ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Myth and Popular Culture

The Virangana in North Indian History

The pattern of women's lives and their orientation to social reality are significantly shaped by the models of womanly conduct set out in stories, legends and songs preserved from the past. The epic heroine type--the sacrificing, chaste loyal wife--is viewed as representing the ideal for female behaviour at least among the high Hindu castes. Hindu mythology also offers another female paradigm--the all-powerful mother goddess. Between these polarities lies an overlooked and yet important alternative paradigm of Indian womanhood: the virangana, the woman who manifests the qualities of virya or heroism. 

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