The Truth About Women and Hinduism

The comments on my post Not All Religions Are The Same took an interesting turn. When I said that being Hindu is something to take pride in, some people said, well what about gang rape and poor treatment of women?

So I think it is time for me to address this issue.

Hindusim in no way supports the mistreatment of women. Though I say that, I don’t want it to sound like I’m dismissing the real plight of women in India. There are problems and we Hindus need to step it up to deal with those problems. No woman deserves to be raped or harassed, regardless of what a man thinks about her dress or behavior. Dharmic men have self control and respect women regardless of the circumstances. And we Hindus need to take an active role in making sure women are safe.

That said, I do think in America we are getting a twisted perception through our media. The reporting has a strong flavor of superiority, like we’re the “civilized” ones and isn’t it barbaric what’s happening “over there”? That’s bullshit.

I think it’s a lot like the issue we in America have with mass shootings. If that’s the only thing someone hears about America, what a terrible place we must sound like! You never know when your six year old might be shot to death by a classmate. Going to the movie theater could be fatal if someone decides that you’re annoying and they shoot you. It’s absurd that this happens. But what do we do about it? Not much. We feel helpless to change it. (“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” The Onion) We hear about it, we’re outraged about it, but then we’re stuck with not knowing what to do to make it stop happening.

Again, I don’t want to silence or dismiss when bad things are happening to girls and women around the world and here at home. There are some historic ways in which women have been made invisible. Yes, women are suffering in India in many ways. No, Hinduism isn’t to blame. Women in India, just like here in America, need to be listened to and trusted to know their own mind and their own desires. We’re human beings with the same yearning for control over our lives that men have.

It’s often poor women that are suffering and that’s the same thing here at home too. Our poor are not well taken care of either. (When someone says it’s lower caste women, that’s very similar to the class structure that we have. We don’t call it out that often, but we do have a makeshift caste system in America too).

But again I say, Hinduism is not responsible for these deplorable things. Let’s take a look at what Hinduism actually says about its women:

  • Hinduism is the only major religion of the world to have both Gods and Goddesses. While the major male Gods all have Goddess counterparts, there are Goddesses who don’t need a man, such as Kali Ma, a fierce and protective mother to all.
  • Hinduism teaches that all living beings are part of the same great consciousness that is God. God is not male or female, God is all encompassing.  Within manifest creation, a balance of male and female energy is vital.
  • Shakti, the energy in the universe, is envisioned as female.
  • Hinduism teaches that we are reborn and so we all know that next time we could be the other gender.
  • One of the greatest warriors in Hindu lore, Arjuna, spent time living as a woman.
  • The great sage Yajnyavalkya was challenged in debate by a respected female philosopher named Gargi. Their battle of logic is epic.
  • Draupadi, from the ancient epic The Mahabharata, is one of the best role models a girl could have. She stood up for herself even when her husbands would not stand up for themselves or for her.
  • Here are some quotes about women in the Vedas: http://agniveer.com/women-in-vedas/
  • Kaikeyi of the Ramayana rode into battle with her husband and saved his life
  • Ambaa, the woman that I am named for, never gave in to patriarchy. When her father tried to give her away in marriage against her will, she fought back and spent decades working on her revenge against the man who got in the way of love for her (not her father, strangely enough).
  • Vedic literature praises the birth of a scholarly daughter thus: “A girl also should be brought up and educated with great effort and care.” (Mahanirvana Tantra); and

    “All forms of knowledge are aspects of Thee; and all women throughout the world are Thy forms.” (Devi Mahatmya) –http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/defaming-the-hindu-sacred-feminine-part-1/

That’s the history of women in Hinduism. Yes, in the stories there are some women who are used and abused but not every character in every story is a paragon of Hindu virtue. The stories have characters of all types and plenty of strong females to go around! It’s a glorious tradition. Not  “be quiet and subservient and hope your husband is nice to you.” Yet in the culture we see that a lot, girls being made to feel lesser and not as important as boys. That is not inherent to Hinduism and comes from other influences. (Check out this Wikipedia section on women’s rights in ancient India). Patriarchy is insidious and it has spread to nearly every culture on the planet. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s difficult to change because I think men are afraid of giving up the power that they have within patriarchy. They don’t know what it would look like to loosen the reins a little and let women share equally in the power, as is their birthright as human beings. Either that, or they don’t realize the powers they take for granted that women struggle to have.

In some ways, India is better at this than the U.S.. For example, America has yet to have a female president, but India has already had a female Prime Minister.

http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/defaming-the-hindu-sacred-feminine-part-1/

So what about middle and upper class women in India today?

In 3 Idiots we saw that the expectation on Indian daughters isn’t to stay in the kitchen, it’s to become doctors. “He wants to know the gender so he’ll know if he’s getting an engineer or a doctor for a grandchild.” There’s a lot of pressure on women in “developed” societies; as they gain the right to work hard at a career they are often still expected to keep house and be good at it. I definitely see that pressure here in America too. That’s the next step for feminism (which is not a dirty word, by the way, it only means that women are human beings too), to see men and women working together on running the house and letting each party do the things he or she is most suited to. That doesn’t always fall along expected gender lines.

If you’ve been watching the Bollywood movies with me then you might notice that women often drive the plots. In Swades, the female character is too busy fighting for her school and the right to education to really bother with the falling in love part. In Jab We Met, the female character’s lovability doesn’t come from being quiet or subservient: she’s feisty and loud. Many that we’ve watched pass the Bechdel test (which is, admitedly, a low bar but most American movies can’t pass it).

I think one of the most common issues for Hindu women today is in being protected too much. It seems like there’s a lot of well meaning “for your own good” that happens and not enough trusting women to make good choices for their own lives. Hindu women are often revered but in a way that puts them on a pedestal and doesn’t allow for them to have human failings. Sometimes they are treated like angels when they actually just want to be treated as equals and teammates. Sometimes treating women like Goddesses means snapping and flying into a rage when they behave like a human.

Again, Hindu women are struggling in many ways but Hinduism is not the cause.

To go back to the mass shooting example, do we ever hear in the news stories “Christian boy opens fire and kills seven people”? No. You may say that the shooter wasn’t really Christian, and maybe he didn’t go to church that much but he was still probably technically Christian, as the majority of people in America are. We know how ridiculous it would be to blame the religion when clearly something else is going on with this person. We blame video games or mental illness, but we don’t blame religion unless the shooter specifically said he was killing for religious reasons.

