At some point in our life, we all have wondered what exactly is wrong with societal upbringing. How can innocent children turns to drug using teenagers who are always on the edge and how can someone who was so pure hearted once is now getting involved in fights and possess egoistic anger? Well, there are many factors for this but do know the important one? Around in 70% families in our country, our parents don’t show love, respect and affection towards each other openly. Even their parents didn’t and this goes long back. This is evolutionary psychology. According to evolutionary psychology, our ancestors who had psychological advantages passed down these behavioral traits to future generations, resulting in a population of offspring that then had these adaptive behaviors. If you observe, our families find affectionate display as unethical. As the social norm goes – It affects young mind and doing so means crossing our cultural barriers. NO. Our culture is something we should be proud of. India in known for it’s rich cultural diversity. We are the ones to set the cultural barriers or societal norms. How can showing love ,affection and respect towards each other have a bad effect on our children? It’s the literal opposite if you think. Parents fights and scream at each other in front of their children and in some cases, there is even violence. How is that right? How is that okay? No one questions how will that affect their children. Here’s an example:
Scene 1– You are walking in a park with your 10-15 years old kid. You see a couple hugging on a bench near by. What will be your first reaction? What will you do? Will you act normal and pass by or will you quick turn in a different directions so your kid won’t see them? In most cases, people walk the other way to avoid.
Scene 2– You are going somewhere with your kid. You hear some violent screams and you move towards it. When you are getting close, you see there are few people gathered and two men are fighting and screaming at each other. What will you do? Because in most cases, people just go and watch them fighting out of curiosity about why are they fighting. They stand there with their kids and watch.
I personally think that we should be more cautious about the second scene. We should save our kids from violent nature which causes real and actual damage on the young minds. Not about affectionate nature in our house or in surroundings. You are responsible for your ward’s future and nature. Ask the right questions. This is not about bad-parenting, this is just a factor which could affect the future of your child as well as our country’s future. Small changes in your perspective will help your child be a better person and a responsible adult. After all, our Nature is our Future.
Sociology is a social science that deals with the study of society. It is a broad discipline that explores human social behavior and social relationships. At its core, sociology promotes critical thinking, poses analytical questions, and pursues solutions. The word sociology is derived from the Latin word socius (companion) and the Greek word logos (study of), which means the study of companionship.
The discipline examines human behavior influenced by social structures (groups, communities, organizations), social categories (age, sex, class, race, etc.), and social institutions (politics, religion, education, etc.). The traditional focus of sociology includes social class, social mobility, religion, gender, law, and sexuality. It has now extended its focus to other subjects and institutions like the military, education, social capital, and health.
Sociology is a relatively new discipline, with roots in the works of ancient philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Confucius. It formally originated in the early 19th century during the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution was one of the main factors in the emergence of sociology. The industrial revolution had immense effects creating an unprecedented amount of change as well great implications on modern society. Where the once meticulous art of making goods and items by hand was the norm, this was quickly replaced with engine manufacturing allowing goods to be produced in large quantities and bringing about the development of factory organization. The emergence of the nuclear family as well as work force diversifications, are all but some of the implications of the industrial revolution.
Auguste Comte, a French philosopher, coined the term sociology in 1838 and is thus known as the “Father of Sociology.” Comte became interested in studying society because of the changes that took place as a result of the Industrial Revolution. He believed that science could help study and understand the social world, and scientific analyses could aid the discovery of laws governing social lives. He then introduced the concept of positivism to sociology — a way to understand the social world based on scientific facts. From his observations of the numerous changes taking place on the societal front, he believed that society should be understood and studied as it was, rather than what it should be.
The founding fathers of sociology are Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Herbert Spencer. They helped define and develop sociology as a science and discipline, each contributing theories and concepts still used and understood in the field. Some of the other prominent contributors to this discipline were – W.E.B Du Bois, Harriet Martineau.
