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Jun 09 2012

Shame on women!

Even educated women still practice various customs, cultures and traditions that are anti-women.

Mangalsutra
A woman wears Mangalsutra, a black beads necklace, for her husband’s health and well-being. Would a man wear a Mangalsutra for his wife’s health and well-being? Hell no!

Sindoor

Married women wear vermilion or Sindoor on the forehead and along the hair parting line. The Sindoor symbolizes the deep respect, devotion and dedication of a Hindu woman to her husband. Would a married man wear Sindoor on his forehead for the same purpose? Hell no!

Sankha Pola Loha

Married women wear bangles: Sankha, Pola and Loha for husband’s health. Did a man ever wear Sankha, Pola, or Loha for his wife’s health? Hell no!

Bhai Phota

‘Bhai Phota’ is performed by women. They fast and put an auspicious mark with sandal wood paste on their brothers’ foreheads, feed them sweets, give them gifts and pray for their health, happiness and prosperity. Is there a system that a man also fast and put an auspicious mark on his sister’s forehead and pray for her health, happiness and prosperity? Hell no!


Karwa Chauth

People still believe that abstaining from meals, or fasting, can prolong the life of a loved one. Women fast for 24 hours to ensure that their husbands live long lives. Do men do the same for their wives? Hell no!

Touching husband’s feet

A woman bows her head, touches her husband’s feet, takes the dust from the feet and put them on her head on her wedding day to show her submission to her husband. Would a man ever do this? Hell no!

Jamai Sasthi or Son-in-law Day

Jamai Sasthi ritual is celebrated for health and well-being of son-in-law. The son-in-law is invited to a grand celebration in the house of his in-laws. He is served delicious food. Is it possible to have a similar celebration for health and well-being of daughter-in-law? Hell no!

There are hundreds of anti-women rituals that Hindu women perform without questioning. It is alarming that women still perform these rituals in the 21st century. Throughout history sane people have made many misogynistic cultures go extinct. But in some countries, patriarchal traditions are celebrated more ceremoniously than ever. You may say only illiterate women do it, women’s education will solve all the problems. But the truth is, educated women perform anti-women patriarchal rituals more perfectly than illiterate women, because educated women have better learning capacity. They learn every small details of patriarchy that illiterate women can not learn.

Who will fight misogynistic tradition if modern women remain busy practicing it? A few reformist men in the 19th century fought for abolishing Suttee (widow burning), for women’s education, and for widows’ remarriage. In the 21st century, a new set of enlightened revolutionary men is probably needed to save women from the darkness.

68 comments

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  1. 1
    leni

    It would be sweet if the gestures were returned, but without that reciprocity it does seem grotesque. And depressing.

  2. 2
    Ned Champlain

    All because they were born in the wrong country. Not that other traditions are any better, but at least in an open society the bonds are more easily broken.

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    How much choice do they have? (not a rhetorical question–I am genuinely curious) What are the consequences if a woman should choose not to engage in these rituals?

    1. 3.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Women financially dependent on husbands have limited choices. But women who are educated and financially independent have a choice to say NO. But unfortunately not many independent women stop practicing anti-women rituals.

      1. Sanjay Rai

        If women are independent financialy and have power to influence society or their male counterpart even they are following their tradition, then what’s wrong in it? Tradition which dosnt affect life in wrong way should be followed.if it is forcefully then it shouldn’t be.

        1. Yessenia

          The children are watching their mothers do this. Children are watching their fathers not reciprocating. Girls are learning they are worth less than boys. If you don’t see the harm, you’re just not looking hard enough.

          1. Taru Dutt

            Taslimadi, You are absolutely right. I have met any number of highly educated Indian women who insist on wearing the shakha and pola (bangles signifying that a woman is married) as well as huge splashes of sindoor (vermilion signifying the women is married) in the parting of their hair. When I asked some why they did this, they told me: “this is my personal choice.” Or “this is our culture.” These women are not only educated, but often have good jobs as well. Some of them do not even live in India, but abroad.

            Bravo! A “personal” choice of such political implications! Shame on us women, too, who teach our sons and daughters and the future generations to come that just because a custom is part of someone’s “culture” it cannot be challenged or questioned. That saying something is a “personal choice” somehow means it must be immune to criticism.

            When I was handed the vermilion powder to wear at my own wedding reception, I smeared some of it on my husband’s head, saying: “If I am married, is he not married to me too? Then let him wear something to show it!”

            To this day I wear nothing but a plain wedding ring – something I have borrowed from the Western tradition, realizing sadly – and with no little frustration and disappointment – that Indian culture has nothing similar to offer a woman who does not wish to celebrate being “owned” by a man. My husband wears the same. No vermilion powder, no bangles, no mangalsutra, no nothing for me. And while other women may choose to wear these things, making all manner of excuses and justifications, nothing says I have to endorse their choice.

            I do not.

  4. 4
    Katabolic

    I do not think it is wrong for people to want to show support for others through customs like these. When I was a child (late 1950s and early 1960s in the US), it was a custom for a man to open and hold the door when a woman was entering or leaving a room; a man who did not do so would be shamed. By the time I became a teenager and young wife (late 1960s and early 1970s), the feminist movement was well established, and I purposefully adopted a policy that I would open and hold a door for a person behind me every time I was the first to reach it, regardless of if it was a man or woman. Many men reacted poorly to this at first, but I was not the only woman who independently decided on this door-opening policy, and over the next decade the custom started to change. These days it is not unusual for a woman to hold a door for a man, who will also express thanks instead of an apology when reaching the door. That is, the custom is changing so that opening and holding a door for the next person is just a common courtesy independent of gender.