It’s the same thing here. The vast majority of Hindus don’t harm women. A few people in India do harm women and chances are good that many of them are Hindu because that’s the majority religion but that doesn’t mean that their religion motivated them at all. They may well be Hindu in name only, as so many Christians here are. Or they may be devoted Hindus in some aspects of their lives but leaning on tradition and history (instead of what is actually in the teachings) in other aspects. At the same time, it is a mistake to think India is synonymous with Hindu. There’s a lot of religious diversity in India.

As someone pointed out in the comments on the last post, we often hear about violence or people’s rights being trampled and the motivation is clearly religious. Christians and Muslims who have some screws loose are able to find quotes in their scriptures to support their bad behavior. They can point to a verse of their scripture to say why they think it’s okay to stone people to death, to kill people who are gay, etc. Hinduism has no such scripture. When a Hindu does something terrible, it is not supported by anything in the religion. He’s acting on his own.

To say that I am “picking and choosing” bits of Hinduism when I say that Hinduism doesn’t support the mistreatement of women is absolutely untrue. I’m not changing Hinduism to suit my needs; Hindu teaching is very clear that women are just as divine as men.

But that doesn’t mean that we as Hindus can turn away and ignore the suffering that happens in our own backyards. Even if we are not responsible for the attrocities, it is still part of our dharmic duty to protect the vulnerable. In the kali yuga it’s very difficult and the forces of adharma are very strong, but we need to try. We need to do all that we can. At the same time, women and men can work together to help and protect the vulnerable. Women need respect and not to be told what’s best for them by someone else. Listen to women and let them tell you what they need. Believe them when they tell you the things that are making their lives difficult.

The media tries to sell us this idea that men and women are on opposite sides and that we’re fighting a war against one another. This attitude just makes us all into losers. We are on the same team and we can work together so that everyone can live fulfilled and happy lives.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • abhimanyu sirmaur

    Thank You for writing this.

  • Sabina

    Great post!

  • Agni Ashwin

    Jai Ma!

  • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

    I agree with what you have said about Hinduism however recently it was brought to my attention an issue in the Ramayana, which I admit I have never read very carefully but I am trying lately (enjoyed the story of Vishvamitra becoming the sage, coveting Vasistha’s wish fulfilling cow that had vanquished his armies) but I am a little troubled by a commentary in an animated cartoon about Sita’s final fate. She had to leave Rama because the people questioned her fidelity. She had proved to Rama that she was true when held captive but the people still did not accept and so … What did happen? She had to leave, that I know.

    • IaMJ

      After Sita was rescued, she had to go through “Agni-Pariksha” which determines the purity of a person. Sita passed the test quite easily as she was pure and was devoted to her husband Ram. Ram also accepted Sita. but some people in Ayodhya did not see the purity. Like a true devoted wife she left Ram because if she had stayed it could have damaged the reputation of Ram.

      The moral of Ramayana is simple to understand. Even if you’re are a chaste person and you’re heart is pure. People will still judge you based on you appearance and incidents in your life(as it happened with Sita). Because common people can only perceive you externally not internally

      • Ambaa

        And thank goodness most of us don’t have to answer to our people. I’m glad I’m not a queen!

      • Amar

        Shri Ram has to perform the duty of an “ideal king” as well, he just did not threw her out, he still took care of her needs, He made sure that she is safe in Valmiki’s Ashram.

    • Ambaa

      The Sita Sings The Blues cartoon manipulated the Ramayana story somewhat to make women into victims. I haven’t seen it, but from what I understand it leaves out the most powerful actions of women and focuses on the idea that Rama abandoned Sita. As Omkar has pointed out, Rama was forced by his people to leave her. And his sadness and struggle with this is an important part of the Ramayana. I spoke in another post about Rama’s dilema, having to choose between his dharma as a king and his dharma as a husband. Not a choice I’d wish on anyone.

      • badtooth

        so mob mentality ruled. and an injustice was allowed to stand due to popular demand. sounds hauntingly familiar. so rather than the ruling king demand that his subjects treat a woman fairly, he allows the woman to be the sacrificed to appease the hoi polloi.
        “i’m glad i’m not a queen”, lol. heavy is the head…

        • Ambaa

          This is one example out of many, many, many stories of women who are strong and fierce and not treated this way. Even within the Ramayana there are plenty of examples. Sita suffered and I don’t deny that. Life sucks sometimes.

          • badtooth

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(practice)
            no doubt life sucks sometimes. especially if you are expected to burn or bury yourself alive. or worse, if you are so brainwashed by religious superstitions that you think it is an honor to die because your husband is dead. do the men ever throw themselves on their wives’ pyre?

          • Ambaa

            It feels like you don’t listen to me even a little bit.

            I want to approve your comments in the interest of fairness and discussion, but I have to balance that against the interests of my other readers too.

            You’ve made your point. Over and over and over and over. We know that you think sati is still common. It’s very rare and it is something that we need to work on. There are problems that we need to deal with. We are aware of them and we’re working on them.

            These issues do not make Hinduism bad.

            So no more. You’ve had your say and I’ve had mine. Enough.

          • badtooth

            i listen, or rather read everything you post. and i read the other comments as well. so there is a story in hindu lore of a woman being taken prisoner. and upon her return she has to be subject to a “purity test”. and even though she passes it, the community at large rejects her. so in the interest of her husband, the king, she sacrifices herself and ‘voluntarily’ leaves. so the moral of the story is that a woman’s value is in her ‘purity’? perceived or other wise?

          • Ambaa

            The story is extraordinarily complex. It cannot be summed up in three sentences. It is the second longest work of literature ever in the world. You can’t dismiss it as the simple story of a woman and her purity. There’s a lot more going on there.

          • badtooth

            ok, it is long and complex. i never understand these gods who make their ‘divine revelations’ or ‘guidance’ long and complex. maybe that is just me. how about short and simple for once. so does one aspect of this long and complex story center on a woman’s ‘sexual purity’? don’t you think that religin often places to much emphasis on virginity?

          • Ambaa

            I can agree that religion places too much emphasis on virginity and sexual purity.

          • sobarX

            Story doesn’t care/justify “sacrifice” or “Purity test” she is heroine of the story and Ram is hero , Story always with Sita. It Portraits the bad conditions/People around bring this situation And Ram who Loved her Never married another women in his life , who regretted every moment of his life for her.He was kind to society though society was not kind to him . Rama couldn’t get her back , earth took sita with her.(sita was daughter of earth) . “Tulasi” worshiped as her form.

            If there would have importance to “Purity” & “sacrifice” . she never would have worshiped with Rama as we do now.

            “He was one woman man” and It’s thousands of year old story.

            It’s Lord Rama who is Idol for People not society .

            When Priests tell Rama Stories they always emphasize his best quality as One woman Man .

