If you are on social media, it would not escape your attention as to how many women propel the Hindutva agenda online. However, advocacy of the specific ideology among women isn’t just limited to the literate space of social media. Offline, in the real world, in our society, within our colonies, and even in our circle, we know of many women who endorse Hindutva openly. However, like followers of any ideology, there are degrees to which various women endorse the idea of Hindutva.

I see these women with their varying degree of acceptance and belief in the Hindutva ideology everyday and everywhere. Some via the forwarded messages in my WhatsApp groups, some glaring in my face with aggressive or defensive tweets on Twitter. Many of them just having a casual conversation about it in functions, meetings or while pushing a swing in a park. In the current politically and religiously charged climate of our country, women are no longer on the bench. They are out in the field, in their own little ways, standing up for what they believe. No matter what we have to say about it.

Cultural and familial influence

Cultural and familial influence play a big part in shaping a person’s thoughts and views, and women are no exception

Any person, who endorses any ideology, right, left or centre, does so from whatever exposure he or she earns on cultural, social and educational level. The books we read, the people we interact with on a daily basis, the problems and solutions (or lack of them) which come our way, is what shape us. Not just Hindutva, but when women embrace any ideology, it speaks more about their environment than their individual thought process. However, there are many other factors such as education and awareness which affect the degree of belief one shows in what one is told. A big section in our society still expects women to believe without questioning.

SOME TAKEAWAYS-

  • Whether online or offline, we all know of many women who endorse Hindutva openly.
  • In the current politically and religiously charged climate of our country, women are no longer on the bench.
  • They are out in the field, in their own little ways, standing up for what they believe. No matter what we say about it.
  • Women have the potential and tact to restore balance in every aspect of life. With battlelines drawn, can women calm the ebbing tension in the pulse of this nation?

Most women are still told to obey and follow and not question or dissent. For the average Indian woman, across religions, her family and immediate society, especially male members, exert a lot of influence on their thought process. Educated, earning or otherwise, when it comes to agendas of political or ideological in nature, women in India seem to have their own voice today. But how many of them are conditioned to use that voice after pondering over it?

Therefore, it is difficult to say how much of what these women have to say comes after questioning and assessing the thoughts handed down to them

But there are a significant number of women, who endorse Hindutva after questioning everything on their own. Their inclination to any specific ideology comes after failing to find the answers and solutions they seek, elsewhere. So the affinity to Hindutva for them is at some level reactionary. It stems from dissatisfaction from results produced by another school of thought. From being cornered, neglected or put on the defensive from a barrage of criticism. From having a different perspective, which they have earned from following their individual line of thought. Thus, the voice of these women, is backed by their own thoughts and experiences.

It seems that with increasing urbanisation, many literate and learned women are willingly choosing to endorse Hindutva ideology, sans any familial or patriarchal influence

One must appreciate how women have found a voice to voice their beliefs in this country. However, they can prove to have a more generous spirit by not confusing their right to assert as the right to abuse. Unlike men, women can make a difference to our current polarised climate by accepting those who dissent from their views. Because he said-she said games are only putting the harmony in our country out of sync. Women have the potential and tact to restore balance in every aspect of life. With battlelines drawn, can women calm the ebbing tension in the pulse of this nation? Can the liberal and right wing women restore peace in our conflicted nation today, by choosing to accept rather than abuse and accuse? That remains to be seen.

Picture Credit: Aaj Tak

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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