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Hinduism: The Reason Behind Patriarchy

Updated on September 19, 2014

What is Patriarchy all about?

Patriarchy is a sexist system which allows and considers subjugation of women in terms of position and power as the normal course of life. Patriarchy is a root in our lives which has been gaining width and strength due to religion and an ardent society which follows that religion blindly.

Patriarchy in India survives and breathes via the wheels of religion. A lot of questions are raised when a woman steps out of her house. But none of the answers are found as they are all cleverly disguised and covered up by religion.

The religion of Hinduism acts as the propellant for fuelling and nourishing patriarchy in the hearts of men and women alike.

Agni Pariksha By Sita
Agni Pariksha By Sita

Disparity among the genders

Hinduism has always favoured the sex with greater muscle power and the biggest example of this bias is seen in Ramayana where goddess Ram had the privilege of abandoning his heavily pregnant wife in a forest because it would be inappropriate to take home a wife abducted by a rakshas.

Role of Women

Hinduism is the reason why infidelity in marriage are a common occurrence for a man, a pardonable mis-demeanour but for a women it's a crime because she could not hold the sobriety and virtues of Sita.

But question is what did Sita gain by being virtous?

According to Hindu mythology a wife’s place should always be at her husband’s feet. Forever worshipping him. This could be equated with the fact that women are allowed to work and hold high positions at work places but not the highest.

Whenever a woman is placed above her male colleague her means of reaching that position is always questioned. Maybe it was her clothes or seductive words never her ability to work better than male colleagues.

Role of Women in Office
Role of Women in Office

Myth: Fairer Sex Needs to be protected

Patriarchy in men bolsters the feeling of being protectors of the fairer sex. This is possibly the reason why women who cross the lakhsman rekha are criticised. Men do not consider it their responsibility if you are abused, insulted or harassed by other men after you step over the line.

Then why is it that they call themselves protector of the weak? In a case of sexual abuse why is a woman reprimanded for stepping out of her house, going to a pub or a late night party?

Women always face harassment
Women always face harassment

Hindu Rituals

Hindu rituals offer you the best example of patriarchy in society. These rituals have men as the forerunners of the show while women have a secondary role to play. Only men are allowed to perform certain rituals as a woman doing them is considered unholy and does not render the same degree of sin cleansing when done by a man. Hinduism also states that one can get salvation, that is the freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth only when born a man.

Inheritance of Property

Inheritance of property has been dictated by religion and followed by society. Hinduism dictates that property be inherited only by men so that it is not passed away to foreign hands. Even when women do inherit property it is done so in lines of matrilinear inheritance. The woman holds a passive position in this system and the person in charge is another male member of the family.

Inheritance of property
Inheritance of property

Hinduism plays a major role behind patriarchy

Patriarchy survives because of the big boost it gets from Hinduism. The means of partiarchy have become so inbuilt that we now name it as ‘culture’. It is culture for a woman to wait for her man to have the first morsel of food cooked, it is culture for a woman to always follow and be the support her husband requires, never the leader in the marriage.


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