When the news came of one of Picassos compaeras leaving him after 20 or so years of sharing him with his wife and a number of other mistresses, Arthur Koestler wrote: Monogamy is hard enough for us ordinary mortals what to say of a genius. He did not say how women were situated in this difficulty. The fact is that chastity has, from the beginning, been for the women. In the Hindu civilisation, it was taken to the extent of sati. And the woman was supposed to enjoy this status. Monogamy, no matter how much admired in the western tradition, appeared with property. The property-owner wanted his property to be inherited by his children. Therefore, his woman could conceive only from him. Hence, the emphasis on her chastity and virginity. He, on his part, was not bound by these rules. Once the principle was established, the intellectual class, as usual, explained and propagated it. For example, there is a beautiful Sanskrit poem of the 6th century AD, based on a Tamil story. It does not glorify the one-way female chastity. It just takes it as natural. Kovalan, son of a rich merchant of Kaveripattinam, married Kannagi, the pretty daughter of another merchant. For a time, they lived happily until the day came when Kovalan fell passionately for a dancer called Madhavi, who had danced at the royal court on some festive occasion. She responded to his love, and he, driven by his passion beyond reason, forgot Kannagi and his household, and spent his whole fortune on the dancer, going to the extent of even selling Kannagis jewellery. At last, having lost everything and repenting, he returned to his wife, who did not reproach him for anything. The only thing of value left in the house was a pair of anklets, which Kannagi gave him willingly. With those anklets as their total capital, they decided to go to the great city of Madurai to try their luck so Kovalan could rebuild his wealth. Upon their arrival in the city, Kovalan went to the market to sell one of Kannagis anklets. But the wife of Pandya king, Neduncheziyan, had just been robbed of a similar anklet by the court jeweller. That jeweller, seeing Kovalan with Kannagis anklet, confiscated it and informed the king. The guards seized him and he was executed out of hand without a proper investigation. When Kannagi heard about it, she fainted, but recovered rapidly and, eyes blazing with anger, she ran to the king waving the other anklet as proof of her husbands innocence. A detailed comparison with the queens remaining anklet proved the innocence of Kovalan. Kannagi, nearly out of her senses with rage and pain, tore her breast out and threw it on the street, thus laying a curse on the city, condemning it to destruction by fire. But the divinity protecting the city interceded with Kannagi, who agreed to take back the curse and the fire burning the city died down. Kannagi, weakened by the loss of blood, climbed painfully a hill outside the town. She died a few days later, and was reunited with Kovalan in heaven. News of her death spread and she was deified, becoming the goddess protecting conjugal fidelity and chastity (La Civilisation de lInde Ancienne, by Arthur L. Basham, Arthaud, Paris, 1988, p 402). Another poem, written a little later, is about Manimegalai, the daughter of Kovalan from the dancer Madhavi. The latter had become a Buddhist nun upon learning of the death of her former love. The later story is about the love of Prince Udayakumaran for Manimegalai and the miraculous preservation of the latters virginity. She too became a nun like her mother. So, the greatest gift of the property to the mankind is the glorification of the unquestioning fidelity of the woman to her husband without any obligation of reciprocity on his part. The writer is a retired ambassador.