Introducing myself and my journal: disabled

BK Shukla
Posted December 27, 2010 from India

About Me: I'm a disabled but active, creative, proactive for nation building, fact finder of the life; always tried self to do all types of work; As I'm a great sruggler through out the life and never bow down to see the problems; I always suppose that every problem has a solution and "knowing is not knowing, only doing is doing"

Initially the people hates me to look my disability n some of them used to say " Don't meet at morning" As u know, in India, the people suppose that disables are the curse n they r unfortunate, so thay use to say. And I felt that they are getting deprived off me from their group in play, school and any community, where we should involve ,but they just ignore. But now I'm accustomed and I have my own status and personallity; now they the people admire me. As of now , I think that we should always positive, creative and the people who r opponent , they will fall down in ur pocket. So we should bother what we r doing and to upgade ur attitude to make the society LUCENT, instead to matter that what they r saying. Love ever one toget 100% attitude enhancement. Bye

My Passions: Love

My Challenges: Love the nature

My Vision for the Future: Love for all

My Areas of Expertise: Purchase; SCM, Optical Telecom, Attitude and behaviour

Comments 4

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  • Jade Frank
    Dec 28, 2010
    Dec 28, 2010


    We are thrilled to have you as a new member in our thriving community of women and supporters of women's initiatives who are lifting our voices in the name of empowerment and connecting across borders to make positive change for women everywhere.

    I encourage you to look through the PulseWire Getting Started Guide, which has great tips for navigating the site and meeting like-minded global friends in the community to share solutions with, exchange resources and learn from.

    This is a safe space for women to share, connect, learn, support and grow in the empowerment process together. WELCOME!

    Warm regards, Jade

  • Fatima Waziri - Azi
    Jan 03, 2011
    Jan 03, 2011

    Hey there! Welcome to PulseWire!

    It’s so exciting having you with us, I am sure you will have a fabulous time with your new online friends as well as find this to be a very positive experience. I encourage you to take advantage of the numerous resources and features available through our vibrant online community. Welcome again to our global community and I look forward to hearing more from you here on PulseWire!

  • BK Shukla
    Jan 23, 2011
    Jan 23, 2011

    Hi All This is written by me , all should read it once to get a change in their attitude. pl send it to all members of World Pulse thnx

    Role of Attitude Introduction The importance of attitude in understanding psychological phenomenon was given formal recognition early in the history of social psychology. From the time of the concept’s entry in to the language of psychology until now, interest in attitude has been strong and growing. However, over the years attitudes have been studied with differing emphasis and methods. There is quite a difference in the conceptual definition of the term attitude and divergent points of view regarding the concept of attitude have developed. It may be defined as a tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards objects, people or events. The attitudes of an individual generally remain unchanged for a prolonged period of time unless he is influenced by external forces. Attitudes are evaluative statements that can be either favorable or unfavorable. For example, if a person does not like certain aspect of his job, he is said to have a negative attitude towards that assignment. Attitudes consist of three components – cognitive, affective and behavioural. o Cognitive component indicates opinions, values or beliefs about something. e.g. taking bribe is wrong. o Affective component represents feelings towards something. e g. not liking a colleague taking bribe. o Behavioural component indicates the intention of a person to behave in a certain way. e. g. one may avoid the colleague who takes bribe. When the term first entered the field of social phenomenon, it was natural to conceive of attitude as a tendency, set or readiness to respond to some social object. For the first time, ALLPORT noted the definition of attitude, which he had observed contained the words ‘readiness’, ‘set’ or ‘disposition to act’. Even ALLPORT has used these terms in defining attitude. He defines attitude as follows: “Attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related.” Sources of Attitudes 1. Attitudes are acquired from parents, teachers and members of the peer group. The genetic make-up of a child initially determines his personality and attitudes. 2. Attitudes are influenced by the people whom he admires, respects or fears. Individuals are more willing to modify their behavior and shape their attitude to align with the behavior of people whom they look up to. 3. The attitudes of people can be easily influenced and altered. Attitudes can be changed by various means: by providing new information, by coercion or threat, by resolving differences and by involving people in problem solving. 4. Attitudes can also be changed by providing the right type of feedback to employees. Nature of Attitudes o Nature of Attitudes is understood as the beliefs, feelings and action tendencies of an individual or group of individuals towards objects, ideas and people. o Attitudes can be described as mental states of readiness, learned and organized through experience, exerting a specific influence on a person’s response to people, objects and situations with which it is related. o Attitudes are learned. o Attitudes refer to feelings and beliefs of individuals or group of people. o These feelings and beliefs define one’s predispositions towards given aspects of the world. o Attitudes can fall anywhere. o Attitudes are organized and are core to an individual. Features of Attitudes • Attitudes affect behavior of an individual by putting him ready to respond favorably to things in his environment. • Attitudes are acquired through learning over a period of time. The process of learning attitudes starts right from the childhood and continues throughout the life of a person. • Attitudes are invisible as they constitute a psychologies phenomenon which cannot be observed directly. They can be observed by observing the behavior of an individual. • Attitudes are pervasive and every individual has some kind of attitude towards the objects in his environment. In fact, attitudes are forced in the socialization process and may relate to anything in the environment. Functions of Attitudes

    1. Instrumental (Adjustment) Attitudes serve as a means to reach a desired goal or to avoid an undesired one. Instrumental attitude are aroused by the activation of a need or cues that are associated with the attitude object and arouse favorable or unfavorable feelings.

