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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    A tricky issue disturbs me on this Women's Day

    Unfortunately, I could not study history during my student days. I studied the subject up to Xth standard, but could not go to much depth. I learnt the important questions by heart and somehow managed to clear the subject. Consequently, I can't analyse the historical events from a proper perspective.

    On this Women's Day, I was thinking about the emancipation of women in India. After the dark medieval age, the emancipation of women started at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It coincided with the Second Bengali Renaissance. Raja Rammohan Roy forced William Bentinck to abolish the custom of Sati. In another two decades or so, Eeshwarchandra Sharma (Vidyasagar) initiated the remarriage of widows. Women's movement got a fillip.

    During the entire nineteenth century, Indian women got the first ray of light thanks to some great renaissance men.

    From the above, can we infer that women were unable to fight for their own rights? Is it true that men had to fight on their behalf?

    This is the tricky question that disturbs me today.

    Members, kindly clarify this confusing issue.

  • #753591
    Women of today are very different from women of the olden era. The majority of Indian women are not only educated but also hold high positions in various companies. Therefore, they are strong enough to defend themselves and do not need anybody's support to be their mouthpiece.
    Now, let me answer your question. It is true that women were very weak and were ruled by men who never allowed them to even raise their voices and protest. However, even in those periods, there were powerful women such as Razia Sulthan and Rani of Jhansi who inspired other women to raise their voices and protest against the injustice done to them. Women of today do have plenty of freedom and pay true homage to those women of previous decades who constantly fought for the upliftment of the weak and timid women who lived during their time.

  • #753592
    To fight for your own right, you need a little room for yourself from where you can raise your voice. If the voice is suppressed from every corner then there is a little option left to fight though there were a couple of brave women those days. Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay, popularly known as Vidyasagar was a great scholar and social reformer in West Bengal and along with him Rani Rashmoni also played a key role to pioneer the remarriage of widows. When you are in a position you can raise your voice and with tacit support from others changes can take place. Women were suppressed and tried to raise their voices inside their families in their own ways but those voices remained suppressed by male dominance. Some men understood the pain and actively supported women. Nowadays, when women progressed a lot they do not need the support of others to raise voices but for any movement to be successful you need a lot of supporters, irrespective of gender differences, to carry it forward.

    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #753596
    This is an important issue about women's emancipation raised by the author. For that matter, the women of the olden days and golden era were not extroverts and would be sulking inside the house much under the control of male partners and elders and that made them not to raise their voice. However, there was male representation by reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy to support their causes and fight for the rights of women who were marginalised.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #753611
    True. In the olden days, ladies were not even coming out and they are confined to their kitchens only. How they can fight for them under those conditions. I have seen some families where a lady will never open her mouth. They struggled a lot. Then some men only come for their rescue and started fighting in society. Kandukuri Veersalingam Pantulu of Andhra Pradesh was one such leader who struggled for the welfare of women and he encouraged the remarriage of widows.
    But in history, we see some ladies also who came out and fought with Britishers for independence also. Rani Rudrama Devi, Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu so on and so forth. This is an indication that some ladies can fight but numbers may be less.
    But the situation is entirely different these days. We are seeing many ladies who behave independently. They can fight not only for themselves but also for their husbands also.

    always confident

  • #753623
    Reference #753591: Respected Member has stated: "However, even in those periods, there were powerful women such as Razia Sulthan and Rani of Jhansi who inspired other women to raise their voices and protest against the injustice done to them. "

    In this connection, I would like to know how Razia Sulthan, daughter of Altamash, has helped in emancipation of women in the renaissance or in the post-renaissance period.

    Even if we accept for argument's sake that Razia was an inspiring figure for emancipation of Indian women, isn't it true that Altamash made her, Sulthana (his successor), only then she got the throne. Further, she had to marry an Amir in an attempt to save her throne. Then how is she an inspiring figure for modern, emancipated women?

    The concerned Member may please clarify.

    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

  • #753625
    If we go into the historical facts in the improvement in the condition of women and their fighting spree with respect to the time then we will find some interesting facts in this matter. First thing is when men are there everywhere in influential positions and also present in all leadership positions then how it is possible that without their help and guidance the women folk will have development and progress to attain higher heights. So, it took a lot of time for the women to reach at the present juncture and they have to fight for it more in coming times for the equality that is still a matter of dream aspirations for them. There are many areas like army, parliament, and other important positions where there is a need of more efforts to make an equilibrium in this world which is still dominated by men in many areas.
    Knowledge is power.

  • #753630
    Partha, I had given the example of Razia Sulthan as she was the first female Muslim ruler and the only female ruler of Delhi. I am sorry I did not delve into how she had been suppressed by male members during her reign.

