When we write about modern Indian women, we should be clear that what we are characterizing is the life and philosophy of a very small, though important, section of Indian society, viz, urban middle-class educated Indian women, leaving out an overwhelming number of their counterparts who live in the villages.
There are some typical features of modern Indian history which affect the life or women in the cities. The most striking among them is the conflict caused by the rather difficult transition from tradition to modernity. It starts from the time a child is born. It many Indian homes the desire for a male child is so obsessive and the preference for and care bestowed upon him is so pronounced, that depending on the totality of circumstances, a girl either becomes timid, subdued and resigned or turns into a recalcitrant of rebellious person.
The brief interregnum during which she is in college or university is sometimes a turning point in her life. She can continue living a rather shriveled life, weak of resolution and anemic in will, prior to being dispatched in marriage arranged by others and amounting to a virtual sellout. Alternatively, she can burgeon into an independent and relaxed and sometimes even an angry young woman prepared to carve out a career and a destiny for herself even at the risk of displeasing her family and community. This latter type also makes all the differences to her future growth. It is not uncommon, to come across such cases where the sheer weight of custom and convention smothers all ambitions and all the youthful resolutions of college days into despair.
Supposing a woman has weathered all these storms and emerges/triumphant as a married career woman, she will qualify to be called a modern woman in its truest sense. What happens to her is the story of the modern Indian woman. And this is what her life is like; driven between her domestic duties and the demands of her profession, she starts doing a tight-rope walk. Very often the husband or the in-laws start grudging her forays in the social and professional world outside the home. Physical constraints add to the ordeal. Psychological tensions build up until they reach a point of explosion. Unscrupulous and unethical bosses and employers can hasten the end-inevitably tragic and painful. Those who escape this predicament and succeed in beating grave handicaps peculiar to career women can count themselves among the few lucky.