For centuries, in a male-dominated society like India, women have been brought up with the mindset of considering their husbands as ‘Parmeshwar (God)’. After the marriage, a woman used to enter her Sasuraal (husband’s house) with a belief that her Pati Parmeshwar (husband) is going to be the fountainhead of her eternal happiness, her high refuge. She was expected to look after the physical and emotional nourishment of her husband and worship him like a God.
This can very well be understood with the following verse from Valmiki Ramayana’s Ayodhyakanda. Here Mother Kaushalya is giving a piece of advice to her daughter-in-law Sita, who is accompanying her son, Rama in his exile of 14 years in the forest:
“स त्वया नावमन्तव्यः पुत्रः प्रव्राजितो मम।
तव दैवतमस्त्वेष निर्धनः सधनोऽपि वा।।“
The verse says “You should not underestimate my son in his exile and must treat him as your god whether he is wealthy or not.”
References like these made a woman’s belief more prominent on the “Pati-Parmeshwar” concept. Perhaps that is the reason she used to obey everything that her husband uttered, even if it clashed with her own morals and didn’t mind sacrificing her goals, ambitions, hobbies, etc. to keep her husband happy.
But my question is, Is the Pati Parmeshwar anymore? Has there been a change in this century’s old belief? Do the 21st-century women still consider their Husband as a form of God?
Well, to be frank, things are changing and they are changing for the good. Today’s woman finds it difficult to swallow the concept of Pati Parmeshwar. Thanks to the wave of feminism, there has been a shift from this concept of Pati Parmeshwar to “Life Partner!”
Today’s woman doesn’t want to idolize her husband as God but looks forward to a friend, a partner in him. She wants a husband who is equal to her, whom she can confide in, with whom she can share her feelings, her secrets, her responsibilities, her workload and her life. She looks for someone whom she loves, whom she respects, who in truest sense can be called her “Life partner.”
However, this shift of expectations has not been from the perspective of a woman only. Expectations have increased on both ends. Today, even men happily marry working women but they aren’t able to handle the consequences too well. At some point or other they want their wife to behave like what they have seen their mothers doing, but gradually even men are adjusting to the concept of “equality for both.”
An Indian woman still considers it her fortune to die in her husband’s arms. She still prays from the moon for the longevity of her husband’s life. She also doesn’t deny the intrinsic love, affection, and care she has for her husband. That still remains the same. The only thing that has changed over the time is her viewpoint of herself. She has understood her importance and has realized that even she deserves equal respect. She doesn’t want to consider her husband as Pati Parmeshwar anymore because she wants to touch clouds with him. She not only wants to live for him but live with him. She believes that husband & wife are two wheels of the vehicle where both carry equal importance.
The relation of Husband and wife is very beautiful and strong. The baseline of this relationship should be mutual trust, understanding and respect for each other where both accept each other the way they are, give each other enough space to evolve and grow at their own pace. After all, it’s the relation of hearts and it is the heart only that should matter.