And The Discrimination Against Widows At ‘Auspicious’ Events Continues In 2023…!

Auspiciousness comes from hearts that are happy and generous with blessings. If our rituals are making us unkind, it's time we stop practicing them.

Widow isolation is supposed to be a thing from the past. Many educated women like me like to believe that a widow in India is only suffering the loss of her husband and the practice of secluding her from the society has come to an end.

Well! All my ideas about the status of widows in India were shaken recently while I was attending a marriage.

I recently lost my father and my mother lost her husband.

At this marriage that I was attending, my mom and aunts (who also are widows) did not come forward and participate in the ceremonies, and neither were they invited. It was apparently the fear of the presence of widows who are considered inauspicious since their husband died before them.

And we are supposed to be an educated, liberal family!

My family has been quite liberal and I was stunned to see my mom backing off along with my aunts. They very well know and understand that they are not “inauspicious”. But they decided to remain distant because they didn’t want to be blamed if something ever went wrong.

Neither did anyone want to include them. A little more stress was being put on the inclusion of married women or “suhagan” so that these people get a message that they keep their distance.

All this was happening in a city which is also an important education centre of Karnataka, which is again the land that gave birth to social reformer like Basavanna back in the 12th century. I wonder what is the state of widows in villages, in places where people are not so ‘liberal’!

Does a woman lose her identity too, when she loses a husband?

This is perhaps the practice of patriarchy that women are themselves encouraging. They don’t even realise that they are feeding a system that is diminishing their own identity.

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All this does not stop only in marriages. For widows discrimination and non inclusiveness is so normalized that people stop inviting them for pooja especially in the month of Shravan. In fact every time during Shravan, when people invite married women for poojas, they leave behind their widow friends and family and recklessly ignore their loneliness. Why can’t we invite all our friends and just celebrate womanhood irrespective of whether the women are married, unmarried, widowed, single, divorcee?

Widow is just a label that a patriarchal society threw upon women to make them feel that they will have no identity without their husband.

Auspiciousness comes from hearts that are happy and generous with blessings. Kind people will always be happy. If our rituals are making us unkind, it’s time we stop practicing them. We as women are so complete that we dont need a man in our lives to make us auspicious.

I wish people like my mom and aunts also understand that if they want to change this cruel world they have to treat themselves properly first and be a part of every ritual, give your blessings generously. Don’t stop, don’t think twice before you take that step to bless a new couple, a new child or do any shubh karya. Change starts from within. If we do not make efforts to change ourselves, how will we change this world?

Image source: YouTube

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