The two main approaches of sociology include micro-sociology and macro-sociology. These two sociological approaches are conceptually different from each other but are interrelated and essential in the study of society.
Microsociology is the study of an individual. It refers to approaches and methods that focus on the nature of everyday human behavior at the community level. At this level, Social status and social roles are the main components of social structure.
Macrosociology is the study of society as a whole. It refers to approaches and methods that study large-scale patterns and trends within the overall social structure and population. At this level, the main focus is on the social system of a higher level.
Areas of Sociology:
Sociology is a broad discipline with many branches of study. The following are a few areas of sociology –
Criminology: This branch of sociology studies the criminal behavior of individuals or groups.
Religion: The sociology of religion examines the practices, history, development, and roles of religion in society.
Family: The sociology of family focuses on marriage, divorce, child-rearing, and domestic abuse.
Education: The sociology of education studies how educational institutions influence social structures and experiences.
Globalization: The sociology of globalization focuses on the economic, political, and cultural aspects and implications of a globally connected society.
Consumption: The sociology of consumption places consumption at the center of research questions, studies, and social theory.
Race and Ethnicity: The sociology of race and ethnicity examines the social, political, and economic relations between races and ethnicities.
Social Inequality: The sociology of social inequality studies the unequal distribution of power, privilege, and prestige in society.
Work and Industry: The sociology of work examines the implications of technological change, globalization, labor markets, work organization, and employment relations.
Health and Illness: The sociology of health focuses on the social effects and society’s attitudes towards diseases and disabilities.
Theories of Sociology:
Symbolic Interaction Theory: The symbolic interaction perspective is also called symbolic interactionism. George Herbert Mead, an American philosopher, introduced this theory in the 1920s. This perspective relies on the symbolic meaning that people develop in the process of social interaction. This theory studies society, focusing on the symbolic meanings given by people to objects and behaviors. Importance is given to symbolic meanings because people act based on what they choose to believe. People comprehend each other’s behavior, and these comprehensions help form social bonds.
Conflict Theory: Conflict theory explains that conflicts arise when resources and power are not distributed equally between groups in a society. Karl Marx, a German philosopher, introduced this theory focused on the causes and consequences of class conflict between the bourgeoisie (owners of the means of production) and the proletariat (the laborers). The basic idea of conflict theory is that individuals and groups within society will work to maximize their wealth and power. The conflict theory, premised on class conflicts, is now used to study how other conflicts on race, gender, sexuality, religion, culture, and nationality can affect our lives.
Functionalist Theory: The functionalist perspective is also called functionalism. This theory has its origins in the works of Emile Durkheim, who was interested in how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable. The functionalist perspective perceives society as an elaborate system whose individual aspects work together to promote the stability of the whole. According to the functionalist theory, the different parts of society are composed of social institutions, each designed to fulfill different needs. An institution only exists because it serves a vital purpose in the functioning of society. He considered society as an organism since each component plays an important role but can’t function alone. When one part experiences a problem, others must adjust to fill the void.
Some other notable theories include – Feminist Theory, Game Theory, Critical Theory, Social Learning Theory, Rational Choice Theory and Chaos Theory.
Sociology prepares people for a range of careers. A degree in sociology can lead to work opportunities with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and corporations in fields like social service, counseling, designing policies, and market research. Knowledge in sociology serves as an advantage in sales, public relations, journalism, teaching, law, and criminal justice.
Sociology will help gain a better understanding of the social forces that shape our life. It can provide foundational knowledge about social interactions, organizations and society helpful in the pursuit of careers and a good life for ourselves and our families. Sociology helps enhance one’s ability to be an active and informed citizen, and be able to influence societal choices and policies.
Body Dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive of perceived defects or flaws in once appearance. A flaw that to others is considered minor or not observable.
People suffering from BDD
Can feel emotion such as shame and disgust concerning a part or parts of their body part and fixate on this.
The obsession is so intense that the person repeatedly checks and compares the perceived flaw seeks reassurance sometimes for several hours each day.
