We trumpet that women of the present are the most liberated in the annals of history. Though they are yet to get their due in the society, they definitely have more Rights and freedom including sexual.Well, this is what is being propagated especially when one decides to decry Hinduism, Sanatan Dharm.It is fancy and a certificate of progressiveness and Liberalism to portray Hinduism as one of the most backward religions. James Stuart Mill, father of John Stuart Mill, the philosopher and mathematician,wrote the Fist History of India from England, without ever visiting India,begins the book with , ‘Hinduism, a religion steeply mired in Superstition and barbaric practices’..( The words I have used may not be exact. Please read my article on The Fist History of India for details’)
Our own breed of historians took the cue and had pilloried Hinduism and it’s practices starting from Hinduism, sanskaras,metaphysics ….and of course Treatment of Women.They would have you believe that in ancient India women were treated as chattel, society was totally patriarchal,women had no claim to property, can not remarry,were not allowed to read Vedas, should not recite mantras…
I had written earlier that women were Rishis,studied Vedas ,composed Veda sutras. Women had Upanayan ceremony conducted for them to initiate them into study of Vedas.They were allowed to choose their partners.They had swamvars conducted to choose their husbands.( There were five types of Marriages according to Shastras and seven types of Marriages according to Tamil culture.)Women were called Rishikas if they remained ascetics, and Gruhni or Gruhalakshmi.Gruhni means one who is Home, Head of Home,Gruhalakshmi means one who is Wealth of House. Tamil ,an ancient language of India calls a married women as இல்லாள்,One who rules the home.A man , according to shastras ceases to have the right to perform any Vedic karma if his wife had expired. He is entitled to perform only Sandhya Vandhana and limited anushtanas.He can not give away his children in marriage ( in Vedic Marriage) nor can he perform final rites fot the deceased.
Women in the Rigveda appear disproportionately as speakers in dialogue hymns, both as mythical or divine Indrani, Apsaras Urvasi, or Yami, as well as Apāla Ātreyī (RV 8.91), Godhā (RV 10.134.6), Ghoṣā Kākṣīvatī (RV 10.39.40), Romaśā (RV 1.126.7), Lopāmudrā (RV 1.179.1–2), Viśvavārā Ātreyī (RV 5.28), Śacī Paulomī (RV 10.159), Śaśvatī Āṅgirasī (RV 8.1.34). The women of the Rigveda are quite outspoken and appear more sexually confident than men, in the text.*1 Elaborate and aesthetic hymns on wedding suggest rites of passage had developed during the Rigvedic period.*1 There is little evidence of dowry and no evidence of sati in it or related Vedic texts.#2
Citation..*1.Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton (2014), The Rigveda : the earliest religious poetry of India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-937018-4, pp.
#2 Michael Witzel (1996), Little Dowry, No Sati: The Lot of Women in the Vedic Period, Journal of South Asia Women Studies, Vol 2, No 4