          • sobarX

            well , You need to read the story , Story didn’t justify “sacrifice” neither “Purity test” , Story always with Sita(“Women” you don’t know her name). It Portraits the bad conditions/People around bring this situation And Ram who Loved her Never married another women in his life , who regretted every moment of his life for her . Story- He was kind to society though society was not kind to him .
            “He was one woman man” and It’s thousands of year old story.The time in which having Multiple wives wasn’t big deal for kings.

            It’s Lord Rama who is Idol for People not society .

            If there would have importance to “sacrifice” & “Purity” then in story she would be in h* or something like that, she never would have worshiped with Rama as we do now.

            Two options

            1.- u r dumb racist. You think you know everything and your Nazi world or is superior all other subhumans , Barbarian/black/brown,other cultures .

            2.-You are rogue atheist with Superiority Nazi feelings compare to other communities/cultures and when people points bad things in ur society -you just hands up and declare yourself “Atheist” .

          • badtooth

            so those other commentators who said she had to undergo a purity test upon her return are wrong? “she would be in hell”????? now i’m thoroughly confused. ambaa said there is no hell in hinduism. is that not right either? plus i thought sita passed the ‘purity test’? smh.
            as for your 2 options, that’s it? 2? lol. how about this. i’m a self loathing cripple who lashes out at all others to prop myself up. that my selfesteem is so low due to my overbearing mother, that i find comfort in tearing others down. or… well hopefully you get the point. but you are right, i’m an atheist. rogue or not i can’t say, i don’t know what that means.

          • Remya123

            well…at the end when the husband requests her to come back..she refuses to return and returns to her mother who is goddess bhoomi (earth).

            In hinduism -Earth is woman (Bhoomi), wealth is woman (lakshmi), Energy is woman (Sakti) , Water is woman -rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri, Mandakini etc , Knowledge is Woman (Saraswati ), Goddess Kali was born from the anger of Goddess Parvathy who is a symbol of motherhood.

            In real we get a lot of importance..because all these goddesses are treated as mother.

          • badtooth

            well…it doesn’t look like my comments are allowed. i replied to sobarX, the other day. but i don’t see them. so no point in typing anymore or answering your other post. it is truely a shame when you find an american you hates freedom of speech.

          • Ambaa

            Sorry, I don’t always get to the moderating fast enough. Somehow your comments always go to moderation and I don’t know why that is! It’s supposed to approve comments after you’ve been approved once. So forgive me if some days sometimes go by.

            That said, moderating you does not mean not appreciating freedom of speech. I will stop approving your comments if I feel like you are causing too much pain and disruption to my blog.

            This is my personal space on the Internet and I have the right to insist on peaceful discourse. See my comment policy.

          • badtooth

            yes, you are the queen here. obviously you can ban whatever comments you like. as for pain i’ve caused, i’m not the one calling people names or making personal attacks. lol. i quess the winds have shifted? the air of superiorty has resettled over india. 😉

          • Ambaa

            I’m not blocking you yet, I just want you to understand that my job as moderator is to balance free speech against creating a good community. As it is in any Internet forum. And it’s not easy.

          • badtooth

            like i said, heavy is the head that wears the crown.
            more bad news out of india. another woman swinging from a tree. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27807539

            anyway, what do you think of this miss america controversy?

          • Ambaa

            The super racist responses, you mean? That was so sad. I didn’t realize before that people could really think that someone isn’t American because they aren’t white. She was born here, same as me. She’s every bit as American as I am. Did you know my grandparents are immigrants? Many Indian Americans have had family in this country longer than me, yet I get to be seen as more fully American. Makes me sad.

          • badtooth

            no i was talking about the rape comments. she was asked about rape on college campuses and what can be done. she said she is a 4th degree black belt. and women should be taught self defense. the feminist attacked her for that.

          • sobarX

            “Sati” is old thing now, system was not Universal for Hindus , It was in certain parts of Region. After all No society is/was free from evil things .

            Of course you don’t want me to tell horror stories of Crusade , How they used to burn alive to “Pagans” which not only include Women but Children , Men and etc… as well . Or Horrible sentences in bible about women.

            I won’t go that Long in crusade stories but Just Recent History in 19th century , In America/West Black People used to get burn alive with reason that black were “Uncivilized” and your ancestors were “More civilized” than them.

            Free India born in 1947 with Equal Human rights irrespective of color , Religion etc…. In america up to 1965 black were constitutionally “subhumans” .

            Conclusion – No Society is free from Evil things.

            India lag in money and Progress but also west lag in many things .

            thanks , I don’t want to hurt anybody but just wanted to Post some facts .

          • badtooth

            please tell me something new about the horrors of the crusades. how about the book of numbers and moses killing all men, women and children. well not all. he spares the virgin girls. lol. you take me for a christian? so “sita” was an old thing. ok, why did your gods not tell people not to do it? or is it a good, or rather godly, thing to do?
            you know some christians supported enslaving blacks because of the ‘curse of ham’. anyway, you do know that america is not a religion. not since that crazy, drunken mick, o’sulivan and manifest destiny has anyone claimed divine writ.
            so are you an indian? if so, what do you think of your new guy, modi?

          • Remya123

            Hi,
            Indian women were never expected to bury themselves..yes at one point they were expected to burn themselves when their husbands die. This is not part of Hinduism, it became a practice over the years when women volunteered to die along with their husbands…it was a personal choice (strange) and over the years it became a social norm. The practice is called ‘Sati’. Sati was legally abolished in 1829 in India and the practice was put to a stop in late 1810’s or early 1820’s otherwise.
            Being a Indian Hindu Woman, I have to disagree to most of your thoughts. I do not feel any different from any other woman in Indian of any other religions be-christian, muslim, sikh, parsi etc which are the many religions which are practiced in India.
            I am educated, employed and am expected to have a great career because I always did well in school and college not just in academics but in extra curriculars also.I am married, my husband helps me with household work. I do not have any pressure from my family to be excellent in managing the house, infact my husband is a much better cook than I am.
            We in India live a normal life like all of you do. It is as normal a country as yours is..Slum Dog Millionaire does not define us, infact I have never seen India the way they have shown in the movie.
            Hindu Indian women, do not get burnt alive..I do not deny there are cases here and there but it has to do with the mentality of the people who does crime and they are duly punished as well.
            I agree rape cases are increasing in Indian and every action is being taken to curb the situation. Infact in 2013 5 men have been sentenced to death for raping.
            I emphasis again on the fact, bad people do exist everywhere.No religion teaches to kill, rape or harm others.

