Question: What are the basic reasons for the anti-women stance of some sects in India ?
During the medieval period there occurred overall degeneration and corruption in Indian society. Resources and power were usurped by a handful of corrupt rulers who ruthlessly exploited the poor and the downtrodden to fulfill their coffers and maintain a high style of living. It was the period of high tide of corrupt practices. Bonded labor, keeping concubines, abduction, feudal wars, mass-murders and so many other vices took deep roots in the society. The scholars dependent on the feudal lords were force, or to write and insert spurious verses in the ancient scriptures to please their masters.
Women , too, could not escape this oppression. To exploit their youth , physical and intellectual capabilities, the social codes of conducts were modified and she was systematically brainwashed and subdued. The rulers, along with the so-called scholars, gave a religious justification for the traditions established by them. The women and the “untouchables” in India thus continuously suffered from dual oppression, from within the country and from the foreign invaders. Woman was made to accept the ‘virtues’ of ‘purdah’ (veil) and submissively follow the just and unjust demands of her ‘ God -husband’. She was even compelled to commit suicide by forced immolation on the funeral pyre of her dead husband (the ancient tradition of sati). Depriving a woman from worship of Gayatri was also part of this conspiracy.
Ancient Indian history and scriptural disciplines provide ample evidence to show that the religion in India did not permit any discrimination whatsoever between the rights of men and women . On the contrary, woman was always considered superior to man and worthy of reverence. In ancient times, the Rishikas (nuns) participated as equal with men in all religious rituals. When Gayatri herself has been symbolized as a female deity, what is the logic in denial of right of Gayatri worship to a woman?