Why Does Only Her Son Have The Right To Do Funeral Rites Of Our Mother?!

I was appalled at our society that belittles the married woman and her relationship with her mother. Society forgets the daughter holding her mother's hand when she was scared of being sick and connected to tubes.

Trigger Warning: This speaks of death and loss, and may be triggering to survivors.

My mother passed away a few weeks ago. The last rites like lighting fire to the body was to be done by my brother because he was “the son”. I was told by the officiating priest that I now “belonged to another gotro”, as I was married, and hence I cannot perform the last rites.

I want to ask –

Just because I am married and am a woman, I have to forget that my mother’s genes run within me?

Medical science claims that the mitochondrial DNA in me comes only from my mother. Half of my genes come from my mother. Does my marriage change this fact?

Why is my stipulated mourning period after which I have to perform the last rites on the fourth day, instead of completing the thirteen days that her “heir”, my brother gets to do?

Why does my identity and my relationship with my mother change after my marriage?

Why does this society condemn the woman?

Why does this society make a married daughter an ‘other’?

I was appalled at our society that belittles the married woman and her relationship with her mother.

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I read in a blog once that “Son is considered to prevent parents from entering a horrible type of Hell, ‘Puth’: hence son is called as ‘Puthra’ in Sanskrit.” Then what is the role of the daughter? Society forgets how the daughter cared for the mother and loved her unconditionally. Society forgets the daughter holding her mother’s hand when she was scared of being sick and connected to tubes.

Another website states “Daughters, however, are not ‘allowed’ to perform or for that matter, participate in the last rites of their parents, as per Hindu tradition. It is believed that if a female lights the funeral pyre, the deceased won’t attain ‘moksha’ and would be stuck in a cycle of rebirths.”

I am just shocked that people write about all this and our society has not progressed ahead. We still demean and belittle women. One pandit ji said my husband is my Gurudev. He said my father cannot perform any rituals for me if needed as he was my mother’s Guru, and my husband is mine. I was looking at him with my mouth open. Who decided that a woman’s guru is her husband? I read “For the woman, the supreme demigod, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the husband, Lord Vāsudeva, the husband of the goddess of fortune. ‘Pati-guru’, that is, spiritual master-husband. The husband represents the Lord as an object of worship for the woman.”

Our society has not changed sadly, and still the woman is looked down upon.

Image source: a still from the short film Ghar ki Murgi

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About the Author

Anindita Nag

I love to write on women's issues. I strongly believe that every woman is capable of being more than just a homemaker. They are the leaders of our world. They can multi-task more read more...

50 Posts | 125,233 Views

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