In Indian mythology and religious studies, women were empowered, being odd was chill, and freedom of expression was celebrated. Read through the newspapers, we are confused between the definition of freedom of expression and women’s rights.
Confronted by ethical and principled dilemmas that we wrestle with on an everyday basis, our tradition as modern Indians is to look outside our ethnicity to find solutions. We look particularly to the West. Let’s find some answers-
1. Women’s rights
The other day Lisa Haydon shared a beautiful picture of Instagram breastfeeding her own son Zack. She quoted it helped her to lose weight, now that’s a celebration of women’s right and giving her the full authority to let her speak her mind.
But the pages of newspapers are filled with reports of women’s abuse and torture. Let’s dig our past to under woman’s position because our culture needs a revival in modern India. But things were better in ancient India-
For context: during the Vedic period, Rishis were sacred and held the uppermost rank in society. They were, in some ways, akin to the prophets and messiahs of the Abrahamic faith. This directly indicates what a developed society it must have been. Women were valued and held the top positions of reverence.
2. Freedom of expression was paramount
We are living in difficult times. When fake news is been circulated like hot cakes and press is made a circus. But if we see in the olden times, there was no rendition of the English word “blasphemy” in Vedic Sanskrit, the idiom of ancient India. This signifies that speaking your mind about Gods, accepted wisdom, and spiritual practices weren't restricted.
In this text, an account is given of the first play that was ever performed, which was apparently insulting to some of the divine beings in the audience. They were agitated and wanted the performance stopped.
Freedom of expression at its finest.
3. LGBT rights were valued
A variety of Hindu texts and scriptures feature queer folk and display the relative recognition of sexual differences in people to an amount that it was a non-issue. For example-
By being open-minded and unbiased, we are not being less Indian; we are in fact being more Indian. We are honoring our great ancestors.