New Delhi: Okay, so this is that time of the year when married women starve themselves for the entire day so that their husbands live a long life. True love can only be expressed through the sacrifice of food and water, women have been promptly told, no questions asked. But romance doesn’t have to be this unhealthy (literally)! In its modern version, this festival has successfully reinvented itself from being an archaic tradition to a fun and romantic ideal, replete with glamorous kitsch, thanks to Bollywood.
Quite convenient is the fact that men have also started participating in the festival, which bodes well to hiding this gross inequality and the guilt of an ultra-sexist ritual. Defenders of this practice also opine how a few hours of fast is a good way to detox, anyway! However, the toxic romantic materialism of this festival can’t be ignored and shouldn’t be. Also Read - Karwa Chauth 2020: When is Karwa Chauth? Know the Date, Auspicious Time, and Sargi
The question of ‘choice’
Other than the logic-defying ritual, the greatest irony is that so-called ‘feminists’ celebrate this mockery of women, by throwing in words like ‘choice’. They proudly declare that they are fasting out of choice, not compulsion.
But, sister, your choice isn’t yours, it is rooted in deep conditioning and a lifetime of repeatedly hearing and internalising the message that God will bless your husband with a long life if you fast. We, women, have grown up with the pressure of being accountable for every single mistake, and have somehow internalised this belief. So, when superstitions tell us that we can ward off our partner’s untimely death, many of us choose to believe.
A regressive practice that has no place in a modern society
Sadly, such traditions only perpetuate the patriarchal notions of sacrifice, which solely rests on a woman’s shoulders. Fasting for one’s husband reinforces the notion that a man is at the centre of a woman’s existence and without him, a woman is forever lost. It boisterously signals that men are superior, their lives and health are more important than women.
All this is basically just a ploy to preserve the binary between a man and a woman in a Hindu marital setup, wherein the husband is glorified as the ‘protector’ and the woman is pedestaled as the ‘happy domestic Goddess’. But we are no longer dependents, are we?
What can you do?
It’s not easy to break the mould, owing to the rigorous staple diet of fear and guilt that women have been fed since they were little girls. However, it’s time to value your own self-worth and have a strong sense of equality to be able to challenge such traditions. Celebrate your culture practices, but don’t be afraid to call them out if you find them problematic. You will receive judgmental glares, nevertheless, but it will be all worth it in the long run.
So, what do you want to do? Eat the Patriarchy or be its messenger? This ‘choice’ is yours at least!
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India.com. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article)