THE HINDU INDIAN WIDOWS' STIGMA (PART 2)

If you haven't read the first part, read it here:



Indian widows are looked upon with a jaundiced view and are subject a subject of scorn. While a widower remarrying is acceptable, a widow remarrying would stir up rumors and grapevine. Again, it is women, more often than not, who monger gossip, adding salt and spice as they go about carrying tales. 


The moment an Indian Hindu widow considers or even speaks of remarriage, she would be presented with aghast looks and gasps as though she has called an apple orange. In extreme cases, she would be called prurient, forgetting that marriage is not all about sex; marriage is contained in companionship and life support mostly. 


An Indian Hindu widower is free to remarry. Not a soul would question him.

About a century ago, in India, there was a practice known as 'sati'. A lady whose husband is no more will be cremated together with her husband's dead body, alive. It didn't matter if she was 8 (in cases of child marriage) or 80. When British colonized India, they put paid to this savage ritual but it is still being practiced in some remote parts of India.

We are in the 22nd century. Technology has become an integral part of mankind, yet such outdated practices are still observed.  

Sati was ridden off but many Indian Hindu widows are ambulatory corpses - their happiness, carnal desire, respect, recognition and self esteem, repressed and seized sadistically by so called 'tradition'.

All this demeaning suppression of widows are purely unwarranted and uncalled for. Their bindi, adornments, and happiness die along with their husband. Who has the right to say this is how widows should dress and this is how they should behave and this is how others should view them?

There is a ritual observed once a lady's husband dies. She would be adorned like a bride then have all the semblances of a married woman stripped off her violently and the tragic thing is, women do it and they are known as professional mourners.

Here is a snippet of Oprah witnessing the Indian widow stigma in India.

Thousands of widows, of all ages,  from all over India have made the holy cities of Varanasi and Vrindavan their home.  Every year they are joined by hundreds more

.Many of these widows are here because they have been driven out from their homes and they have no place else to go.  They live in terrible poverty, generally begging for alms on the streets or singing at temples for a measly meal.

 Many of the younger widows are forced into prostitution. They wear white, the only color widows are permitted to wear, and their clothing becomes a source of discrimination for them, much like the yellow star for the Jews.  Even today, middle-class educated Indians shun the presence of widows at certain ceremonies like weddings, because they are thought to bring “bad luck.”

For centuries widows have been socially ostracized in India.   Sati was a practice where widows would be burnt alive on their husband’s pyres.  Even after sati has been legally banned, there continue to be isolated incidents. In western India, there are temples that glorify sati, that the government of India does not dare take down.


The stripping of the thali, flowers, the smashing of colorful glass bangles and the rubbing off of the pottu on her husband's death service and the restriction of not to wear them in the lifetime she has got ahead is very distressing - the lady is already in untold grief and this ritual only orders more sorrow for her, not consolation. The very purpose for a funeral is for commiseration for the bereaved, not rubbing their loss in. This rite only adds salt to a raw injury and stereotype women.

Read the last part: THE INDIAN HINDU WIDOWS' STIGMA (FINAL)
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