Position of Indian women during the epic ages (Ramayana and Mahabharata)!
Status of Women in the Epic age can be earmarked in the history of female freedom as a golden age. Women had been accorded a status of honour and dignity in the society. Most of the female characters of Ramayana and Mahabharata were well educated and well conversant in culture and the practice of the society
The Ramayana illustrates the Hindu ideal women of India and In Mahabharata instances are galore that the women gave counsel and advice to men on social and religious issues. Women had an effective role in social and political life as well.
Position of Women in the Smritis!
While speaking about woman and her relation to man, Manu says “Women must always be honoured and respected by the father, brother, husband and brother-in-law who desire their own welfare, and where women are honoured, there the very Gods are pleased, but where they are not honoured, no sacred rites even could yield rewards”.
“The family in which women suffer, is bound to be ruined, while the family in which women are happy is bound to prosper.”Manusmriti
Manu further enjoined that every person was to maintain peace with the female members of the household. and advised every man to treat his daughter as the highest object of tenderness and honour mother as the most venerable person in the world.
On the other hand, there were a number of provisions in the Manu Smriti, which certainly went against the interests of women as women were deprived of the “Upanayana”(sacred thread ceremony) and education. Manu relegated women to an entirely degrading position. He preached self-negation as the highest ideal of a wife. She was asked to serve and worship her husband even if he was not a person of all virtue and character. Since service and worship of the husband were the primary duties of a wife and observing all these women could hope to attain the heaven.