Sindoor Khela, the celebration of patriarchy


Married Bengali Hindu women celebrated their sindoor or vermilion yesterday. They do it every year. On the last day of Durga puja, women apply sindoor on the goddess’s feet or forehead and then start applying it to all the married women around, smearing each other with it.

Unmarried women or widows are not allowed to celebrate Sindoor Khela.

The main purpose of a married woman to celebrate Sindoor Khela is to be proud of having a husband no matter how pathetic, and worthless stupid he is and to wish a long happy life of the husband.

Married women wear sindoor along the parting-line of their hair. It is one of the many signs of marriage they have to wear.

Hindu widows do not wear sindoor, because their husbands are not alive.

The sindoor gives some kind of social importance to women, only because their husbands are alive. Women are blamed if their husbands die. After husbands die, women are not allowed to wear sindoor or colourful clothes. Their clothes must be white, or colourless, and they must remove all the colours from their bodies, all the happinesses from their minds, all the smiles from their faces, and they must stop eating good nutritious food, fish or meat or protein, and they must look ugly and unattractive and they must die slowly.

A widow is just a nobody or a dead body or a piece of shit. It is not necessary for widows to continue living when they are not able to serve their husbands for which they were born. Once upon a time widows were thrown into husband’s funeral pyres.

Married men do not wear anything to prove that they are married. In patriarchal traditions, men’s lives are more important than women’s lives, and women are treated as nothing but sex objects, inferior beings, child bearing machines, slaves of men. Believe it or not, instead of being rejected, Sindoor Khela the patriarchal festival is becoming popular in urban educated societies. It is very alarming that in some parts of the world, the more educated women become, the more patriarchal traditions they celebrate. Is it because educated ones can learn all kinds of systems including misogynistic much better than uneducated ones?

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Comments

  1. Amitava Ghosh says

    সি”দুর খেলার ছবি সুন্দর ভাবে ফুটিয়ে তুলেছ।যুগ যুগ ধরে মেয়েদের অবদমিত করে রাখার যে প্রচেষ্টা,দূর্গা বরনের সময় তার ব্যাতিক্রম হয় না।অবিবাহিত,বিধবা মহিলারা এই অনুষ্ঠানে অংশ গ্রহন করতে পারে না।
    মাতৃ আরাধনায় পা”চদিন চলে যায়।মাতৃ জাতীর দুঃখ,দুর্দশা মোচনের কোন উপায় এই দিন গুলতে বের হয় না।উতসব উদ্দিপনার মধ্যেও নারীকে পরাধীন করে রাখার কি অপরিসীম শিল্প পুরুষ তান্ত্রিক সমাজে চালু আছে তা প্রত্যেক উতসব,অনুষ্ঠানে বারে বারে প্রমাণিত হয়।

  2. Humanbeing20903 says

    Most religions are biased against women. The reason for it is that the rule religions impose are very much outdated; male protection might have been needed when the there were no laws.
    – – –
    Some movies I like criticizing some Hinduistic beliefs. 1 ‘Water’. The reaction from religious thugs when that movie was made and released were despicable. They prevented the movie being made halfway through and they vandalized the movie theater when it was produced. The movie was completed in Sri Lanka. 2 ‘Maya’. This movie was shot in India but it is still banned from showing in India. 3. ‘Sita Sings The Blues’. An open-minded look at ‘Ramayan’. 4. ‘Kanchana Sita’. From 1970s. Saw this movie at the Washington Film Institute of the Kennady Center in Washington, DC. 10% into the movie 90% of the Indians walked out of the movie theater. It was about the story in Ramayan where Ram ask Sita to jump into a fire and come back alive. She perishes and Ram takes a tiny piece of gold and says it is his wife now. ‘Gold is pure’ attitude.

