As the Navratri sets in, people look forward to the season of festivals, weddings, fasting, feasting, prayers and more. When we adulate the Gods, we say Radha-Krishna, Gauri-Shankar, Sita-Rama … the names of the Goddesses are placed before the Gods. How subtly we are guided to respect women! We even worship Gauri and Shankar in their combined form, as the androgynous Ardhanarishvar. This obviously means that in a couple, both the man and woman are integral, inseparable and equally valuable.
In present times the girl child is being given importance like never before. Great opportunities are available for girls and they are going places. We recently attended an event of the Punjab University Zonal Youth & Heritage Festival. I was pleasantly surprised to see teams of young girls from the colleges of Chandigarh, playing traditional Punjabi, musical instruments like Dhol, Sarangi, Tumbi, Chimta, Ektara, Khanjri, Been, Alghoze, Talli etc. As the girls wielded their instruments vying for perfection, they wove musical magic. Besides the show of talent, what touched my heart was the flow of happiness emanating from the smiling faces of each of the girl participants. They were happy! And that made me happy!
It’s not really important which team won, what is important is that they all enjoyed themselves. The contests held earlier for which prizes were announced, intrigued me. I had never heard of contests like Chhikku making, Naala making, Tokri making, Paraanda making etc. Suddenly there seems to be an awareness about reviving our culture and heritage. In the past few decades, a lot has been lost in the name of modernisation and progression.
A few days back, Menuka Poudel, a visually impaired girl of 25 years, stepped onto the stage of Indian Idol. She personified Goddess Saraswati as she left all the judges spell bound and teary eyed, by her soulful rendition of ‘Oh Paalanhaar Re! Nirgun aur nyaare …’ She was given the golden mike for her performance that was beautiful, beyond words.
Recently the Women’s Bill has been passed in Parliament. Our girls have made their mark in the world of sports too. Women are not just flying; they are soaring to unimagined heights.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba said, “The first title given to a woman is GrihaLakshmi (the goddess of Home). Wherever women are honoured, there is prosperity and happiness. Women should never be slighted or treated with disrespect. A home in which the housewife sheds tears will be bereft of all prosperity.”
The best home, family, society, community … is one where men and women walk hand-in-hand; they match their steps with each other. They think together. They value each other. They may not look into each other’s eyes but they look together in the same direction to achieve that harmony and balance in life.
God made everything in pairs for a reason. Day and night, summer and winter, are equally important … men and women too!
A slightly concise version of this article has been published in The Tribune as the Middle piece on 14. 10.2023. It can be viewed here https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/musings/divine-bond-between-men-and-women-553079
Feed back welcome!