UN 4th World Conference on Women

Excerpt from Beijing Inter-Regional Round Table in September, 1995

Brothers and Sisters of the World, it is a great honor for me to talk about global problems of women in front of this distinguished assembly. First of all, I would like to offer my profound gratitude to the government and people of our host country, the People's Republic of China. I have had a privilege of visiting China on two previous occasions, and I am a great admirer of the wisdom and culture of this great nation that I have visited.

This is beyond my imagination the most glorious time in the history of the world, that at this time we are so much aware of the problems of women.

Whether in the East or in the West, women have not been able to give a full manifestation of their greatness.
Women as a whole have definitely suffered over the ages, as the previous lady has told you, because we have not realized what their importance is and what their proper role is in human society. Society itself, which is her creation, tries to control or put down the womanhood.

In the East, we can say, that due to fundamentalist influence women have been under great pressure and their morality is based on fear rather than freedom. In the West they have fought for their freedom, but what they have attained is spurious freedom. The women in the West have freedom to abandon all social and moral values. Thus in the East, we can say, that most of the women are timid, oppressed and cannot express themselves, while in the West we find most of the women are reduced to a sex symbol. They are keen to expose their bodies. Their anxiety is to appear in fashion advertisements and very cheap popularity. Most of them accepted this position because otherwise they could not have survived in that chaotic world of the West.

What most of the women in the East would regard as very humiliating and degrading is regarded as something very glorifying in the West.

I have seen both the worlds very deeply and I feel that unless and until you bring a new culture by which women from the East and West can both rise in their own esteem and express themselves in such a way that they create high moral standards for their society, women neither in the East nor in the West will rise to their full stature of feminine speciality.

The speciality is that if women are respected for their womanhood, understanding what they are capable of and how they can empower themselves with all the education needed, all the security will be provided to them and they will provide security to the society. ...

... The West is full of problems. Though they have money, they don't have peace within themselves.

The truth is that women are the potential power of every civilization and every country. It is evident that women are the creators and the preservers of the entire humankind. This is the role which the almighty God has given, assigned to them.

Seeds cannot create anything by themselves. It is the Mother Earth which provides the flowers and the fruits and other bounties. Similarly, it is the woman who creates the child, who nurtures the baby and eventually brings up the citizen of tomorrow. Women must therefore rank with Mother Earth as the edifice of the entire humanity.

Unfortunately, men have utilized muscle power to gain a dominating position over women. They have not recognized that women are complementary and equal, but not similar partners in human endeavors. A society that does (not) recognize this fundamental truth and does not give to women their rightful role is not a civilized society.

In my own country there is a saying in Sanskrit, "Yatra narya pujyante tatra ramante devata", which means that "Where the women are respected and respectable, there reside the Gods of our well-being."

The truth is that women are the potential power of every civilization and every country. It is evident that women are the creators and the preservers of the entire humankind.
So it is for us, at this moment, to understand the value of this great power that is given to us by our Creator. But what do we find? Whether in the East or in the West, women have not been able to give a full manifestation of their greatness.

I am not suggesting at all that the only role of women in human society is that of the mother, the procreator and preserver of children, or that of a wife, or a sister. Women have a full right to participate as equal partners in every aspect of life - social, cultural, educational, political, economical, administrative and the rest. In order to prepare themselves for this all-pervading role, they must have the right to education in all branches of knowledge. But if they are mothers, they have a great responsibility towards their children as well as their society.

Men are responsible for politics and economics of the country, but women are responsible for the society. Women can also support men and they can take a leading part, of course, in any post, but it is very important that they should not forget they are women who have to manifest deep motherly concern and love. If they become manly and aggressive, the balance of the society cannot be maintained.

At the same time I must submit that while we ask for the rights of women, we must also stress the fundamental duties of women to the human society. The women in the West, or those who are educated in the West, also some others I have seen, have gone to the other extreme when they are taking to political, economical or administrative roles. To compete with men they have become much too self-willed, self-centered and ambitious. They have no more their soothing, pleasing qualities which can bring peace and balance. ...

... What we need is a balance between the two extremes. We need women as equal but not similar partners with men, but with a subtle understanding of the nature of men and how to bring them into the centre with their inner balance. We need balanced women in order to have a balanced human race with peace within itself.