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why the women should be the only one to follow these?

September 5, 2010

One of my friends informed me that today she like many Marwaris will not eat wheat and rice. Reason being – some ritual to follow for the well being of children

When asked whether the men will also follow the same custom I was informed that it is only the women who observe this custom.

This led my mind rolling

It is either KARWA CHAUTH/TEEJ/AHOI ASTHAMI/VAT PURNIMA when the women go hungry the full day for the welfare, prosperity and long life of husband.

Or it is SAPTAMI/ASTHAMI/BAARAS for the welfare of the children (that too mainly the sons).

Or it can be SAAWAN SOMVAR/JUST ANY OTHER SOMVAR/ to get a good husband.

There is one thing common in all these observance of fasts – they are done by women who remain hungry the whole day, do some puja just to ensure the longevity, well being and prosperity of husbands and sons

Now this raises many issues

Do fasting, doing puja, and observing some rituals ensure long life and success?

Why it is the women only who is supposed to follow all these rituals? Why not men?

Why should the wife be the only one to pray for the long life and wellbeing of husband? Why can’t the husband do the same?

Does it mean that only the wife thinks about the husband and the husband is not at all bothered or concerned about the wife?

If observance of these rituals is really fruitful then why doesn’t the husband follow the same path? Doesn’t he want his wife to live long or be successful (although there are few husbands who keep the fast along with the wife – not for her longevity or wellbeing but may be out of their love for the wives/ just to be called good husbands or just for show off?

I have not heard any boy doing any puja or observing any fast to get a good wife.

Whereas, thousands of girls/women follow Monday fasting or do Shiv Puja.

This again raises the question- why is it so that only girls want good husbands?

The boys don’t want good wife? Or they are sure that any girl who becomes their life partner will mould and remold herself as per their expectations?

Why the fasting and pujas are done only for the welfare of boys? Does it mean that all the claims made by men and women about advancement, progress, equality, education and no discrimination are farce?

Sons are still considered on a higher pedestal?

How can the mother not think about her daughter?

and if the fasting is done for the welfare of the children then why should the father not do the same for his children? doesn’t he want to see his children prosper or be successful?

If, for a second I give in to the justification given by the elders and the scriptures that women are housewives, they stay at home so it is easy for them to follow the rituals and customs then should not these reasoning be modified now—— specially when the women are also gainfully employed, they also go out of the house to contribute to the work force and they are not sitting idle at home just gossiping or twiddling their thumbs.

Moreover how many husbands feel thankful or obligated towards their wives for sacrificing so much for them?

Does these fasting and doing the pujas for the husbands raises the wive’s status in the eyes of the husband?

Does the husband start respecting the wife more because of her Pujas or does it improve the marital relations more?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2010 9:44 pm

    I think, the ladies alone are tasked with the responsibility of observing all these meaningless rituals because they do not question it in an intellectual manner, or they are not allowed to question, or the majority of them are ready to conform with it for being nice before others.

    • September 7, 2010 4:14 pm

      during those good old days women were not allowed to think/ask questions. but i wonder how and from where did these customs and rituals generate? These funny customs are result of whose fertile mind?

  2. September 6, 2010 12:24 am

    Funny isn’t it? Even when it comes to protecting the family’s “honor,” it’s always the woman’s responsibility. In almost all Khap killings, it’s the parents of the girl who is “shamed.” It’s always the behavior of the woman by which the honor of a family is damaged. Who the hell put such a burden on the woman anyway?

    And the worst part is that most women are complicit in this. Mothers force it on their daughters and daughter in laws and so it goes on. Such customs would never have taken root if half the population wasn’t complicit.

  3. September 6, 2010 4:31 pm

    I think ladies are more religious (and superstitious too) to follow these rituals then men. Otherwise no body is stopping now a days if one is not willing to fast. Today fasting has become a ‘health conscious’ matter rather than a ritual.

    • September 7, 2010 4:16 pm

      fasting done for health reasons or because of body conscious is Ok
      but fasting done in the name of religion ???? and that too only women why?????
      and even after so much fasting they are still insulted and humiliated by the very ones for whom she fasts.

  4. Suffix permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:37 pm

    May be men are not keen in following these rituals, if they practice, it is good for them as well:)

    • September 7, 2010 4:18 pm

      but the men of these women be husband or sons do not object to women of their families doing these rituals . rather the men feel great about it and they support their women. even the so called progressive, educated men

  5. September 6, 2010 7:24 pm

    Ours is a patriarchial society, and traditionally these customs have been followed. But that does not mean that we have to continue to follow them blindly.

    In my case I do not keep these fasts which are specially for women. I do fast occasionally, but on days when the whole family fasts.

  6. September 7, 2010 11:49 am

    I have thought about the same matter some time back..I asked my Mom about it and she told me this.

    “In olden days,it was mandatory that the woman(wive/daughter/sister) should eat only after the men do.It doesn’t matter whether the guy do nothing or work the whole day,also it is never a bother whether the woman toil for the bread.But she should eat only after her husband/sons/brothers/ do.Most of the time,there would be nothing left for her after feeding the daughters too.So somebody must have cooked up this fasting idea,just to make the woman feel better in her mind.Monday daughter will fast to get good husband.Tuesday both the the women will do for shooing away “Chuwa Dosham”..etc.”