    2. Ego-Defensive The ego-defensive functions of attitude acknowledge the importance of psychological thought. Attitude may be acquired by facing threats in the external world or becoming aware of his own unacceptable impulses.

    3. Value Orientation The value-orientation function takes in to account attitudes that are held because they express a person’s self-image, or by cues that engage the person’s values and make them salient to him.
    4. Knowledge The knowledge function of attitude is based on a person’s need to maintain a stable, organized and meaningful structure of the world. Attitude that provides a standard against which a person evaluates the aspects of his world and serve as the knowledge function too. These functions of attitudes affect the individual’s way of interpreting the information coming to him. Since attitudes intervene between work requirements and work responses, information about how people feel about their jobs can be quite useful in the predication about work response. Thus, these types of attitudes can portray areas of investigation for making the individual and the organization more compatible. Attitude, Opinion and Belief An opinion is generally the expression of one’s judgment of a particular set of facts, an evaluation of the circumstances presented to him. “Thurstone” defines opinion as a response to a specifically limited stimulus, but the response is certainly influenced by the predisposition with, with the individual is operating, that is, the attitude structure. A difference can also be made between attitude and belief. A belief is an enduring organization of perceptions and cognitions about some aspects of individual world. Thus, belief is a hypothesis concerning the nature of objects, more particularly, concerning one’s judgments of the probability regarding the nature. In this sense, belief is the cognitive component of attitude which reflects the manner in which an object is perceived. The difference between attitude, opinion, and belief exists on conceptual basis. Most researchers believe that these three terms are so closely tied that it is difficult to separate them except on a limited conceptual basis. In the literature, often, there is a considerable amount of overlapping in these three terms. Most psychologists, however, believe that attitudes are more fundamental to human behavior than are the related aspects. For this reason, more attempts have been made to analyze attitudes as compared to others. Obviously attitudes are an important consideration because of their central position in the process of transforming work requirements in to efforts. Attitudes alone do not influence behaviour but these acts with other factors in the individual influencing behavior, such as personality, perception, motivation, etc. Further, attitudes are also affected by the individual dimension as well as the objects, persons, and ideas. Attitudes have been through as serving four functions and there by influencing the behavior. These are instrumental, ego defensive, value orientation and knowledge.

    Factors in Attitude Formation The attitudes are learned. Though there are different approaches as how learning works and is acquired by an individual, generally it is held that individuals learn things from the environment in which they interact. Thus, for attitude formation, all these factors must be taken in to account from which people learn. Such factors may be analyzed in terms of groups starting from the family as a group, an individual moves in a close group, then to longer groups, and finally to the society as a whole. A part from these groups, the individual’s psychology which makes up particularly his personality, is also responsible for behavior and attitudes.

