Monday, 16 January 2012

Women and the Da Vinci Code

Books in general are silent talkers. They throw in a juicy tidbit or too. 

The portrayal of Christianity and History is what's interesting aside from the plot which Dan Brown weaves. I'm not giving him any free review. Let's stick to where exactly do you see the role of women in both of the two.

I won't blame Christianity for being male-centered. Most religions do vouch for the same. To quote Pandita Ramabai Saraswati's essay Woman's Place in Religion and Society:

Those who diligently and impartially read Sanskrit literature in the original, cannot fail to recognise the law-giver Manu as one of those hundreds who have done their best to make a woman a hateful being in the world's eye. To employ er in housekeeping and kindered occupations is thought to be the only means of keeping her out of mischief.   

History has been diligently made 'his-story' and not 'hers'. 

The best way to politically get rid of a free-thinking person is to declare them insane. In the medieval times to declare a free-thinking woman a witch was the most favoured course. Why? Because if you don't conform with the society (read as : if you think); you must surely be possessed. 

 The worst of this is that women who have been bred to be narrow-minded are the greatest advocates of the conventionality they believe in. What irony life holds!

To wage the battle of quotes again:

"Women must be honoured and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and brothers-in-law..."

while in the same breath it continues:

"If the wife is radiant with beauty, the whole house is bright; but is she is destitute of beauty, all will appear dismal." Manu, iii., 55-62

Thus, we have women encouraged to look beautiful. Dwell on the state of their bodies but what of their minds? The mother is the first teacher. Isn't it time she too were instructed? 

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