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Women in Hinduism, contemporary women in Hinduism - Essay Example

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Women in Hinduism, contemporary women in Hinduism

However, Hinduism is an old religion and like everything that has survived through the ages, Hinduism suffers from rots of unacceptable orthodox practices. One of them, amongst superstition and elaborate ceremonies, is blatant inconsideration of women in the Hindu society. Hinduism seems to have little respect for women compared to men1. Women suffer from many orthodox malpractices. Hinduism opposes the role of women and does not recognize their role in society. So deep is this inconsideration that people misinterpret the scriptures those govern Hinduism and Hindus. Even so, the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures “Vedas” according to many prominent “pundits” negates women’s importance and role in society2. Hindu religion is plagued with practices that undermine the respect that a woman reserves the rights to receive not just from her near and dear ones, but the society as well. Many of these practices still exist in the Indian Hindu society today. In as much Hindu women were despised in the traditional society, they are slowly participating in economic, political and social process in the modern society. In ancient times, Hindus were conservative people who observed many malpractices that degraded the image and role of women in the society. One of these malpractices included the purdah or the veil system. Married women were not allowed to show their faces to the outside world, only their husbands or children. The purdah system works even today. Another malpractice that was followed by conservative Hindus in ancient times was “sati.” The practice of sati placed women below men and denied them access to any privileges including education3. In addition to the lowered prestige of women, the Sati system demanded that the widow of man should be burnt in the holy pyre that burnt her husband’s corpse. Child marriage was rampant in ancient India and incidences of child marriage still occur at many places in India. Widows were treated as lesser than animals. Through the pages of history, it is evident the status and respect for women was disregarded in all societies, especially all the ancient ones. Women faced a lot of discrimination at the hands of men in the name of tradition or religion. Women rulers would find opposition from male members of the ruling class on the basis of gender pride, even if the ruler proved herself as a capable one. There are numerous examples like the burning of Joan of Arc at the stakes that speak volumes of sheer disregard for female ingenuity and talent. Nonetheless, Hindu women suffered a lot due to their own Holy Scriptures, religion and traditions. Hindu women were dehumanized more in comparison to traditional Muslim, African and Christian women. Muslim female rulers and influential women find larger number in history than Hindus. An example of female rule from the African culture is the story of Cleopatra who rose to absolute power in Egypt while the Romans fought their wars for power. Hinduism as a religion does not recognize the fundamental rights for women. The interpretation of the “Vedas” the ancient scriptures of Hindus paints a hostile attitude towards women in all spheres. The Scripture claims that women are inhuman and have no civil rights4. These interpretations placed women in subordination to men and mandated that women should serve them. The “pati-parmeshwar” dictum, also a part of the Sati practice, followed widely in the Hindu culture is a direct example of glorification of the husband as a “God”. This practice dictated the subordination of the wife to the husband and the husband’s full rights over his wife, from physical to psychological aspects. Dowry ...Show more

Summary

Hinduism is by far one of the oldest surviving religions on Earth, its roots laid down in an era of Mesopotamians and Egyptians. It is the major religion in certain South Asian countries. Hinduism’s main features are idol worship, specific castes for specific social purposes, belief in karma and spiritualism…
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