          • badtooth

            hey remya, how’s it going?
            are you talking about that rape case in delhi. the student on the bus. yeah that made international news. which appearently makes us white guys in the west dumb racist. wasn’t there a slut walk in delhi after that? i think that was the first case to shine a light on rape in india. unfortunate news today. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27790901

            so what exactly have i said that you disagree with?
            good to hear you are educated. biggest mistake i ever made in life was not continuing my education. anyway, i’ve never seen slumdog millionare. i do remeber that america gave another $60 million to a UN program to build chimneys in indian huts so the women don’t inhale so much smoke when cooking. i also remeber a report on a UN program that sunk wells for people. but then after they tested the water it was high in arsinic or some posion. but they people still drank it because it was clear and their only other source of water was a scummy pond.
            so you live in a city? don’t tell me bangalore? so what do you think or your new guy modi?

          • Remya123

            Hey, the Delhi rape case was a shocker to all of and I would say a slap on the face humanity! The Indian youth did react boldly to it.I am glad that the guys who did were sentenced to death.The latest incident is also unfortunate and I hope the ones who did get a rightful punishment.

            Btw I have never heard that Indian women were buried along with husbands (referring to another post ). ‘Sati’ – wife jumping in husband’s pyre was a common practice among Hindus the 17th- 18th century, but not burying…Hindu’s are usually not buried, only infants and kids are buried after death in Hinduism.

            And yes I do stay in a city..and that is Bangalore :) But I am not from Bangalore, I am from the southern most state of India-Kerala. And I have known life in a village also.India is country with 29 states,638596 villages and 1609 cities and towns. And yes there are deprived villages in India..no denying it. But trust me, that is not the real picture. I feel medias everywhere highlights whats wrong rather than what all goes right. And all of us have a very wrong picture of the other country.

          • badtooth

            yes india is a big country. quite diverse. 29 states, is that including the new one?
            so you in IT or a call center? buddy of mine was sent to bangalore when he worked for ibm. he was unimpressed, but he’s a bit of a high falutin snob.
            yes media always highlightts the bad. that is generally what news is. iv’e never seen a news report that said 99% of the people got up, went to work and obeyed all the laws.
            yeah we just had a high profile rape case in ohio. some high school football players dragged this drunk girl from party to party raping her. and then they weren’t going to be prosecuted for some reason. then some girls were blaming the girl for being passed out. and then the hacker group anonymous got involved and put the boys info online. then one got convicted and he was black. so the black orgs all came out. one of the boys house got burned down. it was a whole big bruhaha.
            so you got no opinion on your new PM?

          • badtooth

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSezPvUtvbQ
            another source that says some women were buried with their dead husband. anyway, are sati and sita two different characters?

          • Ambaa

            Sita is a person, “sati” is a word meaning this behavior. Sati is not a character at all!

          • badtooth

            thanks, that is what i thought.
            anyway, if you do bannish me, can you do me one favor? tell the person i was trying to respond to that i tried to respond. i may be a nazi, but i try not to be rude. 😉 actually i’m a libertarian, so i’m about the exact oppisite of a nazi.

          • Ambaa

            Yeah, this is why I hate to cut people off. It’s so frustrating when you want to respond and you can’t. I don’t want to be the one who decides who gets to have the last word :(

          • Amar

            as said it was voluntry. this is how the family ststem is/was, basically man and woman are not equal, and they can’t be equal- but they Complementary to each other. portraying any of the both is pure politics. every person is different, every family is different, every society is different, every nation is different. both are able enough to claim their rights, anything else is politics.

          • badtooth

            sorry boss, you and i appearently speak a very different english. i have no idea what you mean by “anything else is politics”? of course everyone is different. very few people are equal. but laws should treat everyone equally, regardless of gender. EQUALITY doesn’t mean equality of outcome. it means equality of oppurtunity.
            “basically man and woman are not equal, and they can’t be equal” well you said it all right there. and as long as it was/is the system, then everything is alright. that is sarcasm in case you are unfamilar with the concept.

          • Amar

            how can you equate law of nature with man-made laws? you do not seem so innocent.
            equality in opportunity is out of context, right?
            politics here is- women is oppressed and “I/we” will fight for her right. women is not weak, and was not weak- nature has given her enough tools to defend herself. highlighting these incidents is for vested interests, and harmfut for society at large.

          • Ambaa

            “Can’t be equal”? Could you explain that part further?

            I personally think men and women can be completely equal in the same way that all people can be equal (meaning that people have individual differences but they are differences of the person not of the gender.)

          • Amar

            Ambaa do not mix various things altogether,
            (treating/ opportunity-for them & basic nature)
            physically they are not equal,
            by functions they are not equal,
            by characteristics they are not equal
            by excercising power they are not equal.
            basically equal and identical shows it more clearly.

          • Ambaa

            I don’t know. I’d have to disagree.

            I used to think that men and women were fundamentally different (but of course still equal) but life has me thinking otherwise now that I’ve met women who are physically strong, men who are nurturing, women who have no interest in children, men who do the laundry.

            Basically every cliche of a man or a woman I’ve ever had has been debunked by real living people.

            I now think the real differences between people are due to their individual nature and not due to their gender.

          • Amar

            I too do not want to take this forward, I’ll close by my last reaction
            there are reasons why men have mustaches & women breasts (mammal glands).

          • badtooth
          • http://www.deafdrummer.org Stephanie Ellison

            I think what you are seeing, Ambaa, is the variation of the male-female gender continuum, some women find themselves anywhere from the middle to the opposite end of their gender, and the same goes for men. It very well could be that something is going on to cause these variations. Don’t ask how I know, but I speak from knowledge that there are times when a person’s brain sex (does the person have a male or a female brain?) is completely wrong for the body sex. I’m saying that the brain sex doesn’t match the physical sex sometimes.

            See, I happen to know that men for the most part are fundamentally different from that of women. All of us start out as the female human prototype in our mothers, and those who are destined to be males undergo the “hormone wash” process during gestation, which masculinizes the brain and causes what would otherwise be female genitals upon birth to start transforming into male genitals. Every human male once had prototype genitals that first resembled that of the human female that never underwent that transformation. The hormone wash generally consists of dihydrotestosterone, which is the super testosterone that is 300 times more potent than the testosterone you hear about all the time. Too much of it in the male’s adult body can lead to baldness and circulatory-related problems. And, it rewires the female prototype brain to become male. If anything gets in the way, such as drugs, environmental contamination, or even emergency surgery of the mother during gestation (general anesthesia – this most likely caused my deafness), then it could interfere with that crucial development of the male brain within that window of time when it occurs. At that point, the male’s brain sex no longer matches that of his physical sex, leaving him as merely a biological male with a female sexual identity instead of “a man” who has a fully sealed sexual identity (which is a separate issue from sexual orientation – how you see yourself is different from who you love). So yes, I know in my own way that men are fundamentally different from women. :-)

          • JRajBali

            women aren’t and weren’t ever expected to throw themselves on the pyre, read my reply to Priya and maybe do some research instead of spewing the same rehashed orientalist trash. Women, upon death of the husband are expected to be cared for by their husbands brothers or their sons. Men are expected to go in the forest and take renunciation are the death of their wife so as not to become a burden on their children. You need to do some more reading before soapboxing your opinions.