    Attitudes are Habits An attitude is a thought habit; a habitual way of thinking. You might say that it’s thinking without thinking; acting without thinking. Take football fans, for example. Every major city has a professional football team. It has been said that on any given Sunday, any team can defeat any other team. Also, the players are from all over the country, and football is a business. Why then are fans so nutty about their team? Chicago fans sit out in freezing weather to cheer on the Bears. Any sensible person would prefer their living room, a cold beer, and a TV. Football fans have an attitude. Wouldn’t it be nice if your employees were that nutty about their job and your company? Most attitudes are formed as we grow. Teachers, ministers, scout leaders, parents, TV, etc. all influence our attitude. Once an attitude is formed, it’s pretty much the way a person will think about any subject. We vote, select a mate, select a car, and raise our children based on that attitude. The attitude of persons about their job, the product or service, they produce, and about their leader will determine the quality of their work. If a new employee starts his career with a company in a dirty shop / work place, with rejected material sitting around on a dirty floor, with a supervisor who will ship anything, you can imagine what kind of attitude will develop. That’s good enough attitude will produce that’s good enough work. On the other hand, if you run a clean, well organized, well equipped and safe shop or office, that first impression is that first attitude, will be positive and will become a habit. When a candidate for employment walks into your lobby or is interviewed, his attitude about you starts to form. As they say, the product looks like the management. In fact, everything looks like the management; the building, the lawn, the parking lot, everything. You have an opportunity to start moulding a new employee’s attitude through a new-employee orientation program. This program should be professionally presented by a knowledgeable person. People are used to professional presentations and will recognize a slip-shod job. The person making the presentation must be properly dressed and well equipped. A slide show can display the rules as well as photos of the products, managers, and work area. The goal is to give the new employee a sense of belonging, like a football fan. You want your employees to be fans of the organisation. While much of an orientation program will be devoted to insurance, company rules, safety, and company benefits, most of the programs should be devoted to the importance of producing a quality product or service. Without a quality product there soon will be no company benefits. You should make an impressive sales presentation with photographs of your product in use or better yet, the real thing. You should include information about your customers and what your customers do with the product. It’s relatively easy to impress a new employee; you should give it your best shot. You might talk about what a defective would cost. For example, a helicopter part may cost enough to send a kid to college, or buy a sports car. That type of comparison makes an impression. New employees should leave the orientation program with a pamphlet in their hand and stars in their eyes. They should be excited about starting work. There are many ways to develop a positive attitude. Don’t forget the attitude of your present workforce; your ‘old’ employees. They may have a good attitude, but then again, may be not. They know all about you and your attitude; they know what you will put up with. If you haven’t made your performance standard clear, they have pretty well figured out what it is. Their attitudes about the company, the product and you are already formed. The good news is that attitudes can be changed, even improved, if necessary. When you come up with your first-class employee orientation program, put the old employees through it too. They might be surprised at what they learn about their company. Since an attitude is a habit, you need something to break the old habit; and establish a new habit. A special event, like kicking off a new quality improvement program, or announcing a new product, or a new boss, or a new customer can do it. If done well, it could be a fresh start for everyone. People must feel good about their work and their company. Methods of Attitude Change There are various methods through which a positive change in attitudes may be brought. In the social context, Cohen has suggested four methods for attitude change. They are  Communication of additional information.  Approval and disapproval of a particular attitude.  Group influence, and  Inducing engagement in discrepant behavior. Changing attitudes of the self o Be aware of one’s own attitudes o Think for self o Realize that there are few, if any, benefits from harboring negative attitudes o Keep an open mind o Get into continuous education & development programs o Build a positive self-esteem o Stay away from negative influences. Changing attitudes of the Employees o Give feedback on a regular basis. o Accentuate positive attitude. o Be the role model o Provide new information o Use fear & coercion o Use rewards o Influence of friends/peers o Applying co-opting approaches A Manager can take following actions in bringing change in attitudes of its organizational members.  Group action  Persuasion through leadership  Persuasion through communication and  Influence of total situation. These actions involve the analysis of different variables affecting a particular action. Values, Attitudes and Behaviour Values and Attitudes Some researchers see values as consisting of large sets of related attitudes. For example, “Fishbein” and “Ajzen” have included two components in attitudes-informational, emotional. Thus, they have taken values as a part of attitudes. However, some differences exist between values and attitudes. Attitudes are specific and related to distinct objects; people, or ideas. Values are more general than attitudes, values often contain statement of goodness or badness associated with the attitudes which people hold. Values are, then, beliefs about which attitudes we should have or how we should behave. Values and Behaviour Behaviour of people is influenced by the values which they hold, particularly in terms of those stimuli which have some value orientation in the organizational context. Understanding the influence of individual value system on the behaviour of individuals in the following manner:  Values influence an individual perception about the problems he faces and consequently the decision he makes to overcome those problems.  Values influences the way in which an individual looks at the other individual and groups of individuals, that is, interpersonal relationship  Values become the basis of such interpersonal relationship interactions. Individuals judge organizational success as well as its achievement of the basis of their value system. Thus, for some individuals, organizational success may be in the form of high profit earning irrespective of the means adopted where as, this may be a mean thing for other individuals. Individuals set limit for the determination of what is ethical or unethical behaviour for themselves as well as for the others. Values determine the extent to which individuals accept organizational pressures and goals. If these do not match with the value held by them, they impede the organizational pressures and goals, and even leave the organization. Organisational values are the guiding principles people use to determine which type of behaviours, events, situations and outcomes are desirable or undesirable. They are mainly of two types: I. Terminal Values : Desired states of outcomes (e.g. high quality, excellence etc.) II. Instrumental Values : Desired modes of behavior ( e.g. being helpful, working hard etc.)

    Some examples of Terminal and Instrumental Values Teminal Values

    Instrumental Values

    Mean Value Rankings of Executives, Union Members and Activists

    Employees’ Attitudes towards the Organization Attitudes are not the same as values, but the two are interrelated. This can be seen by looking at the three components of an attitude: cognition, affect and behavior. The belief that “discrimination is wrong” is a value statement. Relationship between Attitude and Behaviour

    Affective Component of an Attitude It represents feeing towards someone or something; for example, not liking a staff member who always looks for his personal gains or liking a person who is always in his waork seat. \ Behavioral component of an Attitude The behavioral component of an attitude refers to an intention to behave in a certain way towards someone or something. In organizations, attitudes are important because they affect job behaviour.

    Cognitive Component of an Attitude It sets the stage for the more critical part of an attitude and is reflected in the evaluative statements concerning objects, people or events. If workers believe, for example, that superiors, auditors, bosses, and time-and-motion engineers are all in conspiracy to make employees work harder for the same or less money, and then it makes sense to try to understand. Types of Attitudes (Work Related) A person can have thousands of attitudes, but Organizational Behaviour (OB) focuses our attention on a very limited number of work-related attitudes. These work-related attitudes tap positive or negative evaluations that employees hold about aspects of their work environment. Most of the research in OB has been concerned with three attitudes: 1. Job satisfaction 2. Job involvement 3. Organizational commitment. 1. Job Satisfaction The term job satisfaction to an individual’s general attitude towards his job. A person with a high level of job satisfaction holds positive attitudes about his job, while a person who is dissatisfied with his job holds negative attitudes about the job. When people speak of employee attitudes, more often mean job satisfaction. A Model of Job Satisfaction