    Perhaps changes in how these Hindu customs of devotional fasting are performed could be started by enlightened wives and sisters insisting on reciprocity. For example, a younger sister could fast for her brother, while soliciting a commitment from the brother to fast for the sister at some future date; an older sister could suggest that she will gladly fast for her brother, but only after he has fasted in her honor. Similar reciprocal arrangements might be made between husbands and wives. Husbands might at first be considered by other men to be hen-pecked or otherwise too submissive to their wives, but if the husbands insist on showing pride in this devotion, or other men’s wives start asking their husbands why they are not so devoted as so-and-so’s husband, then the modified custom has a lot of potential to spread.

    What do you think of this idea?

    1. 4.1
      Liesmith

      I’m in my late 20′s, so I think I missed the height of the “chivalry” period of Americana. Holding a door open for a woman, but not a man, sounds almost alien to me…I was raised to just hold a door for anyone behind me as a courtesy.

      It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I dated an older woman who insisted that I open car doors for her, and pull out her chair, and stand when she approached a table.

      It’s odd to think that two people from the same region and similar socioeconomic situations, raised less than a generation apart, could have such completely different concepts of common courtesy. It makes me wonder how much America, or perhaps more importantly the cultures that Taslima described, can change in another 20 years.

    2. 4.2
      Traveling Txn

      I think it’d be awesome if these signs of respect/adoration/ect were expected to be shown to each other (as opposed to only women showing it to men) I dont know how much we can do to influence the process since pointing it out and saying this is wrong as (for me personally) a white american tends to generate a lot of claims of being a cultural elitist and cultural imperialism, but Im definitely right there with you on this.

  5. 5
    Dawn

    These are cultural wives traditions- I do not see them as anti-woman at all. The are pro husband certainly… but in the Hindu context marriage is very important and the keystone to marriage and family is the woman. http://www.hinduwebsite.com/marriage.asp Marriage is a very spiritual thing for the Hindu people- these are just manifestations of that spirituality. I am sorry that you do not understand the social and spiritual context. But these things are not anti-woman. Please focus on the actual harmful anti-woman practices around the world.

    1. 5.1
      Indrani Das

      I’m sorry to say that you fail to understand what marriage is. Marriage has got nothing to do with spirituality. It is purely based on love & understanding between two people. Anything that doesn’t revolve around them or their love is not worth considering. These customs were made by Hindu Brahmins in Vedic age so that they can rule upon women. Oldest civilization of India, i.e. Indus Valley civilization was matriarchal & not patriarchal. Please get your facts right before commenting such things.

      1. Mahesh

        I would suggest you to get your facts straight in the first place. Is there a proof that Indus Valley civilization was matriarchal? And regarding the Brahmins in the Vedic age, none of these are mentioned in the Vedas. Certainly not “sati” system or the horrible widowhood is required out of women. They developed later, during the Muslim invasions of India (by Ghazni and Ghori and later, the Mughals). The reason was, that after the battle, if the Muslims won, they would come and carry away the wives of the fallen Hindus forcefully and the women wished to avoid it. But later, it became a practice and then a bane to the society. Anyway, it has been nearly abolished for good.
        And Indus Valley civilization is NOT the oldest civilization in India. There are many archelogical, linguistic and presently genetic proof regarding this. Please read some of Prof. Kazanas’ papers in history journals or conferences for reference.
        As to marriage. Marriage is certainly love between two people and there has to be a lot of understanding. And often, it is out of this deep sense of love that women (and I know men who reciprocate) do things like wearing a mangalsutra. At that stage, it doesn’t really matter whether the husband or the wife is reciprocating every thing one does for the other. It suffices that one knows the other loves you as much as you do her/him. And it certainly doesn’t matter what the society thinks, either what the feminists think or what the fundamentalists think.

    2. 5.2
      Yessenia

      Dawn, I’m not sure that arguing that these rituals aren’t anti-woman because a Hindu woman’s place is, after all, in the home, is as compelling as you might think.

    3. 5.3
      Ysanne

      Dawn,
      if marriage is very important and the wife is so important to the marriage, could you please point to rituals and customs that signify the husband’s appreciation of his wife and his devotion to her?

