Monday, 25 June 2018

Karwa chauth for husband, rakhi/bhai dooj for bhai, ashtami for children. Is there something for wives/sisters/mothers?

If you are a Hindu woman, you are bestowed with a very important role, to take care of your family. You are supposed to keep fast for karwa chauth for husband, ashtami fast for children, tie rakhi to bhai for their well being. Is there any fast for well being and longevity of wife, sister or mother? Or is this the privilege exclusively available to the male community, again thanks to our patriarchal society? Does this logic says that it is the male community which needs protection?

Alas! statistics says otherwise. Right from female foeticide to crime against women, it is the women who are vulnerable and need protection spell, if any.  Going by that logic, in the contemporary world, it should be the responsibility of man to keep their woman safe.

For those who dont know karwa Chauth, it a North Indian festival in which married women will fast from before sunrise till she can see the moon that night. And unfortunately, if moon is not visible then the fast will continue the other day. Absolutely no water or food is taken at this time.  Lets check the utility of this fast. If at all, it had some substance, women dont need to divorce her husband if they develop hatred towards them. They would just cheat while fasting to reduce his age. Or if a husband is diagnosed with kidney failure or blood requirement, instead of arranging for new kidney or blood, the wife can go for fasting. Jokes apart, as per scientific studies, intermittent fasting can be disastrous for a woman's hormones, causing things such as reproductive issues and may worsen other pre-existing health conditions.

By not having a drop of water, I am opening myself to dehydration. Without any food, I am stressing my body. Does my husband's life carry more value than my own?  I hope its not. Moreover it totally defies logic and science. How would my eating less will make my husband live longer. Though there is concept of one soul after marriage(do jism ek jaan), yet the bodies would remain separate.  And even if it works in some hypothetical world, shouldn't it be the two way process? Isn't this tradition against the concept of gender equality? Shouldn't husbands also show reciprocity?

Then there is another kind of fast to get a good husband- Solah (16) Somvar, (as if there is no need of a good wife). Again by logic, the sex ratio says otherwise.  Increasingly, the average age of unmarried boys is increasing because of skewed sex ratio. Bride money is taking the place of dowry. Shouldn't the guys take note of this serious issue and start fasting?

Then, many of the mothers keep fast of Asthami for their children's well being. Doesn't this also goes against the common sense. Mother being more aged than her children needs protection from health hazards and age hazards. Shouldn't children fast for their mother?

Disclaimer: In principle, I am not against any religion or associated faith of fasting. People have different reasons behind fasting, including health reasons(cleansing of toxics), family legacy and minimalistic living etc, and I respect them all. I am just against the notion of stereotyping of the fasts against a particular section of society, i.e., women.

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