I started writing on woman issues in 1980 believing that women are not separate identity. They may have their separate personalities, but they are part an parcel of the family. Without going through my articles, which contained my views and opinion on woman status and path of development, somebody asked me, “Are you feminist?” I was not prepared for that question. I abruptly answered- “No, I am a familist.” He again asked, “familist?”
“Yes! When the word ‘feminist’ is being spread in the air without thinking its implications on the mindset of society and female itself, why not the word ‘familist’ should be used? Of course, I am not a feminist, I may be called a familist.” The questioner had started digesting the word. I continue my writing on women, children, family and men also. I think all fall within the same group—the family. Somebody introduced me from a dias, “The only writer who is writing continuously on family matters. Same person once told me, “Didi, you are the only writer or socio-political activist, who thinks, speaks and writes for the men welfare also. You are conscious about our (men) problems. Not only of women only.” I said, “If I think and write for men welfare, it goes in favour of the woman.”
In our ancient concept man and woman are the two wheels of one chariot. In our history this concept has been displayed through Ardhnarishwar. This form of Shiva and Parvati explains the relation between man and woman. One cannot even imagine the existence of one without another. Since very ancient time the society has been practicing it in day-to-day activities also. Man and woman have been considered as inseparable partner of life. Nature itself has made them complementary to each other.
Now when the Indian women have got opportunities to awake, arise and develop their versatile, individual personality, they should not carry wrong notions about themselves. The social-political activists and writers should not misguide women that they are on the path of development. While empowering women they must keep in mind the welfare of family. Whenever one starts thinking about the role and rights of women, the family comes in the centre. One always thinks, writes and guides the women to acquire skills to improve the economic condition of the family. Women and even men are getting education and taught skills to run their families in a better way. The education does not prepare men or women to stand alone. When young man and woman are united or bonded in marriage knot, new family begins. Both are not considered separate identity.
Now-a-days the highly educated professional women are also seen going on longer leave or leaving the job for rearing their children. As the joint family is dismantling the single woman of the nuclear family maintains the responsibilities of grand ma also. In joint families where three generations live under one roof, the young lady gets some relief. In nuclear families, husbands lend helping hand to their household works also. This is good. But they are not the key person in house. Only helper. Women remain the key-figure in the home and office. In our ancient concept, family is the first unit of society, not man or woman. We should carry our ancient views about the person, family and the nation, considering them the best views and practice of world for the proper development of mankind and culture also.
In present era when we have opened all doors for the development of our daughters, while teaching the values of life, we must teach them that only she will become the ‘family’. While keeping their family comfortable and happier, she will have to labour hard, ultimately getting more satisfaction. Vice a versa, if the woman is taught to maintain her separate identity, she will be confused and misguided. Boys are being taught to only help their family ie wife, not the entire family.
The numbers of family disputes are also rising day-by-day in the society. There are family counselling centres run by voluntary organisations at district level. One of the several causes behind the dispute is refusal of young working women to run the family properly. They are advised to carry the responsibilities of the family. Of course, working women are burdened with double duties. They should be supported by the employer, government and husband. By supporting women in running their families comfortably, government and male members are helping womenfolk, which is necessary.
On the other hand the so-called feminists are ruinning the fervour of the relation. While searching the ways of women welfare or the path of their development, knowingly or unknowingly they are putting men in the dock, as if they are responsible for the bad conditions of women. They have raised battlefields in the society. In the name of ‘male-dominated society’ women are afraid. We all know that the feminist movements started in Western countries. When the movement travelled and touched the land of India, it rejected the concept. Both cannot be liberated from each other. Both are not competitors, they are complementary to each other.
Now-a-days when the women are seen everywhere in the society, and they are heading the families also, now feminists should stop calling the society male-dominated. If they do not stop, the society will remain male-dominated till 30th century. Our daughters are getting chances of good and higher education, job opportunities, political power and other facilities also. Fathers, husbands and other members of the society are also helping them in their all-round empowerment. What is the need and the place of feminism between the relations of men and women. There is no role of feminist in our society. Actually, each and every individual or society should work hard for the betterment of not only woman, but also for the family.
The saying “when we teach a woman, we teach a family, the teaching of a man is teaching of a person” will remain forever.
The time has come when we should teach lessons to Western feminists and women also. We should not follow their views and behaviours while searching the ways and means of proper development of family, we must look back into our glorious past.
Hundred years ago when it was thought to educate women by bringing them outside the veil, they were the male members of renaissance period. Their aim was to search the ways to bring reform in society, they started bringing reform in the lives of women. This was the proper way.
The present society needs a strong familist movement, because the families are on the verge of collapse, not womenfolk.