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How can a woman be auspicious or inauspicious simply depending on the presence or absence of a husband? Time we put behind all such discriminatory traditions!
We are always talking about gender discrimination, but I wonder if any bench of Supreme Court can deal with discrimination within the same gender – it is amazing that in the 21st century we talk about women being auspicious and inauspicious; how can any woman, or for that matter any human be inauspicious?
Our society gives special privileges to a married woman. From my childhood I have seen married women getting preference in most of the festivals. They are called ‘suhagan’, ‘saubhayawati’ and similar other names. They are considered to have ‘good fortune’ and are ‘auspicious’. Nothing wrong with calling somebody auspicious. But I definitely have issues where married woman are considered auspicious in comparison to women who have lost their husbands. Some even go to the extent of debarring women who are divorced to be a part of any sacred ceremony. And some even consider childless women, inauspicious.
I remember that I was at a wedding a few years ago, where the bride was to be blessed through some ritual. I saw a lady calling out… we need 5 ‘suhagans’ to do this. A lady, very close to the bride had almost reached the stage to do the blessing part, but she was pulled back by some relative as she was not a ‘suhagan’, and she quietly walked back. And the so called ‘auspicious’ ladies did the ritual. I had tears in my eyes and I wanted to speak up, but could not do anything.
Shameful! Why do we still allow this centuries tradition to rule our lives in the 21st century? Strange are our ways; if you have a husband you are sacred, and if you are without one you cannot perform sacred rituals.
When I think back I have many memories from my childhood where I remember ‘married women’ called on to perform certain rituals in a wedding ceremony or other religious functions. It never bothered me then or I didn’t realize what was happening. But now when I see the same person being prohibited from performing the same rituals which she once did when she had her husband with her, it hurts. And then you question: How can the same person who was once auspicious and fit to be a part of any sacred function is no longer called for such rituals if she has lost her husband? The person remains the same.
Now I am not saying that it happens in all families. There are some enlightened families and individuals too but generally this is the scenario.
It is amazing how we function…we do Kanya pooja where young girls are equated with the goddess… then the same girl is equated with Goddess Laxmi when she enters her in-laws’ family…then the same girl is killed for dowry or for giving birth to a girl child…and the same girl who was equated with Goddess Laxmi and considered lucky becomes inauspicious if she loses her husband.
Considering a woman auspicious or inauspicious becomes contextual. Isn’t it strange and beyond logic…
Our traditions and rituals are important for us and we all must value them but should we allow them to control us so much that we go beyond logic and reasoning.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Choker Bali
I am a freelance writer, writing since last 23 years. I like writing on a variety of subjects and I connect well with my audience. A keen and intense observer I pick up simple issues read more...
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