By Abhinav Pancholi
Karva Chowth entails only that the wife fast for a day (if she can) for the good health and long life of her husband. This is just it. It doesn’t ask anything of the husbands. It is not a shastra-mandated festival. Not many people outside of North India celebrate it. This is by no means a touchstone of your faith in Hindu Dharma. There are the basic facts which can’t be contested.
It doesn’t preclude the possibility of a husband fasting for his wife, is he wants to, and she expects him to. It doesn’t lay down strict rules if water can or not be consumed during the day if the fasting woman can’t do without it. Half the women I know, in Rajasthan and MP, drink water, consume tea and even eat sweets once during the day. A sick, or a pregnant woman is positively discouraged to perform the fast. No one, not family members, or priests or dharma gurus or even legends freak you out by warning you that the husband would die if you don’t fast for him.
So don’t fast, if you don’t want to. Who is forcing you to go through the motions?
Why rant through social media posts about it? Why rant against Hinduism? Why blame Modi and RSS, unless you are nuts? Tell me one person who is forcing you either individually or collectively to follow these rituals. If you have courage of conviction, why not just call the bluff.
Is it your husband? Leave him. Best is, cheat with the rigors, if you want him dead.
Your mother-in-law? Again, leave your husband if you can’t stand her pestilence.
O wannabe feminist woman, if your husband doesn’t want to reciprocate, why not just walk out of your hypocritical marriage of convenience? It’s not unheard of, is it?
What do you hope to achieve by railing against so-called regressive Hindu practices? This is just a folk festival, and has nothing to do with Sanatana Dharma. Sita, Satyabhama or Gargi didn’t celebrate K-fourth. Of course, it has feudal overtones as well, but then not everyone is a card carrying feminist or a confirmed anti-Hindu to decry everything without appreciating the context. The practice can be understood only if we are sympathetic, and not dogmatic ourselves.
The festival just celebrates conjugal love in the most Indian way possible. A woman excitedly dresses up as a bride. She keeps fast (which was not that uncommon a practice even a quarter of century back) for her husband in whatever fashion and with whatever discipline she can summon. She hobnobs with her female relatives and girlfriends all day as she passes long hours of the day. They crack jokes at the expense of their husbands and break hints about the possibilities of the night. Even the evening puja is a social occasion and not just a couple’s hideout. She arranges a sieve to glance at her man in the image of pale, orange moon, that amorous blob which signifies fertility and high character. The whole ceremony is laden with romance.
I don’t see why shud we should be running down our own festivals, K-Fourth and Spring Fifth (Vasant Fifth) and yet waiting like crazies to celebrate Valestine’s Day.
A rebel wife has every right here to beat shit out of her husband who expects her to fast and doesn’t even have kind words to say in return. She should stop this charade if she expects him to fast and he doesn’t oblige. If she feels burdened by her mother-in-laws expectations, she should call her out. But let her not say that the religion as a whole is out to get her. Don’t launch diatribe against your fellow-women who want to be happy and enjoy life. Don’t cut a sorry picture of a shrew.
As for that jackal who finds it impossible to reciprocate, I ask him if St Valentine was the father of his spouse? Why is he so receptive to celebrating V Day with fanfare but is embarrassed to express some kind of love by fasting on K-Fourth? His girth can surely do with a day or a week of not eating.
This jackal, wearing donkey’s hide, claims to be a feminist, which he can’t ever be. He can at best be a pro-feminist, and that’s like being a hedgehog while hunting with hounds.
Happy couples don’t need a special day to enjoy companionship. But they also don’t let the virus of ideology come in their way of loving and being loved. Be like rabbits. Let everyone crib. Eat, or fast. Just let not your passions drop.
(I have no vested interest here being a single.)
Abhinav Pancholi, IRS, Kolkata. The author is an avid sports lover with a passion for literature.
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