    About cruelty to women among some Islamic countries: 1. ‘Stoning of Soray M.’ About how the husband orchestrates the murder of his wife who did nothing wrong, her father is offered a lot of money and who throws the first stone when she is buried to her neck in ground and stoned to death. 2. Throwing acid at women is a sport in some.

    Men = Women = Men

  3. G3 says

    Reg the “educated” vs “uneducated” argument on issues of patriarchy : In recent years I have come to know how the so-called “savages” – native AMericans and similar cultures throughout the world were some of the most egalitarian societies we have come to known with regard to gender relations, if not outright matriarchal. Patriarchy came about after the so-called “civilization” started. How ironic – civilised are misogynist while savages were not. And those “savages” also recognised grey areas in sexual identity – homosexual and what we call today as GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender) whereas we the “civilised” still show bigotry (to varying degrees) against those people. Native Americans used the term “two spirits” to recognise non-binary forms of sexual identities. Patriarchy and homophobia goes hand-in-hand.

  4. Katherine Woo says

    How come this blog doesn’t get more visitors? It seems the more you wallow in petty fights with other atheists or roar about conservative Christians (how original), the more popular you are. This article is unique and informative. I not only learned something about a completely different culture, but this is another fact to file away for future debates on misogyny or religion.

  5. Ani says

    Taslima… I need to talk to you. Can you talk tome once? I am feeling suffocated and need to tell you the things. Please talk to me once!

  6. says

    “Believe it or not, instead of being rejected, Sindoor Khela the patriarchal festival is becoming popular in urban educated societies.”

    I have noticed this happen in regards to other patriarchal practices too, though I never found any social study on it. Perhaps this speaks volumes about the inefficiencies of our education system in enabling people to think freely. All that present education system seems to be good at is in mass production of “followers” with no brains of their own. Somewhat privileged women are happy being slaves of patriarchy because at superficial level they benefit from it too. While they are happy voluntarily choosing to keep their husband’s last name, putting an end to their career to raise kids or enrolling their infant daughters in beauty pageant, numerous other women die of gender related violence or are deprived of basic human rights by the same patriarchal institution they are helping get stronger. I seriously feel terrified seeing present education system do nothing significant to change the status of women.

  7. Prodip says

    I saw ,our Hindu women’s are encouraging ,especially who are growing up with modern elements including higher education,but all this nomadic performance beneath. Even mens don’t bother them properly in the family life , but they worship their god for the immense development for their husband. They are the so-called awaken dupes by their social customs. And women’s are the enemy of them,one more time it has come in the scene truly.

  8. Sandeep says

    Marking a woman’s forehead with vermillion means, ‘this woman is taken’. It is a sign of patriarchal possession, much like how a shepherd marks his livestock. Many women who are taking part in this celebration are leading modern lifestyles. They are either oblivious to the fact or are ignorant of it. Patriarchy survives in the disguise of tradition. And by the way, women are not even allowed to touch the goddess during the five days of Durga Puja. It is only before the immersion, once all the worship is finished they are allowed to touch the idol.

  9. Anindita says

    Over time the Bengali woman has emerged more steep in traditions and engulfed in rituals without as much as questioning her identity and existence. Sindoor khele is now a romantic occasion where the Bangali bride waits to be adorned in the red vermillion so that the men gawk at them from the shadow of the sophisticated thousand dollar camera bought for the occasion. While the percentage of so called emancipated percentage of women in Bengal is probably one of the highest in India, Bengali women have yet a long way ahead yet to confirm themselves as individuals in their own right. By a married woman or a virgin daughter allowed to participate in Sindoor khela and only on the last day when Durga is ready to leave puts such an obnoxious flavour to the ritual and yet we women submerge in it and in no way discredit it either. After all wherever we are in the world we are still hunting for the so called ‘Brahmin’ to perform the 5 day Puja. We are no closer yet to be convince pd to break the tradition to allow any member of the female species tread any close to doing the Puja. In fact we women will vehemently be the first ones to oppose it. Sad and ironic!

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