Friday, July 15, 2011

A tale of 'Agni-Pareeksha' ......!

This isn’t the first time I started wondering about these things and I am sure, this thought must have crossed the minds of many girls; so this post is dedicated to one out of the multifarious aspects of women’s lives!

Today I was reading this book which was dedicated to the great women whose names find place in the world’s history. When I mention the word ‘find’, I mean it literally. So here I was reading about the lives of these amazing women and I ended up observing that every second woman that I read about had done something remarkable and ‘hero’-ic in her life (not for herself, but for the world around her) but in the end, she still had to pass the ‘Agni-Pareeksha’ laid by the society to prove that she deserved respect (to say the least).

Here I’d mention an example ~ Joan of Arc.  I am sure you must have heard her name but let me throw some light upon her life.

She was born in a small village in France and grew up hearing stories of the sad condition of France from her father, how the country was in possession of England and how the French King did not dare to be crowned. She felt so deeply about it that she made it the mission of her life, went to the king, and asked him to allow her to lead his soldiers to victory against the English.

She was just 18 when she led an army of 5000 men against the English. Mounted on a fine war-horse and clad in white armour from head to foot, an ancient sword in her hand, she rode along past the cheering multitude. She ‘led her men’ to victory after victory against the English and drove the English back to far North of France. Her fame spread everywhere, and the English as well as the French thought she had more than human power.

Then, Charles (the uncrowned King of France), urged by Joan, was finally crowned as ‘The King of France’.

Now what do you think should be the end of ‘her’ story? Well let me tell you –

Joan was betrayed and accused of being ‘a tool of the devil’. She was tried, and was burned! And guess what! Later she was declared a ‘saint’ by the Catholic Church!

Ironical .. haan?

Well, this is not the only example, the book is loaded with numerous such examples! With all due respect to God, I don’t think I even need to mention the origin of the word ‘Agni-Pareeksha’.

I am not a ‘Feminist’ that I would say that all women are good. No! But one thing is for sure, no matter how much ‘good’ a woman does, the ‘society’ (so to say) will find some reason (rational or irrational), or some loophole, to blame her of being ‘wrong’.

I did not find any reason for people to call Joan of Arc as a ‘tool of the devil’ and burning her for absolutely nothing! And on the other hand, I read about Queen Victoria who survived eight assassination attempts, was even injured! But she did not put her assassins to death, even when she had all the reasons and the power to do so. They were merely imprisoned.

Take the example of history itself! We must have heard about Queen Victoria and some of us may know that it was she who made Britain the most powerful country in the world during her reign. But do we know, that it was Queen Isabella who encouraged and funded Christopher Columbus to go on his expedition which led to the discovery of ‘America’. It was she who made Spain, a world power, during her era. And do we know that the Egyptian economy flourished under the rule of a woman - Queen Hatshepsut. 

There are many such names which are not even mentioned today. It is ironical. They say and rightly so ~
Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought of half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”
Why look at the 'larger than life' deeds. Look around, take the example of our very own Indian women. No matter whatever their condition is, no matter how successful or modern they are, they will observe 'Nirjala' fasts for their husbands. Fasts, which are taken as mere customs ~ that all women are supposed to observe. Wish someone could peep into a woman's heart to see with what devotion, piousness and love they observe these day long fasts. :)

And So, here I am, again wondering, what made women so full of ever-lasting love, devotion, sacrifice and patience. What makes them so strong to endure all the pain, ready to take all the tests and still misjudged! What was God thinking when He was making a women’s heart......!
I’ll just end this post with a saying ~
Woman ... is the divine object, violated, endlessly sacrificed yet always reborn, whose only joy, achieved through a subtle interplay of images, lies in contemplation of herself”.

P.S. - I repeat once again, please do not 'misjudge' me as a 'Feminist'. I am not. :)