  6. 6
    manishmishra

    I do not know how trivial it will look to you but rituals change from time to time, and believe me they follow a definite pattern throughout the world. “Baggie pant and T-shirts” were common in 90s, but now they look awkward, isn’t it. Females in India have also changed their styles phenomenally to not only to look better but also to look smart.So change is the phenomena of life.There are enormous numbers of behavioral patterns a woman follow to please/impress a man (not necessarily her Husband), and a man does to please a woman (not necessarily his wife),and they have to do it because we are not living in isolation, and we have to show what we posses (instead of boasting about it which seems un-mannered). A man wears a Rolex watch on a premium textured suit, drives in Rolls-Royce and keeps a high priced leather wallet, just to show that he is more successful, than those who don’t have it. By seeing such a person, a man definitely will envy him, but women will say “Wow”, what a luxury. This is behavioral pattern which demands investment of energy and brain and in turn shows that you are having a better DNA inside you. According to Darwin, a Trait (Gene) which seems fit in present, may not be in future. If an Tsunami/Quake comes and leaves nothing behind, a person with more wild traits will only survive. Anyway we do many things unknowingly (and please do remember more than 95% of your body’s functions are out of your control, and controlled by concentration of some molecules. alas!!). You yourself has wore Sari on many occasions (don’t you think its also a stigma on woman), and you indeed have got compliment for it “That you are looking beautiful”. Have you ever thought, why do we all (let alone humans) in the world try to look beautiful and strong and smart? There is an inherent genetic basis to all these, which we have evolved through ~3 billions of years of evolution. And I will request you to go through some books on Animal Behavior and Sociobiolgy, I am sure you will get answers to many intriguing questions of yours. Please let me exemplify it: Why do a woman wears a vermilion ? It shows that you are married, this means you will invite fight with a man if you dare touch this woman. And you know females have always been a rare friend to posses, they not only take care of you, your family but also help you to multiply you DNA (so Selfish Genes again)and males do fight for females in almost all mammalian species is an established fact. So you might ask, why don’t man wear vermilion, well he wears a beard, moustache, a rogue look on face and a well build body to show to other man that don’t fight me. Those who don’t posses these are really vulnerable in wild (a Laborour will not hesitate to beat Mukesh Ambani if both of them have to survive in wild). But now the scenarios have changed woman can show their capability and smartness by several other means and similarly man can also, and they are doing it. I know many woman who don’t really wear any vermilion (or wear it in a way almost invisible, so that they can look unmarried to others). You have to have a knowledge of behavioral biology to understand many of things which look stigmas or rituals to you. I do agree very many rituals today are devised by some fanatics having no scientific background, but are changing drastically as anything which is unnatural and unbearable will automatically be discarded. Nature and life are very conservative, it cannot posses anythings which requires input of energy but no output. ( We die naturally when the outputs becomes negative). The world is changing and it is always welcomed by a Geneticist. And if you don’t agree with me, then you have to have behave like a Sanyasi. Keep with you the things which are necessary for survival. Don’t wear expensive ornaments, watches, saris, bangles either; don’t drive in a luxury vehicle, live in posh colonies and costly bungalows.You will then truly become a spirited soul that day. With all respect to you, Can you do it Madam??.

    1. 6.1
      Yessenia

      TL;DR. Next time, consider the enter key.

  7. 7
    Apurva Kumar

    I have never heard a man going to the court of law for divorce on the ground of having a wife who is reluctant to wear Mangalsutra or sindoor. Then what’s the big deal? Women are free to move ahead and do whatever they like!

    1. 7.1
      blondeintokyo

      Are you saying there’s no social pressure or shaming happening to women in India? In the US, we’re perfectly free not to get married or have a baby. But most women do regardless of their personal wants or needs be ause there is such pressure. Constantly being shamed, told you are less of a woman, or ostracised- these things happen to any woman who doesn’t fit in. I’f you say India is different, I’ll be very surprised indeed.

      1. Dee

        In the US, women are the one’s pushing for marriage and shaming men into it. U.S. women are complaining about how men are avoiding marriage.

      2. Taru Dutt

        India isn’t different at all. Plenty of shaming and pressure and to spare. Any Indian who says otherwise is a liar, just as any European-American who says the U.S. is “post-racial” is a liar.

    2. 7.2
      S Babu

      I have heard of a man SLAPPING his wife because she wasn’t wearing bangles on Karva Chauth.

  8. 8
    Graham Martin-Royle

    Unfortunately most societies have traditional rituals that are anti-women; just consider a traditional wedding in the west, even a secular one, it is still considered normal for the father to accompany the bride to the ceremony and then hand her over to the groom. Most brides want their fathers to play this role even though it symbolises the woman as a piece of property. I think it will take some time before we extinguish this type of ritual.

  9. 9
    Lovebird

    //Why should not financially independent women choose to follow what they “like”?//

    1. The “like” factor is mainly because of conforming to the standard, and not to risk reputation. Otherwise, it is not much of a “sweet”personal choice.
    The place where vermilion is kept continuously – gets itchy – goes slightly bald – sweats badly in tropical weather,
    Mangal sutra does not actually suit all kinds of wear, and people hide it using pins- really, why then wear? –
    Metti (“mandatory” toe-ring for Tamilians) is the ultimate torture-

    2. Financial independence in the middle class Indian family – does not actually translate to “independence” – there is lot of pressure from parents/in-laws. I married into a well educated family and am financially super-independent. But still my mom-in-law put so much pressure on me to do all this stupidity(I believe these are irritating rituals- especially in South India, you are not supposed to remove mangalsutra for even taking bath). Polite refusals did not work. So I had to scowl and be a baddie.

    Not many women want to be baddie in family – and when really independent women(there is a continuous increase in this sector) “choose” to continue this, the stupidity stays publicly alive and creates issues for women who want to opt out of it.

    And why people talk so much about “choice”, when these are so blatantly patriarchal-stupid-meaningless stuff? How/when will things change for better ? At least when these people do such stuff – if they let ppl know that this is a fashion statement, then it is okay – but if they just flaunt their “piety”/obsequiousness (just judging by – TV sitcoms/movies etc.) – then it really nonsense. Choice of the privilege keeps racking the lives of the underprivileged.

    Okay – this is just assuming that women really “choose” to do these.
    Seriously, out of some 500 women I’ve met so far in “my” life, there is hardly somebody for whom – this junk is “pure choice”.

    1. 9.1
      KK

      I agree with you. Almost all women are being forced to do these stupid things. If anyone says it’s a choice, then they are cheating themselves.

      I’m well-educated, newly married n living with my husband, away from my inlaws. I used to work, but now staying at home because of my health issues. Before marriage, when I asked my husband if there would be any restictions regarding my dressing etc, he said “You can wear whatever you want. You can be yourself”etc etc.