The person can also adopt unusual routines to avoid social contact that exposes the perceived flaw.
This pervasive thoughts about their appearance and body image interfere with their daily life via
Occupational dysfunction and
No matter how many times people assure them that there is no flaw, they cannot accept that the issue doesn’t exist.
The most common features about which people obsess includes:-
BDD is estimated to affect up to 2.4% of the population. The condition usually starts during adolescence affecting both men and women. BDD does not go away on its own if Untreated it may get worse with time leading to
Suicidal thoughts and behavior
The exact cause is unknown, but like every other disorder BDD may result from a combination of causes such as:-
Environmental factors; special if they involve negative social evaluations about the body or Self-image
Genetics; studies suggest that BDD is likely to run in family.
Certain factors that may increase the risk of developing the condition may include:-
A family history
Negative body image
Negative life experiences such as bullying or teasing
Extreme preoccupation with a perceived flaw in your physical appearance that appear minor to others for at least one hour a day. Attempting to hide perceived flaw with –
styling, makeup or clothes – to seeking plastic or cosmetic surgery,
avoiding social situations,
constantly comparing appearance with others,
always seeking assurance about appearance from others,
low self-esteem, compulsive behaviour such as skin picking and frequent clothes changing.
Extreme preoccupation with an appearance that interferes with social life work, school, or other functionality.
A medical evaluation will be carried out other medical conditions after which further evaluation is carried out by a mental health professional.
Diagnosis is based on:-
A psychological evaluation; which aims at assessing risk factors and thoughts feeling as well as behavior can be associated with a negative self-image.
Personal, medical, family and social health history.
Treatment option may include therapy and medication includes:-
Cognitive behavioral therapy; that helps you learn how to cope and behave to improve your mental health
Medications; such as SSRIs may help is control obsession and control repetitive behaviours
Psychiatric hospital may be suggested if the symptom is severe such as when you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself.
The Central Government has informed the Kerala High Court that currently, transgender persons are not legally allowed to enter the National Cadet Corps and the armed forces. The Government also stated that it is their prerogative to create a new division for the third gender. In light of this statement, let us look at the rights afforded to transgender people under the law.
Educational institutions which are funded or recognised by the government must provide inclusive education and opportunities to transgender people under the law. These educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate against transgender people and have to treat them on an equal basis with other people.
No establishment should discriminate against any transgender person in matters relating to employment, including recruitment, promotion, etc. This applies to establishments including government bodies, companies, firms, cooperatives, associations, agencies, and other institutions.
Further, no person or establishment can discriminate against transgender people by denying them healthcare services. Transgender people cannot be denied access to goods, accommodation, benefits, opportunities, etc. that are available to the public. Moreover, no one can deny a transgender person’s right of movement and right to occupy or purchase any property.
A transgender person has the right to be recognised as such a person, and has a right to self-perceived gender identity. Any transgender person can apply to the District Magistrate for issuing a certificate of identity as a transgender person. In the case of a minor child, the application should be made by the parent or guardian of the child.
Transgenders do not enjoy a legal recognition in India like most of the Asian counterparts.
However, some states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha recognise transgenders as the third gender.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, intended towards the protection of transgenders is yet to be passed.
The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. In addition, the person’s gender must not match the gender assigned at birth.
The bill includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.
Get set go!! What do you make of that? If you think its competition, you are absolutely right! In Today’s fast moving life,this phrase makes sense most of the time in every field. Yes, competition,the act of trying tobwin or gain something by defeating others, is the policy we bear in mind in completing any task how much ever minute it may be.
One of the main advantages of competition is, it provides purpose and firmness to the mind. It gives us an impetus to pursue our goal, despite the difficulties that comes along the way. Here, ego also plays a major part as losing means one is inferior to the other. This might help in increasing confidence level. If its a challenge, why not gain the pleasure by surmounting it?
