Karwa Chauth or popularly known as KC is a festival in which married women fast (not even drink water) from sunrise to moon rise for the safety and longevity of their husband. They starve themselves for the whole day so that their husbands live a long life.
Indian women from around the world observe the festival of Karwa Chauth, an occasion rooted in ancient mythology that bears the cautionary statement: fasting for your husband will safeguard him against imminent death. However, with all the recent reports of rape and abuse, how are we losing focus so easily and why are we not paying enough attention towards the most pertinent issues, treating women more as human beings.
The Mythology Behind Karwa Chauth (Mythology is a collection of “myths”)
This festival is associated with many legends. The one is about Queen Veeravati who had seven brothers. On the day of the festival, she was at her parent’s house and fasting for her husband. By evening Veeravati was suffering from hunger and thirst. The brothers couldn’t bear to see her plight and tricked her by showing her a fake moon. Veeravati believed them and broke her fast by drinking water and eating food. The moment she ate, news arrived that her husband, the king was dead. Heartbroken she wept the whole night and that forced the goddess Parvati to appear before her. When the queen shared how her brothers had tricked her, Parvati asked her to repeat the fast with utmost dedication. Veeravati repeated the fast and ‘Yama’ the God of death revived her husband back to life.
Following the tradition, millions of married Hindu women fast each year for their husband’s long life. Every married female would fast the whole day (not even drink water) and in the evening sit together to do some exchange of the karvas and a prayer service. Without logic and without science.
Here are 15 Things Indian Culture perpetuates that are designed to hold women back (And we need to stop doing right now)
1. Stop worshiping men
Until Indian women, mothers, sisters, mother in laws, aunts and grandmas stop holding their Indian men & boys in such high regard, they won’t stop disrespecting us. It is this blatant disregard for women and girls that give men a free pass to rape, pillage and brutalize.
2. Stop feeding the patriarchy
Upholding patriarchal values in Indian society has oppressed women to stay right where they always will be in Indian culture -at their men’s feet.
All cultural practices are consolidated on caging women. It’s another one of the patriarchal manoeuvres to bind women in the ‘golden cage’ of Tyaag. Patriarchy has kept a check on women’s independence by conditioning her to a culture of obedience which is irrelevant and illogical for today’s age.
|Read The Blog On –How Patriarchy Affects Men And Boys Too – Shocking Facts About Patriarchy|
3. Stop worshiping outdated traditions
There is a lot of criticism about those that participate in Karva Chauth. It is after all a sacred Hindu custom, that has no relevance in society today.
People give stupid reasons to participate, ‘’It’s so fun, you get to wake up before sunrise and eat, and then not eat all day, or drink all day, all in honor of your husband and then break your fast by looking at the moon, looking at him, touching his feet and he gets to feed you” Where is the fun in that exactly? Oh, you get a gift too #weird.
It has also become an emerging trend for mothers in law to gift their daughters in law baskets of fruits, nuts and drinks to sustain themselves in the hours before observing the fast. Some husbands even take the day off from work to stay in with their wives, while others gift them saris and jewellery to adorn themselves with. But still, I do not see how any of this stop feeding into the mindset of submissiveness.
Is this really moving with the times? How suppressed and disrespected do you have to be as an Indian woman to enjoy a day of fasting and hunger in the name of Karwa Chauth?
4. Stop putting a woman’s health last
We have seen many women fasting even when they were sick. How can any religion justify the importance of religious ritual above health and life?
A number of pregnant women participate in this festival, even though it should not be expected of them. Gynecologists advise pregnant mothers against taking the fast since it even prohibits the drinking of water. We shudder to think of some families that impose this upon their expectant daughters/daughters in law. The implications of this are dangerous and may lead to hypertension, gestational diabetes and other complications. Some expectant mothers, however, are resolute about this and to them We say – your health and that of your unborn child’s comes first.
5. Stop calling it Indian Valentine’s Day
Karva Chauth simply feeds into the hype for a festival that is fast being commercialized as the Indian Valentine’s Day. How utterly ‘romantic’, a day of going without food that may bring on mental instability, low blood pressure, heartburn, and even gastritis. Oh, but it’s for the ‘greater good’. The greater good of who exactly? Some husbands go along with the fasting and so it is declared a couples’ bonding experience, but I fail to see the romantic angle here. How unbearable is a hungry person to be around? Multiply that by two and you have an all-out war, on the one day that is supposedly a sign of love… There are other ways a couple can celebrate the abundance they are fortunate to possess and the love they share and as much as you may hate me for saying this, fasting will not do it. If you want to fill your relationship with romance you can go for a Candlelight dinner.
6. Stop making Bollywood movies about downtrodden women
This has added to the romanticism effect of the festival. Bollywood movie scenes where wives observe this fast are glamorized and shown as a fun-filled occasion. While the lives of unmarried women, widowed women and single mothers are still regarded in Bollywood movies with taboo and scepticism, even when there are movies that challenge these ideas such as Mira Nair’s Water.