      But I found this not at all true while we were travelling to the in-laws just after marriage. My sisters-in-law kept forcing me to wear red bindi instead of black bindi. Since I was a child, I hated red bindi. They said since I’m married now, I should not wear black anymore n always wear bangles, even when travelling n it is uncomfortable. My husband simply sat there n said nothing. Oh yeah, he said something..To wear the red bindi. He said he doesn’t want any fights within his family, so I have to go along with their customs. That one week at my in-laws was really a nightmare. Though I helped my inlaws in all housechores, that was not enough. My husband kept nagging and scolding me to go n help every second. He knew I was tired n not feeling well n still..

      Here in our house, his behaviour is completely different. He helps me with cooking sometimes when he’s free. He won’t mind if I dont wear bindi at all. But when we go to inlaws, the devil comes out.

      My inlaws are away, but they call us daily n ask if I’m doing all the cooking n stuff properly and I’m supposed to be obedient, or else my husband becomes very defensive about his family. The only thing I dont understand is, who am I? Am I not his family? This daily torture is taking toll on my health n I dont think I’ll be healthy again.

      Now I have to go there tomorrow n I dont know what will happen this time. I’m thinking of being myself this time n see what they will do. I was always a soft spoken n sensitive girl, n now I’ve to become harsh I guess. Also I have to become financially independent again. When I tell anyone all these, they advise me to adjust n this revolutionary behaviour is not good for relations.

  10. 10
    Rani Haridas

    Thank god my husband just hates all the crap like a mangalsutra, sindoor etc. He likes modest women and thats the way I am.

  11. 11
    Stray Data Point

    Hello, first time commentor here.

    I understand why you find these traditions wrong and abhorrent and I’m with you on that. I also understand your desire for them to get away and your frustration with women that perpetuate them.

    That being said, I find your post kinda offensive and women-shaming (d’uh, since you put it in the title).

    While it is true that women that have acces to education and financial independence have a greater freedom and a higher responsibility to society to break away from anti-women traditions, there is still a cost to doing so. Women that would refuse to participate in all this theater would be regarded as unfeminine, or “bitches” and would have their social lives complicated. I think subversion and opposition is the morally ok thing to do for me, and I think the costs are worth it. However, feminism shouldn’t be about shaming women, making light of their struggles, or telling them they are “not good enough”, or that they are responsible for misogyny and oppression. Women have to deal with a lot of shit just by being women (and feminist women get even more shit), they shouldn’t get additional shit for not being good enough at feminism.

    It is especially disturbing that you end your post with a remark about how enlighted men should do the liberating for them silly ladiez with their macho manly skillz or something (I still hope you were being sarcastic).

    I’m not trying to say that you were being anti-women in your post, and I am most definetely not trying to attack you. I respect your work, but I think in this particular case your anger and frustration made you attack the wrong group.

    1. 11.1
      Yessenia

      So it’s unacceptable woman-shaming to say women are responsible for ending misogyny, it’s sexist to say that men are responsible for ending misogyny.

      Who is left, then?

      1. Stray Data Point

        It’s sexist to say enlighted men should end discramination _for_ women. The onus falls on sexist organizations and sexist men. They have the responsibility to change. Of course, these things won’t change by themselves, and they only ever change as a result of pressure from women and feminists. I prefer my feminism with encouregement and safe-space creation, rather than shaming, but Taslima is right that educated women can and should apply this kind of pressure.
        So, my problem is more a matter of framing, than of what should happen.

        I guess I was really disturbed by the ending, which is all kinds of wrong and plays right into a “male-washing” of feminism, that I’ve encountered way too often and am sick of.
        There is also some “upper-class washing”. Mainstream feminism already has a huge problem with neglecting the contributions of poor uneducated women.

        But I really empathize with the feeling. I am not familiar with these particular traditions, but my blood boils when highly-educated, financially independent women I know just go ahead with taking their husband’s name, because it’s just tradition and it doesn’t mean anything. It means a lot and it contributes to a culture that sees these things as norm. Sigh

        1. Yessenia

          I think that the point she was making was that so-called ‘enlightened’ men still engage in these practices, and therefore that ‘enlightened’ men need to lead by example. Just like here we’d say it doesn’t matter how progressive a man, if he still expects his wife to do all the housework. It’s calling out hypocrisy.

          1. Stray Data Point

            Sorry, away from the internet for too long.
            I didn’t understand what Taslima was saying. Of course I agree, men should stop engaging in misogyny.

  12. 12
    Sanjeev K Jha

    We worship our women also; see her as goddess, mother, and we believe that they are power of universe. In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact a superior position to, men. In fact we believe that all men power comes from the feminine. And we didn’t think that if I am doing this you also must do this. This give and take formula is just a debauchery.

  13. 13
    S Babu

    There is also the Bengali custom of ‘Jamai Shosthi’ where parents honour their daughter’s husband (Jamai). There is of course, no reciprocal ceremony where parents honour their son’s wife (bou-ma). She only exists to be tormented and used like an unpaid servant. Oh, and give them grandsons, of course.

    1. 13.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Thanks. I added Jamai Sasthi.

  14. 14
    sameer bora

    sorry to reach out via a twisted way, but i work with google, and if you DM me i can figure out a way to escalate things internally re: your account. please catch me at [ sbora at google dot com ] and i will try to help.

  15. 15
    moreena

    once i have read on Taslima’s tweet that though she is not married woman she wears ‘mangalsootra’. i want to ask you if you don’t mind why do you wear it?

    1. 15.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      I wear Mangalsutra to break the tradition of Mangalsutra. No unmarried woman wears Mangalsutra. I am not married and it is not for health and well-being of any husband.

      1. Taru Dutt

        Besh korechen! Well done!

      2. Not You

        If this is the logic behind yrs.., then you must also wear engagement ring to destroy this tradition too..

