The female of the species - C.K.Mathew, C.S. Rajasthan

Let’s me ask you this direct question and you swear to answer it honestly. Who is the better of the two: a man or a woman? Now you will ask: what is the meaning of the word better? Better in what way? And I will reply, better on the whole, better in functionality, better as a person, better as a human being.

We know the woman in many avatars. Depending upon the stage of life we are in, we know her as mother, as sister, as wife, as daughter, as granddaughter, as friend, as homemaker, as professional: the list goes on. As mother, she is caring and loving, ready to sacrifice her all for you, ready to fight for you till the last breath. As sibling, she will stand by your side through every day of your life, through your pranks and misdemeanours and will not betray you when the chips are down. As wife, she will love you every day of your life, through sickness and health, through the good days and the bad; she completes you for she is the perfect companion and your other self; she knows you better than you know yourself, and cares for the home and the family with a fierce and unending love. As daughter she can bring tears of joy to your eyes as you see yourself in her growing self. As granddaughter she can make your heart burst with love and emotion. As friend she can admonish you and make you see the right path, she is a patient ear to pour out your troubles to. There is no match for her role as home maker, multitasking as only she can know, juggling professions and home, husband and children, cooking and swabbing and sweeping and a million other things that are required to keep the house ticking like a clock. In the office, she can be a formidable boss and a trustworthy subordinate. She is everything and more for she is she.

What’s more, there are fundamental differences in the manner in which women think, or take decisions, when compared to the men. John Gray’s best seller “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” attempts to explore this conundrum, proving competently how and why women think and act in ways radically different from men. There is serious research on whether women are right brained, meaning that they are more intuitive, thoughtful and subjective; and that men are left brained, meaning, more logical, analytical and objective. Men are puzzled as to why a woman should spend a couple of hours in selecting a pair of sandals for a forthcoming marriage, but will leave all crucial decisions about the stock market to her husband. We all do know how in inter-personal relationships, in delicate emotional issues, she can intuitively tell you what the right thing to do is while men lose the compass and fall flat on their faces. Her soothing touch cannot compare with the rough edges we as men so readily display. On the other hand, when men are wastrels and dissipate the family wealth in unthinking profligacy, it is the woman, always the woman, who steadies the boat and takes it to the safe shore.

The woman has been extolled in scriptures and old religious writings: in India we extol the virtues of our goddesses with such fervour, prostrating ourselves before their images and idols and praying to them for our desires and ambitions.

Goddess Lakshmi brings good fortune: she is the diety of wealth and prosperity, both in material and spiritual senses. She is the household goddess of most Indian families, and a favorite of women. She is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility.

Then there is Durga, the Mother Goddess, known by other names as well, like Bhavani, Sherawali, and so on, representing the fiery powers of the gods. She is the personification of divine “shakti” energy of Lord Shiva. She is the protector of the righteous, and destroyer of the evil.

Also Kali, the fearful and ferocious form of the female goddess. She is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces; she has the fiercest features amongst all the world’s deities.

And of course, Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning, representing the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. The goddess of art and music, it is believed that she endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning.

We as a country have had women Presidents and Prime Ministers, and top bureaucrats and politicians from every party who devote their lives to the betterment of people across the country. In panchayats and municipal bodies, there is law in our land which reserves certain positions only for women. We have countless heroic examples of women who stand up for what is right and take on to their shoulders the weight of the world. How glorious is our country!
But then the questions emerge, questions which sear and bruise the soul. Why do we murder our baby girls even before they are born? why do we throw them into the dustbin, just after? Why is the child sex ratio of our country plummeting? why do we deprive the girl child from her rights to health and education? why is she hidden away from the world while the doting parents worship her brother, who is treated as a prince in the family? why do we rape and abuse young women at lonely bus-stops? why do we burn the hapless bride with the weapon of mysteriously exploding kerosene stoves? Why is every known form of atrocity and abuse played out on the hapless and helpless body of the woman?

And if I say that we as a nation must be judged by the way we treat our women, then would you hold up your head in pride?
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Officers Times - RNI No. : RAJHIN/2012/50158 (Jaipur)


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