Hello Children! In today’s discussion, let me tell you about an interesting personality who, in 1893, addressed the crowd of Chicago as “Sisters and Brothers of America…”. Who am I talking about? Does anyone know?
I will give you a clue. He is an Indian Monk of the 19th Century. He took a strong firm stand against female oppression. And he worshiped Mata Sharada Devi. Who is he?
Is it Swami Vivekananda?
Yes. You are right! He is the very religious and most influential Swami Vivekananda. I am going to tell you about his view on female education and women’s power through education.
Our Ancient civilization of our Nation held women in greater positions. Ancient women enjoyed freedom, power and strong roles. In the Vedic Period, women enjoyed great education and acceptance among the scholars. Female philosophers like Gargi and Maitreyi contributed verses in Vedas, and participated in Philosophical debates with their male peers. Later, centuries after centuries, women were refused their right to education, and were oppressed in one or other ways in society. There are many leaders and reformers who voiced against gender inequality. And one of them was Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda was an Indian monk, who introduced Indian Philosophies to the western world. He talked highly of our Vedic Culture and practices like Yoga, Meditation. He was also well-known for supporting education for women, and against women’s oppression. He became world famous and a popular person by his speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, in which he began his introduction to Hinduism.
Swami Vivekananda says, “Educate your women first and leave them to themselves; then they will tell you what reforms are necessary for them. In matters concerning them, who are you?” Educating women was the solution to the better development of the country. According to him, the country’s welfare was a big question without the betterment of women as it was not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.
A good and valuable education liberates a woman from her oppression, gives her mental power & strength, boosts her self-confidence, develops a sense of responsibility and makes her a courageous personality. A woman opens her mind to the high knowledge and supreme truth through her education. Swami Vivekanda was sure that the educated woman fought against inequalities, falsehood, oppression, and fear.
For him, women played a vital role in the development of a society, nation, and humanity. And, education is the key to salvation, a way to self-awareness and self-discovery.