  16. 16
    Taru Dutt

    “Marriage is a very spiritual thing for the Hindu people – these are just manifestations of that spirituality.” — Dawn

    This is bollocks. Marriage is a very misogynist and patriarchal thing for the Hindu people – as it has been and is in many other cultures – and these are actually manifestations of that very misogyny, that very patriarchy.

    This sort of defence is common as it’s false. It’s the same as when Islamists attempt to defend the burka and other anti-women practices in Islam, the most common defence being: “A woman in a hijab is like a pearl in her shell.”

    Bollocks. Balderdash. Tommyrot. Nonsense. Rubbish. Gammon and spinnage. Bunkum.

    Spirituality my arse. The Hindu tradition – ay, and moi qui vous parle am brought up in the same tradition – can at its best be humanistic and inclusive, but at the same time is deeply rooted in the most horrible misogyny. This isn’t the first time slavery is being justified in the name of “spirituality” “religion” “culture” “custom” “tradition” and any number of other shibboleths. There is no justification true enough to cover the shame of treating one half of the human race as less than human. Shame, shame upon such defenders. Show some guts, people.

    Thank you, Taslimadi, for boldly pointing out the ugly truth. For airing our dirty linen. If women such as you do not do so from time to time, these apologists and defenders of misogyny will go unchallenged. Our daughters will continue to learn that they are inferior, and they will pass along that ghastly lesson to their daughters.

    Thank you for breaking the cycle.

  17. 17
    Sammie Germain

    Great submit, is a daily targeted visitor to any extent further!

  18. 18
    Sharmistha

    Any religion compels women to be subordinate to their male counterparts and does it in a guise of spirituality, devotion etc etc. Almost in every part of the globe family is considered as a bloodline of man where a woman needs to act as a mere child producing machine, free cook, maid servant etc. Almost every ritual is intended to glorify ‘MAN’. Its the girl’s parents who needs to pay dowry (except for a few classes). Prior to marriage a girl carries her father’s surname and then her husband’s. People glorifying Hinduism should know that it describes a woman to be a property of her father during childhood, in her youth she belongs to her husband (as the shackle is symbolized by vermillion, conch shell, mangal sutra and so on). In the ancient period after wars the victorious side used to seize the valuable goods, property and women from the defeated. Then the aseized women were smeared with the blood of their near and dear ones to mark them as the property of the victors. This is the origin of so called, hugely glorified sindoor. It just shows that the ownership of the girl is transferred from the father to the husband.And if these rituals are so auspicious then men should perform them equaly.

    I personally feel there are people who understands the argument but not have courage and integrity enugh to swim against the current. People now supporting these religious rites might also have been supported Sati burning ritual had not it been abolished. Religion has a great power to solemnize an inhuman act to be pro-cultural, pro-society.

    Women still following these worthless and self-disgracing customs must know that 150 years back it was shameful for a girl to be literate, show her face to any unknown man or to be unmarried after 15. All these are obsolete now. If so called modern women are so respectful to their culture then they should follow the rules mentioned above. Religion never gets evolutionized and so are some self centred people who can reap the fruit of other people’s struggle but terms them as “characterless” . Shame on such hypocrits.

  19. 19
    poulami

    U forgot to mention “poite” or “upanayan”,there is not a single ceremony to celebrate or pamper girls and women,think of widowhood,according to traditions,what a woman does if the husband dies, she gets rid of all her clothes,jewellery,colors,meat,fish,onion,garlic or anything that might add some happiness or prosperity for the rest of her life,that includes finding a new husband and live like that till her last breath, and what a man does?
    he starts looking for a new wife or enjoy the new found bachelorhood. The discrimination disgusts me to no end.The sad part is, in-spite of reforms,the age old crap is still going strong in many “bonedi” families who are just insufferably incapable of getting rid of medieval-ism from their lives and minds.

  20. 20
    taniya says

    well everythin doesnt end in feminism .. i am a very independant person n my husband knows dat.. my in laws r villagers who think it necessary to wear all these stuff n i dont blame them.. i wear it in frnt of them for their happiness n open it later wen my husband is only around n he ds nt mind.. if that makes them happy well enough.. my in laws sacrifice a lot for me ..my studies my career .. cnt i do dis much.. i dont wear it wen i go out.. its all on how you balance.. if your country is like this then you have to find out a way to extract your happiness in your way.. so that you and every1else remains happy.. i might be wrong for some people .. n some may criticise me bt in everyday life we do this bt just dont accept n name it feminism..

  21. 21
    Namehere

    F*ck you. Ignorant c*nt.

  22. 22
    siri

    i think these traditions kept women occupied in past there was nothing significant to do ….anyway i can see now none of my frnds follow any of these except wearing mangalsutra

  23. 23
    Preeti

    Sometimes educated and uneducated hardly makes difference…We are forced to do certain things and just for the concern and respect and to avoid big fight women follow whether it sounds good to her or not…In my community we have to wear saree whether we are comfortable or not..we have to have ghughat…If we try to go against that, not even our parents stood by our side..Husbands who already belongs to his own family never go against their parents…He always wish to adjust overselves according to their family requirement not his family to make some respective changes..
    We married should have freedom to choose our dressing and all after marriage…Strict laws can only help us…

  24. 24
    Rashmi

    I’m Indian woman financially stable living in US. I’ve not even changed my last name after marriage but I still wear MangalSutra. Wearing MangalSutra does reflect our culture and has nothing to do with women being inferior. Won’t western women wear a diamond pendent if her hubby lovingly buys it ?

