Roman Saini is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
Women's Role In INM Gandhi's Vievw Lesson-2 By Dr. Roma n Saini
Fundamental View Gandhi's views on the woman's role in independence were complex and rooted in the notion that she should embody the spiritual and moral courage of the mythological heroines of Hinduism like Sita and Draupadi Accordingly, female followers were encouraged to embody the "pure, firm and self-controlled" virtues symbolized by these heroines to represent an ideal Indian woman He urged women to be as "self-reliant" as Draupadi and upholders of "superior moral courage" as seen in the chaste Sita
On this line, he could legitimize the entry of women into the political sphere and motivate them to join the movement by equating them with the great mythological heroines. In doing so Gandhi also restricted female strength to the passive realm of "moral and spiritual courage." Hence, women were to incorporate "sacrifice and suffering" through which they would raise the national morale and demonstrate a sense of nationalism and patriotism e They were to act as the "best exemplar" of these virtues such as purity, firm, self-reliant, sacrifice, tolerance etc.
Non-violent Characteristics Building on these ideas of the woman's special virtues, Gandhi further defined her role in the movement by emphasizing the "domestic" and "non-violent" nature of her contributions. Therefore, women were to use their superior qualities of passivity, patience, and self-sacrifice to attain their goals. . In keeping with these non-violent characteristics that Gandhi associated with women, he created the different types of Satyagraha work that would be appropriate for his women followers. .
Since women in the traditional sense were perceived to be homemakers and nurturers. Hence, their induction into the movement would begin with their capacity . to influence first the opinions of others in the household According to Gandhi, this would begin with the rearing of children. The mother is considered to be the first teacher of the child. Thus it is her responsibility to instill the great feelings of Indian . . e nationalism and patriotism in her children.
Spinning of Khadi: Symbol of Participation During NCM in 1920, Gandhi formed a program for women, whereby, they would contribute towards the movement from their homes. It was the spinning of Khadi that became their main activity and the symbol of their contribution. Gandhi considered spinning Khadi as the most non-violent protest and the epitome of Satyagraha. Additionally, it was also the answer to the shattered autonomy of Indians in the economy. Hence, Gandhi focused on the home industry of spinning, as the woman's greatest contribution. . . . . .
Nationalism & Female Emancipation Gandhi established a connection between nationalism and female emancipation as a further incentive for women to join the movement. Women were to take upon the responsibility of uplifting themselves from the "shackles of domesticity" and "male oppression" to achieve their aspirations for freedom at a personal as well as national level. Their contributions, however, would not be limited to the cause of political independence alone. . . "Swaraj" also meant the reconstruction of society and this reformation was to be led by women. . Because according to Gandhi "it is their special vocation and privilege".
Hence, there were five ways in which women were supposed to participate passively in nationalist activities such as 1. Constructive programmers like spinning khadi 2. Familial sacrifice 3. Being supportive wives and mothers to activists 4. Being pillars of support and strength 5. Conducting secret activities .
Conclusion It is thus evident from Gandhi's views that he envisioned the role of the woman as being that of a passive and non-violent entity Those were regarded as the agents for spreading the message of Satyagraha and practices it from the domestic sphere. . So, in her capacity as the sacrificing, pure and chaste upholder of virtues in the moral realm she was to spread the values of Satyagraha. . This was her defined role as a freedom fighter. .
His views on women in the political sphere were extremely complex and often times conflicting, which formed a contradiction in his theories. . Among his women followers, Sarojini Naidu adopted some of his ideas and implemented them in her work in spreading and mobilizing the Satyagraha movement among women. . She came to be associated with the Gandhian prototype and was publicly admired by Gandhi. . Yet at the same time, she personally tried to break away from the constraints put forth by his narrow definitions of womanhood. .