Are Sindoor, Mangalsutra A Choice Or Regressive?

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

  1. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    In all the years of my performing this puja I have not come across this.

    The story mentions Charumati’s wonderful dream, she awakens and can’t wait to share it with everyone. In the morning she tells everyone - family members, her neighbors and relatives - about her dream. (all are mentioned together in one breath, no separate singling out.) They exclaim in wonder and resolve that they too will do the puja. They all await the second Friday of Sravana Masam with great eagerness…

    I have transcribed the above verbatim from my tape. The book too says the same. No mention of any dialogue where she requests permission from her in laws nor of in-laws granting permission. Nor do I recall ever hearing of this.
    This must be your family tradition and more power to you for doing so. In the puja vidhanam there is no such instruction by the priest to touch husband’s feet. What you choose to do, out of sentiment or your personal family tradition, cannot be ascribed to the puja and then call it patriarchy, in my opinion.

    In contrast the husband plays pivotal role in the KC fast. He alone is supposed has to give her the water to break her fast. She has to see his face in the colander after viewing the moon before that. I have seen many mawkish B grade Hindi movies which exploit this point to create drama.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
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  2. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    My dear Laks,

    I’m really shocked to read this. In this day and age and that too in Texas … wow.

    No words.

    My deepest sympathies to you and your neighbour friend.
     
  3. chanchitra

    chanchitra Platinum IL'ite

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    These are only few happenings.
    Cannot generalize.
     
  4. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    When I see widows continuing to wear their mangalsutra I will call it a “few” happenings. I am yet to see one allowed to wear her mangalsutra after her husband’s demise.
     
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  5. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Unsurprisingly after going to India and finishing rituals. I told her it’s just an object, to let it go. Nobody can take away the real connection between them in her heart.
    Bless her heart, my mom was there. She told me bring it home. She got a locket made with the actual thali hidden within it. She changed the chain and sent it back to her. So now, she has her thali but everyone thinks it’s a locket and chain. Everyone thinks I took it to the temple and deposited it in the hundi. Until then, I had no idea that’s what happens. That whole process has made me very put off with the mangalsutra itself. You don’t wear it when the husband is alive it’s a problem, you wear it when the husband is no longer alive, it’s a bigger problem.

    The best part is after a year, she herself went and dropped it in the said hundi. All she needed was time to take the thing off.
     
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  6. chanchitra

    chanchitra Platinum IL'ite

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    Still how is a married woman wearing sindoor/mangalsutra regressive or patriarchal?
    The custom of physically hurting a widow by breaking her bangles or mangalsutra don't happen anymore.
     
  7. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    So it’s ok to hurt her emotionally?

    If you haven’t understood anything from the few pages let’s agree to disagree. I don’t think there is any point in taking this further between us.
     
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  8. yellowmango

    yellowmango IL Hall of Fame

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    So the gold thalli goes into the hundi. That is a lot of gold . No wonder this tradition is being carried on for so long . I wonder if the thalli was just passed on to the children ,would this tradition have continued for this long?

    In our place...when a married woman dies, you are supposed to leave some gold on her ...which conveniently goes to the priest .
     
  9. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    This news was in the forefront on 14 th Apr 2o15 on the New years Day,

    when a few forward thinking wives in black sarees removed

    their thalis and handed over the same to their so called

    husbands standing nearby,beautifully photographed with a

    broad smile.It was a thundering success for the party concerned.


    It is a well known fact that mangalya dharanam is not backed by

    vedic mantras.While there are mantras for kannika danam,

    Panigrahanam and saptapadhi, no mantras are found for

    mangalya Dharana,tying of mangala sutra.'

    The mantram

    " mangalyam thanthunaanena mama jeevana hethuna

    kante badhnaami subhage jeevema sharada: shatam'

    is one that has been coined later.

    No mangalya dharana finds a place in Sita-Rama vivaham

    and Krishna-Rukmini kalyanam and other vedic marriages.

    It is said that mangala Sutra was a practice that was brought

    into for saving women being abducted , most probably after

    the invasion, since in those days no one dared to come near

    a married woman.

    Vedantha Desikan has a reference to Mangalyam
    in his Paduka Sahasram and Soundarya lahari contains
    a reference in verse 69.

    But there are arguments that these slokas have been interpolations.

    But a clear reference to tying of mangala sutra is referred to only

    in Lalitha sahasra nama

    : Kamesha baddha mangalya

    sutra shobitha kandhara'

    One with shoulders being beautified by mangal sutra tied by Lord Shiva'.

    The comparative analysis of Laitha sahara namam with other popular shlokas

    reveal clearly that Lalitha sahasra Namam is a literary work clearly

    belonging to a later period, as evidenced by certain phrases

    and expressions. By that time,the practice of mangala sutra

    dharanam would have come into practice.

