Does violence against women in India have mythological roots?

In Indian mythology female Goddesses have ambivalent attributes. Some Goddesses like Devi or Shakti are depicted as equal to the male Gods. Some female Goddesses like Durga are often depicted as benevolent, protectors of moral order and as the consort of particular male Gods, Other depictions show certain Goddess as powerful and destructive as in the case of Kali.  This ambivalence influences men in India today and one sees the full array of male attitudes to women in India.

Indian mythology has deep roots in India and it does have an affect on the psyche of Indian men and their attitude to women in general. Hindu Goddesses do not serve as paradigms for present day social values, but they do reflect certain expectations and notions prevalent in large sections of Indian society.

Many men have idealized notions of what their wives and womenfolk should be – that is they expect their wives to be similar to the “morally upright, benevolent and mild consort”. The burden of upholding this ideal sadly rests on the women.

The reality however is that some Indian men and women are more forward thinking and are transitioning into the 21st century while a whole bunch of Indian men still live in the 19th and 20th century and have notions and expectations that are at best antiquated if not archaic.

The violence seen in India especially towards women arises due to a combination of patriarchal role models as well as unrealistic notions and expectations about women.



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