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Women and religion

I do not intend to hurt the emotions of any person or any community. In addition, I would restrict my views to a religion I belong, as I am not aware of rites and rituals specific to others.

Next major festival for Hindus is Teej on the calendar, which out of nothing made me to churn my thoughts that why only wives fast for husbands or in general, I should say why only females fast for males (will discuss later why I said so). I sincerely apologise to bug you with this dollish post. But life has been a ride of roller-coaster for the past few weeks for me, had a few laps of nervous breakdown as well, because of which I guess I developed this poor habit of thinking preposterous stuffs, but this one I really found suitable to place on my blog.

Now taking you down the lanes of my thoughts, I virtually feel that the evolution of fasts like Karwa Chauth, Vat Savitri or Teej clearly endorse we have had a strong male driven society which still influences 21st century India. A married woman fasts for her husband on Vat Savitri poojan, Karwa Chauth and Teej day. Moreover, the practice is not restricted to only wives fasting for husbands, but it is again assumed, that mothers (only) are responsible to offer prayers to God for the longevity of their “Son” and not daughter (which is why I asked in early part of this post why only females fast for males). I am sure most of you do not know how rigorous these fasts are. Just for your information, almost all types of fast I mentioned earlier involve zero consumption of water or any other edible item for 24 hours and in any traditional family, a woman is ought to take on these fasts. I fail to understand that how and when did these all started and why only females were made to take the pains and males to reap rewards (long life) for pains born by females.

Lord Shiva, according to Hindus is the destroyer of the universe. It is said that the supreme power, Lord Shiva is incomplete without Shakti, while Shiva being the male form and Shakti, the feminine aspects. That is why probably Lord Shiva is also known as “Ardhnarishwar” (literal meaning: God in form of Half Male & Half Female) and is worshiped in same eidolon at various pilgrimages. At one side, we give so much respect to female and say Shiv-Shakti is an awesome chord of perfect and even lord is incomplete without a female and the other side all are our customs and rituals expect women only to go an extra mile. Starting from when a girl is minor, she fasts for 16 Mondays (blah, blah..) to get a good husband, when gets a husband, she fasts for his long life, then fasts to get a baby boy and when gets a baby boy, starts fasting for his long life (in addition to husband’s long life). And in between all this, she is lost. Nobody bothers to think how she would manage to spend 4-5 such occasions per year without food and water for a day. Why do we not have any such instance when a husband spends a day on air for his wife’s long life or why do we not have a provision to fast for long life of a daughter? Does not a woman deserve a long life, considering she is the one who takes all the pain to bring a life on to the planet? That means a woman should go through all that require creating a life (okay, I understand, there is no escape for women because of Mother Nature’s rule) and try to appease gods and goddesses also asking their favour to raise a sapling into a tree. Together all this sounds like an end-to-end engagement for a woman (being in IT Industry, I could not resist using this cliché).

I am not trying to say what is wrong and what is right. The practices prevailing within and in the periphery of a religion are result of centuries of evolution, which I certainly cannot question, as I am not that qualified enough. However, I was surely trying to outline logic to answer my doubts, which I failed to, sadly. Evolution teaches to shed off such things, which have become redundant or do not bring any value to the core purpose of existence. But when we talk about religion, who would dare to decide on what has become superfluous and needs to be part off.

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  1. August 21, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I like the thought of : “why do we not have a provision to fast for long life of a daughter?”
    even if,
    You came back to home after day long, and the daughter or (female) opens the gate in most of the cases, and many more not to mention.

    Just one thing to comment: “Lord Brahma is the creator of the universe, and the lord Shiva is the destroyer of the universe (remember the third eye) 😛 😛 Hope you’ll take it +vely. 🙂

  2. August 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    nice topic Anupam.

    We all know that its a patriarchal society, the single reason why a female does all the things that you mentioned above. If you dig deep you will know why the society evolved the way is is now. Those hunting days when men went out for hunting and provided food, while women only reproduced.

    Now, the question just not end there that why only female should fast. The question is rather too long and one post or one small comment does not suffice it all. This evolution of society is also the answer to the question that why you do not use mother’s last name.

    I think there are few matriarchal societies prevailing but they are not in good population.

  3. Anupam
    August 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    @ Sachin: Done bro, taken in positive spirit 😛

    I guess I used wrong words while trying to carve out the supremacy of Lord Shiva among all Hindu “devis” and “devtas”. Thanks for correction 🙂

  4. Subbu
    October 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

    A long time taken to respond to this. I read in today’s ‘Mail Today’ that female genes are indeed stronger and are designed to last longer and that it might be a good idea to use female tissues/genes for medical reconstruction etc.. So, it could be that only the males of our species are in need of such special Poojas 🙂

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