    Job satisfaction is one of the important factors which has drawn attention of managers in the organization as well as academicians Various studies have been conducted to find out the factors which determine job satisfaction and the way it influences productivity in the organization. Though, there is no conclusive evidence that job satisfaction affects productivity directly because productivity depends on so many variables, it is still a prime concern for managers. Job satisfaction is the mental feeling of favorableness which an individual has about his job. Job satisfaction may be reflected in terms of pleasure and contentment. Determinants of Job Satisfaction While analyzing various determinants of job satisfaction, we have to keep in mind that all individuals do not receive the same degree of satisfaction though they perform the same job in the same job environment and at the same time. Therefore, it appears that besides the nature of job and job environment, there are individual variables which affect job satisfaction. Thus all those factors which provide a fit among individual variables, nature of job and situational variables determine the degree of job satisfaction. Let us see what these individual factors are. Individual Factors Individuals have certain expectation from their jobs. If their expectations are met from the jobs, they feel satisfied. These expectations are based on an individual’s educational qualification, age-group etc. a. Educational Qualification Educational Qualification of an individual is a factor which determines the degree of job satisfaction. Several studies have found the negative correlation between the educational qualification, particularly higher level of education and job satisfaction. b. Age-group Individuals experience different degrees of job satisfaction at different stages of their life. Job satisfaction is high at the initial stage, get gradually reduced, starts rising up to certain stage and finally dips to a low degree. c. More factors There are some more individual factors which affect job satisfaction. If an individual does not have favourable social and family life, he may not feel happy at the work place, which results in other personal problems associated with him, may affect his level of job satisfaction. Effect of Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction has a variety of effects. The effects may be seen in an individual’s physical and mental health, productivity, absenteeism and turnover. Physical and Mental Health The degree of job satisfaction affects an individual’s physical and mental health. Since, job satisfaction is a type of mental feeling, its favourableness or unfavourableness affects the individual psychologically, which for example, may result in drug abuse, alcoholism, and mental and physical health results from psychologically harmful jobs. Improving Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction plays a significant role in the organization. Managers should, therefore, take concrete steps to improve the level of job satisfaction. These steps may be in the form of: - Job re-designing to make the job more interesting and challenging - Improving quality of work life - Linking rewards with performance and - Improving overall organizational climate

    1. Job Involvement Job involvement measures the degree to which a person identifies himself with his job and considers his perceived performance level important to self worth. Employees with a high level of job involvement strongly identify themselves with work and care about the work they do.
    2. Organizational Commitment It is defined as a state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals, and wishes to continue with the organization. Thus, high job involvement means identifying with one’s specific job, while high organizational commitment means identifying with the organization.

    - Organizational commitment refers to an employee’s satisfaction with a particular organization and its goals. - The organizational commitment of an employee is affected by a number of personal and organizational variables.

    It is the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization.

    1. Affective commitment: This is concerned with the employee’s emotional attachment and involvement with the organization.
    2. Normative commitment: This refers to the extent to which an employee feels obligated to continue in the organization.
    3. Continuance commitment: This is influenced by the costs that could accrue to the employee if he leaves the organization. Factors affecting Attitudes Attitudes are affected by repetitive messages, advertising, examples, training, and communications. Advertising is one of the most effective attitude adjustment tools known to man. If it isn’t, why should it occupy so much expensive TV time? Why should magazines be jam-packed full of ads? The idea of all advertising is to get into a person's head. In advertising terms, the idea is to position your company and the product correctly in the employee’s mind. Once there was a professor who thought Mercedes Benz was the quality standard of the auto industry. That was his attitude. Yet, he never owned one and never even drove one. Who convinced him it was the best? Could it have been Mercedes Benz? Management has an important role play in influencing employee attitude. The most important element in producing a quality product or service is the attitude of the people doing the work. It is not only the attitude of worker, but the attitude of all levels of management. Employee attitude about the product, about the work, about the boss and about the organization will pretty well determine the quality of the work and the product. By quality, we mean the absence of defects and conformance to the requirement but not the goodness or esthetics of the product. However, goodness also comes from attitude. Of all the resources of producing a product or providing the service, Human resource is one resource, which cannot looked down upon. All efforts are to be put in so that employees keep high morale and have positive attitude towards the co-workers, supervisors and management and organization and inculcate an attitude for infusing quality in the product or service, so that the organization is able to achieve goals and meet objectives in line of mission of the organization. Management of Employee Attitudes The attitudes of employees can be managed in several ways. The relationship between different organizational parameters and employee attitudes may be presented as below:

    Today an organization needs an excellent ethical climate for its survival in the global scenario. Organisational climate and culture is driven by the leadership team. The corporate DNA is determined by them. by BK/India

  • BK Shukla
    Feb 08, 2011
    Feb 08, 2011

    The Doctrine of perpetual tutelage of women was not taken seriously by Hindu society can be gauged from the fact that a women’s share in property kept on increasing. If suppression of women was indeed the aim, her share in the property should have come down but the opposite happened. According to Dr Leitner, the Educational Commissioner of Punjab during the third quarter of the last century, the elderly women of the house had the difficult job of mediation in family disputes.

