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If a woman is choosing to fast on Karvachauth, should anyone else judge her for it or put her down? Feminism is, after all, about choice, right?
I was thinking of writing something during lunchtime as there was no lunch per se it being Karvachauth today, but I couldn’t think of what to write. But just then I found the perfect topic to write on. Karvachauth!
Now, a couple of years back if you would have asked me about Karvachauth, I would have said it’s a strategy to oppress women and something quite contradictory to my feminist beliefs.
But as I grew older and hopefully more mature, I realised that everything boils down to choice. And if someone chooses to celebrate it who am I to judge?
Having said that the jury is still out on why only women have to fast for their husbands or children. And I think it really doesn’t make sense with all this being one-sided. But should you choose to do it out of your own will, then who am I or anyone else to poke fun at you?
I mean who made me the queen of the world to pass judgements? Though wouldn’t being a queen be great! But I digress.
It’s probably all those years under the belt and plausibly some wisdom too which made me realise that if a woman wants to keep a fast for her husband willingly and she is happy about it, the world and it’s cousins have no business putting her down or even judging her.
Isn’t the first cardinal rule of feminism to let women lead lives of their choosing? So, why judge?
Yes, but if someone is forced to do it or if someone is made to fast while pregnant or nursing or while having a medical condition, then yes, that is wrong. Also, there is the case of exercising choice responsibly. I wouldn’t advocate you fasting while pregnant or nursing but other than that knock yourself out.
Now, I’m a Bengali so we basically believe in eating all the time. Fasting is not something that comes naturally to us. I mean have you seen us during Durga Puja?
However, I married into a family from UP where Karvachauth is celebrated. And so I have been celebrating a customised version of this festival for the past 8 years now and also skipped it while pregnant. Like I said, responsibly is the key.
Why do I celebrate it?
Well, it’s a sort of a cleanse for me because otherwise I won’t be caught dead fasting. Also, I also know that anytime I want to give it up, I can. It’s all up to me. Choice. See? Also, I don’t see this as putting my husband on a pedestal. It’s just something I do. A great way of making everything about me, isn’t it?
Also, most importantly, I observe it in a manner customised to myself. Again, my choice.
S and I firmly believe that since ours is a love marriage, any customs we follow needs to be tweaked according to our likes and dislikes, so Karvachauth also functions that way.
I have fruits, juices and tea throughout the day. And the best part is, wait for it, I always break my fast with something I love eating. And if you know me, you’ll know it’ll probably be chilly chicken or a chicken biryani or both.
The point is, as long as it is by choice with a little sense, it’s not anybody else’s business to judge. What say?
A version of this was first published here.
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A working mom who wants to raise a feminist daughter.
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