    I don’t know, what problem do you’ve with MangalSutra ?. If you want to wear it fine, or don’t wear it. Things will be bad only if it’s forced upon. Western women always change their last name after marriage and why anyone is not asking men to change name instead ? Liberation doesn’t come just by the way you dress up. If any woman enjoys the way she does, leave her alone.

  25. 25
    Shree

    I wear mangalsutra most of the time. My husband doesn’t mind if I remove it. Even I have asked him to put the mangalsutra on his neck and he has done it many times while we are at home and even when we go out. When I go out with him wearing t-shirt and jeans, I remove my mangalsutra and keep it inside my jeans’ front pocket. I usually don’t carry any handbag / secure the handbag in the car. One day, when I took my mobile phone out of my pocket, the mangalsutra fell out of the pocket. Luckily I noticed it after few seconds. From then on, I give it to my husband to wear it if he is wearing a shirt. The mangalsutra doesn’t pop out of the shirt and no one passerby will be able to guess he is wearing one.

  26. 26
    aniket arya

    NAMASKAAR TASLIMAA JI………………..
    WELL AGAIN NO KNWLEDEGE..
    U JUST A COPY CAT………………….
    SINDOOR WAS NOT A PART OF HINDUISM ………….IT CAME WHEN MUGHALS CAME …….THEY USED TO RAPE AND KIDNAPE HINDU WOMEN SO HINDU WOMEN STARTED SINDOOR TO SHOW THAT SHE IS MARRIED. BUT ..=D DO U KNW THE MEANING OF SINDOOR ? WE FEEL SINDOOR IN MAANG …NOW WHAT IS MANG …WHICH MEAN WISH ..DER IS A MANG IN HEAD TOO ..SO HUSBAND FEEL SINDOOR IN HER MANG AND SAYS I WILL FULL FILL YOU ALL WISHES ..THAT IS THE MEANING OF SINDOOR……….AND IT IS NOT IMPORTANT ..IN HINDUISM WOMAN CAN PUT IF SHE WANTS ..BUT SHE LOOKS BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE PUT…………..

    1. 26.1
      smriti mukherjee

      bloody Aniket,
      you need a tifght slap on both of your cheeks, before calling Taslima Nasrin a copy cat, pls do some homework if you have a web connection. what is the origin of Sindur? i dont think tha Ramayan and the Mahabharat came after the Mughal dynasty.

  27. 27
    aniket arya

    AGAIN LIE ..MANGAL SUTRA IS FOR HUSBAND’S HEALTH ..LOL
    MANGAL MEANS GOOD AND HAPPY………….WHY THE HELL U R RELATING WITH HUSBAND’S HEALTH.
    SUTRA MEANS THREAD.. MANGAL SUTRA IS JUST THAT WOMEN IS MARRIED NOTHING ELSE…..

  28. 28
    aniket arya

    SHANKHA ,POLA AND LOHA…FOR HUSBANDS HEALTH HAHAHAHAHAHHA
    U MUST BE JOKING AYE IT IS AN ORNAMENTS NOTHING ELSE..
    U WANT HUSBAND TO WEAR……….HE WILL LOOK STUPID IF HE WEAR……….

  29. 29
    aniket arya

    TASLEEMA HOW KNWLEDEGE LESS U R ……..
    FIRST U SAID BHAI POTA IS TO GIFT BROTHER..DEN U CAME WITH FAST
    HAHAHAH NO ONE TAKES FAST FOR DER BROTHER…WHERE THE HELL U GOT THIS INFORMATION

    AND AND AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
    WHAT IS RAKSHA BANDAN MY DEAR…………………=D
    WHERE BROTHER TAKE AN OATH TO TAKE CARE OF HER SISTER……………..
    U DIDNT SHOW THAT ..
    AGAIN LESS KNLWEDEGE ..
    U JUST FAMOUS COS OF EXPOSING ISLAM..ELSE U R NOTHING ………
    WORLD KNWS U COS U R AGAINST ISLAM ………AND FIGHT FOR WOMEN ..I SUPPORT U ..

    1. 29.1
      smriti mukherjee

      Aniket Arya
      how incorrigeably ridiculous you are, and how pathetic. I have forgotten that you do bonfota staying in fast every week.. your father does carba chawt for your mother and he wears sindoor mangalsutra for your mother’s well being. dont you think your sister or mother or wife also have health to be taken care of by you men through sindur or upbas? shame on you man. why dont you go to hell?

    2. 29.2
      smriti mukherjee

      and, pls, your English is very poor and ungrammatical, pls check. It mkes us laugh.

  30. 30
    aniket arya

    NOW COME TO KARWA CHAUTH ……..
    MAN ALSO CAN TAKE FAST IF HE WANTS
    DER IS NO LAW FOR WOMEN THAT U HAVE TO GO FOR FAST……………
    AND FASTING IS GOOD FOR HEALTH U KNOW …………….

  31. 31
    joe save hinduism

    you the insane taslima recollect ur knowledge u shit s the mangal sutra are the money bank of past present women for any of dsre bad dayz they look beautiful in that wat u islamic black boxed women can understand ur mother or grandma must be made wet by some hindu men which make u mens against our great indian religion u islamik witch go and take ur burka and than hot ur huby bed and kicked off by saying talak3 times unsafe in the society of heart less cruel miltant momdans

  32. 32
    Jyoti

    Shame on the author for trivializing our culture. Every woman has the right to chose what she wants to do. If she chooses to show respect and love thru age old customs, it’s her choice. There should be no shame but pride in showing respect in a relationship. She should not be judged or forced to follow these customs. May be not these rituals but men also do things to show love and respect to their spouse. Women reciprocate in their own way.

