GUWAHATI, Aug 6 - Assamese women have, over the centuries, contributed immensely to social awakening, exhibiting in the process not just a sense of social responsibility but intellectual brilliance as well.
This was observed by writer and critic Mayur Bora while delivering the Padma Bhushan Puspalata Das Memorial Lecture at the Pandit Tirthanath Sarma Bhawan today.
The lecture was organized as part of the fifth biennial convention of the Sadou Asam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti under the aegis of its Mahanagar Zila Parishad.
Referring to a host of well-known as well as unheralded women of substance who enriched Assam�s social life through their contributions in diverse spheres since the mediaeval times � literary, cultural, educational and social work � Bora said that almost all those women had also to surmount the imposing hurdles posed by a patriarchal society.
�They strove hard in their quest for excellence in their chosen fields and had to overcome daunting impediments put by a male-dominated society. They were successful in breaking stereotypes associated with women and left behind an enduring legacy that is inspiring and largely relevant even today,� he said.
Asserting that Assamese women had never been backward compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the country, Bora said that it was true that women across the globe had never been allowed to be the equal partners in society�s evolution as a democratic and egalitarian entity.
�Women were and still are at a disadvantaged position due to the biased treatment meted out to them by society. But things have improved considerably in modern times with the spread of education and economic empowerment of women,� he added.
Bora said that the change in Mahatma Gandhi�s opinion of Assam from that of an awful place to an ideal land was influenced largely by the 15th-century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardev and the credibility and capability of Assamese women.
Ruing the �rootlessness� of the present-day Assamese society, especially the Assamese middle class, Bora said that the key to an uplift of the Assamese society lay in cultural awakening. �Unfortunately, we are witnessing a disturbing trend, for either aping the West or an unabashed endorsement of the cultures of the Hindi belt at the expense of our own unique identity,� he said.