In the past, women were treated as mere slaves. As they belong to the weaker sex, men used to keep them under thumb. They were denied freedom. They were kept like dumb cattle within the four walls of the house. Indeed, they had no rights. Their most sacred duty was to obey blindly.
Though the conditions in the country are fast changing, yet women are still treated, in some respects, in the same old way. No one feels happy in the home at the birth of a female child. Even an only daughter is supposed to be a curse for the family. She is regarded as a decree of lakhs of rupees on the parents. Further, as a wife, she has always to obey her husband. “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.” was the motto for them. Even educated and modernized husbands want to see their wives confined within the four walls. The noble professions of the outside world are considered to be of no concern to them. Their husbands, they may be good or bad, are their lords and gods.
Those changes are beneficial which come gradually. Our country is changing politically, economically and socially, at a swift speed. The condition of women is also gradually changing. They have begun to take their due place in free India as is evident from the following facts.
In free India, women cannot be kept as sheer domestic servants. They have to play their vital role in the development of the country. That is why more and more girls are getting education. No distinction is now made in matters of education between boys and girls. Education is bound to give them place of honour in society.
It is for the first time in the history of our country that women have been given equal voting right with men. It clearly means that women will now take an active part in outside affairs also. Their voice will now be as forceful and important as that of men. No politician of leader can now afford to neglect, or oppose their rights. They are becoming equal partners in the making, or the dismissing, of a Government.
Hindu law has been changed and modified. Far reaching changes have been introduced in the Hindu Marriage Act. Women have been given right to divorce in certain cases. This is a very important change. They have been given protection in other ways also against the cruelly of the husbands. Besides this, the Hindu Succession Act has given to the daughter the right to the property of her parents. These reforms have secured for women an honorable status in society.
Our constitution has given equal rights to women. No distinction has been made on the basis of caste, religion or sex. Their rights have thus been safeguarded. Reservation for women in state assemblies, parliament and the upper house is apt to be enacted in near future.
Many a women has begun to occupy high position in the life of our country. There are a number of lady minister and deputy ministers. A woman, late Mrs. Indira
Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and a leader world stature. Besides this, women are taking to the profession increasing number. Today there are women who are competent police which direction the wind is blowing. The observance of the international women’s year in 1975, gave further impetus to the movement for the emancipation of women. Attention has thus been focused on problems peculiar to women in India.
Also Indian girls bagged two beauty crowns in 1994. Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe title and Aiswarya Rai bagged the Miss World crown. This unique double success on the world’s beauty stage earned a healthier respect for India as a whole, because these contests of late have become as much tests of the contestant’s brains, outlook and presence of mind as of mere physical beauty.
From the above account it is evident, that the place of women in free India is becoming more and more secure with the change of times. She can no longer be dominated and driven like dumb cattle by man. She is on the march. She is now an equal partner in her family. Her future is bright.