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Draupadi and Sudeshna as depicted by Ravi Verma

The great epics of Hinduism are greatly credited for their lasting influence over many thousands of years on the culture and ideology of the Indian people. The instances of culture and tradition which are evident in households have been inculcated through years of imbibing scriptures. Right down from the way guests and elders are treated, to the choice of diet and clothing, it all comes down from the ideals woven deep into the minds of the readers.

As with most epics, the Indian tradition also upholds the place of the woman as a nurturer. The protection and worship of women deities and their significance reaches all spheres. Saraswati is known as the goddess of education. Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of wealth. Durga is known as the goddess who triumphs over evil, and has many names across India. Sita, from the Ramayana, is revered as a loyal wife, and so on. Many women have been featured with exceptionally divine attributes in Hinduism, and any insult caused to them resulted in earth-shaking punishment.

Draupadi Vastra Haran Draupadi Vastra Haran in the court Image source: wikimediawikimedia

While this reverence for the woman predominates the mindset of the people, there is also the underlying notion of patriarchy that rules the way this reverence is approached. Men are to be protectors of women's integrity, and are seen as more powerful despite her nurturing abilities. The men of today, who follow the scriptures closely, choose to ignore this aspect of their roles in society. Raping a woman is considered something not to be taken too seriously. For the past decade, this phenomenon has increased greatly, and women have been forced to turn to leading a life filled with fear and apprehension.

It comes down to how one reads between the lines. When there is an allusion to violence and punishment in the epics or the scriptures, it is to teach a moral lesson to the perpetrator of the crime. It does not bear precedent to attacking the integrity of women simply because it has been done before. The idea that men as protectors have complete authority over women is not at all what is written.

Teaching the accurate interpretation of the ideals and standards of living expected from followers of these traditions is imperative. Being able to correctly interpret the true reason behind the incidents in the scriptures is an essential part of achieving the wisdom present in them. If the world is to reflect on these teachings, looking at them through the lens of social issues won't help. Instead, reading them first, and then applying them to solve social menaces add more value to the morality of the texts. Revering the woman and then understanding the punishment accorded to the classical representatives of social evil in the epics and scriptures perhaps may end the debate of where this rape culture stems from in the first place.

Keywords: Woman, Myth, Worship, Rape culture


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Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

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There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

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Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

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It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

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