    • piyu2cool

      Eddie you are right about this issue. Why Sita had to prove her chastity to the ordinary people in the kingdom ruled by Ram? On one hand it shows that even in ancient times, the kings in India had to be accountable to their subjects. But on the other hand it puts the onus of proving purity on woman. This practice has to change. India society has some soul searching to do. They are doing it as we speak. But you won’t see a news about how India is slowly changing for the better in US media. Issues such as these are very complex and US media fails to understand complexities of Indian society. They view the world through their neocolonialist lens.

      • Ambaa

        You are so right! The onus of proving purity is on women and that does need to change.

      • Amar

        now this is creating rift in humanity.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

    – I do think in America we are getting a twisted perception through our
    media. The reporting has a strong flavor of superiority, like we’re the
    “civilized” ones and isn’t it barbaric what’s happening “over there”? – Wow, so glad I’ve missed that stuff. As if India (and other nations) are worse in their treatment of women, as if rape doesn’t exist over here! Such nonsense!

    Patriarchy and oppression are not endemic to any one religion, culture, or nation. May it be eradicated in all places!

    • badtooth
      • JRajBali

        unfortunately I think you are conflating quite a few subjects with regards to an indian societal issue versus legitimization through religious doctrine. Most of the subjects you are referring to are cultural practices borne out of extreme duress and cultural preservation arisingfrom around 1500’s onwards.

        • badtooth

          so because of britiish colonization indians burn women alive in 2013 to the tune of 5k? smh.
          i don’t know what i conflated, because i didn’t asign anything to societal issue or religious doctrine. i am asking if
          religious doctrine that seems obcessed with virginity is not part of the problem. and if this story of sita doesn’t play into that?
          but you don’t think religion and societal norms are often intertwinded? either way does it really matter to the dead. ‘don’t worry honey you aren’t being burnt alive because of hindism, it’s a societal phenomon left over from the duress caused by the british. we have to preserve our culture.”
          or
          “so you can’t marry that white boy.” who knew the stereotype on the big bang theory was right on.

          • JRajBali

            you can shake your head all you want but if you don’t understand societal progression and sociology then there’s nothing I can say to explain that fact. The bride burnings have NOTHING to do with religious thought or an obsession with virginity. Whatever was meant by your comment about the bride burnings on an article about the religious perspective of the value of women should have been explained further b/c without context it’s basically taken as an uninformed comment that equates all of indias societal problems with Hinduism. Hinduism is by and large not obsessed with virginity the same way that the Abrahamic religions are. If you actually knew or read any HIndu mythology you would know that.The story of Sita is not a story about virginity, its about shining a lense on societal expectations and that a king (government) only has validity when it’s bestowed upon him by his people. In that time period it was expected that the King put the societies happiness before his and its actually a very intense story arc within the Ramayana that makes you reflect on the origin and nature of your opinions. Your last couple of paragraphs are just so flabbergastingly full of stereotypical bs that it’s almost not even worth telling you where it’s wrong. The bride burnings do happen and are a serious societal problem but are in no way common to the entire mass. They are almost entirely based out of the greed of the in-laws and the “so you can’t marry a white boy” is again nothing to do with religion, it’s a culture of endogamy that is relict from several thousand years that only regained prominence with regards to cultural preservation during the conquests and colonization. Basically in short, your stereotypes are so hilariously near-sighted and lacking in any actual knowledge of the culture and the religion and the line between them that your input into these discussions is zero-sum.

          • badtooth

            was sita required to take a ‘purity’ test? by what? FIRE?

          • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

            No, the one on armory.com. She scored 100%

          • JRajBali

            what’s your point? It’s clear in the story that she was. I’m trying to illustrate your lack of contextual understanding that has been the insider point of view. If you even actually knew anything about Indian/Hindu culture you would know that the story of Sita is an incredibly sad episode that touches a nerve with every Indian and is never used as a justification for the mistreatment of women. Like actually, have you not read anything I posted?!?

          • badtooth

            my point is why would one make a woman take a purity test? looks like she was kidnapped against her will. so her boy rama asks the monkey king for help. he sends out the monkies on recon. she has dropped her jewles, like bread crums. rama slays ravana (whatever bad guys name is) and damsel in destress is returned. except rama or maybe the people question if she has ‘remained faithful’. so a fire is built and she walks into it and rather than being burnt. the fire turns to flowers.
            i’ve read every thing you have posted. funny ambaa said the same thing to me. anyway, why do they burn the women? i realize y’all don’t have the guns we do. but certainly you have knives? [cricket] bats? they hang women. why fire? seems a cumbersome means of murder. so we have a story of a female goddess walkng through fire, named sita. then a tradition of women throwing themselves on funeral pyres called sati. perhaps i’m a simpleton? i don’t read sanskrit. i know next to nothing about hinduism. but those dots don’t look that far apart to me.

          • badtooth

            “nothing to do with religion, it’s a culture of endogamy” funny thing i was watching seinfeld yesterday. it was the one were george converts to latvian orthodox for a girl. so i thought, wait a second doesn’t endogamy usually come out of religion. not knowing anything about hinduism, i googled it.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogamy
            “Its formation is described in a shloka (verse) of the Purusha Sukta, a Vedic hymn, as follows:
            ब्रा॒ह्म॒णॊ॓‌உस्य॒ मुख॑मासीत् । बा॒हू रा॑ज॒न्यः॑ कृ॒तः ।ऊ॒रू तद॑स्य॒ यद्वैश्यः॑ । प॒द्भ्याग्ं शू॒द्रॊ अ॑जायतः ॥
            brāhmaṇosya mukhamāsīt | bāhū rājanyaḥ kṛtaḥ |ūrū tadasya yadvaiśyaḥ | padbhyā śūdro ajāyata ||
            The Brahmins came from His mouth; and from His arms came the kings.The merchants sprang forth from His thighs; and from His feet, the laborers were born.”