Even for a trifle task, one thinks that he must be the first one to finish it, thereby forcing each one to give their level best into it, yielding a better result altogether. This trait can be observed in children too. They try to compete in any task given to them and feel very good about themselves once they finish it. This simple instance shows the infuence of competition.
Now-a-days, children are very witty, which increases the level of competition.With numerous opportunities and resources come greater competition. This can be observed in various competitive exams. The cut off marks are such that, by a point difference people lose.This induces more stress in people which might be positive or negative, depending on each individual and circumtances.
Competition provides the opportunity to select the best among the bests. It is the best way to analyze ourselves and keep a track of where we stand among our peers. It also gives us chance to improve ourselves and achieve better when the next opportunity knocks our doors.
The monthly or annual exams students face is a trailor to the future competitions we might encounter. Many children as well as adults bear the opinion that exams are unnecessary and irrelevant. On the contrary, without a definite reason, it is highly unlikely that people learn what is to be learnt.
The importance of competition is such that we must always engage in improving ourselves to be on par with the bustling world. Only when we compare and compete with people, our areas of strength and weakness is revealed to us. This is help in finding direction to move forward in life.
Coming to the disadvantages, it depends on one’s mentality and view point. If one is pessimistic, the idea of competition might be discouraging to him. Whereas, if he is optimistic and ready to take on challenges, it might actually help in pushing oneself to improvise on all levels. The reality stands that competition is everywhere. One can either moan about or make the best out of it.
In conclusion, one musy always try to have healty competition in mind. Especially in this competitive world, competition is a must and the one conpeting with full determination will be the winner of the competition called life.
A brief analysis of clothing and its relevance in society.
With the break of the corona virus across the world, people had to be confined to the safety of their homes. A month was fine, two was okay. But with the passing of each day, week and month, things have been going downhill.
From schooling toddlers to people of old age are trying to stay sane and get their works finished whilst boredom strikes on and on.
Many a people have being resorting to different strategies but everything boils down to the thought of when will they be able to hit the streets again. Totally aware that there’s nothing like the old normal, but only a new normal.
However the gist of the moment would be figuring out the best way to pass time or to make the best of it.
Just like me, I guess most people would have taken to cleaning the house and carefully folding up the cupboards, multiple or numerous times by now.
During all this, it’s obvious that the human mind would hit people up with a series of rather intriguing questions, ones that never hit up prior to the covid chapter; one simple query could be, ‘when will I ever be able to stop wearing my at home clothes and be able to slip into my outside clothes.’
I guess it’s quite obvious and safe to say that everyone has broadly two types of clothes: outside clothes and inside clothes. The latter being the yesteryear extremely used version of the former.
Breaking open the almirahs really does do a number; making people question the very idea of the need of such atrocious, rogue shopping perhaps, something that we were well off without.
Could’ve made my very idle and almost empty wallet a lot heavier, if I didn’t go bonkers buying all these clothes, that I’ve seldom used.
‘Why do a person need so many clothes?’
Most of my clothes have been collecting dust and just sitting there for the past 5 months or so. Apart from a couple of casual clothes I put on for the quintessential grocery run.
After a few minutes of grave mental musings it finally hit me, ‘wait it’s not the ideal time to freak out, Afterall we’re living through a pandemic.’
Who would’ve thought the whole world was going to be at a standstill due to this pandemic a few months ago.
Sighting “events are the teachers of fools.” I took to google, like a rational being, to sort out and get a clear idea of what all do a guy like me would need in my early twenties.
The answer was clear, what I had already was more than the need. The supply or stock was well over the demand or need(in basic economic terms).
We as a species are quite complex. We sometimes go overboard and under-board. But seldom the actual level of strategy.
Scientists have concluded that humans started wearing clothes over a million years ago. Prior to that, human life was in the nude.
When the first men started to forage out for food into the unknown, there was still no need for clothing. Thanks to evolution, and hairlessness contributed by the outpour of sweat by intense physical activities, the need for it arose.
