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The Scholar Pastes Britannica on Hinduism, Like 'Pot and Kettle' Saying The Sun Is A Black Hole!

Reader comment on item: Islamophobia?

Submitted by Rakshas 10 Anan (India), Nov 22, 2005 at 06:04

'Women in Ancient Civilization
Describing the status of the Indian woman, Encyclopedia Britannica states:
In India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence says Manu. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced through males to the exclusion of females.
In Hindu scriptures, the description of a good wife is as follows: "a woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her husband." '

--Foolish leading the ignorant, I would say.

Fifty years after the death of Moghul ruler Aurangzeb, from among the zealots who wrecked Hindu temples across the length and breadth of India -- at least 30,000 according to some accounts -- there arose a Maratha queen in central India, from the common caste ancestry of nomadic shepherds. Moreover, she was a widow who did not go sati! She garnered vast trust funds to restore and renovate every single temple destroyed by the marauder. You may not read about her glory from the missionary and marxist version of Indian history, but each one of these temples bears a plaque honouring the memory of the woman, Punyashlok Maharani Ahilyadevi Holkar of Indore (1767-1795)! Modern visitors to the holiest of Hindu temples, all the way from the Himalayan Badrinath to Rameshwaram in the South; to Varanasi and Ujjain in Central India; or Girnar, Dwarka and Somnath in the West; to Puri in the East, bear witness to this Hindu miracle. This alone ought to be sufficient to give the lie to Islamist, Missionary and Marxist propaganda against Hinduism!

Hindus have worshipped God as a Woman, a Mother, and long before the Greeks, learnt to worship the Earth as Mother. There was the Vedic tradition of Brahmavadinis, women scholars, and women who were Sages in their own right, like Gargi, Maitreyi and Lopamudra, to mention a few. Women were equal participants in the Vedic fire rituals, and to-date, the wife is an honoured participant in every sacred ritual.

The scriptures cite women who were no less than men in warfare and with considerable independence of spirit, and the very concept of spiritual wholeness subscribes to the full and equal union between God and Goddess or man and woman. Formal Tantra is incomplete without women, and there have been many women ascetic saints and Gurus at all times, even at the height of Islamist repression, in a tribute to the tenacity of the free human spirit! There is the astounding example of the naked woman of Kashmir, its patron saint in fact, worshipped by the Hindus as Lalla Yogishwari, and by the Muslims as Lal Dedh, the Sufi!

Vatsyayana's Kamasutra is an adequate chronicle of the full sexual equality enjoyed by women in ancient India, unlike their repressed counterparts in the dark ages that prevailed elsewhere!

Leelavati was the intelligent daughter of the Indian mathematician Bhaskaracharya, answering posers set by her father, in an inspiring example of the unique Indian genius that could set algebra to poetic metre! (http://www.corvalliscommunitypages.com/asia_pacific/mathindia.htm; http://stutzfamily.com/mrstutz/indus/IndusContributions.htm)

Will Durant (1885-1981) American historian says:
"Women enjoyed far greater freedom in the Vedic period than in later India. She had more to say in the choice of her mate than the forms of marriage might suggest. She appeared freely at feasts and dances, and joined with men in religious sacrifice. She could study, and like Gargi, engage in philosophical disputation. If she was left a widow there were no restrictions upon her remarriage." (source: Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage - By Will Durant MJF Books.1935 p. 401).

In medieval times, there was the famous encounter between the great Hindu philosopher of monotheism, Adi Shankaracharya and the wife of Mandana Mishra, in which the latter defeated him in a public debate, so that he had to abjure asceticism for a period until his knowledge was complete!

The list of independent queens who ruled over their territories and led men into war is long, including Rani of Jhansi who was brutally killed by the British at the culmination of the first Indian war of independence in 1857-58. Rosalind O Hanlon has commented on the freedom enjoyed by Maratha women in medieval times, when aristocratic women freely travelled bear-headed, riding on horseback in the marketplace without fear of molestation, unlike their European or Islamic counterparts!

Not only that, there were heroines of great courage, Rajput women who embraced the flames as Sati rather than submit to concubinage of the Islamist barbarians who had killed their husbands, in a determined refusal to spawn violent jihadists for the future!

No doubt 1000 years of Islamist subjugation of India took its toll, but that was a relatively temporary phase in the long history of India! This also happened under British rule, where the Indian aristocracy was often compelled to emulate Victorian women, in the face of European racist jibes against the freedom enjoyed by Indian women.

The grace and dignity displayed by Indian women throughout the troubled history of the nation is unparallelled in the world, whether as wives or independent women of substance or as accomplished artists, in full resonance with the ancient soul of India.

Nor can you be aware, Mr. Scholar, of Indian syncretic traditions that are uniquely diverse yet enjoy a bond of shared heritage. Many are the aristocratic groups among Hindus that are fully matrilineal even in the present times, for example in Kerala, where the man makes home with the bride's family and the children bear the name of the mother's lineage.

I can go on and on. Not denying the aberrations through history until the present times, more the result of barbaric invasions, colonial denigration and economic deprivation, there is nothing in Hinduism per se that can keep a gifted woman back, nor has there been in the past! (http://www.atributetohinduism.com/Women_in_Hinduism.htm)

I would like to quote Will Durant once again on India:
"India was the motherland of our race
and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages.
India was the mother of our philosophy,
of much of our mathematics, of the ideals embodied in
Christianity... of self-government and democracy.
In many ways, Mother India is the mother of us all."
- Will Durant, American Historian 1885-1981

Finally, I would say this to you: The past is past. Wake up and look around you, instead of making a futile show of scholarship on the indefensible. None of your readers are either convinced or impressed. What is it about Islamic jihad that compels its women to embrace the shroud and its obscurity, its negation of womanly grace and identity in the outer world, even in free climes? All the freedoms that you cite for Islamic women -- why are they of no practical use to them in present times?

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