We all must have seen women crying and weeping on the shoulders of their husbands but have you ever wondered and questioned why a national and an international sensation like Mahatma Gandhi used to lean on the shoulders of women? Did you ever feel curious to investigate seriously or ask someone near you or in your schools and work places what made Gandhi lean on the shoulders of women? Don’t worry! We did our share of in-depth self-observation and came out with the following reasons that might have forced Gandhi to lean sheepishly on women’s shoulders. His leaning on women’s shoulders tells us the following things:

Positive Things:

  • It shows the fragile and tender stage of Gandhi’s life. Gandhi was in his old age and so being old, he looked for some support, comfort, sanctuary, and protection.

  • It shows his gender-neutral stand – that is he gave equal treatment to man and woman and so didn’t make any differentiation between man and woman. This uncommon gesture of Gandhi is very significant and worthwhile in nature as it shows the women of India in majestic and splendorous image. In India where woman is considered an inferior and weak sex, by leaning on women’s shoulders Gandhi is lending great respect, gracefulness, and honor to the ever-suppressed class of women.

  • It displays a rare natural trait (but usually forgotten and neglected one) of human being like Gandhi. It shows that Gandhi is natural and spontaneous in his personality. He is absolutely free from any notion of woman and man. He is totally free from any stress and strain that usually develop in our male (masculine) minds when we start thinking that women are separate from us. It reveals that Gandhi has almost forgotten that women are distinct and separate part of society. He gives nature all its due.

  • It evidences the dominance of feminine quality in him and which was the reason that he loved the company of women very much.

  • It brings out the mental and physical strength of women. It thus represents the women of India in a grand, spectacular, and a dignified image – the image of being strong, solid, and determined like the hardworking men of India.

  • It shows the courage of Gandhi while challenging and dismantling the long-established and orthodox tradition of India where women couldn’t walk hand in hand with men, where men couldn’t lean on their shoulders (which was totally unacceptable unconventional to the male-dominant Indian society), and where women used to be taken as second-class citizens who were denied of their fundamental rights as well. Gandhi wants to signify and symbolize that women are no longer a weaker sex. Rather they are as strong as man and so (like them) man can also equally lean on their shoulders.

Negative Things:

  • It brings out the uncivilized and uncultured personality trait of Gandhi who by leaning on women’s shoulders made those women feel ludicrous, silly, absurd, embarrassed, and ridiculous. By thrusting his heavy burden of hard masculinity on those delicate women, Gandhi seems to be crushing the loveliness, the beauty, the dignity, and the gracefulness – the qualities associated with women – under his feet.

  • It exhibits the shallow and incomplete knowledge of Gandhi about women and their characteristics. If Gandhi had known sufficiently well about the physiology and the psychology of women then he would definitely have not tried to lean on their shoulders. By leaning forcefully (without women’s sincere positive consent, as Gandhi used to be extremely willful in whatever he wants to say or do) on their shoulders, he wants to suggest that by force and authority women can be made to stand on par with men. What Gandhi failed to understand is that the qualities of masculinity come naturally to women and not by the agency of any external pressure and force. He should have known that women, by force, cannot be turn (exhibiting masculine characteristic e.g when women do jobs like men) into men; they have their own way of being.

  • It shows the man of letters and great admiration in faded colors and tainted image. It brings out the dominance of sensuality in him – if it were not the case then he would definitely have not leaned on women’s shoulders or he could also have refused their offer to lend him shoulders for support. Some says that he used to do experiments with women to develop his resistance against his sensuality but this didn’t mean that he was not thinking about sex at all. The thing that we run away from is also the same thing that holds our attention for ever – whether we believe it or not.

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