Thursday, May 3, 2012

Digging into the roots of gender discrimination in India and busting myths held about women

This topic is in ongoing development here:
http://nikhilsheth.tiddlyspace.com/#[[Discrimination%20against%20women]]

Found this in the Arvind Gupta readers library.

Read it from page 10 onwards (chapter 3)

It has a detailed account of the origins of discrimination between men
and women in Indian history, and shatters many long held myths along
the way.

On the web, here is a link to the same, though I found the pdf more
readable than the doc.
http://arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/sexismkalia.doc

Excerpt-

Anti-Feminine Statements
The denunciation of females as a group began with aspersions cast in
the Vedic literature: ".. .the mind of woman brooks not discipline.
Her intellect hath little weight.. .with woman, there can be no
lasting friendship..." (Upadhayaya, 1974: 159). Though Buddha
reluctantly allowed women- to become Sisters, establish convents and
join the order, he considered them inferior to the males. In his death
bed conversation with his favorite pupil Ananda, Buddha outlined a
principle for behavior toward Women, instructing that Buddhist monks
should avoid them because, "Women are soon angered, Ananda; women are
full of .passion.. .envious.. .stupid.. .women have no place in public
assemblies..." (Coomarswamy, 1928: 164). Mahabharata enjoined women to
refrain from studying Vedas. The Epics went to absurd lengths to
portray women as carnally insatiable lewds. 'They are inconsistent,
irreligious, licentious, fickle, crooked, ominous catalysts of
conflict leading to the destruction of families, cities, and nations'1
(Jayal, 1966: 228-230). The vituperations of Manu set the tone for the
denunciation of women in Indian literature. After a token tribute to
the need for honoring them, Manu portrayed women as base and ignoble
subjects. No woman, Manu recommended, should attempt to be
independent, even in her own house. In childhood, she should obey her
father, in youth her husband. If her husband dies before her, she
should defer to her sons. Single, married or widowed, at no point in
her life should she make her own decisions (Buehler, 1964: 147-151).
Literature between 600 and 1000 A.D. continued to reflect the tone of
Manu in its antifeminine stance. Even the poets of bhakti-kaal, an
otherwise enlightened group of folk writers, denounced the female as
the gate to hell, more poisonous than vipers and worthy of severe
disciplining.

Asceticism (Women as the Source of Evil)
Asceticism, particularly the doctrine of brahmcharya, placed an
unusual emphasis upon the desirability of freedom from sexual desires.
The female, as a source of pleasure, was depicted as a temptress.
According to this image, women lacked the moral strength of men. The
scriptures are full of anecdotes in which deceptive women act as
decoys to distract the ascetics from their higher spiritual pursuits.

...

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