7. Stop encouraging young girls to get involved in misogyny
More unmarried girls and brides to be are getting in on this stupid celebration. No less than targets the busy working professionals among us to uphold this archaic tradition.
Plenty of future daughter in laws also makes this annual sacrifice to appease the ‘Gods’ that are their future in-laws. Since the Pati (husband) is Parmeshwar (God) then, of course, his parents are too.
8. It’s a game of marketing
This toxic romantic materialism of Karva Chauth is something that marketers and popular culture have strives hard to achieve. From jewellery brands to FMCG products, to what we watch on screen, we consume ideas that promote this ritual, often selling it as an indelible experience of marital bliss and romance.
9. The reality of women’s position in India
This romantic makeover adds no value to the lives of women in a country that is still struggling to break free from the socio-religious liabilities that most of the women have to bear. A country which is still tied to the values of marital rape and female foeticide and a work-force that is still far from being gender neutral. In such a country, traditions such as the Karva Chauth tie its women to their traditional roles of being mute passive bystanders in their own lives.
In its materialistic subtleties, Karva Chauth is a reward for bearing the burdens of tradition and that too only by a lucky few.
We silently observe the tableau of women going to and fro looking for the moon, many are beaten by their husbands, very few enjoy genuine affection with their partners, but they still carry on, fervently praying for their lord and master to whom their destiny is tied forever.
10. Don’t be a Blind Followers
India is a country where most of the population follow the things their parents have been doing unaware of the reasons why are they doing what they are doing. Fasting of any kind; starving for God, for oneself or for anyone proves nothing and doesn’t make any logical sense. I don’t have the tiniest clue about how these women relate their starving to the life expectancy of their husbands. Is there some super-secret science that I’m unaware of?
“These vrats seem to have been created to remind women from time to time that they are born to serve, create and serve.”
11. If there is Karwa Chauth then why Indian Men don’t have the longest lifespan in Earth
There are many stories created to eternalize the myth with scary tales for women who did not follow the tradition and the dreadful consequences. This myth became so entrenched that nobody challenges to break it. Women are scared into it by their mother-in-law’s and even their mothers and they truly believe in the superstition that if they don’t fast, their husbands will lead a short life. Why it is difficult to understand for a woman that her husband was living his life before marriage and would have lived a long life even if he was not married. Keeping a fast will not amend his time on this earth. If it did, then Indian men would have had the longest lifespan in the whole world. It is nothing but a reinforcement of patriarchy and the funniest thing is that it is a reinforcement of patriarchy by women themselves.
Fun fact: the male life expectancy in India (with an 80 per cent Hindu population) is 66 years and globally (with a 15 per cent Hindu population) it is 71 years, so maybe the fasting technique isn’t working so well after all.
12.The reason of Long Lifespan
According to statistics, life expectancy is much more in Scandinavian countries than in India, approximately 15 years more. And these countries aren’t religious anymore, just more educated and advanced. Same goes for many other countries, where life expectancy is more.
13. Stop participating in The Rat Race
Many women practice it as it has become a commodity celebration where women gather with all the decking ups, thalis, mehandis, on the verge of fainting, stories of how hard the day had been without food and water. Nobody wants to left out of the rat race and nobody wants the world to think that they don’t love their husband. Do we fail to understand how on earth can someone prove her love for her husband by staying hungry?
“Love is best expressed when hearts are full of love…not when tummies are grumbling!”
14. Some Indian men are also celebrating this illogical festival
Nowadays, some Indian couples keep a conjoined fast to reduce the guilt of their western inclination. Here, men’s involvement tries to cover the misty inequality. However, it is still an option for him and compulsion for her.
15. Karwa Chauth fill inferiority in Indian females
Karwa Chauth is just another way of telling the women, “how important a man’s life is and how her existence is totally dependent on her husband.” Indian society starts to instill the feeling of inferiority in girls from a very young age through discrimination, intimidation, superstitions, traditions and so on. They are conditioned to believe that their self-restraint will ensure longevity for their spouse.
The logical and Practical reason behind not celebrating Karwa Chauth aka KC
Marriage is a beautiful bond of love, parity, togetherness and mutual respect. It should have no space for patriarchal rituals that create apparatus to oppress women. Expression of love has nothing to do with apparent rituals and customs. If you look at this ritual, women actually worship their husbands like gods with a thali, dia, etc. They touch the feet of their husbands. The tradition that forces women to worship men is as harsh as definitive violence.
In our society, women who do not succumb to societal pressure and don’t observe these traditions are forced to practice it. Unfortunately, our patriarchal society is full of people who degrade us. As a woman, at least we should not pull another one down and respect the individuality of another woman.