From using leaves, grass, animal skins and other things to cover, drape or wrap themselves, the primitive men have come a long way now.
“Necessity being the mother of all inventions.” Mankind slowly ventured on to the invention of sewing needles to expand the scope of their clothing line. There has been no turning back ever since.
The evolution of clothes seems more fascinating than that of mankind. There’s no denying that there’s more to it now, than just covering the modesty of man to fit into society.
The clothing industry is more than a trillion dollar business now. With brands starting from the alphabets A to Z. Prices ranging from a couple of hundreds to millions for a piece. A question, are we overdoing it, is something that can’t be easily settled upon.
The very objective to wear clothes have been changing from era to era, from person to person. What started off as a means of protection, went on to become a form of identification and now seen as a sense of adornment to expression.
With the passing of each season, the trends keep on changing. With no promise of the trend of the previous season sticking around for any further time.
An object which has such a huge utility value means different for different people. The difference of dressing habits among people living just a couple of hundred kilometres apart itself is nothing short of thought provoking.
After all the creator didn’t intend to create us all as unique beings, without a uniform image of how one should be.
In this day and age when people dress to their own tastes, it’d be fairly arbitrary for an external force, be it a person or a body entity, to restrict another being from choosing to wear the clothing of his likes. A violation of a person’s freedom to be precise.
Comment down below if there’s anything more to add or contradict.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about clay pots, tools for hunting, grinding-stones, or religious artifacts, but Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a 15,000 years old fractured femur found in an archaeological site. Femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. In societies without the benefits of modern medicine, it takes about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. This particular bone had been broken and had healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. Broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
Sometimes I’m wondering if we’ve lost the primary sign of true civilization. When I hear the angry rhetoric and therefore the arrogant talk about a number of our chat show pundits and political candidates, I’m wondering what has become of compassion. When I happen to catch a flash of a vicious voice like Ann Coulter (I can only take a few minutes) I’m wondering what has become of civilization. When I hear even Christians talk in such bitter tones about immigrants and minorities, anybody who is “different”, I’m wondering if they need ever read the Gospels and if they care about the values of the Kingdom of God. I know it is an extreme voice, but I even heard a web preacher say he thought we should always take the Bible literally and stone homosexuals. God have mercy! If Margaret Meade is correct that the primary sign of true civilization is compassion, I’m wondering just how civilized we are. Of course, there was an enormous outpouring of well-deserved compassion and bonafide outrage over the death of Cecil the Lion, but what about the death of innocent children caught amid war, or homeless families in our uncivilized urban centers? The Old Testament all for welcoming the alien and therefore the stranger and the first ministry of the first church was to worry for the widows and orphans. Compassion isn’t just the primary sign of civilization, it’s central to what it means to be a lover of Christ. St. Paul draws a sharp contrast between the “works of the flesh” which include strife, anger, quarrels, factions, envy” (…sounds like our current political climate) and the “fruits of the spirit” which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:19-23).
And so…I check my own heart and spirit. Even when handling people I afflict, am I able to commit to measuring by the primary sign of civilization, to measure with compassion?
Trigger Warning: Mention of Rape and Sexual Assault
New Media has also changed the style of journalism, such as the rise of online journalism, where facts, information, and reports are produced and distributed through the internet. News in the New Media era is enabled to spread more widely and rapidly. News content is now enriched by lots of digital elements such as images, embed videos, comment box. These elements make the information presented becomes more attractive. One of the salient characters of online journalism is its dependency on speed in delivering information. When we talk about the emerging trends in media, we cannot afford to overlook the role of online media in changing the scenario in the context of women’s issues. The content that the online media produces reflects the pattern of value the society. The prevailing attitude of society gets revealed through the way subjects dealing with women are treated by the media (Arpita Sharma, 2012).
