Why should we try to measure the status of Indian women through the prism of western values (“Grammar of gender relations in India,” Jan. 11)? The condition of women in India is a lot better than it was during Swami Vivekanada’s time. Today, women in India have more choices like the freedom to select their life partners. True, patriarchy rules in many areas of social life. Women who choose to remain single are often stigmtised. But is the autonomy of western women really a product of volition? Are single western women happy with their freedom? Most western women are single not out of choice. It is mainly because the family as a social unit has lost its sanctity. Let us not equate empowerment of Indian women with destruction of the institution of the family.
The marginalisation of women the world over is a historical fact which cannot be refuted. However, the panacea does not lie in deification, which does impart them with some power and prestige but carries an inherent risk in that it denies them the right to live a normal life. Is this deification yet another strategy to stereotype women? The point is: why are men not deified?
Dr. Jaya Prasad