Earlier Times, Equal Times (Or Not?)

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It’s safe to say…
And an established fact…
That bygone days…
Were right on track…

Where equality was concerned…
People lived and learned…
Had less than we have now…
But oh my God, and wow!
They lived in more balance and how!

The very oldest were…
The hunter-gatherers…
Societies that relied…
On cooperative relations…
In order to survive…

Selfish people would be ostracised…
And not so likely to survive…
And if they weren’t accepted into another tribe,
Such people were likely to die…

This was the age…
Of weapons and tools…
And these implements…
Were made in groups…

So to leave the group…
Or try to dominate…
Meant to leave the weapon…
And this would create…
A kind of isolation…

Equality was a prerequisite…
For human existence…
For settling down…
And practicing subsistence…

Surplus crops…
Were redistributed…
And communities came together…
And regularly feasted…

Throughout history…
Equality-based societies…
Left the least traces…
Communities saw no need…

To build large monuments …
The civilization of Indus Valley…
Left only traces of bones…
Seals, a few possessions…
Implements of stones…

They saw no need…
To build grandiose palaces…
For these were borne of superiority…
And that only quells equality…
That was the mindset…
In the 2nd century BCE!

It is also true…
Of the Indus Valley folk…
That the roles of women…
Were not a joke…

Many a high priestess…
Was a lady…
Treated with the utmost respect…
But many were seen…
As simply fertility queens…
Just made to bear babies…

In Mesopotamia…
Many women were sold…
Into prostitution…
But this wasn’t thought vile…
And was something of a professional institution!

Another fact…
About Sumerian marriages…
Was, they were contracts…
Between families…
The bride’s father…
Gave the couple a dowry…
And the groom’s…
Paid… a bride’s fee!
So…
Here’s equality!

Though women were encouraged …
To be housewives…
They weren’t ever discouraged…
To undertake a trade…
At the same time…

Many a Sumerian…
And Babylonian woman…
Was engaged in weaving…
Selling cloth, and brewing…
Beer and wine, making…
Perfume and incense…
And earning a pretty pence!!

Mesopotamian women in Sumer…
Had more rights there ….
Than their later Akkadians…
And Assyrians…
Sumerian women owned property…
Were scribes, and judges and physicians!

But sadly, as these ancient cultures…
Grew from strength to strength …
In numbers…
They also grew in wealth…
And a new patriarchal …
Hand… was dealt…

Later on as civilization grew…
An adulteress…
Was put to death…
An adulterer was punished too…
But only his finances were given the boot!

For Europe under…
The Empire of Rome…
There’s evidence of slaves…
In this yoke…
Equality saw a decline…
As the Romans authority climbed!

The Chinese, though steeped…
In various industries …
With wealth growing too…
Were still somewhat free…
In fair society ….
And egality…
They lived in discipline…
And didn’t let the corrupting…
Newfound wealth to win!

In all of history…
You will gradually see…
Industry ups the ante…
Of inequality…
Especially…
In the 19th century….

When sustainable sources of power….
Were replaced by burning coal…
Many new goods were made…
And many new goods were sold…

Machines couldn’t work…
On their own…
They needed people to tend them…
And that’s when enslavement took hold…

Someone who owned a machine…
Employed another to run it…
And there started the capitalist wave…
Without any equal budget…

Victorian Britain was…
Unprecedentedly…
An unequal place to be…

With life expectancy…
Falling to age five and twenty…
For decades upon decades…
In the 19th century!

Women and children…
Were hit hardest and worst…
As they were put…
In dreaded factories to work…

They lived in the worst…
Dregs you’d imagine…
And the poor got poorer …
As capitalism was the fashion!

At that time, the capitalists…
Were all men…
No surprise then…
That female subjugation…
Was very much the trend…

Women were discouraged …
From any discernible sign…
Of any kind…
Of independence…
Physically….or in mind…

So suffragettes took to the streets…
Demanded rights and liberty…
Actually demanded rationally…
That like men, they had a right to be!

These rights should have appeared…
But, naturally…
As obviously as…
How humanity came to be…

But they did not…
As capitalism started the rot…
The same rot that festered…
And grows by the lot…
The same exists, in our time today…
And the more that it grows…
Heaven knows…
We’ve miles still to go!

By Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade is a Clinical Child Psychologist, Part-time mother, blogger, French teacher and IATA teacher. She has worked with the differently abled, and now works on and off as a teacher.

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