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Patriarchy And Matriarchy In Hinduism And Islam

1581 words - 7 pages

Throughout history, men have been given superiority and dominance over women in the majority of religious settings. There have been few religions and cultures that do the opposite and see their women as having superiority and dominance over men. On one hand, the cultures and religions that see men as being dominant are patriarch. On the other hand, the cultures and religions that see women as being dominant are matriarch. Every religion and culture has an impact on whether societies tend to follow a matriarch, or a patriarch lifestyle. Hindu and Islam religions and cultures are two religions that tend to follow a patriarch lifestyle, but with few exceptions.
According to the U.S. History in ...view middle of the document...

The involvement of women in Hindu religion is also a challenging task to research due to the differences in Hindu beliefs by regional culture. Kana Mitra, author of “Women in Hinduism” explains the differences of women in Hinduism by regional culture by using the example of purdah. Purdah is the seclusion of women, and Kana explains how the regional culture of a woman is an impact on whether or not she practices purdah by mentioning that, “the women of south India do not observe purdah and never did, although women of the North still practice it” (Mitra, 585). Furthermore, an additional factor that impacts Hindu’s beliefs and practices similarly to regional culture is economic class. Kana explains how a woman’s economic class will affect her practice on purdah by stating, “In the rural areas women of lower class do not adhere to it, because in most cases they have to work with their men, but the higher class women still observe this seclusion” (Mitra, 585).
Furthermore, patriarchy and matriarchy in Hindu societies vary depending on a woman’s role in her family. For the most part males dominate Hindu society, making it a patriarchy. In a Hindu home, wives are secondary to their husband. But once a woman becomes a mother, her role change and she is looked as being equivalent, or sometimes superior to her husbands, making their home a matriarchy. In the Journal “Women in Hinduism”, Kana Mitra explains the roles of Hindu wives, mothers, and the patriarch or matriarch balance in their homes. On one hand, Hindu wives live under a patriarch as they are considered to be inferior to their husbands. Kana Mitra explains this by mentioning that, “The wife-husband relationship is not egalitarian. She must obey her husband unconditionally. He is her lord and god. Whatever may be his character and quality, an ideal wife never disobeys her husband” (Mitra, 589-590). In Hindu society, loyalty, obedience, and chastity are all considered to be female virtues. When married, a Hindu wife’s virtues may go to extremes for her husband. We can learn of how extreme a wife’s loyalty and chastity may extend in “Women in Hinduism”, when Kana Mitra writes that “divorce is unthinkable for a Hindu woman and, if she is widowed, remarriage is almost impossible” (Mitra, 590). On the other hand, once a Hindu wife becomes a mother, she becomes the most prestigious status in the Hindu society. The prestigious status of Hindu mothers is glorified as it is explained in two major Hindu writings, the Law Book of Manu and the Mahabharata. The Law Book of Manu states that: “The teacher is ten times more venerable than the sub-teacher, the father a hundred times more than the teacher, but the mother a thousand times more than the father.” While the Mahabharata mentions that: “Of all virtues obedience to the superior is the cardinal one. Of all superiors the mother is the foremost.” According to Kana Mitra’s “Women in Hinduism”, mothers are considered equivalent or superior to their...

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