    It must be noted that the doctrine of perpetual tutelage of women was universally accepted everywhere till recent times. Quoting Prof Gilbert Murray “To the average Athenian, it was probably rather wicked for her to have any character, wicked for her to take part in public life, wicked for her to acquire learning.” Even Aristotle’s thought that like slaves, artisans and traders, women should occupy a subordinate place. Their will is weak, virtue less perfect and self-sufficient and deliberative faculty rather inconclusive. Male by nature is superior and female inferior. The one rules and the other is ruled.

    The Roman Law regarded the wife as the daughter of her husband as far as her juridical status was concerned, for a long time, she could not sign a will, make a contract or become a witness. Down to 200 AD, even mothers of several children, continued to be under the tutelage of their male relations. Women is always dependent says Confucius and owes due homage to her father-in-law and husband. In the Christian marriage, the wife has to take the vow of obedience at the time of her marriage; logically speaking this places her under the perpetual tutelage of her hubby.

    The Bible argues that women should never usurp the authority over man, but be always subordinate to them, firstly because Eve and not Adam, was deceived and secondly because the former was created out of a rib of the former. At the synod of Macon in 585 AD, the assembled bishops debated whether human beings were women at all and finally concluded they were.

    Numerous writers of medieval Europe have emphasized the inferiority of women. Milton held women ought to obey without argument. Rousseau, the apostle of freedom, condemned women to a servile position. Girls, he argues, should be subject to restraint. Even educated ladies of the 18th century felt that women should not dream of independence. The French Revolution which stood for Equality was not prepared to grant it to Women. The French National Assembly treated women so contemptuously that it even refused to read their petition. In the Anti-Slavery Congress held in London in 1840, women delegates from America were not admitted because British representatives felt that it was contrary to the word of God that women should sit in the Congress. In England there was a determined opposition to the admission of women to the medical course down to 1888 AD. Oxford University would admit women students but would not give them degrees till 1920 AD.

    Divorce – The earlier Dharmasastras tell us that divorce was permitted under certain circumstances at the beginning of the Christian era. Around the 5th century BC a wave of asceticism passed over Hindu society. Inspite of lots of opposition, it became well grounded around the beginning of the Christian era that a women could be married only once. To divorce one husband and to marry another, because the marital life was not happy, began to appear as a grossly sensual procedure. It may be pointed out that the Roman Catholic Church holds the same view today, as it regards marriages as indissoluble. (The book was written in 1956). In England, down to the middle of the 19th century, a divorce could be had only by an Act of Parliament. Between 1715 and 1855 A.D., only about 180 persons could get divorce through Parliamentary Legislation.

    Duty of Obedience - According to the Avesta a good wife is one who is obedient to her husband. The Vedic marriage ritual, does not enjoin the duty of obedience upon the wife. The original Christian ritual, specify enjoined the duty of obedience upon the wife. She took the oath that she would love and obey her husband till her death, while the latter merely observed that he would love and cherish her. The deliberate differentiation in the oath was a natural corollary of the theory adumbrated in Paul, V, 22, that the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. It is interesting to note that even in 1928, the British Parliament refused to sanction the proposal to delete the reference to obedience from the wife’s oath. The theory of wife’s subordination is dying out in the West.

    Physical Assault of Wife – With the reduction in the average age and education of girls, physical assault of the wife did happen in India. But was the situation any different in the West? In medieval Russia, the bride’s father supplied his son-in-law with a new whip as a symbol of his authority and it was hung over the bridal bed. There was a proverb current in Germany during the 15th century that women and an ass existed only to be beaten. In England, as late as 1891 A.D.only, was the husband’s right to inflict corporal punishment on his wife first denied by law courts. We should, thus, not be very surprised if Hindu Smritis had 2000 yrs ago, recognized the husband’s right to inflict a mild punishment on his wife, warning him at the same time that he would be liable to punishment if he overstepped his limits.

    Sati – The custom of sacrifice of the widow at the funeral of her husband was widely prevalent since ancient times. Although there is no direct evidence that it prevailed during the Indo-European Age, the fact that it was practiced among the Gauls, Goths, Norwegians, Celts, Slaves and the Thracians would justify that it was probably well established among the Indo-Europeans. In China, when a widow killed herself in order to follow her husband to heaven, her corpse was taken out in a great procession. Sati was quite common in Kashmir probably due to its proximity to Central Asia, which was the home of the Scythians, among whom the custom was quite common. It traveled to the islands of Java, Sumatra and Bali along with the immigration of Hindus there.

    Niyoga or Levirate (is a widow marrying her husband’s brother) – Up to about 300 B.C. widows were not required to commit sati. They could remarry, marry their husband’s brother or remain widows. It may be noted that the custom of Levirate was quite common in many ancient civilizations. Among the Jews a women could become the wife of her husband’s brother without any ceremony. If he refused, she would spit on his face. The Old Testament also declares that if a woman becomes a widow, her husband’s brother shall go unto her and take her into wife and perform the duties of a husband’s brother unto her. (Deuternonomy, 25, 5-10). The marriage of Hamlet’s mother with Claudius and of Henry VIII with Katherine indicates an earlier custom of Niyoga, eventually developing into a regular remarriage with a brother-in-law. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj encouraged niyoga, probably because it had Vedic sanction.

