Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


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



Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal.

"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."

Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.

Keep Reading Show less
wikimedia commons

Yakshi statue by Kanayi Kunjiraman at Malampuzha garden, Kerala

Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.

The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.

Keep Reading Show less

Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.

The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.

Keep reading... Show less