Friday, November 19, 2010

Are we really modern?

Yesterday I visited a temple complex housing 22 small temples of various Hindu Goddesses. I have been there many times earlier, but it was only this time that I noticed something and can’t stop thinking about it even now. I saw that each Goddess was armed with weapons. Two thoughts came to my mind. 

First one was if a Goddess (signifying women) could bear arms and if need be use those arms then the ancient society that visualized those Goddesses must be one that respected women and their strength. Why does modern society consider women to be weak? Why are women mistreated and abused in our society? Is it because at some point in history, our society – considered to be most tolerant and accommodating – fell prey to the ridiculous idea of male superiority/female inferiority? Ancient Indians were the pioneers in many fields including female empowerment, but this sudden change in attitude has lasted too long and we are still facing the consequences. As one Bollywood filmmaker had said, we call women DEVI and then we burn them. A woman is somebody’s mother, daughter, sister or wife. A person should think whether he would behave the same way with his mother, sister or daughter the same way that he behaves with other women. If the answer is NO then it is time to behave.

Second thought that crossed my mind was related to my favourite topic. Weapons. We might be singing tune of non-violence right now. But what about defending ourselves? Mind you that bearing arms does not necessarily mean that we are hostile or lust for war. All Hindu deities possess some sort of weapons. Society that visualized deities must have based it on contemporary beliefs and perceptions. Such weapons might have existed at that time and the society didn’t feel anything wrong with portraying their deities with weapons. After all deities are the ones supposed to protect them and ensure their well-being. But in due course of time – especially during British rule – due to restrictive policies and subjugation of warrior spirit, weapons have been portrayed as evil. While blaming weapons to be bad, we forget that a weapon by itself is harmless. It is the intention of person wielding that weapon that matters.  We as a country have fallen for this ridiculous thought. We fail to understand that an average person loves peace, but he should also possess the means to ensure that a person with ulterior motives does not disturb it.

This lack of understanding is reflected in sad gun control laws and pathetic attitude towards weapons development. While anti-social elements have various illegal sources to acquire weapons, a law-abiding citizen will have zero chance to get a weapons license without bribing. We have been net importers of weapons as simple as rifles since independence. And I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon. Just imagine how much hard earned money have we allowed to flow to other countries. How many jobs and high-tech products could we have developed in our country? Why should we be prey to whims of other countries to use our weapons? Remember Sweden denied us shells for Bofors howitzers during Kargil conflict and we had to import shells from South Africa at exorbitant price. Would this happen if we manufactured our own weapons and munitions?

I am still searching for answers to all these questions, if any of you has answers to these, please let me know.


  1. The Devis that you see in the temples are the Shaktis or powers of the Lord. Just the way we can say Uranium has the power to create electricity and the power to destroy in a bomb also. Now if I were to show an image of Uranium, how would I represent it? As a power(shakti) which would be female with a reactor in one hand and an atom bomb in another. Here I cannot write a complete explanation but I hope this would suffice. God bless.

  2. It is sensible to be capable enough to defend what is dear to you...courage and skill to kill are then worth worshiping.

  3. Only Female has the power to reproduce, has more tolerance than men, gives more sacrifices than men. There is no doubt that our forefathers forced rumors and did actions to change the status of woman. Try researching on why the Church was burning Midwives across Europe stating that the were witches doing black magic. Why do Muslims want their females to be covered in black? Even in the Hindu Mythology all gods had to put in their powers to create "SHAKTI". Think of it in reverse. SHAKTI had created all the gods and distributed her power in them to start of with.

  4. Unfortunately even today the development of women is linked with men. If man can do this and that, why woman can not? This is silly. So many things woman can do but man can't. And man had never accepted that criteria for his progress. Why woman are gauge by a man-yardstick?. She is totally different, physically and psychologically, by nature, from man. She has her own INDIVIDUALITY. Let her flourish on her own.