Q. 84.4( 9 Votes )

How important were gender differences in early societies? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer :

It was considered that early families were generally Patriliny. Matriliny Family was generally not in use but we could see some Historical sources mention the name of some rulers from inscriptions associated with the name of the mothers of the king.

Gender differences were very important in early societies due to the following reasons:-


1. There was gendered access to property. In ancient society patrilineal system of succession was followed; according to which the paternal state was divided equally amongst sons after the death of the parents. Women were not the part of the succession hence didn’t get any share from it. Attitude towards daughters were different. They had no claims towards the resource of the household.


2. Access to property determined social status. Although women were allowed to retain the gifts they received on the occasion of their marriage as “Stridhana” but Manusmriti warned women against hoarding family property without the husband’s permission both textual and epigraphic evidence suggest that all the resources- land, cattle and money were controlled by men.


3. Since women did not own property social differences between men and women sharpened.


4. Men enjoyed a higher status than women and this lead to the domination of women both in power and in household.


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RELATED QUESTIONS :

Read the following extract carefully and answer the questions that follow :

‘‘Proper’’ Social Roles


Here is a story from the Adi Parvan of the Mahabharata :


Once Drona, a Brahmana who taught archery to the Kuru princes, was approached by Ekalavya, a forest-dwelling nishada (a hunting community). When Drona, who knew the dharma, refused to have him as his pupil, Ekalavya returned to the forest, prepared an image of Drona out of clay, and treating it as his teacher, began to practise on his own. In due course, he acquired great skill in archery. One day, the Kuru princes went hunting and their dog, wandering in the woods, came upon Ekalavya. When the dog smelt the dark nishada wrapped in black deer skin, his body caked with dirt, it began to bark. Annoyed, Ekalavya shot seven arrows into its mouth. When the dog returned to the Pandavas, they were amazed at this superb display of archery. They tracked down Ekalavya, who introduced himself as a pupil of Drona.


Drona had once told his favourite student Arjuna, that he would be unrivalled amongst his pupils. Arjuna now reminded Drona about this. Drona approached Ekalavya, who immediately acknowledged and honoured him as his teacher. When Drona demanded his right thumb as his fee, Ekalavya unhesitatingly cut it off and offered it. But thereafter, when he shot with his remaining fingers, he was no longer as fast as he had been before. Thus, Drona kept his word: no one was better than Arjuna.


(1) Why did Drona refuse to have Ekalavya as his pupil?


(2) How had Drona kept his word given to Arjuna?


(3) Do you think Drona’s behaviour with Ekalavya was justified? If so, give a reason.

History - Board Papers