Status of Woman in Ancient India: A Comparative Study of North Indian Society and Kashmir

Sheikh J. Ayub, Asif R. Raina

Abstract


There is no doubt in saying that ancient Indian society was predominantly patriarchal in nature. The woman lived in an awful state and was lumped with shudras. The most inhuman practice was that of Sati which had gained social acceptance across the length and breadth of the society.  But unlike the ancient Indian society, the society of Kashmir was almost free from all these elements which all time remained the core issues of Indian society. Sati system in India continued till British rule while as one finds just some literary references regarding sati in Kashmir.  Even both the societies were religiously Hindu, both were ruled by Hindu dynasties and most importantly both were patriarchal in nature but both societies experienced different cultures. We argue that neither patriarchy nor religion can fully explain the subjugation of women. For instance, a woman in Kashmir enjoyed most of the social, political and economic rights than their counterparts in ancient India. Secondly, we argue that the caste system was not that rigid in Kashmir as it was in ancient India; hence caste mobilization was a usual affair in Kashmir and not in India. Thirdly, that the composite culture of Kashmir called Kashmiriyat has always been more inclusive, more accommodative than religious cultures. That is where a large difference is created between the two societies.


Keywords


Composite culture; Caste system; Dida; Kashmiriyat; Sati; Varna

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.33687/jsas.006.03.2544

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Copyright (c) 2018 Sheikh J. Ayub, Asif R. Raina

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  Journal of South Asian Studies
ISSN: 2307-4000 (Online), 2308-7846 (Print)
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