Women’s day is being celebrated worldwide on 8th of March every year. It all started from New York with a simple demand of getting voting rights for women. Those were the days where gender inequality is at its peak. Since then to now, we are celebrating the day as a reminder that we should respect women and get rid of this gender inequality.
Women in Indian Mythology
In India, we have a mix bag of people on this issue. There is a sector, who wanted the equal rights for women on everything and at another extreme there are groups who wanted the women to suppress further in the name of religion and culture.
Does our religious scriptures tried to kill the rights of women? Let’s take a look at the Hindu mythology. We have the stories of Sita, Draupadi, Shakuntala, Ahalya, Amba, Shanta and so many more women character who have been wronged by their male counterpart. Of course, it simply means our religion gives the man an upper hand! But wait; let’s take a deeper look again.
We have also the stories of Durga, who helped the mankind by killing the demon Mahishasura. Oh, yes but is not she revered as a Goddess rather than an ordinary mythology character? Okay. So, let’s talk about Mayawati, the mistress of the demon Sambarasura. She later helped Pradyumna in his battle against Sambarasura. She is a warrior, a lover and an epitome of beauty. Or should we talk about Savitri, the wife who fought against the Lord of death with her intelligence to save the life of her husband. And of course there are other such characters like Mandodari, Tara, Parvati and many more.
Gods in their Women Avatara
Another special feature of Hindu mythology is, even the Gods here take the form of women for some or other reason. Like Lord Vishnu turned into a beautiful girl named Mohini. She helped in securing the nectar of immortality by distracting the Asuras. And Lord Shiva also takes the form of Ardhanarishvara. In this state, he emphasizes the point that, we all need masculine as well as feminine characters to survive.
So, what does mythology says about women?
I am sure other religions also must have a certain stories and epics which does not show their biased attitude towards any gender. The problem with people is; they only see what they want to see. If they want violence, they talk about Mahabharata and conclude that one has to fight to establish the righteousness. When they want peace, they talk about Lord Buddha. And when they want to support gender equality, they talk about Ardhanarishvara and to justify the polygamy, they talk about Lord Krishna’s 16,000 wives.
I am not sure, how people interpret mythology. But to make a balanced society, it is always important to give women a parallel role with their male counterpart. Their choice needs to be respected, unconditionally.