Are Sindoor, Mangalsutra A Choice Or Regressive?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Rihana, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,110
    Likes Received:
    3,903
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Female
    This practice of using symbols to mark a woman as ‘not widow’ is universally true. All the world over all cultures have this. Christian widows wear black, I’m not sure what Muslims do but I’m sure the newly widowed have something to connote to the general public their new status. Why just sindoor and mangal sutra, then do you want to do away with wedding bands, Nikaah, meher, shadi ka joda all of it? And for what? And even if you do succeed and all the religions agree to this change, the US treasury and Indian IT departments will most certainly still want to know whether you are married or not - for tax purposes :).

    Your objections don’t make sense to me. I can understand your daughter’s objections. Even my sons do this. Mainly theirs is a book knowledge and therefore theoretical. But I explained to them what is the practical application. What I explained to my kids is this - Real life is vastly different than what is in books. Losing your lifemate is so devastating people lose interest in dressing up and all these things. For eg., my aunt initially continued wearing the symbols after my uncle passed away, she wanted to and all her children were in favor of it, no one had any problems but as years went by she herself started dropping them one by one. She herself lost interest, she said it was too painful to dress up when uncle wasn’t around, it roused too many painful memories, so she stopped.

    Those scenes they show in movies or describe in books don’t really happen in real life nowadays. In the past, 19th century Bengal, etc yes there used to be horrific scenes but a lot of reform has happened by now. There is no irate temple priest and mob with pitchforks advancing on the hapless widow to divest her of the symbols in real life. People have better things to worry about.

    Nowadays for the most part these are private decisions taken by individuals on a case by case basis. If there was a bond that is being mourned the person finds a way to do that. And that’s okay. And if there wasn’t a bond or if the person comes out of the mourning period and remarries, more power to them. Let all do what they most prefer to do. That is the greatness and beauty and flexibility of Hinduism.

    Sarve Janaha Sukhino Bhavantu
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022
    hrastro and mbharani like this.
  2. chanchitra

    chanchitra Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    999
    Likes Received:
    1,237
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Gender:
    Female
    Well said.
    The breaking of mangalsutra/bangles of widows don't happen anymore.
    Which century are we living in?
    My aunt lost her husband few years ago.
    None of the above said rituals happened.
    She does wear her usual colored sarees.
     
    Cheeniya likes this.
  3. PurpleRoses

    PurpleRoses Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    475
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Gender:
    Female
    Before saying anything else, on reading this, I wanted to ask you few ques dear Rihana Ji.
    1. If someone in the close relatives die, definitely it would affect the normal life and routine of that family but will you also change your routine as per theirs?
    You may mourn over their loss and offer support but will it change anything in your life? Wont you still celebrate all festivals and occassion n go around about your normal lifestyle?
    2. India is known for its mass population living below the poverty line. Will you stop buying groceries and veggies n feel your eating might aid or abet their poverty?
    3. Now if wearing of sindoor mangalsutra et al is considered as differentiating married/unmarried women then why to even agree for it in the first place? Why do girls want to have fairytale weddings and dress up in heavy designer legengas n all on their D-day? Let it be just a court marriage no?

    By raising these ques all I want to say is even without these symbols be it hospital forms or any online forms for airline booking or hotel or etc etc .. everywhere they ask married or unmarried questions too. Why not question all those then?

    I feel its subject to individual choice to wear or not. Those who love to wear it should not be made to feel victims of patriarchy or regressive or guilty of "abetting or aiding" to the pain of widows.

    I personally was not willing to wear thaali especially initially as my skin is very
    sensitive n i sweat a lot which lead the gold thali chain to cause rashes near neck due to friction. Before marriage also i never used to wear anything in neck so it was odd for me to wear it 24x7.
    Hence, though i wear my thaali chain now, i remove it during extreme summers or when I am unable to wear. But i always wear toe rings n bindi and I am happy about it. No my husband doesnt wear all these and it's fine.
    I dont think i will like my husband wearing all those either ;).

    But then I used to see my highly educated yet with traditional outlook how they wear it day and night and never remove neither when they sleep or bath.
    I asked them are they forced to keep so? They said no, its just the respect they give to the thaali tied at the wedding n they dont consider it as patriarchy but the indian tradition followed by their moms n now by them n they want to ensure their kids dont forget the importance of these things in future.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022
    chanchitra and paru123 like this.
  4. PurpleRoses

    PurpleRoses Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    475
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Gender:
    Female
    Coming to varalakshmi vratam, as per shastra it has to ve celebrated only if its done in husband side family. Though now a days anyone is n can celebrate it as celebration n doing pujas may benefit or not but never harms anyone!.

