The sad fate of the “white widows”, or why Indian women cherish their husbands.
Indian women nurture and groom their husbands. If the husband ill, the wife is fasting. Husband never called by name, because it is believed that a spoken name shortens the life of the spouse. The wife never goes near, and always a little behind. She turns to him for You and washing his feet. And all this is often not from a great love, and to avoid the fate of the “white widow”.
The institution of marriage and Patriarchal traditions
When the couple of Indians who live in the United States, which has preserved the tradition of “white widowhood”, a girl is born, the parents almost immediately start to look for her groom. After all, in the age of 6-7 years, girls can marry, and then get rid of the burden. And it does not matter how old is her husband.
Once a girl married, parents sigh of relief and think that getting rid of “heavy burden.” The groom and the bride half per cent of the cases see each other at the wedding for the first time. Families of the groom and bride conclude in the words of the agreement on the merger of the scarce capital of the family and to be considered relatives. Given in marriage a daughter ceases to belong to and it is also considered “getting rid of possible impending over the family curse.” Indeed, in India the mere fact that you were born a woman, proves that your karma is badly damaged.
And here begins the family life, of course, according to Indian traditions. The husband is given by God, the husband is destiny, found her husband’s parents and gave him his daughter in accordance with the ancient customs, the husband she’s been waiting for since childhood, knowing that the only one she should love, only to do it. Tradition says that the husband is all, is the whole of life, is God on earth, it’s that half woman, without which she’s not human, not personality, nothing.
“White widow” – who are they
Because of the difference in age between the spouses is simply huge, and medicine in this country is not available to all, it often happens that the husband dies early. After that, the woman becomes the “white widow” and the rest of your life reaping all the charms of this status.
First, the newly-minted widow is cut short hair, and she must be dressed in a white Sari. Now and forever she was forbidden to wear anything except him (even in winter) and wear any jewelry, so beloved by women of India to have fun, to participate in the public festivities, to sing, and in General as-or to show joy.
She is forbidden to eat more than one dish (traditionally unsalted) rice a day, and forbidden to eat sweets. Even her shadow is considered to bring bad luck, and she will be eternally grateful, if it will not be put out of the house their own children (and leave the house in most cases is the only thing that remains a widow). Often these women are forced to sleep on the streets and beg, which they, for obvious reasons, very rarely served.
The rite of sati
Until the nineteenth century in some States of India was circulated rite of “sati” when a man is dead, his cremated in the same pyre burned alive by his widow. Known cases when women jumped into the fire themselves or have a fire sitting in the fire. But more often they “helped” the good family, which, standing around the fire, holding the staves which drove the woman attempted to flee in terror from the flames, back to the fire.
Officially sati was banned only in 1987. But despite the ban, every year in India, committed several dozen ceremonies. If the widow insists on self-immolation, it is obliged to sign the document confirming the voluntariness of the act. Of course, you may decide that the persistence of the ceremony – a Testament to the strength of the Indian traditions, but experience shows that the fire for Indian women is the only get rid of the widow’s existence. It is believed that the death of the husband the gods punish the woman for her sins. Accordingly, it was she to blame for his death, for which he must pay the rest of my life.
The Holy city of Vrindavan – the city of widows
Many widows go into the Holy city of Vrindavan is considered that there is death frees from the circle of life and death, and widows, from a repetition of such a humiliation.
In sacred to the hare Krishnas Vrindavan there are several hostels called “ashrams” is a shelter for families driven from “white widows”. There, women received the help of volunteers, do needlework, have the ability to communicate and pray to their Gods.
Next to women in ashrams today is krishnakanta who try to do everything possible to bring the lives of these unfortunate women to a full. Some Indian women who hold less radical views, romp through India in the Quad and looking for thrown out on the street “white widows”, find them shelter, taken to the “ashrams” that provide clothing and food, support, kind words, makes me smile. This may seem terrible, but to laugh “white widow” “with the experience” very difficult – for many years they simply forgot how to do it.
Vṛndāvana is not the only “city of widows”. Them in India several. But “free from prejudice” alarmy can be found, perhaps, only here.
Today, there are public organizations that defend the rights of women in India and support those who help himself not able to. It is through these organizations in India the laws are in support of Indian women, are advertising campaign in support of girls, women and widows. But while this is only a small fraction actually necessary.
And in the twenty-first century attitude in India to the widows like a leper, they become outcasts, even though the Indian society is now moving away from such prejudices.
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