Recent Studies On Indian Women : Empirical Work Of Social Scientist; Kant Kamal Misra, Huber Janet Lowry; Rawat Publication; ISBN 8131600491; Print.
It was mainly the unification of identity produced by the colonial rule that actualized the concept of an ideal Indian woman into a pan- India phenomenon. Just like the term Indian that becomes meaningful and understood in the context of the construction of Indian nation, the popular image of Indian woman is also a product of an elite majority. However micro level changes had taken place in the concepts owing to the impact of modernization.
Womanhood was not at all a matter in the pre-modern era. Literary traditions were highly influenced by the power structures mainly by colonial rule, western patriarchy, Indian caste rankings, male intellectualism and elite hegemony. Even after new systems of knowledge like print were established and when a number of women became literate , the reformist movements were only concerned with the issues of upper sections of society.
The construction of the Indian women was endangered in the class and caste structure of India. The ideal woman was the wife of the elite Indian man and left out were those women who were laborers and tribes. The concept of the ideal Indian women laid their foundation in Dharmashstras the laws of the Manu. The postcolonial knowledge enhanced the stereotypes based on morality and assumed women in two distinct poles: devi(godess) and dasi( servant).
The attributions given to the women were the attempts of educated Indian men to resurrect their own women as perfect foil for their nationalist ideals. The Indian nationalist men claimed superiority on the basis of the moral and spiritual superiority to the West and it was the women who represented the spiritual ideal of the home(43). Also at the ground level it also aimed at the seclusion of the elite woman(devi) from the underprivileged counterpart(dasi).
Women in India are certainly seen as objects of respect and of worship, but not all the women. The woman who is truly confined to the ideals of patriarchy is the woman who is respected. On the other hand, women who belongs to the lower classes were considered as sexual objects. But what happens now is that women irrespective of their caste, attitude and attire becomes target of harassment and face criticisms about inappropriate dressing and on freedom that they enjoy outside the “four walls”.
The changing society is in a dilemma to reconstruct the stereotypes of Indian women but in the global era symbols of distinction are deepening.
Media concentrates only on the mainstream culture. They present exoticism version of rural India taht is far from reality of poverty. The reality is replaced by alternative images of stereotypes. No popular serials which is the popular source of entertainment ever dwells on woman on the fringes of the society. They don’t represent the dimensions of marginal womanhood.
There is also a tussle between the traditional and the modern in this contemporary age of globalization and the changes coming about is slow and restricted.
Every Indian men aspire for a woman who would be a perfect blend of modernity and tradition.
Every woman is created to become a partner to the modern man. Most Indian men aspire for women who would be a perfect blend of modernity and tradition to satisfy all their requirements. What world expects is an independent free thinking women who is at the same time a self sacrificing mother and a wife.