Why Smriti Irani’s Being A Pallbearer For Her Aide Has Touched So Many Hearts

Posted: May 27, 2019

The image of Smriti Irani being a pallbearer for an aide is going viral – as a symbol of women breaking patriarchal traditions. 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament, Smriti Irani who was newly-elected from Amethi, flew to her constituency after her very close aide who helped her win the Lok Sabha Elections, was shot dead.

Irani attended the funeral and turned pallbearer for her aide. Since then a video and a picture of her carrying the mortal remains of Surendra Singh is going viral.

In India, women are not allowed to be pallbearers for their loved ones. In fact, we are not even allowed to attend some parts of the funeral in the name of ‘tradition’. So Smriti Irani’s becoming the pallbearer has sent out an extremely powerful message, one that has resonated with people.

No more promoting sexism in the name of ‘tradition’

This particular step taken by Irani has again raised the question of sexism in the name of ‘tradition’. We often talk about women empowerment and equality in all fields. But equality for women to be a part of mourning rituals for their loved ones is something rarely talked about. Sexism surrounding deaths is something that people accept comfortably in the name of ‘tradition’.

In the name of religious beliefs, women are not given the right to attend funerals. This patriarchy in our traditions runs so deep that daughters are not allowed to attend their mothers’ funerals.

The irony is seen in the fact that one’s own blood is barred from carrying the body and a lot of times men who become the pallbearers turn out to be strangers to the dead person.

By breaking this custom, Irani’s action has touched many hearts. The hope is that such actions by women in the public eye will pave the way for women’s presence everywhere to be the norm, and not an exception.

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