Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 14 February 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette


What happened to godesses?

In a manuscript I am contemplating to translate there is a surfeit of female goddesses. The main ones are Mother Goddess also known as Jagath Maatha, Goddess Adithi or Earth, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathie, Kali, Marichi, Tharra, Vajravarani. Their zone is the cavern of history in the east, i.e. the Harappa and the Mohendajaro civilisations belonging to that far-off time epoch ranging according to different historians from 3250 to 2750 BC, 2500 to 1500 BC and 2500 to 1500 BC.

Indus Valley Figurines



Female figure, possibly a fertility goddess, Harappan
Phase, BCE. 2500-1900 Pic. Wikipedia

The issue, however, is not the time but as to what happened to these revered females in subsequent times? Obviously most of them have toppled and in their mother country itself out of all places. It is an irony that the country noted for the pedestals of these goddesses has now turned into a sordid venue of the most brutal torments on women as in the tragedy of the medical student some years back.


Despite many an accolade heaped on measures taken to make the woman a more active member in our society that they continue to take a back seat is evident. Very few or in most instances there are no women who pioneer national movements, be they the major ones in the world as the renaissance and the reformation, or myriad national movements in each nation state.

That this state of affairs could be ascribed to the notion that the woman's real duties are child bearing and child rearing, cannot be overlooked.

But perusing the conditions embroiled with the emancipation of females in the Indus valley the later developments veering towards the demeaning of the woman invite only amazement. Lasses have been equally educated as the lads.

They were known as Kathee and the dormitories allotted to them have also been named as Jaathisaala. The women composed hymns and suttas and studied Vedas.

There were no child marriages and no Sathi poojas where the woman immolated herself in the burning fires of the pyre of the dead husband.

The widow could marry again and even beget children. Educated women debated with learned men sometimes defeating them by their sheer oratory.


Then came dark times for the female kind. Not only in the east but in the West too, known as the bedrock of liberty. Of course the West had not boasted such a glorious period of female emancipation as the Indus valley. But no one can deny that they continued to lag. Not even one female name seems to adorn the list of those who piloted at the highest level the great movements of the French revolution and the American revolution.

One can rest in the consolation however, that all those heroic figures who achieved the utmost in the progress of the world were begotten by females and then reared by females.

Here, the above text makes an interesting point explaining the spurt of recognition that the female of the Indus valley received.

That was that due to the non advancement of scientific knowledge in these terrains, that the father had his share in the procreation process was not known. Hence the mother was the sole participant in the reproductive process! Perhaps that explains the glorious term Jagath Maatha.



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