    I don’t know how far this is correct..But I don’t believe in such a thing..Because my Mom never did this and got a wonderful husband 🙂 🙂

    • September 7, 2010 4:19 pm

      nice justification
      if there is not enough to eat then starve and give the name of fasting 🙂

  7. September 7, 2010 4:43 pm

    Who created these customs?Ladies.
    It is always done to give a feeling to the women that they are the ones who need support
    of the male members to survive.Such customs came into being ages back when girls were not independent economically and the customs remain

  8. September 7, 2010 5:12 pm

    I see that you have asked a lot of questions. You are questioning your perceptions and the society’s as well. Introspection is a good way to find answers.

    Such questions had always been tumbling in my head for years and showed in my personality always. I saw ur posts on indiblogger, indivine, so came here. I write on similar issues, right now writing a series of posts on women issues, the present one on emotional abuse in relationships.

    shall be reading more of your posts. U have got guts lady!


  9. September 7, 2010 7:21 pm

    Interesting post – quite fiesty as well..

    In some religions – Islam as well as Christianity, fasting is observed both by men and women – so one cannot say that it is done only by women!

    On a positive spin, fasting done properly requires self-control and determination – both of which women have in ample measure, so may be that is why they chose to do this.

  10. September 8, 2010 4:49 am

    Only women observe these fasts because in the days when these customs (or superstitions?) came into being, men did hard labor during the day in the fields while women were predominantly the homemakers… so it made sense for men to not observe fasts on working days because of its impracticality.. (I mean you can’t till the field while fasting!)…

    so culturally most of these were only followed by (or imposed on?) women and not by men. Since that is not the case in this age, women should question it!

  11. September 8, 2010 4:57 am

    As far as praying for a better husband is concerned… even that has a cultural context.

    Back in those days (and even now may be!), With a little luck, (given minimum ability) that a woman can marry a man with much higher social standing but it almost rarely ever happens the other way round except in those legendary eloping love stories 😉

    So, men did not really religiously pray for a wife because they were expected to fight or earn the right to have a god wife… and in today’s world, it is seriously gay for a man to fast hoping for a good wife :p

    P.S: these are all my theories…

  12. Satwinder Singh permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:24 pm

    Its nothing but a lame superstition- fasting and all. In fact Hinduism is full of redundant and silly rites and rituals which serve no purpose.

  13. September 13, 2010 9:55 pm

    Interesting Post. I think ladies do it nowadays as a fashion show. Like you see in movies and serials, karvachauth and all. Every year I plan to keep the fast and every year I forget and skip the day. We actually have only one day in a year where we do a kinda fasting thing, initially for getting good husbands and then later for their long life. But it is not a complete fast.On “Thiruvaadhira”,we ladies just skip things made of rice and onions. This, in olden days, was fasting enough, as rice was the only diet back then. Not the case anymore. And skipping rice is anyways the “in” thing to do now. 🙂

    P.S: I loved the fact that Raj fasted too along with Simran in DDLJ. That was a highly romantic thing to do back then. 🙂

  14. Kavita permalink
    October 24, 2010 7:20 am

    I think sometimes we are over-emotional/love to conclude that everywhere women are being discriminated.

    Can u that during many poojas, there is a very core pooja ritual of kanya poojan in almost every home, in which atleast nine girls are specially seen as avatar of Goddess and properly they are reverred and specially fed that day. Very good tradition, nowhere men are saying that they are being discriminated.

    Moreover i agree with @Jyothi that these days most and most women take it as a fashion statement among muhalla group of women and with fancy dresses and mehendi. Working women in metros are overly excited among them from weeks earlier to discuss lenght about dresses etc etc for the festival. I happen to one among them 🙂

    Actually these serve as a special reason in a traditional form for “socialisation among women”. When they keep fast, there importance in the family is essentially stressed. Hae you seen the lady keeping day-fast in chhath festival in Bihar, she is given so much respect by the whole family and villages and treated with care,love and affection . during those days men from remote corners of country come to village to be with their bhabhi, mother and whoever. Many many men also keep chhath fast over there.

    These are traditional form of stressing the socilisation/inter-mingling of women and stressing the importance of her in the making of family.

  15. Ajay Singh permalink
    October 24, 2010 8:09 am

    There is nobody stopping today if she does not want to fast.

    In my very rich nuclear family living in metro, with my father, mother passed away before my marraige. There is no such old age grand person to tell anything to my wife even since the marraige.

    and again we are nuclear family. My wife a high profile high earning wife is a lawyer(which means she knows about her rights and can think confidently about herself) with all the freedom to come late at night and whatever .

    She has taken education from one of the most reputed colleges Miranda and then took foreign degrees.

    We have routinely taken two days dinners outing each week and we are many times together because of our common profession.

    I just talked about all these, to clear all pictures from your mind of a “bechaari naari” picture – a favourite painting these days.

    BUT, she herself insists on keeping fast on karvachauth, though i keep saying to her that there is no need to. But she is very excited about this , from quite a significant period -making shopping and mehndi,lady gossiping etc etc etc . To which i am fine too, its her choice to keep fast.

    – no its not lady vs lady issue
    – no its not society vs bechaari naari issue

    To talk about ALWAYS in general self-painting as a wronged bachaari naari in everything is favourite talk these days. Anybody who says even one line contrary to that is labeled as anti-woman/misogynist/… But the thing which remains to clear airs about ultra-feminism.

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