Gandhi Views on Women Rights and Widow’s Remarriage

Gandhi Views on Women Rights:

Since Gandhi regarded women as equal to men, according to him they were entitled to equality of status in all spheres of life. They should not be under any disability or restraint which does not apply equally to men. The parents should love sons and daughters equally. It is insulting indeed to regard women as weak persons. To regard women as weak is to do injustice to them. If force implies animal instincts, then women are undoubtedly less brutish than men. If, on the other hand, force is viewed as the soul force, then women are certainly superior to men. They possess the spirit of self-sacrifice in a much greater measure, because they are, in point of fact, more tolerant and courageous than man. The very existence of man contingent on the presence of women. Since non-violence is the basic principle of human existence, the future lies in the hands of women. Gandhi views women as the apostle of non-violence because by nature she is more trained in non-violence than man. With only half of the love which she bestows in bringing up the children, the society would be more human, non-violent and civilized, “To call women the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman”. He was against the dowry system and also against heavy expenditure in connection with marriages. He wanted to simplify marriage ceremonials. Gandhi held that woman’s grace lay in her character and her modesty. He did not want her to be a plaything of a man. Addressing a women’s meeting, he said, “Refuse to be slaves of your own whims and fancies and the slaves of men”. Gandhi regarded all restrictions on women, including purdah as bondage.

Gandhi Views on Widow’s Remarriage:

In Gandhi’s opinion, the evil of child marriage is primarily responsible for early widowhood. To remain a widow by one’s own conscious choice is undoubtedly the invaluable legacy of the Hindu religion. But at the same time, it could become a curse to force widowhood for life on an unwilling woman. He was in favour of giving due consideration to the problem of widows. He said, “We cry out for cow protection in the name of religion, but we refuse protection to the human cow in the shape of the girl widow”. He was against all social and religious barriers to widow remarriage. However, voluntary widowhood consciously adopted by a woman, adds grace and dignity to her life. Her sacrifice would glorify the Hindu religion itself. Girl widows in his view should remarry. Forced widowhood might lead to certain social vices. Gandhi advised that young men should marry young widows in order to remove undesirable practices from Hindu society.

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