          • JRajBali

            Again you just keep digging yourself into this whole of the stereotypical orientalist that can glean everything about Hinduism from biased representations outside of context. You are talking about two completely different things. First you bring up the “white marrying hindu” thing which religiously speaking in the context of atma and reincarnation is unjustified but because of constant attack an endogamous model of cultural preservation was created to ensure the continuation of traditions. What your point is with bringing up a single verse in from the purusha sukta still eludes me. Clearly you have not red the entire translation (and there are several of them) of the sukta and neither do you know or understand the original sanskrit. The purusha sukta is a an allegorical description of the creation of the universe, society and man. The verses ante and post use the same grammatical structure and similar vocabulary to describe the role of the poets and artisans in society as well the role of the sun, moon and stars.The verse you bring up is what people always use to describe the “caste” problem (both from the European side and from some Brahmins), however the nature of the text in entirety and the single description provide the clue to the intended meaning. No mention is made in the rigveda (as so far studied) about caste distinction except as a function of work. By using the Purusha as a model for a working society, the divisions describe the most cohesive organization for people to continue societal advancement. The Brahmins/Mouths are spokesmen for society and the ones that speak/think on resolutions, the Kings/Arms protect society, the Merchants/Stomach are what feed society and the Labourers/Feet are what help society stand and move forward.

          • badtooth

            “about caste distinction except as a function of work” so one must fullfill his or her function as mandated by birthrite.

            “the divisions describe the most cohesive organization for people to continue societal advancement.” lol. so if steven hawkins had been borned of the feet he would have been religated to labourer. i don’t think that would be the best use of his broken body but advanced mind.
            so if a mouth marries a foot, what is the child?

          • JRajBali

            Also, just FYI wikipedia is just slightly a more accurate source for Hinduism than Microsoft Encarta was, and that is still not saying much. You have a lot of comments that come from cursory research of biased materials.

          • badtooth

            you are stuck in moderation again. so is that not a saying in hinduism?
            does endogamy not exist in hinduism?

        • badtooth

          looks like you are stuck in moderation. i replied to your last comment by replying to myself above your comment.
          looks like you insiders are doing a great job. jk, numbers are on the rise.
          http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/05/world/la-fg-wn-india-dowry-deaths-20130904
          oh wait, my bad. that’s an evil western source. those must be slanted numbers.
          http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dowry-death-One-bride-burnt-every-hour/articleshow/11644691.cms

    • badtooth
      • Ambaa

        Again I would point out that Hindu is not synonymous with India and certainly not with Pakistan.

        Crimes against women are unacceptable in any society. When they happen, I don’t believe they are the fault of religion, but the fault of culture.

        • badtooth

          you need to have better “cultural tolerance” ambaa.

          • http://www.deafdrummer.org Stephanie Ellison

            So, explain to me, badtooth, what cultural things are you asking for tolerance for? Reading Ambaa’s statement, and then your own, I have to ask if you are referring to tolerance for the mistreatment of women in different cultures as being normal, in fact accepted and needed. Please explain what it is you are asking for. Thank you.

          • badtooth

            thought i responded here?
            i was being sarcastic.

          • JRajBali

            No…I think you’re just being misinformed and juvenile…

          • badtooth

            oh lord. misinformed and juvenile again. lol. it was a joke going back to old posts. not sure if ambaa got it or not. but it goes back to the eggshells post and the one before that, that inspired it. it’s what is called an inside joke.

          • Ambaa

            Keeping people riled up. I imagine you’ve got a smirk on your face at this point.

            I’m glad that you’re challenging us. I do think it’s really important to ask questions, to try to set aside bias and dig into one’s beliefs. It’s very hard to see past bias, though, and I realize I am not entirely scientific in the way I look at my religion!

            I can’t seem to find the words to let you see these issues from my perspective, so I won’t try anymore. But thank you for helping me see through other eyes and get a more outside perspective.

          • badtooth

            you know me too well already ambaa. 😉
            saw this article today and it made me think of you. after i thought of my crazy friend in phoenix who meditates like an hour every morning and believes in reincarnation.
            this is scientific (warning: this is a really long article. longer than some of yours)
            http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140701-can-meditation-delay-ageing
            and let me know if you what your telomeres tested. a friend of mine works for spectracell laboratories. the only private company to do testing in the US.
            just remember, laughter is the best medicine. don’t let those yard signs, bumperstickers or billboards get ya down.

  • Cibi Singaravel S

    Awesome !! I will soon write a guest post regarding the Untold story of Agamas ! :)

  • badtooth

    WOW, so much that is so wrong here. what “twisted perception” is the media projecting. all the stories i’ve ever read are simply that, stories. the news sources i read simply report the facts. i see you read satire sites, so maybe that is where the twist comes in. and if you read any indepth reports about the treatment of women in foriegn countries they are usually from NGOs or the UN or some other international body and there is no “flavor of superiority”.
    and your anology is way off. but i see another shooting at a university today. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-27726855
    such an attitude of superiority from the brits.

    • JRajBali

      as with regards to my comment above, you are conflating many separate issue across varying cultures/countries coming from a multitude of cultural/societal influences with Hinduism, unfortunately you are sorely misinformed.

      • badtooth

        so inform me.
        are women not burnt alive in indian. did a ‘viliage elder’ not say to “enjoy her” after a woman was not able to pay a fine for having a relationship with the ‘wrong’ man, from the ‘wrong’ tribe or caste? and by enjoy the villiage took that to mean gang rape her? wear not two girls found gang raped and hanging from a tree. another woman hung in a different villiage?
        so enlighten me my omniscient friend.

        • JRajBali

          And my point is where is this all based in religion or are you taking the same Orientalist view that India is Hinduism and all of the societies problems are based in Hinduism. There are 3 other major religions that were founded in India and 4 others that have had effects on societal norms in India for almost 2000 years. Yes all of those incidents are terrible and may have happened but they have nothing to do with the religious perspective of women and in fact if the men committing these crimes actually understood their religion maybe they wouldn’t (as has been the case with many generations of thousands of families that are Shakta). The panchayat system is flawed in so much as that the judges may or may not be knowledgeable enough on the Dharm Shastras to actually execute justice. Even in that case if they act against the law of the “king/land” they are meant to be punished as well. The Manu Smriti, which is the basis for the Panchayat system has severe punishments for rape, one of which was out-casting. These issues of violence are borne upon men (generally gay men or hijra) as often as they are on women but those cases are not presented in the media as much b/c they don’t fit into the model of ‘savage pagan’ that most (vehement) Christians and Atheists outside of India view Hindus as. All of those things and more occur but to say that they are religiously founded is entirely xenophobic. When you’re not cognizant of the origin of the problem, you lack context for a solution.