    Purdah – There is no doubt that Purdah was unknown in India down to 100 B.C. It is only after the starting that some sections of society in Northern India, notably royalty, began to advocate greater seclusion for women, ie they put a veil. (Could be the impact of foreign invasion). The Chinese travelers of the 7th century A.D. did not mention it too. The Purdah system became widely prevalent in North India subsequent to the Muslim invasion.

    Seclusion of women was not confined to India alone. In Athens, 500 B.C., women could not meet their husband’s guests or go out of the house without proper guards. A bridegroom could not see his bride before marriage in ancient Greece. At Sparata, women had separate apartments and could not be present at banquets. In Assyria veil was worn by all married women. In Persia, seclusion of women had become quite common before the beginning of the Chrisitan era. The Bible lays down that women should not speak in public at the Church. Tertullian says “For a virgin of virtuous habits every appearance in public with an unveiled face is equivalent to suffering a rape”.

    To come down to modern times, women lived under restrictions. Down to 1850 A.D. in England, a woman could not take a walk, much less a journey, alone, nor could she ask a fellow worker to visit her, unless the worker was a girl. When two ladies spoke at a meeting convened for the purpose of supporting a women’s cause in Parliament, a Member of Parliament said “Two ladies have disgraced themselves for speaking in public”. When the House of Commons was built in 1844, it was great difficulty that a Ladies Gallery was sanctioned.

    Child Marriage – In the Vedic Age down to 400 B.C. girls were married between the age of 16 to 18. Between 400 B.C. to 100 A.D. the age was gradually lowered and the tendency was to marry girls at the time of puberty. With importance being attached to chastity, pre-puberty marriages came in vogue after 200 A.D. Sati, satisfactory economic condition and the joint-family system encouraged early marriage. The Sarda Act of 1929, made the marriage of girls and boys before the age of 14 and 18 an offence.

    Child marriages were common in Europe for a long time. In ancient Rome, maidens were married at the age of 10 or 12. In the age of chivalry, girls were often married at the age of 5 because marriage was a matter of military tactics and alliances. The rule of the Church that boys and girls should be married at the age of 15 and 12 was openly flouted. In England, except in the upper classes, child marriage was common in Tudor times. Though in actual practice, late marriages became common by 1850 A.D., up to 1929, the minimum legal age of marriage continued to be 12 for girls and 14 for boys. In 1929, Parliament raised it to 16 for both boys and girls, partly as a reaction to the Sarda Bill introduced in India.

    Franchise – There were democratic assemblies in the Vedic Age. Women were expected to speak with composure and success in public assemblies. Things, however, changed after around 300 B.C. Starting about 1920, women began to play an important role in the Independence Movement as well. Sarojini Naidu, Vijaylakshi Pandit to name a few. Indian women are lucky that they got the right of franchise, almost, without asking.

    It is well known how the First World War worked as a miracle in winning over the most deadly opponent’s of women’s franchise. The British Parliament granted franchise to its women in 1918.

    Ascetic School Hostile to Women - It appears that some Hindu writers have painted women in very black colors, not because they believed in what they said, but because they were anxious to dissuade men from marriage and family life. It may be noted that this tendency to attribute all and imaginary faults to women is not confined to the Renunciation School of India alone.

    Said Socrates “ Women is the source of all evil, her love is to be dreaded more than the hatred of man, the poor young men who seek women are like fish who go to meet the hook”. While Christ did not indulge in any tirade of women the same cannot be said of other saints. St Paul says “It is good for man not to touch a woman; marriage was a concession, a degradation to avoid fornication”.

    Nuns - During the Vedic Age, a woman was indispensable to her husband from a spiritual and religious point of view. During 1500 to 1000 B.C the volume of Vedic studies became very complicated and time consuming which meant that lady Vedic scholars became rarer. With the steady deterioration in her position starting 300 B.C. things began to change. Buddha reluctantly admitted women as monks and Digambara Jains held that women can never get salvation except by first being born as men.

    It may be noted that early Christian fathers shared similar views. The Council of Laodicea closed the doors of preaching career to women in 365 a.d. and not all agitation’s has succeeded even till 1956 in getting them opened. Islam permits women to read the Koran but not preach it.

    Nudity – The real explanation of women appearing without covering their busts properly in the sculptures, paintings of Southern, Central India seems to be the artistic convention of that age. Breasts are the most significant symbol of motherhood and the artistists felt that they may be uncovered in works of art, though they may be actually covered in real life. Let’s not confuse the matter with our indecent thoughts. Its all in the mind Na.

    Convention in India or European countries prescribed a scantier dress for woman than what is actually used in real life. This will be apparent to all students of ancient and modern sculptures & paintings of Europe. We cannot conclude that women in modern Europe move about in a nude condition because they appear uncovered in some works of art, so also the same logic applied to the Indian women.

    Religion of Goddess – Quoting Jagdish C Joshi from The Times of India “The phenomenon of feminine theology in Brahmanical religion tradition is unique because all over the world the female gods were replaced by male gods. Diana and Berecynthia, Isis and Cybele were exiled with the coming of Christianity although female hierophanies reappeared in the figures of Mary and the female saints. However, the figure of the version and its supporting theology are subordinate to her son.