    It has special significance and even in katha they show charumathi informing her husband n inlaws about the dream of Lakshmi devi telling her to do this vratham and when husband n inlaws tell her to go ahead then only she performs it.
    And though husband is not part of puja but end of puja wife is supposed to touch feet of husband and he should bless her with akshita.
    Now if you consider this as patriarchy then you can but in the family I am brought up, though women do all this with love and respect for husbands, they equally show their love and respect for wives ...nt by fasting or doing pujas bt by sacrificing many things in life to work hard n support wife n kids financially n as the head of the house
    There was no powerplay of equality or patriarchy!.
    The major decision were taken by the man of the house but wherever concerned, the women were involved too.
    I know and agree its not same in every household and I knw women who are suppressed n forced under the name of traditions n rituals to which women should def take a stand and not let anyone mistreat them.
    But just want to say we should not consider everything in our tradition as patriarchy and question them.
    Some are just beautiful gestures done to express love and continue traditions to future gen .
     
    paru123 likes this.
  5. PurpleRoses

    PurpleRoses Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    475
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Gender:
    Female
    Same way in India too I guess! Guys who eye on women 1st look at her feet it seems to see toe rings and know whether she is married or not and if no toe rings then will try to woo her/profess his love etc.

    Now I hope this doesn't start another question as to why men don't need to be wooed by women. Well, even miss world priyanka chopra was serenaded and proposed by Nick n not she who proposed him with a ring.
     
    paru123 likes this.
  6. Divya0331

    Divya0331 Senior IL'ite

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    23
    Gender:
    Female
    When you invite widows, do you give them tambolam( Turmeric, kumkum) along with all the other ladies? Usually in south india we give tambolam which has kumkum, turmeric, fruits, beetle leaves and supari to married, unmarried women. Do you do the same to widows, give them turmeric and kumkum???

    Thanks.
     
  7. hrastro

    hrastro Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    1,438
    Likes Received:
    3,282
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Female
    I don't change anything in my tray of tamboolam and I offer it with the same devotion - some take it, some leave it in the tray - I have never ever seen anyone comment on it
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022
    yellowmango and 1Sandhya like this.
  8. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    6,538
    Likes Received:
    10,849
    Trophy Points:
    440
    Gender:
    Female
    The women decide when to take it off.

    Sorry, we have to agree to disagree. It is absolutely not the same. Until and unless a woman can keep her mangalsutra on after her spouse’s demise and remove it only if and when she chooses, I don’t think it’s an apples to apples comparison and I don’t think that was the point Rihana was making.

    Are things progressing? Absolutely. Lots of folks have come forward with examples of how their aunts are wearing what they please and not sticking to a widow’s attire after they attain widowhood. That’s a great thing. I believe the natural next step is letting her decide about her thali.

    Our children asking these questions are vital. They are in a unique situation to decide what part of the culture to pick and what to leave behind. It’s not one of those discussions that we have to explain away by saying “things are different”. There is no explanation for carrying forward things that don’t need to be carried forward.

    No, I’m not going to bring up other regressive cultural practices to glorify mine. I believe our culture is rich, has withstood the test of time and will continue to evolve and grow.

    Just like many people came and posted about a woman having the choice to wear the mangalsutra, I believe she should continue to have that choice.
     
    yellowmango and SunPa like this.
  9. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    5,733
    Likes Received:
    11,086
    Trophy Points:
    438
    Gender:
    Female
    Wearing mangalsutra/thali or wedding band on your wedding & removing it after divorce/widowhood is normal in any culture. There is nothing progressive or regressive here.

    It is just one of those identities of your marriage life.

    But, bindi, colourful clothes, being able to attend auspicious events, etc..etc..are part & parcel of woman's life. They are enjoying these rights since birth and not after marriage.

    Forcefully removing these rights from the woman after marriage is a regressive patriarchal culture. Although we have progressed so well from our grandmother's era, we still stuck at somewhere with lots of uncertinities.

    It is still uncommon for a widowed woman to take lead in auspicious events like marriage or puberty ceremony.
    It is still uncommon for a widowed woman to wear flowers in hair, bindi and colourful cloths as she did before marriage.

    May be not in the metros, but in small cities & villages widows are definitely discriminated. They are considered a second class citizens at home & society.

    This needs to be changed. As educated & able women, we must be the change, we want to see in our society.

    I would rather influence at least the widows in my circle, including the maid & her family to be normal & continue face life like widowed men do.

    Of course people will mourn, feel bad to wear colourful cloths during their mourning times. Just like widowed men do.
    But, there shouldn't be any social pressure of doing or not doing things in the name of tradition. No gender discrimination!
     
  10. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    6,538
    Likes Received:
    10,849
    Trophy Points:
    440
    Gender:
    Female
    Ringing in my ears is the screaming cry of a woman I love so much crying and asking to continue to wear her mangalsutra. There is nothing normal in it. For her, there was no moving on, nobody to replace her husband and all she wanted was to keep wearing her mangalsutra. I wish it was normal to wear it for months or years until she got to terms with her loss. I’m sure given time, she would have decided to stop wearing it.

    To the contrary, my neighbor lost her husband. After we got back from the funeral, I dropped off something the next day. She was also going through this exact wedding ring process and spoke about it. She said I’ve decided to keep my ring on for now. After about 6/7 months, when she was ready, she took off her ring.

    I hope that normalcy can be reached somehow.
     
    SGBV, yellowmango and 1Sandhya like this.

Share This Page