Various periods of social history has metamorphosed the “Traditional Indian Women” into a “Modified Global Indian Women”, who is in a position to question the system of values that still designates gender-specific qualities, although these have been redefined and regenerated, with the good old hierarchical implications embedded in them. There is no doubt that we are in the middle of a great revolution in the history of women. Women’s voice, can now be heard everywhere, from the Parliament to the streets. It was not all easy to claim for her basic rights, but the fight that continued for centuries ultimately formed the nucleus which might perhaps lead to the ultimate revolution. Our Indian sub-continent is now emerging as a powerful land since women have started playing a significant role towards development of the nation.
Mythologies of the Hindu womanhood and female ideals were constructed upon these epics. Based upon these epics, a woman’s role is to serve; as such her worth is measured in her service to her husband and community. These stories through history have successfully categorized women into domesticated roles where their sole purpose is to the adherence of their male counterparts (fathers, husbands). Dr. Ramashraya Sharma observes that in the epic Ramayana the self-sacrificing Hindu wife is, in fact, the very paradigm of Hindu femininity. The Ramayana presents variety of women who are the ideal example of fidelity to their husband.
The story of an average Indian sportswoman often struggles to materialize into heroic tales of achievement, rarely making its way into annals of history. Sport does not fit the cultural role play, traditionally associated with Indian women and as a result, women sporting role models are a rarity. Culturally, sport signifies agency, control over one’s body and strength; the traditional dynamics of masculinity, which help preserve the gender power relationship in favor of men in the society. Thus, to keep social institutions such as sport, within the parameters of the patriarchal world order, women are ‘subaltern-ised’. The present paper explores the media narrativised iconicity of Indian lawn tennis player Sania Mirza which is mainly structured
Nonetheless, female stereotypes continue to thrive in the media we consume every day. The ever changing attitude of Malayalees towards womanhood is clearly reflected in the Malayalam films of 20th century. The feminine sensibility as a mirror of the times has been explored by many writers and this exploration often shows the assumptions and sympathies about women too. The prevailing conditions in Kerala society convince that the condition of women is rooted in biological and psychological immutabilities. Vayalar Ramavarma, Sreekumaran Thambi, P. Bhasaskaran etc are the pioneers in the surfacing of female rage and sexuality.
At present, Michelle Obama, Benazir Bhutto, Johanna Sigurdardottir, Yingluck Shinawatra, Sonia Gandhi, Angela Merkel, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are considered as most powerful women in the world. Few more examples for different sectors in India where women have exceeded are as follows: Politics Sarojini Naidu, Vijaylakshami Pandit, Sucheta Kriplani were the torchbearers for the women of India. Mrs.Vijay Lakshmi Pandit was the first Indian woman to hold a post in the cabinet, thus paving the way for other women. Other women who have made their name in politics of India are Shiela Dixit, Uma Bharti, Jayalalitha, Vasundhra Raje and, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee. At present, our foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani as HRD minister, Chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel, Former President of India Patibha Patil have significant role in Indian Politics.
But some characters like Sita and Parvati Amma though they were steeped in the Hindu value system, manage to find space and scope for rebellion within the institution they conform to. , In The Thousand Faces of Night, the concept of womanhood was explained mainly through the characters of Sita, Devi and Mayamma. Among the three, Sita was projected as an embodiment of fortitude, sacrificing all her wishes and tastes for the well-being of her husband and daughter. Through the character of Mayamma, Hariharan had depicted the sufferings and predicaments experienced by women in a patriarchal society. But Devi was different from these two characters.
She also found that the impact of Brahrnanical ethos on gender marginalized on those Dalit women who chose to remain within the Hindu fold. She also added in her autobiography ‘Antasphot’ that the Dalit life stories are nothing but critical narratives of their lives and they are not the autobiographies. Her autobiography talks about the multiple meaning of the Dalit subjectivity. Vidyut Bhaagwat (1985) in her article ‘Dalit women: issue and perspective: some critical reflections, explore the social stratification of Dalit women. She argues that
She no longer depended on them so completely. Her stance changed for the future she took care to guard herself from hurt, it was as much from the Pandavas as from her enemies. Therefore the dependence of women for men to support them in time of need is shown changed and her finding her own strength is projected in the novel. Another most powerful character in the Mahabharata was Karna. He wanted to show his prowess and felt he was of a higher caliber to Arjun in archery.
The women characters are given attention only when their actions or deeds affect the lives of their male counterparts. The women characters in Mahabharata are given a ‘relational’ identity – an identity which is not independent, but dependent on someone else’s life. Their identities are not a ‘complete whole’ but are inter-relational. Other than that they live a shadowy life, living at the backstage. Divakaruni herself believes that the women characters in the epic
Githa Hariharan narrates the stories of Devi, Sita, Parvatiamma and Mayamma though linking them to mythological characters. The myths have been reinvented and retold for these women characters to connect to Amba, Ganga, Gandhari and others in their plight, in spite of the time gap of centuries between them. The central characters expose the various dimensions of oppression through ‘Story within a story’ technique. The novel is around three generations of women-Devi, Sita and Mayamma. The novel brings forth the idea how despite the generation, background and the education that an Indian woman attains, her fate is to fall back into the century old customs if not more to a small extent.