Media has the choice of acting as both, a protagonist and as a perpetrator-it can either reinforce the gender-based discrimination by portraying sensational and stereotypical images of women or it can provide balanced reportage that empowers women and not degrades them while exposing acts of gender-based violence. Rape cases and sexual assault cases are not a recent trend in the society but sensitive reportage and wide coverage by media while also bringing these issues forefront are relatively very new.
Gender-based violence or GBV is violence that is directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience GBV but the majority of victims are women and girls. GBV and violence against women are terms that are synonymous as it is widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men. The issue of GBV reaches every corner of the world. The numbers of women and girls affected by this problem are shocking. According to the World Health Organization’s data from 2013, one in every three women has been beaten, compelled into sex or are abused. One in five women is sexually abused as a child, according to a 2014 report.
In coverage of GVB, several stereotypes are often perpetuated by the new media. These include that rape is similar to sex, that the assailant is motivated by female lust, that the assailant is perverted, crazy or a monster, that the woman provokes rape or assault, and that only women are only victims. Scholars have found that these stereotypes and myths are pervasive in media coverage of rape and assault cases. Not only the language and the framing of the headlines but also the visuals used in the articles regarding GVB play an important role in the general perception of these issues.
In Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (UNESCO, 2012), under Category B- Gender Portrayal In Media Content, B1.5- Strategic Objective 5 states the indicators for the coverage of gender-based violence. Three of them are-
Use of non-judgmental language, distinguishing between consensual sexual activity and criminal acts, and taking care not to blame the victim/survivor for the crime
2. Use of the term ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ unless the violence-affected person uses the latter term or has not survived
3. Use of background information and statistics to present gender-based violence as a societal problem rather than as an individual, personal tragedy
Terms such as ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ are often used to describe individuals who undergo these experiences. The term ‘victim’ reiterates feelings of helplessness and lack of female agency, while the term survivor connotes a sense of strength and resilience. However, the affected person should have a say in what to refer them as. The ‘victim’ terminology limits individual self-agency and identity. It is important to note that experiences of violence do not define the individual, but rather are a piece of a larger self-identity. Such labels focus on experiences of violence and presuppose an individual’s inability to change or undergo any personal development to transform their identity into a peaceful, empowered personality.
Images of sexual violence in the media often depicts women as covering their face, being silenced by looming hands, teary faces, large shadows near the woman, are some of the visual examples. These images not only fuel the stereotypes of women as helpless and weak, but also these images are also extremely triggering for the survivors of sexual assault and rape.
When media reports women who have been assaulted or raped as nothing but victims, society can disengage and fail to take the issue as a broader societal issue and fail to take responsibility for any individual or group action to change it. It is crucial then for journalists to report on GBV in an informed way and to have a good theoretical understanding of the roots of these gender based violence’s and what needs to change in society. Otherwise, they can do harm by perpetuating patriarchal stereotypes and falsehoods.
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of male as the primary authority is central. It refers to a system where men have authority over women, children and property. As an institution of male rule and privilege, patriarchy is dependent on female subordination. Historically, it has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, and economic institutions of different cultures. Literally meaning ‘rule of fathers’(Ferguson, 1048), the term ‘patriarchy’ was initially used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modem times, it more generally refers to social system in which power is primarily held by adult men.
Majority of religions have contributed their bit to perpetuate patriarchal norms. With such beliefs instilled into cultural mindset, women scarcely stand a chance of gaining strength in this male-dominated world. Patriarchy is also manifest in family traditions and gets reinforced through practices such as women adopting the surname of their husbands and children too carrying their father’s last name.
