SEXISM AND GENDER INEQUALITY IN TAI AHOM

Khammoun Phukan
Ph.D. Research Scholar (Ph.D), Department of English & Foreign Languages,
Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam, India
and
Dr. Arup Kumar Nath
Assistant Professor, Department of English & Foreign Languages,
Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam, India

Abstract
Tai Ahom is an offshoot language of Tai Kadai language family. Woman in the Tai Ahom community enjoys enough freedom which provides her with the opportunities to develop her skills and intelligence. History foregrounds that the women in the Ahom era were able to demonstrate and felt her presence in almost all aspects of social life.  But in a patriarchal society the presence of gender biasness and male dominance over female is obvious. The analysis of the examples shows that the presence of gender discrimination in the language is due to the traditional belief and cultural construction. The hypothesis of this research has been proven. If the mindset of the people can be enlightened and can be turned towards the use of a biasfree language than the society will be biasfree to all gender.

Key words: Offshoot language, gender discrimination, patriarchal

 “We dissect nature along lines laid by our language”
                                                 - Whorf, Language Thought and Reality

1. Introduction
The reflection of marginality and the powerlessness of women in a society are highly profound in two different ways: the ways women are expected to speak and the ways in which women are spoken of. Characteristically women’s languages are analysed as lack of strong expression, uncertainty, trivial, tagging etc. Due to these social construction and belief, the identity of women in a society is linguistically submerged. Speech about women implies an object, whose social status and norms are derivative and dependent in relation to men.

Tai Ahom is an offshoot language of Tai Kadai language family. Woman in the Tai Ahom community enjoys enough freedom which provides her with the opportunities to develop her skills and intelligence. History foregrounds that the women in the Ahom era were able to demonstrate and felt her presence in almost all aspects of social life.  But in a patriarchal society the presence of gender biasness and male dominance over female is obvious. “Although the Tai Ahom community is patriarchal in nature, the position of women is not subordinate to male, though there are some restrictions for the female members like all other human societies, such as, they have to follow some taboos that are attached to women only, such as, during the pregnancy and childbirth etc., childless woman is not allowed to take part in any religious ceremony and social functions. But she looks after the children, weaves clothes, and prepares food” (Phukan, 2015).

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