          • badtooth

            yes, identifying the problem is the first step to solving it. so you speak of the sikh and the christians and muslims as the 3 major. i assume you don’t think the jain or zoroastians are major players. are you counting the bahai with the buddist?
            looks like you know were it began and now you can end it. cool, dude. i look forward to no longer seen the foriegn hating western press report women being burnt alive in india. the person above said the western media slants stories, maybe so. how about this crazy thought. don’t burn women alive and there is no story to slant.
            self denial of the problem will never lead to a solution.

          • JRajBali

            Um actually I didn’t specifically say Christians and Muslims and again you’re jsut showing you’re complete lack of knowledge and your internalized bias. The 4 major religions founded in India are Hindu, Jaina, Buddhist and Sikh with the 4 imports being Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Baha’i is not a religion but an interfaith movement amalgamating the teachings of many major religions by Bah’ulla which was created in Persia and doesn’t have a significant following in India. The fact of the matter is that yes there is a bias representation of eastern cultures in western media that sensationalizes any and every story with a pejorative slant. That bias won’t change because of where it is based out of. You just keep making pointless statements that take away from the original conversation being that yes those issues exist as a societal problem, but you specifically were conflating them, India and Hinduism as some massive homogenous entity. Your asinine commentary and the media bias is part of the problem of driving these issues underground. There is no self-denial in any of my statements, I’m genuinely just trying to show you how you’re uninformed input is more of a hindrance to solving these social issues. This is an internal conversation with an internal solution and not one that needs to be pontificated on by an outsider.

          • JRajBali

            really there is no point in debating this with you because you are looking at mythological allegory that is used to illustrate necessities of behaviour for a ruling class as literalist retelling only for the purpose of denigrating it. Rama even declares that no woman after Sita will ever have to face this pariksha. If you don’t know the story where do you gain you’re informed stance to be able to pontificate on it. You have no context for it. More than likely you take the stance that all myth/religion are useless to human development, which is a juvenile way of approaching at least 5000 years of recorded human development. The self-denial comes from preservationist tactics in response to denigrating colonizers/neo-colonizers. Meaning that specifically, you and those in your same ‘paksha’ (field of understanding) are actively hindering us creating a solution by driving the problem underground for fear of ridicule.

          • badtooth

            wow, you give me that much credit. my ridicule is driving indian behavior? burning women alive has been above ground all this time?

            no, i don’t believe myth/religion has been useless in human development. just that the time has come to see it for what is was. an attempt by primative man to explain things which they did not understand. it has out lived it’s usefullness.

          • badtooth

            ah, “the outsider”.
            i’ll pontificate on whatever i please, ok ponyboy? you insiders are doing a hell of a job. it’s ONLY 5,000 women out of 1 billion plus people.
            i’ve never claimed any massive homogenous entity in india. the three females hung from trees where all in the same state.
            if whatever religion these people follow doesn’t tell them not to burn women alive, then that religion is lacking.

          • badtooth

            “And my point is where is this all based in religion” i never said it is ALL based in religion. i said if there is a story of a woman having to under go a ‘purity test’ after having been away from her husband. then that religious story leads to the mentality that women must remain ‘pure’. what ever that means.

  • piyu2cool

    US media tried to orientalize problems like rape and violence against women. US media has perfected the art of putting a spin on every issue being reported from countries like India which clouds reader’s perception and it completely ignored the gains India has made in terms of human rights and women’s issues.

    Rape rate in India is also lower and India’s law enforcement is improving day by day. Meanwhile American law and order has suffered a breakdown which is evident in incidents of mass shooting and even gang rapes being reported on college campuses. The problem is media’s head in the sand syndrome and sensational reporting of foreign incidents. The air of superiority surrounding the rape reporting in America disgusts me. It tries to portray rape as a foreign issue that America has successfully solved. Mind you it has not. To blame Hinduism for rape is borderline desperate and slanderous. No religion condones such actions. America has a lot to learn about religious and cultural tolerance.

    • Ambaa

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who hears that air of superiority!

    • badtooth

      that is utter non-sense. you are projecting some internal feelings as if fthey are facts. first america has never said it has solved rape. there are constant programs on the national, state and local level. right now i’m seeing ads on tv about the I-4 corridor between tampa and orlando being the number 3 area for human trafficing, for sex slaves. please show some examples of this “head in the sand” and what has been made “sensational”.
      you say: “Meanwhile American law and order has suffered a breakdown”. LOL. violent crime is at an all tiime low in america. it is your perception that is clouded.

    • badtooth

      check baby, check baby….1 2 3
      how about burning brides and the practice of sati?

      • Amar

        now you are picking and choosing for your own taste. Sati is outdated, voluntry, was worshipped as a godess. burning brides- it takes two to quarrel, having said that this is a crime, law takes it’s own course in it. in present HIndusthan man is a victim. in anywhere in the world it is inimaginable to see man beaten up by women. which is quite common in Hindosthaan.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FaGYimD2iA
        man still not dares to abuse women.

        • badtooth

          ok. somebody do something to protect the poor men of the subcontinent.

  • Krishna

    I see that there is lot of discussion going with respect ramayana and sita in particular. i would like to make one point ramayana is itihasa, meaning history in sanskrit it is by no means a religious scripture. Rama is admired as incarnation of God by large section oh Hindus, owing to his principled life and choosing a best possible dharma with respect to a given situation. The reason sita was treated in such manner is culture and bu no means religion. If one looks in the highest scriptures for Hindus “the Vedas” Rama or Ramayana is not even mentioned. So i ask all people not to judge Hinduism based on Ramayana.

    And for all those people who are ranting the Sita has been victimized, they should read first line of Valmiki’s ramayana it says ramayana as “Sita-ayah
    Charitam Mahat” meaning its a noble story of sita and her greatness. what better homage can be paid to a women by a noble sage than this.

    Original ramayana is not about rama or ravana its about greatness of sita sadhvi and her great compassion and motherly love even towards animals. So as you can see Hinduism regards femininity as more important than any other of so many things found in ramayana.

  • sue_from_Canada

    Has anyone mentioned thatThe Onion is a satirical publication?

  • Priya

    what about the practice of sati in ancient India where a woman is burnt in the funeral pyre of her husband which was prevalent till the 19th century? what about child marraiges when very young girls are married off to old people? what about the practice of dowry where the brides family has to pay exorbitant amounts to the groom ? what about those events where women were burnt to death for not being able to pay all the dowry?

    • Ambaa

      Have you read the other comments? We’ve been discussing all those things!

