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Surviving Violence-II: In a man’s world…

Because, you are not human until you can nurture. You are not grown until you become capable of caring for others. And because there will always be someone greater than you.

 O woman, realise your potential. You are a lioness who can destroy criminals, ignorance and vices and protect the noble ones: Yajurveda 5.10

 Let’s plod on, let’s look at the path we took and the way we travelled through our history. We looked at a sliver of history last time in trying to understand the most rudimentary essentials of the divided world we live in: Might is right. This might could be in any form: a skill, an ability, a legacy, resources, money, fame, influence. Intellectual or material. If you have any of these, you may use it to further your lot. At times, you would be tempted to step on the heads of others not so secure as you. This becomes your power in the society; the greater your power, the greater your access to resources, and greater your power to increase your power.

This power coaxes our ego, sparks that hunger for more, and inspires a fear of losing it all. Greater the hunger for this power, greater our fear of losing it. We would be moved to everything in our power to evade that. We use all our power to create structures that support our hold over it. It is this power that keeps Alexander the Great awake at night, looking out for his next conquest. This same power that makes an imperialistic nation ignore the plight of the natives of the lands they plunder. The same power that makes a man of knowledge desecrate the very foundations of the knowledge that got him there. The same power that makes a politician take decisions that keep his constituency ignorant and dependent on his largesse. Hunger for this power is why global banks swindle their own customers, who are much less powerful than they, it makes a superpower use international conflicts to its own advantage, and implement policies that divest people all over the world of a healthy future.

When, all this time, this power could be used to elevate those with lesser access to it. But, why should you do that? Why should you help those who are in any way lesser than yourself? Because, you are not human until you can nurture. You are not grown until you become capable of caring for others. And because there will always be someone greater than you. Maybe not yet, maybe not today, but some day for sure; then, how would you like to be treated? I would rather keep this last argument as the most simplistic way to look at it, not fully satisfying, because it dwells on fear. And, just as power borne out of, and exercised through fear fails to bring results, glorious qualities such as gratitude, compassion, love, and duty, when driven by fear, bring no value to our character. Then they are just another vessel for hate, selfishness, anger, jealousy, lust – the seven deadly sins.

What has this got to do with women?

What it has to do with women is this: We often ridicule women for not ‘contributing’. Through centuries, women, as even intellectuals point out, have made a measly contribution to the great shows of valour and strength through wars, the great advancements in the field of science, the great corridors of power all over the world. Sure, there have been the likes of Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, Madame Curie, Maya Angelou, Jhansi ki Rani, and so many more… but those are seen as exceptions.

We challenge their demand for respect, safety, and equity in our societies on the basis of their “low” “contribution” to our society. And, we rob them of their opportunity to Choose between our expectations from them and their ideas of how they would like to contribute. Finally, we condemn them. We entrust our children, our elderly to their care, and then we deride them for their lack of contribution, lack of ambition, lack of imagination. See the irony there? Our society emasculates itself by denigrating the status of family by doing so. Why is it that so intelligent a species as us is fervently chopping at its own roots?

Woman is different from man. That does not mean she is any lesser. And, man would be that much more of a man for understanding that. The duty of the physically stronger is to protect the one that is not. The duty of the richer is to furnish the poor with means to make his life better. The duty of the spiritually stronger is to help the weaker one grow. Women have, through ages, been applying their strengths for the growth of our society: their intelligence, inherent foresightedness, instinctive sense of compassion, care, and dedication, a fervent passion to nurture and support, and a readiness to prove themselves on every front they are challenged.

May the entire society respect and praise the glorious woman. She is the epitome of truthfulness, noble virtues, selflessness, enlightenment, and worthy actions. She can destroy the strongest obstacles of hatred, violence, evil, and ignorance with her shining light: Rigveda 1.92.5

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