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Religion and The Position of Women in Indian Society: De-Masculinizing Mythologies and Religio-Sexual Rites

  • Ratul Ghosh
Chapter

Abstract

Apparently, it may seem that Hinduism is sincere towards upholding the dignity of women, as its various treatises and mythologies give us some suggestive accounts in this regard. However, behind such a projection, we can find out subtle tricks of socio-religious agencies which work for brahminical patriarchy. The non-mainstream or alternative religious practices like Tantra originated with an aim to challenge and subvert the patriarchal brahminical religious hegemony, and often provide gender equilibrium in the socio-religious space. Nevertheless, such forms were also not free from veiled patriarchal tropes and agendas. In today’s society, the baul and faqir sects of Bengal, who formed a folk-oriented sahajiya-cult incorporating tantric practices and Sufi mysticism, are internationally regarded as the believers of a de-institutionalized free society with equal religious and social rights for men and women. However, the question is to what extent do women, who serve as the ‘sadhan-sangini’ (female partner in sexo-yogic religious practices) of the bauls, actually get equal rights, dignified position and true fulfilment in religious and social life. This article tries to re-explore Indian mythological, classical as well as folk socio-religious texts, treatises and traditions to find out the hidden framework of patriarchy.

Keywords

Religion and female sexuality Manusmriti Durga Tantra Baul Faqir 

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Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bengali, West Bengal Education ServiceGovernment General Degree College (Hindi Medium)Banarhat, JalpaiguriIndia

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