As a kid I remember both my grandmother were smokers and me going and buying the Indian version of cigarette called “Beedi” from the nearby shop was common. Now I am not sure when and how they had started and unfortunately by the time I was old enough to ask them they were not around anymore. There is no doubt about them being devout enough. My dad’s mother would religiously go to Ganga every morning before the sun rises and do her daily prayers. So one really can’t say that they were forward looking or modern. But today when a lady smokes eyes turn and it comes as a shock.
When you look at temples like Sun Temple Konark (have visited personally) or famous Khajuraho (only heard), the depiction of images that are considered taboo today. Guide at Konark was really shy showing us the sculptures himself. I am not sure why places of worship will have such display of things that nobody wants to talk about in modern world. This is quite intriguing that people were so open in those days.
Today when we stand for young people wearing dresses that they want to, going to places where they like to, speak about things that they would like to, it should not be considered an extra privilege but more as way of life.
I am not sure when “purdah” became a system, when women folks were not allowed to move out of homes and when dowry became the norm. We do not have texts or historical evidences of common people’s life but I would like to believe all this to have started due to extreme invasions or violence which became sort of common after 1000 AD.
The society created these artificial inventions that became traditions that people would die in order to protect. It became age old way of life that forced women to be in walls of their house where ever they go.
It became so much so that the mom-to-be would like the one in the womb not be what she is. She would not like her to face an uneventful life like hers and probably the yearning of having a male child started and this took to imagination of other folks as well.
I think a society will only reach true potential when everyone has equal opportunity and it is true for modern women folk as well.
In today’s world there are many who have the opportunity to shun these age old traditions and come to limelight but they prefer to be cocooned in the artificial boundaries created for ages.