      • JRajBali

        hey ambaa, i thought i posted a fairly well thought out explanation in regards to priya’s comment, is there something wrong that it didnt pass through mod?

    • JRajBali

      I think you are missing a few facts or maybe have been presented the wrong facts through a biased academia. Sati is and never was a widely practiced phenomena, it perhaps may have descended from an extremely ancient ritual, the evidence for which comes from the erection of Sati Akkals in South India. Much the same as Veer Akkals, their are many associative rituals and venerations that must be performed regularly by the familes that erect such stones, that the concept of a family burning their daughter-in-law b/c she’s a bhoj and then having to erect (under community auspice) these stones and ritually worship them is a wee bit farcical. What was prevalent was the concept of Jauhar and even then only among the Rajputs during and after the Mewari empire. This practice involved every man to wear saffron and ride into battle with the intent to not return, the women would ritually commit suicide so as not to be left as booty for the conquerors. This practice (much like Purdah) arose as a specific consequence of muslim raids. Child marriage is terrible yet the religious ideology is this, a boy and girl may get married at the age of 6-7 to each other before their formal education took place, the marriage being a pact of alliance between the families. At this time, the girl would either be in an ashram for schooling or would remain at her parents house. Between the ages of 16-18 when formal education would have finished, the girl would be given her bidaai to the husbands house. This isnt a defense of the practice jsut stating the origin vs the modern actuality. Dowry or Dahej is a mainly a concept popularized during the muslim conquests. There are actually 8 specific types of marriage in the Hindu ethos, 3 of which forbid any dowry. The example that we follow today for our weddings is that of the Prajapatya which allows for gifts to be given specifically to the daughter as her personal income should her husband be a lout. This became the vogue through the 18th-20th century when kings would have any number of wives and concubines, many of which had to support themselves and their children. Religiously speaking Dowry isn’t a thing but Kanya-Shulkam (“bride-price”) is where in a man shows his worthiness to a woman by paying any price she states; she is not obligated to get married to him unless he completes whatever task. Most of the issues that you are bringing up are not religiously grounded and are cultural issues that have more to do with recent history of warfare and the use of women as property versus their position within religious society. All of the ideas you present were presented to the British public in the Victorian period in a bid to sensationalize and dehumanize the Indians, to cement the British role in that society. The current issues you bring up about the burnings, abuse, exorbitant amounts are societal issues that deal more with greed and the idea of women as property as advanced through social causes over religious causes that generally glorify women.
      I can speak from experience being raised in a Shakta household with at least a 350 year tradition (most likely much longer) that being raised with the idea of an all-powerful Goddess as our supreme deity has made our family take a hard and fast stance on the role of women as an equal in all activities and necessity for religious activities. For me as a gay man this poses some issues for me in my approach to sadhana which I can only overcome through either completely rejecting hinduism (not likely) or through deeper research of the concepts of Brahman and the transmigration of the soul.

  • JRajBali

    This was a great article and really well informed and researched. You’re writing still is getting better m’dear and jsut to add a few more examples to the discussion of womens rights you can also include Gargi (Garga Muni’s wife) who expounded on the nature of Maya to Garga; Maitreyi (expounded on Brahm) and Katyayanee (on worship of Shakti) both Yajnavalkya’s wives; Upa-Bharati, a Mimansa scholar that debated with Adi Shankaracharya; and then the concept of the Nagarvadhu.

    • Ambaa

      Thank you! I’m glad you think I’m improving! :)

  • SK

    Nice article. One thing I think people repeatedly miss while talking about crimes
    in India in general (including those against women too) is that how big and messy
    India is, and how difficult governance is, and most of the crimes stem from this
    difficulty of governance. Not trying to belittle any crimes, but asking people to
    have some perspective of India’s size vis-a-vis US.

    To get a measure of it, I would strongly urge everyone to read a part of this
    lecture by George Perkovich :
    http://www.india-seminar.com/2003/529/529%20george%20perkovich.htm

    Search and start from : “I close with a thought experiment that may help American
    observers to appreciate the magnitude of the Indian challenge and …” onwards.
    It’s towards the end. 7th last paragraph. It’s not long. Do read it. The article is ~ 10 yrs old, but the point being made still remains strong.

    • Ambaa

      True! It seems like Americans really don’t realize how huge India is.

  • SK

    If you want to know more about women of ancient India, then here is another (short) informative article by Nanditha Krishna :
    The equals of Men : http://www.scribd.com/doc/3820533/NandithaKrishnaArticles#page=60

    Also general informative article : http://www.scribd.com/doc/3820533/NandithaKrishnaArticles#page=25

    This is the author’s webpage, I think : http://www.nandithakrishna.in/

    • Ambaa

      Thank you!

  • Kumar

    Certain problems are endemic to India due to its population density and lax law enforcement. Issue is that since many people use India & Hinduism synonymously, the every problem of India is examined through the lenses of Hinduism.

    Bali is also Hindu, but you will not hear of these things from there. Don’t confuse every issue of India with Hinduism.

  • sahadev k

    Sculpture of a girl writing in Sanskrit. Women were literate in India throughout ages,many were scholars,music composers,philosophers. In most Hindu religious ceremonies, presence of wife by side of husband is a must ! She has excl right of lighting the lamp ! Poverty, alcoholism are main causes of ill treatment of women among poor sections of society. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/222c19495950ec58a1a2aa2c7fc60be8fdcade631d8b2858504eaafae06406fa.jpg

  • Seeker

    Very good article Ambaa. In certain segments of society in the US, the same things happen. Some things are over reported and some things are under reported. One thing you said that really resonated is that Dharmic don’t harm and destroy. Unfortunately, Hind man and Dharmic men are not synonymous. That ios where civil law comes in. When it becomes as legally dangerous to abuse a poor woman as it is a rich man then we will see justice both in the US and elsewhere.

  • fourpennyguy

    I am a Christian who happens to care for a Nepali Hindu woman. She is not happy in her marriage, I suspect because her marriage was arranged, and she simply does not like her husband. I have read that women serve the men as virtual slaves, which to everyone else in her culture, seems fine. it’s not. When a husband causes a woman to bite her fingernails from anxiety and fear of his power, then that is abuse. I am not a great fan of the caste system, in general, and my inclination is to help my friend. She has two small children, and as a married person, i do respect that commitment. On the other hand, I cannot imagine not having a choice in one’s life. I will say that my friend was flirty, accepted my friend request on Facebook, but someone told her husband. She suddenly became distant, but I can tell she is not happy. I told my wife about her as well, and she understands the complexities of human emotion. i will continue to be her friend, and be mindful and respectful of her situation even as I want to rescue her.