“Alone she went forth from the house...” | Daily News


“Alone she went forth from the house...”

The Women’s Day goes back to the first protest by the female garment workers in New York in 1908 and in 1909 it became the International Women’s Day, which the world has been “celebrating” for 110 years. The insult to all womankind was made worse in 1975 by the “United Nations” by naming it as the International Women’s Year, and 1977 March 8th was also declared the Day of Women’s Rights and World Peace. We are yet to see world peace and to see all women enjoying their rightful basic human rights.

Women are responsible for losing their rights. In South Asia the women drew the Lakshman Rekha around themselves, and keep blaming Lakshmana. (the male chauvinists created the myth that Lakshmana drew a circle around Sita for her own protection). In the west women gave up the victory won for all humankind by Lysistrata. (Greek anti-war comedy by Aristophanes 411 BCE, where Lysistrata manages to persuade the men to end the Peloponnesian war, by denying their marital rights). We need a Sita to break out of the Rekha, and a Lysistrata to bring about world peace.

If we forget all the distortions and the disinformation called as our prehistory, then we have to accept that Nature domesticated the woman first, by encouraging her to settle down where there was plenty of food and water. Woman would have lived an independent life, taking care of her children. Man would have been just used by nature to impregnate the woman. He was just another wild animal, who was later domesticated by the woman, for protection from other animals and to help with domestic chores. Probably it was the unfortunate development of humans getting to like the taste of rotting meat, when man became a hunter and provider of carrion that he would have taken over the household. Since all food production has been outsourced today, and earning opportunities are equal, man has lost his role as a provider. The state has taken over the role of protector.

Female voices

It is time for us to listen to the female of our species, a truth realized over two and a half millennia ago in this country. It is man in his androcentric arrogance, who suffer from the misconception that man domesticated nature, woman and other animals, and thus he is abusing all of them.

Leonard Shlain, a vascular surgeon by profession, used the term Gyna sapiens for the female of the human animal, in his 2003 book 'Sex, Time & Power'. He says that Gyna sapiens rose to the challenge of evolution 150,000 years ago, from Homo erectus, leaving her male counterpart, Homo sapiens, trailing behind.

Shlain explains the new label. "So much greater were the changes in the female of the new species than those of the male that it would have been more accurate for scientists to have named our genus and species Gyna sapiens, rather than Homo sapiens". It was the female who faced the crisis at childbirth, after she began to walk on two legs and her infant developed an unusually large brain, while the birth canal narrowed. If not for her evolutionary adaptations and the capability to nurse and care for the totally helpless newborn, human species would have become extinct, long ago.

If Gyna too behaved like Homo, humankind would have disappeared from the face of the earth thousands of years ago. They would not have been able to survive. Even today the woman outlives man, under most conditions, in the most sophisticated social conditions in a city of a 'developed' country, or in the most underdeveloped village in an Asian or African country. Survival of the fittest is proven once again. In the U.S. women live at least five years longer than men, but the women's life expectancy is declining, probably because they too are beginning to live more like men. In Sri Lanka women live for 78.5 years on average while men average only 72.1. In India men average only 68.2 years while women live for 70.7 years. In Japan women's life expectancy at birth is 87.5 while for men it is only 81.1. In Sierra Leon average life span of women is 55.1 years, while for men it is 53.5. (2019) Women are still ahead even in the country with the lowest life expectancy. Very often, a mother has been able to bring up her children much more successfully after her husband is gone. She is able to manage her family better when she becomes the 'man of the house', to use a male chauvinist phrase.

Multiplae roles

The truth is before our eyes everyday. The man who considers himself as the “breadwinner” often does only one job. A woman, if she is employed, has to do three jobs, as a housemaid and baby sitter, two unpaid and unappreciated jobs. She does not have time to rest or relax with a drink when she comes home. She does not need alcohol when she is tired or when she is sad and depressed. She is strong enough to face any crisis on her own.

Our women in South Asia were emancipated, in today's context, even as far back as 2700 years ago, if we accept the literary evidence of the Mahavamsa, which mentions the daughter of the Vanga king, the grandmother of Vijaya, who later colonized Lanka. Geiger translates as “Alone she went forth from the house, desiring the joy of independent life; unrecognized she joined a caravan travelling to the Magadha country.” This young woman had been free to live her own life, her father had not tried to stop her. If she had not been free, or had the courage to be independent, there would not have been a Sinhala race.

I believe it is the 3.5 billion women on earth, who have the commitment, strength and the compassion to save this planet for the future generations. The feminine symbolizes Motherhood, the Mother Goddess and Earth Mother. The girl-child today is a mother-to-be. We have to care for her by giving her the pride of place at home, at school, at the workplace, because she is the future mother, the mother who will conceive, carry, nurse and bring up our next generation. The mother who should run the household, and run the world.

It is time for women to claim their due place in society, as a separate being, Gyna sapiens. The superior animal, higher in the evolutionary ladder, more intelligent and fitter than Homo sapiens to survive, and to save our environment and our Mother Earth.

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