  • #753638

    Men might have fought for the rights of women but that does not mean that women were unable to fight for their own rights. Whether it is a man or woman, everyone wants freedom and empowerment. In the 19th. century people like Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and later followed by people like Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu and others took upon the fight for the rights of women and to stop certain evil practices like Sati, child marriages. They tried to encourage widow marriages also.
    The women also fought along with men in the independence movement, Dr. Annie Beasant made a valuable contribution to the rights of women and fought for equal opportunities for them in all the fields along with men. The Woman's Indian Association was formed in Madrasthe year 1917. The purpose of this association was to unite women and make them fight for their development. Smt. Sarojini Naidu and Dr. Annie Beasant lead a deputation to meet Mr. Monatagu to demand opportunities for women on equal terms with men. Mr. Montagu served as Secretary of State for India. All India Women's Conference was formed in 1927. Their aim was also to fight for women's rights.
    The women are capable of fighting for themselves and the men always support them.

    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #753639
    I think you must remember a word and underline a word called International, not national 'women's day. Nellie McClung was born in 1900 She was a part of the social and moral reform movements prevalent in Western Canada in the early 1900s. Her great causes were women's suffrage and temperance. It was because of her hard work and advocacy, along with others involved in the Political Equality League of Manitoba (which included men), that in 1916 Manitoba became the first province to give women the right to vote and to run for public office. Annestine Beyer (1795) Pioneer of women's education.
    Everyone should observe the nature of the Graphite structure because a Graphite has only a tendency to convert into diamond under tremendous temperature and pressure.

  • #753644
    I am astounded and dazzled by the sheer brilliance of the light of knowledge emanating from the extremely informative answers of KVRR Sir and Mr. Bhushan. Indeed I have come to know about many new milestones on the road of emancipation of Indian women. But, the information provided by these two erudite Members indirectly prove my point.

    As for example, the burning of Satis was banned by William Bentinck as per the advice of Raja Rammohan Roy in December 1829. This was considered the first step of empowerment of women in India. On the other hand, KVRR Sir has informed that 'The Woman's Indian Association' was formed in Madras in the year 1917. So, it is evident that for 88 long years (1829-1917) which is equivalent to almost 4 generations, Indian men had to fight for the rights of Indian women. Indian women were incapable of fighting for their own rights on their own. Isn't it?

    Eagerly waiting to know whether my interpretation is correct, or not. Hope erudite Members will definitely clear my confusion.

    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

  • #753647

    The author's good words about the brilliance of knowledge are misplaced and they belong to the internet from which the information is gathered and presented here. With my limited knowledge, I always depend upon the internet for information.
    Coming to the doubt expressed by the author about the dependence of women on men to fight for their rights, there were women even in the 19th. century, who fought for the empowerment of women. Prominent among them were Savitribai Phule, Fatima Shiek, Tarabai Shinde. and Ramabai Ranade. Savitribai Phule was a teacher and she set up schools to provide education to women cutting across caste barriers. Mrs. Phule started an organization called 'Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha' to prevent the killing of baby girls. Fatima Shiek helped Mrs. Phule to set up schools for women's education. She gave shelter to the Phule couple when they were thrown out of their house for their activities. Tarabai Shinde was against patriarchy and caste discrimination. Ramabai Ranade was the founder of "Seva Sadan" which trained women in learning various skills. The imparting of skills is aimed at making them financially independent.
    This is the information obtained from the internet, All these women belong to the 19th. century.There may be more,

    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #753659
    1. Thanks to KVRR Sir, I have understood the role of some great female social reformers during the nineteenth century. Indeed they played a great role to empower Indian women. All Indians must read about these great women. I sincerely thank KVRR Sir.
    2. In this connection, I would recall Bengali novelist Ashapurna Devi's Gyanpeeth award winning trilogy, Prothom Protishruti (The first promise), Subarnalata (a name) and Bokul-katha (Saga of Bokul), where she depicted how women during the nineteenth century gradually empowered themselves. The trilogy depicts struggle of three women of three generations of the same family. In the trilogy, Ashapurna Devi, unlike the modern feminist writers, has clearly explained the important role played by male in bringing gender equality in India. I request interested readers to read the trilogy to have a good idea of hopes, aspirations and struggle of Indian (Bengali) women during the nineteenth century and the twentieth century.
    3. Finally, I note that even in 2021, in the august platform of ISC, only a gentleman has to explain that women social reformers also did a lot for gender equality in India!

    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

  • #753769
    Dokka Seethamma (or Sithamma; 1841–1909) was a South Indian woman who gained recognition by spending much of her life serving food for poor people and travelers. The British government recognized her charity, and King Edward VII invited her to the celebration of his anniversary along with other guests from India. He ordered the chief secretary of Madras to bring her to Delhi with honor, but Seethamma politely declined the invitation, saying that she was not providing her services for publicity. The Madras chief secretary instead gave King Edward a photograph of her, which he then enlarged to place on the chair where she was to sit during the celebration.
    Everyone should observe the nature of the Graphite structure because a Graphite has only a tendency to convert into diamond under tremendous temperature and pressure.

  • #753773
    I thank Bhushan Sir for mentioning a great female social reformer from Andhra Pradesh who was born in the nineteenth century. I never heard about this great lady.
    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

  • #753775
    The greatness of Smt. Dokka Seethamma was such that she used to offer food to anyone at any time of the day or night. A great woman indeed. Thanks to Bhushan for mentioning her name.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

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