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Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Mahatma and Women in India-Miles to go

By Jitendra Aherkar & Sagar Poojari

Abstract

Gandhi is forever remembered in history, for he stood up for Indian civil rights, and has made a big difference for people in India today specially women. Women are God's greatest gift to humanity. She has the power to create or destroy. is a saying that behind every successful man there is a women Similarly, Gandhi was influenced by his mother Putlibai and wife Kasturba. As Gandhi has said: "The outstanding impression my mother has left on my memory is that of saintliness”. Gandhi's attitudes towards women were as much shaped by his innate sense of comparison and justice as they were by the patriarchal albeit benevolent conservatism that was the sheet anchor of his cultural and social discourse. The contradiction between his liberal feminist pronouncements, his egalitarian, loving and respectful concern for women, and his belief in their role in politics and in society are sometimes difficult to reconcile. Yet Gandhi, more than anyone else, struggled with these paradoxes in the existing social milieu. Comparing his vision of women with the current status of women and the ongoing struggle for women's empowerment will provide a measure of what has been achieved. The ultimate goal of empowerment of women based on Gandhi's vision is Sarvodaya the welfare of all through cooperation and trusteeship in the economic sphere, equal participation in the political sphere, and mutual aid in the social sphere without regard to caste, or class or gender. Thus, empowerment of village women cannot be imposed from above, it must grow from the bottom upwards. This paper gives a brief idea on Mahatma's vision for Indian women for success and progress of society in all walks of life.

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