Regressive??

Frankly I did not know the meaning of the word Regressive. The meaning given in Oxford Dictionary is ‘moving backwards’. If by using the word regressive we mean that we are going back in time, going back to the Vedic times. Then wow what joy.

If you are one of those who have lifted their eyebrows and mumbled a ‘huh’, then let me proceed to make it easier for you.

In the vedic times there were varnas and there were ashramas.

Varnas; Brahmanas ( imparting knowledge), Kshatriyas (protection), Vaishyas (traders) and Shudras (helping everyone). And no the varna system was not passed on i.e. it was not hereditary. A Brahman’s son could become a shudra. As Krishna says in the Bhagvad Gita ‘catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah’. The four divisions were based on a person’s guna and karma.

Ashramas – Every person from his birth to death went through four stages – Brahmacharya (student) stage, Grhastha (householder),Ā  Vannprastha (gradual ‘dis’ attachment for family life), Sannyasa (quest of spirituality). If a brahmachari felt that he was not fit for family life and he would rather go in for spiritual quest, he was allowed to migrate directly to the Sannyasa stage.

Now you may ask where does a woman figure in this picture.

Women were at the center of this whole social structure.

The very first thing a girl was taught was to milk the cows. ( Du huti- milking of cows; that is how the English word daughter was coined). You may smirk and say see girls were made to do such silly and menial stuff. But then remember those days farming was pivotal and so was tending of cows. Each house had at least two cows. Milk and it by products were never bought. Neither did people buy vegetables, it was tended at home.

Girls were taught yes. No they were not sent to gurukul but taught at home. And their subjects were more comprehensive than what we learn today. (FYI Sita was a sociologist, Satyabhama had learned military warfare).

BUT the prime job of a woman was to look after her home. A home she ruled with iron hands and a job in which no man dare interfere..

Yes she covered herself fully Why?? Because in Vedic times a person’s aim of life was spiritual quest. You may say what is the relation of dress and spiritual quest. Well I leave it for your discretion with just a hint. How many of you go to a religious place in tight-fitting/ short clothes. Don’t most of us go traditional when we go to the temple/ gurdwara etc ??

The roles of a man were divided finely. A man looked at outside chores. A woman was the queen of the inside world. There was no trespassing.

The grhasthas had the responsibilities of looking at all the other three varnas and it were the women who saw that the society ran smoothly. Women saw to it that all had enough to eat, enough to wear and a place to sleep.

So if women had this much freedom in a regressive society. Pray tell me what is progressive.

But then if regressive really means going back in time then I do not mind being regressive.

 

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26 thoughts on “Regressive??

  1. Interesting questions you raise. I think somewhere along the way, freedom was replaced by control. Once you stifle choice, it becomes regressive.

    • Right Rachna. I get irritated when some of us and say India is regressive or undeveloped etc etc. Whereas India in many ways from generations altogether has been a very ‘developed’ one. No I am not talking about monetary richness.
      On the contrary people respect us for our heritage and our culture.

  2. We live in a much different social set up now Bhagyashree . Unfortunately practices which made more sense then have been tweaked for selfish reasons and we are now a confused lot caught between the past and present , east and west !

  3. You can regress to that stage but that’s only a temporary period in the continuum. You regress more & milking cows may be replaced with something else. You regress a little less – Medieval age will bind the women in shackles.You can’t pin-point that age.
    Wouldn’t it be better to progress with that particular system in mind? Recreate that system in the future, instead of romanticizing with unverifiable perception of an era.

  4. Regressive does not connote going back to Vedic times.if some organization wish to computer is for speed and less man power,and some one is against it is also regressive..
    With far reaching changes in social,economic and in literacy, going back to Vedic times is neither wise nor practicable.There has been a sea change and women study as much as men,compete in jobs and are equal in all respects.Tending cows and growing vegetables is the last thing that women would like to do.

    • Did I say that?? Women were given education then too. But then now we are a confused lot.
      And women did more than just miling and vegetables. If I wrote more it would have been a LOOONG post which no one would have read

  5. hmmm….i do agree that india, in many ways, is more progressive….rather, there is a balance….in some western countries, women are selling themselves in the name of liberty

    • We assume that women in India are not treated fairly (that is true too to some extent). And we assume that women in other countries are better off. It is not the truth. Is wearing clothes of ur choice or choosing ur partner the only criterion of being liberated?? I really don’t know.

  6. That is why we are in a mess, Bhagya. Because we are inter crossing each other’s paths…Men getting involved in the house matters and women the other way…:P
    On a Serious note, thought provoking….

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