Women, Dharma and Social Justice in India: Utopia and Reality


On Thursday, 9 October 2014 Asha Mukherjee, Vishva Bharati Universitet, Shantiniketan, India, presented a guest lecture "Women, Dharma and Social Justice in India: Utopia and Reality." The event was organised by the Deaprtment of Linguistic and Philology in cooperation with the Forum for South Asia Studies. 

Indian civilization based on Dharma often been claimed as creative and communicative and to be understood as human dignity and worth in terms of justice, unity and benevolence as virtue for human fulfillment along with its theological insights and metaphysical doctrines. Dharma has both descriptive and prescriptive contents; the way things are and the things ought to be- the nature of man and the obligations or duties.

The concern for gender justice and women rights has also been extremely important area in Indian Constitution right from the Independence. While examining how dharma is practiced in Indian society as part of gender justice, one finds a paradox between an urge to change and accept Western progressive and democratic values and yet this change has to be rooted in the past glory of Indian society. This paradox influences to a large extent the way the women’s questions are developed and we find two conflicting images of women in India. But it is difficult for the middle class, educated working women to be either of the two. She wants some space to be treated as human being, a dignified person who would have power to decide to be and to do and for this she would have to constantly face a struggle, often very difficult.