    Of all the religious practices and beliefs concerned with feminine divinities it is Shaktism which gives the Goddess a place of supreme importance. In this tradition female is raised above the male as Durga described as Shakti, the energy of the cosmos. Without her we are told in one of the texts that the world is lifeless and even, the great Shiva is merely a corpse. An analysis of the legends, doctrines and abstract philosophies indicates the first, the Goddess is portrayed as power, and the female Shakti element is identified as the essence of reality, the male element playing a subservient role. Second she is identified with Prakriti, the primeval matter. As such she is identified with existence or that which underlines all existent things. Thirdly, she is described as giving food to all nourish all life and to cause decay. Fourthly, the Goddess incarnates in herself all the brilliance and power that the Gods collectively possess and her pervasive magic gives them sufficient power to be able to battle with all evil.

    It is an exuberant celebration of the various forms of Devi, the Goddess, and their role in her victory over the demons who are supposed to be tormenting the people of this earth. She is also described as the embodiment of supreme eternal knowledge which becomes the cause of the release from bondage”.

    Five Elemental Women

    Indians believe that between the real and the divine worlds, there is a mid-level world of mythology. Here, mythical heroes and heroines play out stories of love, valour, courage and righteousness as well as revenge, hatred and mindless cruelty. Five women from the epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata – have played such crucial roles in our tradition, that every Indian woman, even in this tech-savvy age, continues to be influenced by their life-graphs…With the International Women’s Day on March 8 2008 coming soon, it is time to remember the Panchakanyas and see how Indian women relate to them even today!

    Are you an ‘earth’ woman? Do you feel an affinity to the element of ‘fire’ because of your passionate and temperamental nature? Do you flow serenely through life like ‘water’? Is your spirit free and elusive like the ‘wind’? Or do you dream of being light as air and vast like ‘space’? As an Indian woman, it is likely that you have a little of all these elements in you and that you combine all qualities of the five elements. If this is so, you should not be surprised, for all Indian women carry the legacy of their icons, the most celebrated Panchkanyas of mythology.

    As inheritors of the Panchkanya concept for centuries, Indian women are unique, to say the least. Like their icons, they have dual personalities. They are bound by the strictest norms of society on the one hand; yet on the other hand, they are left free to prolifically use the chinks in the armour of social and traditional laws made by a staunchly male-oriented pecking order. Within the scope of social boundaries, they can still express their personalities and design their own life-graphs. The female icons set up by Indian tradition for women to follow therefore are admirable and confusing at the same time.

    Among the feminine icons of Indian tradition, five epic characters stand out prominently. These are Sita, the heroine of the Ramayana and the wife of King Ram of Ayodhya; Draupadi, the heroine of the Mahabharata and the wife of the five Pandava princes; Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, King of Lanka; Ahliya, the wife of the Sage Gautama and Tara, the wife of Bali, the tyrant monkey king who usurped the kingdom of Kishkindha.

    Each of these women is described as extraordinarily beautiful and virtuous. As a matter of fact, tradition says that their character was so strong, that no calamity could diminish their spiritual power or their worshipful places in the hearts of generations of people the world over. In fact, the five women have such a powerful hold over the hearts of millions of Indians that they are called the Panchkanyas (five women) whose very names ensure salvation and freedom from all evil. It is not uncommon for devout Hindus to recite their names each morning in a Sanskrit Shloka to remind them of the power they symbolised because of their purity of character and spiritual strength.

    Yet another interesting aspect of their life-graphs is that all of them are legendary beauties in their own right. Their lustre and beauty caused kings, sages and sometimes even minor gods to kidnap them or covet them. Both the epics describe gigantic wars fought because the beauty of Sita and Draupadi, made evil men like Ravana and Duryodhana lust after them. It is perhaps fitting therefore, that considering their beauty, character and personality, Indian tradition links each one of them to an element.

    In an uncanny way, the life-graph of each of these women is somehow replicated in the lives of millions of Indian women even today. Whatever suffering and traumas each of them went through during their lives, are repeated ad nauseum in the lives of millions of Indian women. It is clear that Indian society, at its deepest core, still thinks that man is born to rule and woman to be ruled!

    Janaka, the King of Mithila, as is well known, found Sita while his fields were being ploughed. She is the wonderful daughter of the earth, stable, forgiving, patient and pure. The story of her kidnapping by Ravana and her suffering at the hands of the people of Ayodhya is read every day in millions of homes. It continues to inspire devotion and compassion among all women. Briefly, Sita, the Princess of Mithila, was married to Ram, the Prince of Ayodhya. Soon after, she chose to follow her young husband into the forest, when he was banished for fourteen years by his stepmother. Ravana kidnapped her during this forest sojourn. A bloody war followed across the sea and she returned to Ayodhya with Rama for his coronation.

