Feminism sounds like a western word, but this concept was born in India. It’s hard to believe, right? But, hear me out just think for a bit. What do we celebrate during Navratri? Mahishasur got a boon from the Gods. He cannot be killed by a man, a god, or an animal. Using this boon, he invaded all 3 worlds. At that time, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh combined their powers and Maa Durga Came Into Existence. Maa Durga faced off against Mahishasur for 9 days and by defeating him on the 9th day, she restored balance in the universe.
Represents true Indian Feminism
Shailputri means daughter of the mountain or Parvati. Maa Durga initially appeared in this form. She knows that we live in a man’s world and that making a place for herself in this world is going to be as tough as climbing a mountain, but she did not give up. In today’s corporate world, for the same job and same position, women earn almost 20% LESS salary than men. This is a fact; don’t you think we need to change this? Today, whenever we see a picture of Shiva – Parvati. We find them sitting together, on the same level because Parvati’s patience proved her stature to Lord Shiva as well. Is this not true feminism?
Brahmachrini means a worshipper of knowledge. There is a weird connection between women and education. Have you noticed? Our school teachers are mostly female but as we move higher up in our education system. A majority of our professors are male/ men, but why? Are women not interested in higher education? Or do we never give them a fair chance? But things are changing, there is India’s first school where all the students are grandmothers. They are all old as our grandmothers who never got an opportunity to go to school. Those women whose identity was forever their thumbprint, when these women first learn to write their names. Their faces light up with a bright smiles and in their smile, we can see ” Brahmachrini. ”
Chandraghanta teaches us multi-tasking and women are an expert in multi-tasking, Chandi Devi took many weapons in her many hands and defeated a demon called Raktabeej. Similarly to this, Indian women perform a variety of roles every day. They’re walking up early and getting kids to school, they’re giving office presentations on time, they’re cleaning the house to welcome guests, and they’re also handling husbands who don’t help with work. Her struggles are unique, but they are nonetheless difficult! Managing all these roles at the same time. A good mother, A good daughter, A good wife, A good employee. We have the strength to do all of this within us. Navratri taught us this lesson.
Kushmanda is a form of Nature. She gives birth to nature, takes care of nature like her own child, and protected nature. We are also a part of nature and just like we have a relationship with our mother we have a similar relationship with nature as well, but women don’t need to become a mother when she gives birth. Thimmakka could not give birth to children. So, she gave birth to 8,000 trees of her own. They give shade to weary and tired travelers and they give oxygen to the world. This is a living example of Kushmanda. Salumarda is 105 years and as she took the Padma Shri from President Kovind, she also blessed him. There is nobody like a mother and Navratri is a reminder of this.
Skandamata means the mother of Kartikeya. She is a warrior’s mother, and Kartikeya is general among Gods. He is a brave warrior and is no less than anyone. He is ready to win in any battle and he forever has his mother’s support because Skandamata
Knows that each war is not just her son’s, but is her fight as well. Today, when we’re working hard to prepare for exams, to wake us up at 4 AM, our Skandamata wakes up at 3:45 AM. When we’re staying far away from family in a foreign place, when we’re struggling to manage cooking, it is our Skandamata who guides us through it all. Our armed forces who keep our borders safe, A solder’s mother, she is Skandamata as well. Being a woman is a strength and not a weakness, this is what Navratri teaches all of us.
Katyayani was born out of rage. When demons began to weigh over our world. A wave of anger came out of all the Gods, and this anger came together to form Katyayani and she defended all the demons. We can take away two lessons from this. First, Feminine anger is powerful, and second, feminine anger in the right direction is even more powerful. Many women in our history did just that, they gave a direction to their anger, and they gave a purpose to their aggression.
Kaalaratri gives us hope in tough times. She doesn’t say that everything will be all right, but she says that this too shall pass. That’s why Kaalaratri is also called shubhankari or auspicious, which gives us hope to light a lamp during our darkest times. Today we live in a world of Instant success, Instant fame, and Instant shaming. Many people have been gone through body shamed entire life and always felt that they are not good enough. Have the complex even Durga maa has this complex, looking at Kaalaratri’s ash-smeared body, everybody started fearing Maa Durga. She took a bath in the Ganga and left behind her scary form.
Kaalartri took on the form of Mahagauri. Mahagauri teaches us about transformation. Every caterpillar can be a butterfly, she teaches us this lesson. It is said that there are 8 capabilities in this world and it is very difficult to conquer all of these, but like Durga Devi, all women have the potential to get these capabilities. Arunima Sinha proved this to us when she was thrown out of a running train, she lost her legs but she did not lose her determination. On the back of this determination in the next year, she scaled Mount Everest.
Arunima Sinha is Siddhidatri. Lijjat papad, it’s a cooperation movement that 7 women started. It is a million-dollar business empire. Today, Lijjat employs 43,000 women, these women are Siddedatri. We know what happened to Laxmi when she was 15 years, but Laxmi filed a plea with the supreme court to get the sale of acid regulated which was then available at any neighborhood store. She saved many women from a fate similar to hers, she is Siddedatri.
Navratri reminds us, that the fight with Mahishasur is not yet over. Mahishasur comes Infront of us in different forms, trolls who harass people online are today’s Mahishasur, and people harassing others at their workplace are the Mahishasur but to fight against these Mahishasur, we don’t need any knight in shining armor. Our inner Durga Devi is present to fight against any such Mahishasur. That is true feminism, and that is the reason why we observe Navratri.