    But as of now we see that mangal Dharanam has acquired

    more significance than other procedures, Even educated women

    in their heart of hearts consider this as an auspicious symbol

    and not an acceptance of slavery. In fact many girls do not

    wear yellow thread because it is difficult to maintain it as

    bright yellow, but invariably wear thirumangalyam,though

    of small size. Even empowered women, who give lectures

    on stages hesitate to throw away the thirumangalyam.

    'Let it remain'they say.

    The so called Tamil fanatics may not be aware that even

    in Puranaanooru, there is a verse that women were ready

    to lose anything but not an ornament called'vizhai'-may

    be similar to thali.

    Even in silappathikaram kannaki gives all the ornaments

    for selling and not'Mangala Ani'-something very precious to her.

    Even earlier,though thali was not in vogue, girls were wearing ,


    even before marriage, some mangala Abaranas which they

    were wearing for ever.Sita's choodamani was one.The practice

    of the bridegroom tying the sacred knot alone came later.

    We cannot come to a conclusion that since mangalya

    dharanam has no vedic sanction,it should not be followed.

    We have many rules, amended later as situation changes.

    Even Taitriya upanishad contains a clause that amendments

    to sastras can be carried out by the pundits and knowledgeable persons..

    In stead of viewing mangalya dharanam as a superstition

    and blind belief or as a symbol or patriacrchy. why can't we

    consider that the practice was introduced after deep thought

    by learned scholars,because this has been totally accepted

    as apart of wedding procedure not only in South India but

    throughout Bharat, and even in some foreign countries.

    Syrian christians also have the practice of thali, whether it is cross,

    or a leaf symbol.

    Women, who don't want to wear thali, let them not.But it is

    none of their business to degrade the entire system as foolish.

    Faith is something deep inside, which gives women a confidence,

    that the thali worn by them is capable of preventing diseases

    affecting their dear ones.Thali is considered so sacred by them,

    that even 1000 s of meetings held cannot make women remove their thalis.

    Our Courts' valuable times are being wasted by petty litigations like this ;

    thaali removal festival / ban etc. Who say wearing a thaali

    is irrational? It has its own reasoning, protection, recognition

    in Society and what not. These rationalists should divert their

    attention, energy, man-power etc. into something more reasonable,

    more productive, more development oriented etc.
    Thali removal and breaking of bangles are seen only
    in TV serials. Wearing thali, bindi or flowers are entirely personal and it has nothing to do with continuance
    of patriarchy.
    Our grand old patti in the village tried to break the system
    of doing Sumangali Prathana before marriage.Though
    her husband was alive at age 93,she invited around 50 young widows and honoured them with gifts on the eve
    of her grandson's marriage,the bride groom, a professor of Sanskrit.
    Every one appreciated our grandma in the village.
    This incident took place in 1930. But sadly the future
    generation didn't want to follow the strange custom.
    Let us not break our heads about not wearing mangala sutra
    or doing Varalakshmi pooja-which we cannot enforce even if hundreds of meetings are conducted.It relates to emotions and sentiments and many women wear thalis of their own and not because of compulsion out of slavery.
    Jayasala 42
     
  10. SunPa

    SunPa Platinum IL'ite

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    Very thought provoking!

    Is wearing mangalsutra /saree/ sindoor regressive/or an act of patriarchy?
    Most say that- not if one has the choice.

    So if I am forced to wear the mangalsutra even if I dont want to -- that is regressive
    If I chose to do so for one or more reasons -- I love my husband, I respect my husband, it is a part of our culture, I like the design , whatever -- then it is not.
    I also believed this. Cos telling a married woman not to wear it is as regressive as telling a married woman she must wear it.

    But I think the question Rih is asking us to ponder is different
    It is not about wearing traditional clothes like saree or putting bindi with western clothes or a saree. My wish, my choice I wear what I want

    While it is my choice , my free will, the fact that I have the freedom to do so while section of our society doesnt have that , shows it is a privilege I have , and this privilege tramples on the someone else's respect.

    By exercising my choice, am I exercising a privilege bestowed upon me by "circumstance" and hurting someone without privilege, albeit inadvertently?

    I am all for upholding my traditions and being rooted to our culture. We need to have our identify.

    Yes, we talk of not discriminating , of inviting widows/singles for varalashmi vratam and giving the exact same tambula for all -- how may of us really do it, how many widows really feel welcome, how many would worry about the silent disapproval from may be not us but other invites , and honestly how many dont deeply feel the rejection?
    Should we practice a tradition that cause pain and grief to others, even if that is not the intention? Isnt tradition about building our tribe?

    And that I feel is the what I really need to ask myself...
     
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