Hindus have welcomed dropping pictures of topless women by "The Sun" newspaper of United Kingdom (UK) from its Page-Three, which were reportedly running since 1970.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that although this change of heart came a bit late, but it was still a "step in the right direction". He hoped that this elimination was permanent and urged The Sun to discontinue it from online version also.
Page-Three topless girls might be titillating treat for some but it was degrading for women and was highly inappropriate, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.
Why it took so long for UK's The Sun to act on this issue while the Irish Sun removed these in 2013, Rajan Zed asked.
Zed argued that progress had undoubtedly been made in the area of women's rights but lot still was needed to be done as in many places of the world, women, who were about half of the world's population, still faced apartheid conditions. It was a sin to watch women suffer discrimination day after day and not do anything.
Rajan Zed noted that it was sad to see that despite frequent universal governmental promises and international commitments and forums, on the ground the gender apartheid was still continuing in 21st century. We needed to urgently wake up. Change should start from us.
Zed suggested that as religion was the most powerful force and enjoyed considerable influence in our societies, religions and religious leaders should wholeheartedly and urgently come out in support of women's cause and they would prove very effective.
Rajan Zed further said that as religious leaders, it was our moral obligation to work for women's upliftment and empowerment as religions told us that all were equal in the eyes of God. We, as religious leaders, should show strong will, courage, and commitment in support of women's cause. We could not afford to stay apathetic to societal truths.
We needed to empower our women; provide them better treatment under the law, better access to health-education-politics, and more opportunities for workplace participation; and open up more economic potentials for them; Zed added.
Quoting scriptures, Rajan Zed indicated that ancient Manusmriti said: "Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit." Number of Rig-Veda (oldest existing scripture of mankind still in common use) hymns were said to be composed by women, and Aditi, who was sometimes referred as "mother of the gods", found mention in Rig-Veda as a goddess.