A peek into the future

Shantabahen Gandhi



Editor's Note: This article is in Gujarati. It was originally written in 1948. It has been scanned from વીસમી સદીનું ગુજરાતી નારીલેખન ("Vees-mi Sadee-nun Gujarati Nari-lekhan", 20th Century women's writing in Gujarati). Nikhil Desai has provided this brief description of the article.

This essay -  ભવિષ્યમાં ડોકિયું ("Bhavishya-man doki-yun", a peek into the future) ­- is taken from ગુજરાતણને પગલે પગલે ("Gujaratan-ne pagale pagale", along the footsteps of a Gujarati woman). It is notable for the ambition of an educated urban (Ahmedabad) woman just after India's Independence.

She enthusiastically notes that the new Bombay Government (the erstwhile Bombay State included parts of current Gujarat, including Ahmedabad) has formulated laws to outlaw polygamy and permit divorce, and that the issue of  bride/groom payment is also under consideration in the state legislature. She is proud that Indian women are being sent to international conferences to represent the women of India, and that new authors and performance artists are emerging, though they are still just a few in number.

She dreams of fundamental social and political changes. She dreams that families raise sons and daughters equally\; that women grow up to do anything they wish for\; that socialization of industry, agriculture and even household cooking - and technological changes - frees women from the burden of housework and continuous care of children. She wishes for a future of cooking, washing machines, brooms and fans, not just on electricity but on atomic energy. She says, "There is no sector of human physical or spiritual development where women are not in the forefront." And she projects a woman of the future saying "Yes, This, this is my future. A beautiful and proud future for women, built by our consciously effort. It has the equality envisaged in the ancient society, the romance and courage of the women of the middle ages, and the independence and comforts of the woman of the machine age."

The story in Gujarati, scanned from the original, is available by clicking here in pdf format.

Story in Gujarati © Shantabahen Gandhi 1948

Synopsis in English © Nikhil Desai 2011

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