POSITION OF WOMEN IN VEDIC AGE

 

STATUS  OF  WOMEN  IN  INDIA – HISTORICAL  PERSPECTIVE 

  • The status of women refers to her position in the network of social role structure, privileges, rights and duties.
  • It refers to her rights and duties in family and social life.
  • The status of a woman is generally measured in the comparative amount of prestige and respect accorded to her with that of man.
  • The status of Hindu women in India has been fluctuating.
  • It has gone through several changes during various historical stages.
  • Historically speaking, women in India have passed through two phases of their life – the period of subjugation and the period of liberation. At times she has been suppressed and oppressed and at times she is regarded as the deity of the home.
  • From the Vedic age till today, her status and position has been changing with the passing of time.

WOMEN  IN   VEDIC  SOCIETY  

  • The Rig-Vedic society was a free society.
  • The Aryans evidently preferred male child to female child.
  • However, females were as free as their male counterparts.

EDUCATION  RIGHTS

  • Education was equally open for boys and girls.
  • Girls studied the Veda and fine arts.

MARRIAGE  RIGHTS  

  • Women never observed purdha in the Vedic period.
  • They enjoyed freedom in selecting their mates.
  • But divorce was not permissible to them.

POSITION  IN  FAMILY

  • In the family, they enjoyed complete freedom and were treated as Ardhanginis.
  • In domestic life women were considered to be supreme and enjoyed freedom.
  • Women helped their husbands in agricultural pursuits also.
  • Husband used to consult his wife on financial matters.

PROPERTY  RIGHTS

  • Unmarried daughters had share in their fathers’ property.
  • Daughter had full legal rights in the property of her father in the absence of any son.
  • Mother’s property, after her death, was equally divided among sons and unmarried daughters.
  • However, married women had no share in father’s property.
  • As a wife, a woman had no direct share in her husband’s property.
  • A widowed mother had some rights.

RELIGIOUS  RIGHTS

  • The woman was regarded as having an equally important share in the social and religious life because a man without woman was considered as an inadequate person.
  • She regularly participated in religious ceremonies with her husband.
  • There were many scholars who composed hymns of Rig Veda. Lopamudra, Gargi and Maitreye were the pioneers among them.
  • Lopamudra, the wife of Agasti rishi, composed two verses of Rig Veda.

LATER  VEDIC  PERIOD

  • However In Later Vedic period, the position that the women folk enjoyed in the early Vedic society, was not retained.
  • Manu assigns to the Women of Vedic age, a position of dependence, if not of subordination.
  • The Arthasastra attests to considerable restraints placed on their movements.