    1. 32.1
      smriti mukherjee

      women do not reciprocate in their own way. this way of wearing sindoor, sankha, pola is pressed upon us. we do not say anything because we do not want to hurt social sentiment.if you have the option of your own choice, then choices would have differred woman to woman. its really very funny that we will wear bangles in our hands and many such things make ourselves beautiful in the eyes of male counterparts in general and cry why we are not given equal rights. if we really want to get equal rights, we should be more human, than being women. try to go for some martial arts classes and learn some fighting skills which can give you protection. sindoor is really not a good idea for protection.

  33. 33
    Divyanka

    Dear Taslima Nasreen,

    I cannot believe it; there’s yet another human being on this earth, on the face of this planet, who’s blood boils when such matters are addressed. I thought I was the only one; the ugliness against females has drenched me of all energy, as any talk about ‘female this’ and ‘female that’ enrages me so much, one would think I have ‘anger management issues’ or ‘short temper’. Hah. Ridiculous.

    I am a follower of Sanatana Vedic Dharma, which is known as Hinduism today. If GOD really did create such dirty ‘rituals’ that oppress women, because they DO and there’s NO denying of it through ANY excuse possible, then I will fight GOD. And if GOD did not create it, which I’m sure HE didn’t, then I am at peace, for the worldly thoughts don’t bother me. The world is a place of trash and junk called people, and the shitty ‘social ‘norms” they impose, hmm, I wonder why on WOMEN, mean nothing.

    I wanted to also include that Sanatana Vedic Dharma doesn’t really have any such practice against women. Sindoor, mangalsutra, were never meant to be the garbage people are making out of them today. I strongly believe GOD wouldn’t create partiality and bias in HIS creation. Sindoor is also known as kum kum and is used on GOD murtis during formal prayer. Some corrupt moron may have decided to ‘invent’ sindoor as some trash women ‘must put’ on their stupid heads, otherwise the ‘husband’ will ‘die’. Well, that’s pretty weanie, isn’t it? And the mangalsutra was probably some other thing too, worn by BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. Remember, all HUMANS (women AND men) used to wear jewelry before. Ancient kings and all. Everything else in kaliyuga is worse, so it makes sense someone decided to use this junk to oppress women.

    My point is, oppressing women is NOT part of Sanatana Vedic Dharma. This shit is part of FILTHY social norms, dirty-minded, ugly, stupid, trashy, worthless, low-life people. ‘Norms’ that say women are ‘impure’, whatever the hell THAT is, during their ‘period’ (although periods are the reason life exists), that say women are ‘this’ and women ‘should do that’. Well you know what morons? It’s supposed to be HUMANS do this and HUMANS do that. There’s no ‘woman’. And if there IS ‘woman’, then she is GOD, because without HER, there is nothing. Face it; periods as early as age 9; a friggin year of carrying another human body in a body; that human body coming OUT of another human body; yea, men aint the ones here, in case ya didn’t notice.

    Continue your strong stance, Talisma. You are wonderful and a great blessing. But don’t count on any real change in real time, on large scale. The world is bound to get worse and uglier, and your unfortunate exile is proof of it. Good things are shat on, whereas bad things are honoured. I have experience…being from that typical brown family with that typical, STUPID, narrow-minded, dumb mother…

    Keep it up!

    1. 33.1
      smriti mukherjee

      I just want interrupt you once, that her name isnot Talisma. She is TASLIMA NASRIN, a reputed Bengali writer, who is forced out of her native land by the orthodox fanatics of Bangladesh. And it would be really great if you call her Taslima didi, by just not calling her Taslima. thank you.

  34. 34
    Divyanka

    Jyoti; I have not seen a comment any stupider than yours. The only kind of people I see in the world are HUMANS. I never noticed ‘women’ or ‘men’. Cuz that’s how it is; everyone’s a HUMAN. There doesn’t EXST any ‘women reciprocate in their own way’. If sindoor is some ‘age old custom’ for ‘women’, then it’s an ‘age old custom’ for MEN. Does this make sense to you? Probably not. No one is more traditional than me. And sindoor and mangalsutra are NOT part of Sanatana Vedic Dharma. If you want to follow your culture PROPERLY, then go practice meditation and bhakti so you can get moksha. According to you, women have the ‘choice’, right?? Well, sorry babe, it ain’t so simple. Women are FORCED, PRESSURED, and BOTHERED into putting that JUNK on THEIR bodies. And if you’re gonna claim now, that you’re a woman who CHOSE to wear it, I can’t say anything but that you’re pathetic. It’s very very simple; if ‘women’ do it? MEN do it. Period. This is NOT culture and the author is NOT ‘trivializing’ this culture. But of course, YOU would think so because you’re probably from some narrow minded, pathetic Indian village. ‘Men’ do things? Really? Not ONE of the trash the author mentioned is something ‘made for men’. Do men do karva chaut? Well, do they? Don’t think so, eh?

    Oh, Talisma, you didn’t include Sawan ki somwari. Some other garbage based on the dirty idea that ‘women NEED men’ and that ‘good husbands’ are very necessary. This pathetic practice doesn’t seem to think that MEN would ‘need good WIVES’. ‘Saawan ki Somwari’ should be the right spelling for this :)

    1. 34.1
      Nishtha

      I am so glad to know your thoughts Divyanka for I totally agree with them. Infact, I felt that you have actually written my thoughts and this motivated me to reply you.

      I am fed up of reading and listening to these rituals of how important ” marriage symbols” are for a married women ! And I am fed of reading/listening to jokes/conversation about distinction between man and women. We all are human, with good/bad with in and are on this planet to help each other survive, make contributions and define ourself from our deeds.

