Women in Ancient India
Earlier, women were never given any rights of liberty and equality rather they had to earn it fighting for the same. Treated in an inferior way, women were considered only for giving birth to children. The condition of women was terrible; if she gave birth to a girl child she was treated in a humiliated manner. Women were not only abstained from being educated, but also were not permitted to step out of the house. They were asked to eat after their husbands have eaten and were also given to eat the leftovers of their husband’s meal. Thus, the emergence of Women rights has become an energetic protest against marginalisation, interrogating women’s position in society.
Condition of Women in India through Ages
From Medieval India to the modern times, there has been a considerable shift in the position of women in society. In the 21st century, numerous revolutions have mapped the role, ambitions and attitude of women within the framework of traditional India. Women have transformed their traditional role of being reproducers, mothers and wives; they have carved a niche an identity of their own in the modern society.
Women in Modern India
Now, women in India participate in all types of activities such as sports, education, media, politics, science, technology and culture. Indira Gandhi, who was the longest serving woman Prime Minister, held office for 15 years. The Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees equal opportunity for women. Article 15(1) states no discrimination by state, article 16 states equal opportunity for women. Government of India declared 2001 as the Year of Women's Empowerment, also known as ‘Swashakti’.
During the British rule, there were many social reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy, Jyotiba Phule, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, etc who fought for equal rights of women. With constant efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the practice of Sati was abolished, and it took Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s campaign to improve the conditions of widows in India. The Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 helped the cause through a formal law.
Women in Revolutionary Movements
The female activism in India has produced lots of women leaders who have emerged as local leaders. Some of the rebellious women leaders in India are Kittur Chennamma, Abbakka Rani, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Begum Hazrat Mahaland the Begums of Bhopal. These are few of the popular and notable female rulers, who did not observe the purdah system.
Indian women played a critical role in the independence movement. Some of the famous names in the freedom struggle include Dr. Annie Besant, Bhikaji Cama, Pritilata Waddedar, Sister Nivedita, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Durgabai Deshmukh, Muthulakshmi Reddy, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Sucheta Kripalani and Kasturba Gandhi.
Notable Indian Women in Education
Some of the earliest Indian women who obtained educational degree were Kadambini Ganguly, Chandramukhi Basu and Anandi Gopal Joshi. Savitribai Phule was a renowned social reformer, who along with her husband Mahatma Jyotiba Phule played a crucial role in enhancing the women’s right in India during the British rule. She was the first female teacher of the first women’s school in India. She even opened a school for under privileged children.
Notable Indian Women in Sports
The condition for women sports in India is yet not popular. But still some women have made a name for themselves in the field of sports. Some of the popular female sportspersons are J.J.Shoba, P.T. Usha, Kunjarani Devi, Diana Edulji, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Koneru Hampiand Karnam Malleswari.
Notable Indian Women in Literature
Many popular women writers in India are renowned poets and story writer worldwide. Kamala Surayya, Sarojini Naidu, Shobha De, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Kamala Das, Jhumpa Lahiri are some of the popular faces in Indian literary circuit.
The position of women in India was accepted with numerous women’s revolution. The role of women in the society is slowly succeeding in its development through both independent groups of women, and national and worldwide organizations based on the goal of acquiring equality.