    Alas, because of the suspicions of his subjects about her purity, Ram banished the pregnant Sita once again to the forests on the banks of the Ganga. Here, she lived in the Ashram of Sage Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana, where she bore her twin sons Luv and Kush. When she was finally re-united with Ram, she chose rather to return to her mother, the earth, than go back with her husband as his empress. In this last defiant gesture, she showed her inner strength and rejected the continued injustice she had suffered all her life. Yet, Indian men are quick to say that she asked for all the suffering she was subjected to because she did not stay within the Lakshman Rekha drawn for her protection by Lakshmana, her devoted brother-in-law. She, they say, was punished by fate for overstepping the authority of the men who were her familial lords. Today’s women are similarly expected to observe the unseen but clearly delineated Line of Control drawn for them by the men in her life. Her career, her social activities and her behaviour must be governed by strong male-designated social and familial rules. If she disobeys these rules, trauma and abandonment become her certain fate.

    Draupadi was the copper-toned beauty born of fire. Fiery, gorgeous and strong-willed, Draupadi was born out of her father’s prayer for revenge against his enemies. She personified this quality throughout her life. Her burning passion for revenge against the Kauravas, who disrobed her in a full assembly in the presence of her five husbands, caused the epic war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas in Kurukshetra. Draupadi’s oath that she would tie her long tresses only with bloodstained hands is symbolic of her personality. Her anguish at being disrobed and humiliated in the Kaurava court led to her curse that a country where women are reduced to such ignominy, would never prosper. Even today, many Indians believe that women’s anguish and their cries against monumental injustice have left India with centuries of suffering, slavery and bloody conflicts. Draupadi’s anguish and anger are a commonly used theme in many dance ballets, music renditions and poetic compositions in all Indian languages. Famous research scholars like Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy and Dr. Irawati Karve, who believe that gentleness and vengeful anger are just two sides of Indian womanhood, have juxtaposed her character with that of Sita. Here too, orthodox Indians and researchers believe that Draupadi asked for the humiliation piled upon her because she not only rejected Duryodhana as a suitor but ridiculed him by calling him “the blind son of a blind father”. Most Indian women would agree that like this passionate heroine of the Mahabharat, millions of women are publicly humiliated and even raped as a punishment for challenging the male will or for ‘talking back’ at a man. Many men are known to use violence against wives merely because they ‘back-answer’ them!

    Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is associated with the element of water, turbulent on the surface yet deep and silent in her spiritual quest. The beautiful Mandodari tolerated the misdeeds of Ravana till his death. Ravana, it is said, abused numerous women and kidnapped Vedavati, daughter of a sage, whom he wooed with vigour till she, in disgust killed herself, saying that she would be reborn as Sita, who would be the cause of his annihilation. Mandodari was a woman of character, virtue and relentless faith and tried her best to make Ravana mend his ways, though she was unsuccessful in the end. Mandodari’s fate is shared by millions of women today. A staunchly male-oriented society overlooks the affairs and illicit liaisons of a husband and expects the wife to love and honour him despite his misdemeanors.

    Ahilya is the beautiful wife of a Sage Gautama, whom Indra, the chief of the gods, coveted. He cheated her by assuming the persona of her husband and seduced her. Angry beyond reason, Gautama cursed her and turned her into a rock. Upon hearing the truth, he pronounced the Rama, during his banishment in the forest, would touch her with his sacred feet and would bring her back to life. Ahilya, admired by women for her forbearance and ethereal nature is likened to the freshness and active nature of the wind. Though Ahilya’s seduction was a fraud, she suffered for by being turned into a stone. This story too, applies to modern Indian women. Whoever, falters or is offended in the family – husband or children – she is held accountable and bears the brunt of the misdeeds.

    Tara, wife of the monkey king Bali, was also a woman of great virtue. Bali was a tyrant who usurped his brother Sugriva’s kingdom and abducted his wife Ruma. He died a valiant death at the hands of Rama and left Tara to live piously for the rest of her life. Tara is associated with space and has the quality of intelligence, compassion and large-heartedness. There are two other Taras in mythology: Taramati, the wife of king Harishchandra and Tara or Rohini, the consort of the Moon god and mother of the planet Mercury or Budha. The theme of Panchkanyas may include any of these three women, all equally lustrous and virtuous. All the three Taras show that women were considered the ‘property’ of men in India for millenniums. They were kidnapped, punished, abandoned, left to live miserable lives as widows and even sold as slaves by powerful men. Things are not much different today. Women suffer the same humiliations even in modern India. . In spite of this, the Panchkanya theme has inspired Indian women for ages. They believe that even today, they have great affinity to each elemental woman by the way they look, feel or react to the world around them. Most Indian women believe that they tolerate and accept the worst kind of injustice like Sita and remain steadfast in their duty and devotion to their husbands and families. Yet, surprisingly, like Draupadi, they also hide storms of anguish, anger and revenge in their hearts. They believe that the curse of a virtuous, strong woman can ruin the most powerful of men. Like Mandodari, they live a life of duality, with the turbulence of varied experiences on the surface and a deep, silent core in their souls, where wisdom originates. Like Mandodari, they have an inherent gift of distinguishing between right and wrong. In a crisis, they know how to insist on doing what they consider right. Like Ahliya, they have a dormant power buried deep down in their psyches. They have the strength to move like the wind and the compassion to forgive wrongs done to them. Like Tara, they seek a special lustre of their own. They seek a sacred place - which is their right - in the vastness of space. From this niche, they spread their compassion and tenderness.

    The above is based on the experience what acquired from the society; Not necessary that it might be imposed on all Global Women Best of Luck