Since dawn of civilization women have been respected and worshipped in our land as goddesses. They have been adored from time to time as virtues incarnate. So many of our virtues like learning, wisdom, chastity, and wealth are represented in our religion and mythology by goddesses. Learning is called Saraswati, Chastity is called Parvati, Wealth is represented by Lakshmi, Worldly beauty by Maya, and Energy is symbolized by Durga Kali. Whenever we refer to our ideal heroes like Ram and Krishna, we always prefix their names with those of their wives. Our country itself is called 'Motherland'.

In ancient times, women in India occupied an exalted position in society and excelled in various aspects of life. According, to an old Sanskrit verse, the woman was considered "in action like a minister, in kindness like mother, in service like a maid, in enjoyment like Rambha". There was no 'Pardah' and education was as much as privilege of woman as man.

But in later Hindu periods and afterwards, the position of Indian women worsened more and more. They were compelled to put on veils and confine themselves within the four walls of their houses. Benefits of liberal education were denied to them and not unoften they were looked upon as possessions rather than persons. Till the 19th century, they were considered merely as food to man's passion and lust.

But in the wake of political emancipation, India has followed a great change in the life and destiny of Indian women. The women of free India are no longer frail, passive and indolent.

Today women are no longer regarded as slaves or drudges. As a result of their newly gained freedom, they have distinghuished themselves in various spheres of life as politicians, salesmen, scholars, poets, orators, lawyers, doctors, judges, diplomats and ambassadors. Kasturba , Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, Begum Shah Nawaz are immortal names in the history of modern India.

There is today hardly any sphere of life in which our women have not taken part and shown their worth to the curious gaze of the orthodox.

About Author / Additional Info:
Pratima Sidana