There is considerable ambiguity about the status of women in Indian society. Some sacred texts accord them an exalted status by stating that gods live where women are worshipped. In her various manifestations as Mother Goddess, namely Durga, Kali, Chandi, woman is believed to represent power or Shakti, and evoke both fear and reverence. She can protect and at the same time can also wreak vengeance. If pleased, she can fulfil every wish, but when annoyed, she can unleash unimaginable terror. Male gods at times find themselves helpless before her and cannot dare to intervene especially when she has decided to act as power incarnate. Most of her attributes are believed to be embedded in every woman. However, there is yet another profile of woman established by religious writings and folklore wherein she is believed to be fickle and fragile. She is represented as sensuous, tempting, given to falsehood, folly, greed, impurity, and also thoughtless action. She is also regarded as the root of all evil. It is because of her supposedly inconsistent character that she has to be kept under strict control. Being fragile, she needs protection at all stages of her life, for instance, in childhood by her father, in youth by her husband, and in old age, after the husband’s death, by her sons. As evident, these two images are contradictory.
The patrilineal Hindu society expects a woman to have certain virtues, chastity being one of them. Before marriage, a woman is not allowed to think of any man in sexual terms. Secondly, she has to be a devout wife—the notion of Pati-Parmeshwar or ‘husband as God’ reigning supreme in the popular mindset. Women observe several fasts to ensure that they get the same husband life after life. Such fasts also include prayers for the long life of the husband, so that the wife does not have to undergo the ‘sufferings’ of widowhood. The infertility of a woman is considered a curse as in patrilineal groups she is expected to produce a son to continue the patriarchal lineage.
Rammohan Roy stands out as the figure who took a firm stand against the practice of Sati. Sati was the custom through which a woman was condemned and pressurised by society to sacrifice her life by dying alongside her husband on his funeral pyre. Lata Mani in her book ‘Contentious Traditions- The Debate on Sati in Colonial India’, highlights that sati was not about whether the Vedic scriptures prescribed such self-immolation nor was it about the individual women’s wishes and desires. Rather, it was a part of the traditional behaviour that Indian women had internalised within themselves. Many of them saw it as an essential part of the ‘·’duty” expected from them as a good wife – to sacrifice her life in order that her husband could gain ultimate salvation.
According to Hindu mythology, the Manusmriti is the word of Brahma, and it is classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma. Manusmriti is considered as the divine code of conduct. Laws of Manu insist that since women by their very nature are disloyal they should be made dependent on men. The husband should be constantly worshipped as a God, which symbolized that man is a lord, master, owner, or provider and women were the subordinates. It legitimizes that a woman should never be made independent, as a daughter she should be under the surveillance of her father, as a wife of her husband and as a widow of her son (Chakravarti, 2006). While defending Manusmiriti, apologists often quote the verse: “yatr naryasto pojyantay, ramantay tatr devta” that is “where women are provided place of honor, gods are pleased and reside there in that household”, but they deliberately forget the verses that are full of prejudice and hatred against women.
These texts justify a woman’s inferior status in society. Each of these verses shows how the Brahmanical ideology reduces the character of a woman to the number of sexual partners she has, and her purpose as child-bearers. The obsession with knowing the lineage of offspring, virginity and the narrow definition of character led to the imposition of restrictions on women and artificially stunted their status. And much of this continues till today.
We celebrate Dussehra to mark the victory of ‘Good over Evil’, Navratri in the honour of nine Goddesses, Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon and worshiping Lakshmi on Diwali, we are decked up in festivities and celebrations. But do we really celebrate them? To find the answer to that question, you need to look no further than mythology and religious scriptures. It’s a clear indicator of what the fabric of society, its structure and norms would be like.
The implementation of patriarchal norms and values depend to a great extent on the strength and weakness of control mechanisms. For instance, articulation of patriarchal values and the prescription of norms through religious texts command natural observance. At times, family honour is protected by wife-beating. It is all too visible in the lower classes, but also persists in upper strata of society. Even after six decades of independence, one frequently reads of bride burning and dowry deaths. Other forms of violence are: heaping indignities on the wife and her relations by the in-laws, making her do physical work beyond her capacity, failing to provide her adequate nutrition, and even torturing her mentally on several pretexts. Even highly educated and well-placed women are amenable to such maltreatment.