INDIAN WOMEN AT WORK AND AT HOME
Home, sweet home is the place of universal peace. The Home Front is the chief support of life. In the past women led the lives of housewives being confined to their domestic field. They did not even venture forth for any job. As a matter of fact, they hardly had any scope to do so. So, in early age the responsibility of the household chores and cares belonged solely to the women.
The Bengali novelist Saratchandra commented that the mistress of the house took the least nutritious food and had the least comfort but bore greatest exertion yet felt the least deprived. My grandmother (born 1900) after a day’s exhaustive exertion retired to bed when the rest of the family were absolute asleep and felt immensely contented to cram into the little space vacant in the crowded bed.
During that period in India, the mistress of the house did not think of herself, but today a woman is concerned and conscious of her personal right and comfort and that is the precise perfect approach. A female character in Sarat Chandra’s novel says that when a woman finds no time even to bathe and eat attending to her family duties she attains the fulfillment in life. In the past, a perfect family flourished at the expense of the sacrifice and deprivation of the wife, sister or mother.
Even now the major portion of our society do not seek job but remain totally engaged in household arena. We cannot support this attitude of woman, since not only the family but society at large needs the attention and involvement of woman in various fields.
The homemakers are surely admirable, but they must also be encouraged to do something for the society. A woman ambitious to work out of doors should not be prevented, by imposing forceful family demands on her. Every woman should have the freedom to choose the area of her service though a homemaker deserves recognition and acknowledgement.
The maidservants or ayahs are regularly paid, and they also enjoy fixed leisure hours. But when the mistress of the house manages all household chores alone, no one thinks of either her relaxation or reward but considers as her duties and responsibility. The woman who opts to remain a housewife must not be trampled over, but given her due respect as a working woman.
The modern electric appliances have brought enough comfort to domestic life. Cleaning, washing, cooking etc... are much less tiresome and less time consuming. Moreover today’s Ayah Centers and home delivery of meals have enhanced a convenient lifestyle.Women have got rid of the monotonous cycle of “Eating after cooking and cooking after eating.” as prevalent in Tagore’s age.
Women are striving for economic freedom and self independence. But the Home Front should not be neglected or ignored. So, under special circumstances, if a woman cannot secure a job, she should not suffer from inferiority complex. Perfect performance of household duties is a great job in itself. A perfect family does not mean only neat and clean house that provides food and safe shelter, it includes also the upbringing of the children in a right manner. I know a highly educated accomplished lady settled abroad could not pursue a career because she is raising up an autistic daughter with much care and devotion. Every family has its separate domestic equation.
If a working woman neglects her child, it is a crime and for her a failure as a mother. If a woman thinks that to raise up a child is beyond her capability, it is better not to bear child at all. Life has multifarious activities to attend than rearing of children. In the busy schedule of modern age, adjustment of working couples depends on the concept of division of conjugal household duties. Unclean rooms, creased dresses or unwashed utensils are no excuse for working couples. As household chores are compulsory, every member of the family should do the respective scheduled shares. Every child irrespective of sex should be taught to carry out household errands. Decoration of house is an art. Artistic sense of a woman is generally keener than a man. A woman should give artistic touch to the interior décor of her home.
Hospitality is another merit of an accomplished woman. Busy schedule of the members of the family should never be disclosed to the guest putting them into discomfiture and embarrassment. Entertaining guests is a special chapter of a family book to be sincerely meticulously studied, irrespective of housewife or working couples. It is the mutual duty of a couple to greet the guests warmly and entertain them. The husband’s privilege is not to sit and order his wife to bring tea and snacks, while he just chats. The man of the hose should take active participation in attending the guests, whether the visit is long or short.
The overall confidence and competence of a woman guides her to pursue her professional career overcoming all family obstacles. But a woman should always remember that all types of job need to be performed efficiently not carelessly or casually. Discipline and punctuality in one’s professional sphere must be maintained. If a woman be incapable of running her home and job simultaneously, it is advisable to leave the job as the home demands priority. One must consider the situation from all angles, firstly the woman is not doing her job well, secondly, she is neglecting her family and thirdly she is depriving another woman competent for that job.
On one side a woman has her family commitments and on the other side there is job responsibility. In running both with equal effort and competencies the real skill of a woman, Madam Curie is the most perfect example of such dexterity. Madam Courie or Manya in student life despite her brilliant result in High School level sacrificed five years of academic career after completing schooling and acted as governess to provide tuition fees for the education of her elder sister Bronya. After becoming a Doctor Bronya earned and assisted Manya to continue her college studies. Manya turned to be Madam Courie the greatest scientist in the world. Madam Courie was a very hard working and devoted woman with two brilliant daughters, elder one another Nobel Laureate.
An extra ordinary talented woman Madam Curie won Nobel prizes twice, while running her family, raising up two daughters and research works simultaneously. Then why not an average woman can pursue ordinary career performing family duties as well.
A woman should never forget that it is her fundamental right to earn her own bread. Other associated problems she will have to deal. After completion of studies, any woman must choose a career to establish herself as independent individual. Next step to choose a life partner. In India, Male Chauvinism is deeply rooted in minds of husband keeping himself aloof from lending hand to wife in household chores. Strong wife must train her husband to convince that home front is the joint venture on equal devotion, diligence and dedication of couple.