It was karva chauth yesterday. Karva chauth is a hindu festival for married women, and it involves the woman keeping a ‘vrat’ or a fast throughout the day. The fast involves not eating (obviously) and not drinking anything through the day.
Now this is strenuous, so why is this ‘festival’ celebrated in the first place? It’s meant to pray for the long and successful life of one’s husband… really? Why? When was the last time men fasted for the ‘long and successful’ lives of their wives?… In India, that would be just about never.
Why is it that after so many years of education, women still go through this rubbish? My mother recently observed ‘teej’, which is pretty much the same as karva chauth, and is more prevalent in her side of India. I didn’t really know she was fasting until my brother yelled at her, asking if she had gone mad to be doing something like that…
What’s disturbing though, is the fact that education is something she received as a legacy in her family. Her grandmother was a graduate, which is saying a lot since education & equal treatment for women is something only just picking up in most of India. Moreover, the lady was an educated, degree- holding woman, who was the principal of a school, which made her an educated and earning woman. This is still a rarity in most rural and semi- urban areas of this country. For this to happen, her grandma’s family would have to be a highly enlightened lot, specially noting that this was more than a hundred years ago.
It’s a legacy I am exceptionally proud of. But, as the fourth generation of educated, degree- brandishing women in this family, it seriously bothers me that my mother kept this stupid fast. Sure, it’s her choice, and all that… but I noted that my Dad was perfectly at home with both food and water that day, just like most men in this country were on the day of karva chauth.
Of course, there are many men who observe the fast along with their wives these days, but they are few and far apart. Many of them even try and stop their wives from fasting, but apparently, the ladies insist. Ladies, if this is your way of expressing your love, then I have to point how very one- sided it is. It actually just seems to be an expression of your ‘gratitude’. The very same ‘gratitude’ that society feels women should express towards men.
This is completely baseless now, of course, specially in the cities and most towns, since women now earn their bread, rent and make up.
In the end, if one wants to be treated equally, one has to- one must!- feel equal. And so called ‘festivals’ like teej and karva chauth, don’t do women any good.