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In my mind, Premchand displays the poor conditions of women in showing that the tide of social change in India must be spoken from and with the women's point of view in mind. Premchand displays that while there is social change in India, there is not a consistent social call that heeds to voices and narratives of women. Suman's only real authentication of voice comes as a courtesan. This is something that becomes deemed as "unworthy" by the powers that be who are initiating social change. In the end, it becomes quite ironic that Suman's own voice and experience is invalidated by the very same forces that seek to bring change and progress to India. Ahead of his time in the assertions being made, Premchand highlights that while India is on the move for change, even in the 1920s, it must be "going somewhere," which in the author's mind has to include the women's voice being heard form the woman's point of view and not men speaking for women.
The constitution of India explains, women are legal citizens of the country and have equal rights with men (Indian Parliament). But unfortunately the male dominant society is not accepting it and reason why, Indian women suffer immensely. Women are responsible for baring children, yet they are malnourished and in poor health. Women are also overworked in the field and complete the all of the domestic work. Most Indian women are uneducated. Although the country’s constitution says women have equal status to men, women are powerless and are mistreated inside and outside the home.
India is a society where the male is greatly revered. Therefore women, especially the young girls, get very little respect and standing in this country. The women of the household are required to prepare the meal for the men, who eat most of the food. Only after the males are finished eating, can the females eat. Typically the leftover food is meager, considering the families are poor and have little to begin with. This creates a major problem with malnutrition, especially for pregnant or nursing women. Very few women seek medical care while pregnant because it is thought of as a temporary condition. This is one main reason why India’s maternal and infant mortality rates are so high. Starting from birth, girls do not receive as much care and commitment from their parents and society as a boy would. For example a new baby girl would only be breast fed for a short period of time, barely supplying her with the nutrients she needs. This is so that the mother can get pregnant as soon as possible in hopes of a son the next time.
Even though the constitution guarantees free primary schooling to everyone up to 14 years of age (Indian Parliament), very few females attend school. Only about 39 percent of all women in India actually attend primary schools. There are several reasons why families choose not to educate their daughters. One reason is that parents get nothing in return for educating their daughters. Another reason is that all the females in a household have the responsibility of the housework. So even though education does not financially burden the family, it costs them the time she spends at school when she could be doing chores. In addition, even if a woman is educated, especially in the poorer regions, there is no hope for a job. Most jobs women perform are agricultural or domestic which do not require a formal education. Another reason girls are not educated is because families are required to supply a chaste daughter to the family of her future husband. With over two-thirds of teachers in India being men and students predominately male, putting daughters in school, where males surround them all day could pose a possible threat to their virginity.
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