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April - May 2004


Woman - an "ism"?

by P. Venkataramana

The times we live in can rightly be called as the proudest period of mankind in the modern era of civilization & commerce : for, in the infancy of the New Millennium, the world of Nations seemingly has become One - reflecting a clear evolution in thought-processes and working-culture…Gone are the days of the cold war or closed economies, trade-barriers and hostile trade-practices; no longer is waging war a two-sided affair - the entire world rises in unison against the hydra-headed face of cross-border terrorism, industrial-espionage and international gangsterism (be it by the drug-cartels or arms-smugglers or suppliers of spurious pharmaceutical products & pesticides or be it of white-collared criminals)…

What has brought about this sea-change ? Is it that mankind has furthered a step in the mode of evolution ? What is the 'ism' or the absence of it which has enabled such an apparently miraculous transformation? Or, more importantly, do we need to evolve a new 'ism' to ensure that such a happy and welcome change stays forever as the mainstay of all future activities?

A dispassionate analysis leads us to the startling (to many men) and not-so-surprising (to several women) revelation that 'woman-power' is the 'ism' which has helped rally and unite as one force to battle brutalities and brute-forces in the world…this is visible and can be felt on the business, the economic as well as the political fronts, world over, today : None can deny this fact.(Aristotle Onasis once said,…'if women did not exist,all the money in the world would have no meaning…')…
But what is 'woman-ism' that has ushered in this silent yet loud revolutionary change in the psyche of the powers-that-be and in all realms of the society? The truth may be amazing or shocking to many but the stage of enlightenment and the day of reckoning has arrived. Therefore, let us analyse how this truth of our times has evolved…!!
An 'ism', born as a reaction, is an anti-thesis to some thesis, and so it comes to acquire the defects of the original…Our analysis of the various isms of the modern era must invariably be viewed against one's own self as well as the backdrop of social interdependence in a world thriving on business .
'Capitalism' though a much flagellated 'ism', advocates efficiency. It says that some are less efficient than others and they should therefore get less, while some are more efficient and should therefore get more : it seeks to promote efficiency in society by remunerating each for his labour according to his work and capacity. It has raised the standard of living of a tiny minority to a very high level. But at the same time it has also pulled down that of a vast majority into abysmal poverty. Capitalism has no remedy for this evil. Indeed, it declares openly that for those who are unfit, there is no alternative except that they remain so …In a capitalist world, one man's misfortune becomes another's opportunity : none feels that there is anything wrong or anti-religious in exploiting the misfortune of another…!
However, Capitalism cannot be ended either by love or conflict, but only by right thought…conflict leads to ever more conflict which can only weaken all concerned just as love also cannot bring about a change of things : love brings forth enthusiasm but only right thought can initiate and effect a revolution…Conflict is also one of the factors in progress but it is essentially the propagation of right-thought which alone is qualified to bring about a revolution : capitalism is of several kinds. Capitalism means earning capital, which requires a centralised administration and it cannot be done in a decentralised way. And, those who call themselves 'communists' are also capitalists to the core because they seek centralisation in production under the impression that equality in distribution would follow centralised production .Thus, theirs is not a thesis but an antithesis against capitalism. However, none can dispute the fact that this 'ism' propounded a very important idea to the world at large, viz; 'that all the poor of the world are one; that they can stand up together and become free.'
Since then vast changes have come about in the world due to the impact of science & technology. All the premises of the old 'isms' have gone wrong and then came 'socialism' - with an eye on the whole human society. 'Socialism' issues the 'diktat' - '…give work to each according to his ability; take full work from him and provide him with full security…! '. This 'ism' means hundred percent private- sector plus hundred percent public- sector (100+100 = 100) but this is not intelligible to planners. What does it then mean? It means that private sector itself should be transformed into public sector : all businessmen would work in the interests of the public and thus both the sectors would grow and flourish…Truly speaking, socialism comes into existence when every individual is given to observing restraints. Where everyone considers himself as being separate from society, socialism cannot come into existence. No man is an island under this scenario…
Then came 'democratic socialism' which makes the claim that it safeguards the interests not only of the majority but of all . Real experience,however, shows that it offers no remedy for several of the ills which democracy leads to : so long as the interests of the minority are sought to be protected through the will of the majority, it is not possible to achieve full and wholesome socialism. Strangely, socialism came in many varieties, one of them being that of Adolf Hitler…!
Communism was also inspired by compassion and so must not be abhorred ; Capitalism, when tempered with noble and broad-mindedness could be a guardian-angel or at least a caretaker to the society but it was not a complete ideology in itself. Socialism too is not an independent ideology : while one is a reaction against Capitalism, the other is so against individualism --- being products of reactions, both of them lack a fully comprehensive perspective.
Therefore, a whole new ethic governing the way humans should treat each other in order to facilitate everyone's evolution was of paramount importance. 'Woman' who always enjoyed a pride of place in the turn of events - as a mother, as a sister, as a wife, as a daughter and as a mentor stepped out of her role as a catalyst acting from behind the curtains and began to seek an equal share in the governance of society…When particular care was not paid to women, they determined to foment a rebellion and did not let themselves be bound by any laws in which they had no voice and no representation.
The essence of the women's 'liberation' movement (loosely termed 'feminism') was that the ladies did not think that the male-dominated world was very generous towards them because while proclaiming peace & goodwill to all Men and seeking an emancipation of all Nations those very men were insisting upon retaining an absolute power over wives. This trend in society led to declaration of the ' ism ' of a true Republic --- 'men, their rights and nothing more ; women, their rights and nothing less…'

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