      I fail to understand that how can symbolising yourself for a man whom you would promise to spend you life with, would help in a stronger bond than to actually love him ?

      Its nice that you mentioned about Sanatana Dharma, wherein self-knowledge was given importance, but it is sad that our country, instead of realising education/knowledge being the sole culture of life are driven towards superstitions/rituals.

      I hope marriages to be just plain and simple and there should be no materialistic attributes attached to them.

  35. 35
    Anushka

    Hi,
    I disagree with the original article. And to prove my point without takind up too much space I would like you to read this article which shows tells why indian women put sindoor in their hair and bindi’s on their foreheads. It has a lot to do with the chakras and such matters.I highly encourage you to read most of the article even though it is quite lengthy and detailed.

    http://ajitvadakayil.blogspot.ca/2013/10/sindoor-vermilion-hindu-womans-mark-of.html

  36. 36
    smriti mukherjee

    I want to marry a boy who is younger to me by four years. i am a financially independent girl and try to support my family as far as I can. the man I love is a writer and therefore does not have a regular earning. he is from otherwise a poor but educated family. his mother is seek and his sister has brought him up. my family had not left a single stone unturned to stop me loving this man. but, now they have agreed with an air as if they are obliging us and forcing us to abide by the bullshit social customs. we just want a registry marriage with no guests other than our family members, but they want do “saat pake ghora”, “sindoor daan”,”samprodaan” etc etc. They are emotionally blackmailing us saying we do not care for them. They are even blaming my lover for my changing attitude, even though they know about my anti-orthodox beliefs. my father who used to be a communist has become a devoted Hindu and now they are not paying any heed to our requests. Am I wrong? Should I listen to them? I am just bleeding in my heart. I dont want to listen to them.

  37. 37
    nikhil

    well said madam, these all thing are wrong for women create a barrier…….And one thing u also add what is the need of post like husband or wife…..why not man or woman chosse their mate like day in week…….And what is need to create family system and relation like brother, sister, mother, father..etc……..why not we all move to aadimanav kaal which is good for both man and woman too………..

  38. 38
    Alex Nandini

    I’m a Hindu woman, and my research into Hindu culture shows tht I
    In the pre Islamic and pre Victorian(British) times men also wore kadas, necklaces, tilak, and janiu which are the male equivalent of sindoor bangles and mangalsutra. The mangalsutra was often made of the same string as the man’s janiu. When the Muslims and British came to India they made men act more accordingly to their customs. These fasts were also done in the olden days to conserve food, because if
    One person gave up a meal then the others in the house could eat more plentifully. The only customs that are sexist are the Jamai Sashti and the fact that the wife is the only one touching the feet of their spouse.

  1. 39
    No Country for Women- Gender equality or radical feminism?

    [...] inequality. Her outcry on gang rape, women’s education worldwide, violence against women, shaming women on their anti-women behavior, female genital mutilation or sexualization of breast cancer may disturb you, but once that wave [...]

  2. 40
    Shame on women!

    [...] a new set of enlightened revolutionary men is probably needed to save women from the darkness. Shame on women! | No Country for Women Came across this article by Tasleema Nasrin. The reason for me posting this article is that a few [...]

  3. 41
    Bhai Potha/Duj is Shame on women,a mark of male Chauvinism

    [...] Potha/Duj is Shame on women,a mark of male Chauvinism Shame on women! Even educated women still practice various customs, cultures and traditions that are anti-women. [...]

  4. 42
    Shame on women!:Festivals and customs that are made for male chauvinism

    [...] on women!:Festivals and customs that are made for male chauvinism Shame on women! Even educated women still practice various customs, cultures and traditions that are anti-women. [...]

  5. 43
    Is Hinduism Misogynistic? - Page 2

    [...] Shame on women! Even educated women still practice various customs, cultures and traditions that are anti-women. Mangalsutra A woman wears Mangalsutra, a black beads necklace, for her husband’s health and well-being. Would a man wear a Mangalsutra for his wife’s health and well-being? Hell no! Sindoor Married women wear vermilion or Sindoor on the forehead and along the hair parting line. The Sindoor symbolizes the deep respect, devotion and dedication of a Hindu woman to her husband. Would a married man wear Sindoor on his forehead for the same purpose? Hell no! Sankha Pola Loha Married women wear bangles: Sankha, Pola and Loha for husband’s health. Did a man ever wear Sankha, Pola, or Loha for his wife’s health? Hell no! Bhai Phota ‘Bhai Phota’ is performed by women. They fast and put an auspicious mark with sandal wood paste on their brothers’ foreheads, feed them sweets, give them gifts and pray for their health, happiness and prosperity. Is there a system that a man also fast and put an auspicious mark on his sister’s forehead and pray for her health, happiness and prosperity? Hell no! Karwa Chauth People still believe that abstaining from meals, or fasting, can prolong the life of a loved one. Women fast for 24 hours to ensure that their husbands live long lives. Do men do the same for their wives? Hell no! Touching husband’s feet A woman bows her head, touches her husband’s feet, takes the dust from the feet and put them on her head on her wedding day to show her submission to her husband. Would a man ever do this? Hell no! wedding-200×300.jpg Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye….!!!! मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं, तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ….!!!! 'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me." Reply With Quote [...]

  6. 44
    Indian Rape cases and protests | PKKH.tv - Page 3

    [...] ti get compared to but of course it wont be a God or some king ruling over the household females. Shame on women! Even educated women still practice various customs, cultures and traditions that are anti-women. [...]

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