Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Man, Woman and Religion: Part I

Time: Early morning
Day: Sunday
Mood: Good

My father in law phones me. The gist of the call was general hi and hello. It also contained the information that my ma-in-law and her co-sister (my husband's chachi) had fasted the previous day as it was Vat Savitri Puja.

My mood suddenly did a U-Turn. Yesterday I had cooked a gorgeous mutton curry and had relished two meals out of it! Could they not tell me earlier? What the.... wait!!!

Why am I feeling guilty? What has fasting or non-veg got to do with my family's well being?

Does this 'fast for a long life of your husband and son' thing happen anywhere else in the world? I do not think so. It is a sole privilege of being born a woman in India that you become the absolute protector of the lives of the men around you. Nowhere else (likely) on earth is a man so weak that he requires his mother, sister, wife, daughter, practically all the females in his family to fast in order to live.

It all looks good and sweet if one looks at it from an angle where it is done out of love (then why don't we do it for our daughters/wives/moms?) and for the sake of tradition & culture (culture has better elements too!)

Fast religion chhath pooja
So much for a son: Chhath Pooja, Bihar's major festival which requires 2-3 days of fasting and many strict rituals. Women (sometimes men too) stand in cold water for hours carrying heavy platters of fruits and other offerings to Sun and Chhath mata.   

Best part is men really don't care about fasts. Heck, they are not even aware most of the times about the upcoming fasts and their 'importance'.

A research says that men do not like it when women at home fast. It not only demands their time and effort, it causes much emotional stress also. Test population: 3, My husband, his father and his grandfather. It is women who take up fasts and other such rituals and pass them on. It is also women who guide and goad their husband/son to gather materials required for the rituals and get seriously angry if everything is not done according to their wish. The target of their anger: Those poor souls for who the fasts are being observed.

It seems like in the name of being religious, women keep spinning a web around themselves so that they are occupied in all these 'vrats' and 'pooja-paath' and never really have to think beyond. How convenient!