Skip to main content

Innumerable instances of Hindu mythology, epics, scriptures are in sharp contrast to Adityanath’s views on women

Sita, Druapadi
By Nandini Oza*
I remember the year 2004 when I was teaching a post graduate course in social work in the Government College in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh (MP) when Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) Uma Bharti became the Chief Minister (CM) of the State. Soon after, the regional press extensively reported that a dress code for girls in the colleges of MP was to be implemented soon by the BJP Government.
The reason given was “provocative dresses” worn by the students were leading to “perversions”
I had decided back then that if the BJP Government imposed the dress code, I would change my attire from my regular salawar khameez to pants and kurtas in solidarity with the protesting girls even if it cost me my job as a lecturer in the Government College. However I did not have to do anything of the kind as the Government bowed to wide spread protests across the state. It was a proud moment for me when young girls stood up to the proposed diktat by the then BJP Government.
Come 2017 and a statement by BJP minister Maneka Gandhi as reported by the Indian Express comes to my mind - "Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi recently made a statement that has left a lot of people baffled. Speaking to NDTV, she said early curfews in hostels ensured safety. “When you are 16 or 17 you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn. It really is for your own safety”."
It is important to take note that Maneka Gandhi herself has exercised her freedom from her young age by pursuing formal education only up to I.S.C. She took up modeling at age seventeen and dated Sanjay Gandhi as a teenager. But that does not matter. She adheres to BJP –RSS’s skewed ideology concerning women as its minister of Women and Child Development.
Other BJP – RSS functionaries have also expressed their regressive ideas about women very vocally in recent times. This is not surprising as this is the part and parcel of RSS-BJP ideology in its endeavor to build a Hindu Rashtra. However what is worrying is that ever since BJP has come to power at the center, it has started executing its ideas in an aggressive way. For example the Vice Chancellor of the esteemed Banaras Hindu University (BHU), a BJP appointee himself reportedly advocates discriminatory treatment towards girls in the university as follows:
1. Girls not to be served meat in the hostel mess as it makes the girls “impure”.
2. Girls cannot avail of the 24X7 library facilities as it would be immoral for girls to study after 10 pm.
3. Girls cannot use mobile phones after 10 pm.
There are no such restrictions on boys. During my recent visit to Banaras Hindu University, I was told that the girl students are not allowed to raise their voice against the discrimination meted out to them or participate in any protests.
It is under this back drop that the appointment of BJP CM Adityanath and his regressive views about women should also be understood. More importantly, by appointing Adityanath as the CM of UP, the BJP/RSS has given a clear message that this is what BJP stands for and requires the people of this country to abide even if it is contrary to the Constitution of India.
I therefore bring before the readers what Adityanath as BJP CM thinks about women through his article titled, “Matru Shakti Bhartiya Sanskruti Ke Sandarbh Mein”:
In reference to talking about women's reservation, he says:
‘There are many other dangers in trying to make a woman like a man-
1. When a woman becomes as impressive as a man, then the home is destroyed.
2. It is legitimate to train girls but a homemaker should not be the fairy of an assembly.
3. If men acquire the qualities of a woman along with those of men, than they become God but if women acquire the qualities of men, they become demons…
These are the points made by several old sayings, and we should take them seriously....' (translation).

Adityanath also says:
'Otherwise the thoughtless charming storm coming from the west of women’s freedom will uproot them and they [women] will be thrown from a well into the valley' (translation).
He also says:
Our scriptures which have described the greatness of women, after considering the importance and limitations of women have also talked about giving protection to women always. The way in which energy if allowed to remain unregulated and released without control is wasted and can even be destructive, similarly women in form of shakti (energy) do not need freedom, but require need based protection and channelization. Therefore what the shastras (scriptures) say-
Women shakti in childhood is protected by father, in youth by the husband and in old age by the son. This way, women are not fit to be left free or independent always. As stated by the shastras that women are not qualified for freedom does not mean that they are dependent but that as energy [women] need protection and control. The energy of the women power that is protected this way alone converts into midwife and mother of great men and when needed she emerges from home to destroy demons in battlefield…’(translation).

