Monday, October 21, 2013

The bitter truth about Karwa Chauth!

The DDLJ Karwa Chauth scene!

I have just finished reading a piece on Karwa Chauth by Shobhaa De titled ‘The bitter truth about Karwa Chauth…’, which appeared in Mumbai Mirror on October 19th (Link here, and I couldn’t stop myself from penning my views on her piece!

I respect the women who fast, and do it with full belief and faith. I will be fasting too and my hands are not devoid of heena! In fact, just two hours back I got heena on my hands and I think it looks lovely.  And while I was getting it done someone commented, “Hey, you don’t really look like the type who would fast!” Now, I honestly don’t know how people who fast are supposed to look! In fact, a few days back someone had even commented, “Hey, you don’t really look like someone who would be a vegetarian!” Again, I don’t know how vegetarians are supposed to look! Am I to walk around with a cauliflower on my head! J  Well, that’s another story.

So back to the piece by Miss.De. Is simple for me, just like I don’t keep the doors of my home open on Diwali in the hope of Lakshmi walking in, I don’t think a fast could lead to the prosperity or long life of my partner. I feel it is a custom and as & when my heart and body allows me to follow it, I will follow it. At the same time, I don’t think not fasting makes Miss. De a terrible wife. I think this is a festival just like many other Indian festivals and each one of us has the right to indulge and enjoy it in our own way! We don’t need to really adopt a ‘feminist’ attitude towards everything. Right? My husband won’t be fasting for me simply because it is a custom followed (as per their individual choices) by women. We don’t wish our fathers, a Happy Mother’s Day, right? If he wishes to fast along with me that is completely his choice, not a judgement on our affections for each other. And yes, some women like to dress up in ‘bridal finery’ on Karwa Chauth, which I think is their way of celebrating the festival! Don’t we dress up on Diwali? Or wear pink ribbons in aid of breast cancer? Or walk into mall adorned with red hearts on Valentines? I see nothing wrong in woman over-dressing on Karwa Chauth just like I see nothing wrong in woman under-dressing while attending ‘high-profile’ social gatherings, fashion dos, et al (which, the internet tells me Miss. De attends just like she attended this one Karwa Chauth lunch). I see nothing wrong in women fasting for a man, a custom, a tradition…just like I see nothing wrong in women dieting to be a size smaller or smoking or drinking to fit in a circle or generally because they enjoy it…  Each one to oneself, right? And yes, I do drink, diet, under-dress and over-dress!!

So Miss De you are a good wife and I am sure your husband would love you irrespective of you nibbling on a macaroon or two or a 1 kg chocolate cake! (Not that I am ‘someone’ who needs to say this to you) Whether you fast or don’t is your choice. And whether the rest of women do or don’t is theirs. But let’s not get so ‘cracked up’ about it! You may not believe in something we believe in, and vice versa. And just one question, did you always spell your name as Shobhaa with a double ‘aa’ or is it a result of something that some astrologer said to you and you believed it would work? Just curious, for the internet says you were once upon a time called Shobha! Beliefs and opinions are funny things, I tell you! But I am glad all of us have our own platforms, papers, FB accounts, pen down our views!

Image: here


  1. Dear Purva. No one is questioning the personal dynamics of matrimonial relationships.

    But camoflaging the historical patriarchal domination in form of karva Chauth etc is not acceptable. Isn't it surprising that no religious text talk about the male fasting for wife's longer life or health!! All the sacrifices and pains are termed as female's karma and dharma. All the rules of loyalty and abstinence too are totally female's responsibility.
    Similarly there is this custom of Sati , which is still prevalent in many part of our country. If you listen to the women who support this custom you will be surprised to know that they feel so proud in sacrificing their lives with their husbands. On first look it will appear as if it is an individual's. But if you go little closer then you will find that she is talking this decision under an unfathomable pressure of society. That society which refuse to give her any security ,any respectable position in the absence of her husband's protection.

    If it is all about celebration of love and devotion, then it should be practiced by men too.

    In Valentine’s Day , father’s or mother’s day you just go and celebrate if you want to do so. there are no strings attached to that, no custom is regulating it. But if you think about a day like Karva Chauth then you can’t ignore all the ritual attached to this. The starving and worshipping husband etc. Celebrations are always good no matter which day you are celebrating but why its only women who are keeping fast ??? you will say that it’s a custom but I will say its patriarchal system that’s why days like this were introduced in the past to constantly teach women that without Sindur your life is just hell .. which means without husband there is no meaning of your life ….

    I think we can still celebrate this festival in good spirit. We can still decorate our hands with heena and everything we want. But my objection is with fast and husband worship attached to it ….

  2. I just wanted to add a comment to mention thanks for your post. This post is really interesting and quite helpful for us. Keep sharing.
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