Tushar Ray

Gold Star - 11,909 Points (October 31,1939 / Kolkata, India)

Women’s Liberation In India* - Poem by Tushar Ray

It is awfully hard to sensibly describe
Contributions of women in the world culture
As their roles have been so diverse
Changing with human progression all thru the ages!

A unique case of the women-progression
Has been the culture of ancient India since 5000 BC
Known as the Eternal Culture
In Sanskrit “Sanatana Dharma”
A dynamic culture from the olden Vedic wisdom
And recorded in the great Epics
Such as, Ramayana and Mahabharata
Also from 305 B.C account of historian Megasthenes’
Appointed by the Greek invader Seleucus
The Army chief of Alexander the Great
And subsequent recurring invasions from 10th Century
By the Pathans, Huns, Muslims, and Europeans
Beginning the early 900 AD ending in 1947
When women’s roles altered dramatically
Evolving gradually to state of Women’s freedom
Seen today by India’s mosaic constellation!

Prior to foreign invasion Women’s role in Vedic India
Was to enjoy spiritual equality with her husband
Raise the children with eternal Vedic wisdom
Having strict codes of moral conduct
In an open-minded pleasant atmosphere
Helping to grow them to be a productive citizen
For the family as well as for social harmony
And when at any point turmoil came
Due to greed and injustice of few influential men
Women played the appropriate roles
To fight injustice and restore order in the society
As evidenced from Ramayana and Mahabharata

From an account of Megasthenes in 305 BC
Social order stayed almost same after Greek invasion
And women conducted their life by Vedic rules
As exemplified during the reign of Emperor Asoka
The staunch proponent of Buddhist nonviolence
When women folks enjoyed the good freedom
Then came a period of instability in women’s role
Due to ideological misunderstanding
Between Buddhism and the Vedanta-ideals
Where women played different roles
Bringing confusions among men and women
Later fixed by Sankarachariya in the mid-8th century
Establishing the nondual, “Adyta Vedanta”
And restoring both orders in their right perspective

However, entire structure started changing dramatically
Following foreign invasions beginning early 900 AD
When the invaders started abusing women
Killing millions, forcing people to work against wishes
And widespread looting of their possessions
When the society acted accordingly to protect women
And save the ancient culture from invasion
Creating a solid barrier presenting new social customs
To protect social dignity and self-respect of women
(greatly prized since ancient Vedic time)
When the priests and few influential took major roles
Adding stricter codes reducing freedom further with time
Gradually the cultural barrier became huge
And some prejudices creped into society as a result
Limiting further Women’s freedom in India

Then in the mid-18th century came Sri Ramakrishna
Pointing out to the evils of the society
And persuaded the society by his own living example
What needed to rejuvenate society again
Trusting own wife, Ma Sarada, and young-Swami Vivekananda
To complete the job after his demise in 1886
And soon after Swami Vivekananda came to Chicago in 1893
To attend the First Parliament of Religions
And returning to India as a hero, started the campaigns
On women’s education and freedoms in society
Blessed by Ma-Saroda, embodiment of Women’s freedom in India
And considered as “Mother of the Mankind”

Swami Vivekanda and Ma-Saroda thus created
A mass revolution throughout India on Women‘s liberation
Which is now visible in every corner of Indian society
Where modern women lives in dignity after cultural integrity
Of ancient tradition yet keeping up with Global culture
Seen today in India’s mosaic constellation!
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* On Celebration of Women’s Liberation,2015

Topic(s) of this poem: freedom

Comments about Women’s Liberation In India* by Tushar Ray

  • (9/1/2015 10:08:00 PM)

    Tushar, I am always amazed at your vast knowledge of so many issues of India, reading your poetry is like receiving a lesson in the culture of India. Your poetry is filled with brilliant facts of different circumstances and situations pertinent in this world. Roles women have played through the centuries is still evolving today, there seem to be setbacks, but they are getting fewer and far between. Your poem has given a plethora of information that is enlightening and thought-provoking.
    One issue I find deplorable is that of killing newborn baby girls. It women are so revered and praised in India, why do they kill them before they live for an hour out of the womb. That is the total opposite of what women's liberation is all about, I do not understand this oxymoron, how can it even be allowed without doing anything about it. Suffering, pain, sorrow, grief these poor mothers - women - are going through is atrocious, and for what reason is this happening?
    Knowing you so well, Tushar, I know that you are against this practice and do not have the answers either, it is too barbaric in a world were humanity is trying to find peace. India is to be praised for attempting to free women and educate. them. A noble deed for sure. Thank you, Tushar for sharing. RoseAnn
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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 5, 2015

Poem Edited: Sunday, March 8, 2015

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