adds beauty and charm to every aspect of life.

To quote former Ms Universe Sushmita Sen, “Women in India have now become more aware of their rights as individuals and they are now opting for higher positions at work at the same time being a perfect housewife at home”. This is the stage at which women have reached today.

Emotional, affectionate, caring and yet firm, a woman is the perennial source of inspiration for man in the odyssey of life. Women like Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Margaret Thatcher, and Chandrika Kumaratunga have left an indelible mark not only on their nations but also at international level.

Modern women have risen far above the domestic drudgery. They are educated and aware enough to deal with any situation competently. In the present times, they are no longer the inanimate objects. They have struggled hard to establish the identity of their own. They possess enough strength and self-confidence in a brave new world. It reminds one of Lord Byron, who said, “There is a tide in the affairs of women God knows nowhere!” In the present chaotic world, only women can handle any difficulty with patience and perseverance.

Indeed it was Gandhiji who succeeded in raising the position of women in India by making them conscious of their rights. As a result of the efforts of Gandhiji, the position of women has changed and they are gradually emerging as a force in social, cultural as well as political fields of our country. The talent, patience, inner strength, power of tolerance, insight, efficiency of a responsible and good woman helps in the governance of the country and its overall progress.

Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “A sufficient measure of civilisation is the influence of good women”. Victor Hugo once said, “Men have sight, women insight.” Women run to extremes, take advanced measures for the progress of the country with their power of mental strength and extraordinary talent. Women have occupied a pivotal position today and have achieved eminence in different fields.

In the present times, several women’s organizations are working for the enlightenment of women of India.

Despite hurdles like male chauvinism and indifference towards them, women have proved their worth as teachers, administrators, officers, entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, nurses, and computer scientists and almost in all the spheres of activity contributing to social transformation and nation building.

Now, the women in India are heading towards advancement and by dint of their devotion, dedication and determination, women like Mother Teresa, Ramadevi, Bhagini Nivedita, Indira Gandhi and many more others played a vital role in the transformation of the nation socially.

Garima Obrah

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