In Punjab folklore, there’s a haunting tale of a man ensnared by his wife’s cruelty towards his mother. To appease his wife, the man promised to present his mother’s heart to her. Tragically, he took his own mother’s life and, while carrying her heart, stumbled on a road. In that moment, the heart seemed to cry out in concern for his well-being.

A poignant scene from an old movie portrays two brothers at odds: one, a wealthy ruffian boasting of his material possessions, and the other, an honest, humble police officer. When asked what he possesses, the officer responds, “I have my mother.” This sentiment echoes through Urdu poetry as well. A renowned Urdu poet once wrote, “After my father’s passing, when the property was divided, being the youngest, I inherited my mother, and I am content.”

Literature across the globe reveres the mother figure. William Ross Wallace’s 1865 poem eloquently captures this sentiment, describing a mother as a paragon of strength and resilience, regardless of the home’s grandeur or simplicity. Wallace depicts a mother as a protector, likening her to a hen who provides for her young even in the direst of circumstances. Michael Faraday, born into poverty, fondly remembered his mother’s selfless sacrifices, as chronicled by Charles Ludwig.

Maxim Gorky’s iconic work, “Mother,” illustrates a revolutionary era in Russia, where the protagonist’s mother becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration for the struggling masses. Similarly, Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in “Anandamath” celebrates the mother as a warrior, a protector, and the foremost advocate for her children’s well-being.

Historical accounts also spotlight the valor of mothers. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, denied her rightful claim by the British, took up arms and became a symbol of resistance. Tara Bai, another formidable figure in Maratha history, navigated the male-dominated political landscape with astute strategy and deep compassion.

In religious contexts, the mother figure often ascends to a divine status. In India, the Shakti sect reveres the mother goddess, and across the nation, deities like Vaishno Devi, Meenakshi, and Durga are embodiments of feminine power and fertility.

However, contemporary times present a complex narrative. In Western societies, there’s a declining interest in motherhood, with fertility rates plummeting and adoption from non-western countries becoming more prevalent. The commodification of motherhood and exploitation of women’s sexuality for commercial gains is a disturbing trend. Yet, even amidst these challenges, the essence of motherhood remains sublime, enduring, and irreplaceable.

Martin Luther King Jr. once remarked on the stark contrast between Western and Eastern perspectives on motherhood, emphasizing the profound respect and sanctity accorded to mothers in the East.

The modern age, with its evolving societal structures, has witnessed a weakening of the traditional family unit, a space traditionally governed by mothers. Despite this, the family remains a cornerstone of support in many cultures, like the Japanese ‘Dowka’ families, renowned for their robust relational networks.

History teaches us that women wield significant influence indirectly. Many great leaders, nurtured by the love and affection of their mothers, have ascended to prominence while upholding values of integrity and compassion. Shivaji, the revered Maratha king, is a testament to this, shaped by his mother’s wisdom and devout spirituality.

In conclusion, the role of a mother, encapsulated in literature, history, and religious beliefs, remains unparalleled in its depth and significance. While societal norms and perceptions may shift, the timeless essence of motherhood, characterized by kindness, benevolence, and unwavering strength, continues to inspire and guide humanity.

Anonymous Changed status to publish March 31, 2024