From the above writings and many of his speeches that have been televised it is clear that Adityanath’s views about women are deplorable. Adityanath bases many of his beliefs about women on the Hindu scripts, texts and mythology and advocates that women be protected/controlled by men of her family. He also believes that women’s freedom/liberty is a western concept alone and there is a danger that women in India are likely to succumb to it.
However if one were to refer to Hindu mythology, epics and scriptures, there are innumerable occurrences contrary to Adityanath’s views where women have actually suffered humiliation/injustice at the hands of men including those from within the family. One will also see how women have fought for their dignity and freedom from the times of Sita and Draupadi and that women’s struggle for liberty and freedom is not a western concept alone as Adityanath wants us to believe. I give select examples here to prove my points:
1. The two greatest women icons Draupadi and Sita in Hindu epics suffered great humiliation at the hands of their husbands. Draupadi was staked by her husbands in the game of dice. Even while she was being disrobed, none of her five husbands came to her rescue.
Ram deserted Sita while she was pregnant merely on hearsay. That too, after she had given the test of her purity by passing through fire! What is important to remember is that Sita exercises her freedom in the end to return to mother earth rather than reunite with Ram. There are many other instances in Ramayan where women have been wronged by their husbands. For example Dashrath had three wives, Urmila fended for her own self when Lakshman abandoned her to accompany his brother Ram to the forest and so on.
2. In Mahabharat, Bhisma abducted the three sisters Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, when Amba was about to garland king Salva whom she loved. She protests, goes back to Salva and leaves for the forest after facing rejection from him too. She later practices great asceticism and penance. She holds Bhishma responsible for her misfortune and takes birth as Shikhandi for revenge.
3. In Mahabharat although Gandhari’s energy was ‘controlled and channelized’ none of her hundred sons rose to be great men. On the other hand, Kunti exercised her freedom to have a son even before she was married. Kunti also chose that each of her sons was born with a different father. And yet, her sons turned out to be more virtuous than the hundred sons of Gandhari. But ultimately both Gandhari as well as Kunti received a lot of heart ache on account of their sons. In fact, Gandhari had no sons left to be by her side in her old age although she had hundred of them.
4. Ahaliya was turned into a stone by her much older husband sage Gautama. Her only “fault” was to have been deceived and seduced by Lord Indra disguised as her husband Gautama. The irony is, Ahaliya was to be eventually liberated from her condition only at the touch of Ram’s feet, the very same Ram on account of whom Sita returned to mother earth!
5. Renuka was beheaded by her son Parsuram who was ordered by his father Rishi Jamadagni to do so for her having faltered in her chaste thoughts only for a moment! Fortunately she was brought back to life but only when her son wished so.
6. From the days of Dushyant till the present day, there have been many incidents where husbands have refused to even recognize or acknowledge their wives leave alone support or protect them! Women from the times of Shakuntla have fended themselves well with great dignity under such circumstances.
7. Birth of wayward sons is also mostly blamed on the wrongful behaviour or thoughts of women in Hindu mythology. For example, Kashyap Rishi’s wife Diti is said to have given birth to unworthy sons as her mind was impure with lust. It does not matter if Kashyap rishi himself had more than one wife! It was a common practice among Kings, Rishis and even Devas’ to have more than one wife while women were even cursed for having just “impure” and “unchaste” thoughts!
The important part is that learning from such incidents in Hindu mythology and texts, women in India since the days gone by have fought for liberty, be it Sita or Mirabai. Women fought back then and continue to fight even now- first, for equality and dignity within their own homes and family, next, within the religious beliefs and practices and ultimately for equality and dignity in the society at large. Today many women have made great strides to be able to live life on their own terms and not succumb to diktats. Women continue to fiercely safeguard their liberty, equality and freedom as clearly recognized by the constitution of the country and not as any foreign concept.
Therefore it is high time that all those in the country who believe in women’s dignity, freedom and equality recognize BJP for what it is. It is time that BJP’s regressive ideas concerning subjugation of even women are understood and strongly condemned. It is time that BJP/RSS’s skewed ideology for the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra where women across all communities will have only secondary status to men is checked collectively. If this is not done, BJP/RSS and its hard core - orthodox Hindu ideologues will inflict irreparable damage to not just women but men too and to the Indian society at large.
---
*Independent researcher and social activist. Source: http://nandinioza.blogspot.in/

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria