Let me start with a very highlighted phrase (also called richa) written in world’s most ancient book, Rigveda. In this ’richa’, a woman “SHACHI” describes her self-respect like this
AHAM KETURAHAM MURDHAHMUGRA VIVACHANI/
MAMEDANUKRATUM PATIH SEHANAYA UPACHARET//
Means “I am the flag bearer, cacuminal among women, and the great orator. I am victorious, and my husband is under my wishes.” Shachi is the wife of the king of gods ‘INDRA'.So this just a simple line shows that what fabulous position the Indian women were holding at that time in the society.
Vedic culture is witness that at that time women were partner of men in real words. They used to go in battle with them, used to do sacrificial rituals (yagya) with them, used to help in agricultural tasks and used to write very good literature also. If the great sages like ‘Gritsmada , Vishwamitra , Vashishtha , Vaamdev , Atri and Bhardwaj’ have very reputed role in writing Rigveda then I must mention that the great ladies like ‘Ghosha, Apala, Lopamudra and Indrani’ have also equal importance in composing Rigveda. A class of intellectual have belief that the seven mantras that is recited in vedic culture marriage are not written by any male rishi or maharishi, it is the seven promises that a female sage ’Surya Savitri’ took from her husband at the time of her marriage. These were her emotional feelings that instantaneously arose from the core of her heart. These seven mantras give emotional explanation to the complex relations of husband and wife.
Now the question arises that if women in our country were so highly reputed and self-capable in Rigveda age then how did they reach to such misery? Books of Indian ancient history contain the solution of this riddle. As I have shown earlier that women were standing at the same position where the men were. This was the time when Arya civilization was taking shape. Villages were established. Our ancestors started thinking of business going ahead of agriculture. But, for business, business centers were needed and for that centers towns were needed. Birth of towns led to some bad rituals.
After Vedic age, the epic age brought bad omen for women. This was the time when Rhapsodes wrote Ramayan and Mahabharat. These both immortal epics elaborate effectively India of that time. They tell us that towns transformed into empires. These empires developed the feeling of ‘making slaves’ inside a human. They started fighting to each other to prove their highness and to defeat others pride. Unfortunately, men used women as an equipment for this purpose. Ravan kidnapped Sita, and Kauravas tried to undress Draupadi in the fully filled hall.
The moral deterioration of Great India who was the head of intellectuality and liberalism started exactly from this point. This process was taking strange shapes in different centuries. Rajputs started “jouhar” and Mughal started “parda”. Among these bad things, the worst and unimaginable ‘Pratha’ started in our country and that was “Sati Pratha”. In South India, beginning of ‘Devdasi’ was also the result of same male dominated thinking. These all things hurt the energy and soul of women very badly. The condition of women is much worrying today. 33% girls in our country are forced to marry before the age of 18.In rural areas, approximately 45% and in urban areas approximately 35% women are facing the problem of lack of blood in their body.
I do not want to go in stats. They are really depressing. The point that I want to convey is that situation demands to change and it is compulsory. Since I am celebrating Navratra so I realized that no better time other than this I may get to talk about the fate of half population of earth.
We all have to understand that by worshiping the nine figures of Maa Durga, we all are worshiping that power (Shakti) who gives birth, who creates, who preserves and if time demands then destructs the injustice. In our country, the women have been idol of continuous fight against darkness. Our great sages of Rigveda had tried to convey the same thought to us, but we forgot them.
Thanks to god, that on account of Navratra, Maa Durga still comes in million homes of our country and symbolically tells us that we are surrounded by the army of Mahishasurs in all four directions. We all have to fight with them and have to win over them.