While observing Karwa Chauth or not is a personal choice, there is a lot of social and cultural pressure around it. The most glamourous and strictest of all fasts today divides modern Indian women into two groups, who often refuse to see eye to eye. These two sets of women often end up shaming each other socially for picking a side stemming from individual reasons.
So why is it that women tend to shame each other for these personal choices? Why can’t women who fast and those who don’t let each other be? Both sets of women have very valid reasons to back their choice. But these reasons often come with a sense of righteousness, which makes them resent the women in the opposite corner. Does this come from lack of belief in the choice you make? Or is there a much deeper reason for this resentment? Whatever it may be, this Karwa Chauth, women need to bridge the gap between their school of thoughts and extend understanding and acceptance towards each other.
Women already face a shortage of those virtues from the society, and they do not need other women to pile on their judgement on this towering heap
Karwa Chauth is about upholding your personal beliefs
Despite all its communal vibes, Karwa Chauth is a very intimate affair. To observe the fast or not depends on how you look at it. Do you see it as an outdated festival, meant to test wives' devotion towards their husbands? Or do you see it as a way ensure that your bond with your beloved stands the test of time. Some women may also see it as a tradition, which needs to be upheld amidst all modern sensibilities, as it is one of the things we pass down from one generation to another. Many women sideline their modern beliefs and indulge in this festival of female bonding, dressing up, singing, dancing and waiting for the elusive moon to show up, because it has a certain romance to it.
- Women who observe Karwa Chauth and those who don't often end up shaming each other socially for picking a side stemming from individual reasons.
- Whatever may be the reason, they need to bridge the gap between their school of thoughts. They should try to extend understanding and acceptance towards each other.
- We are capable of moving forward despite holding different beliefs.
- What is stopping our inability to accept choices of other women is our sense of righteousness.
Karwa Chauth is like taking a dip in the fancy and joyful end of our pool of traditions, which makes you feel connected to your roots.
But whether you want to take that dip or not is a choice, which is personal and even circumstantial. Many women observe the fast to keep their in-laws and husbands happy, despite having no emotional inclination towards it. Some outrightly refuse to observe it, calling it a patriarchal practice which reduces women to being the dependent and secondary gender, who must put the well-being of their male partners ahead of their own. Then there are also those who are just doing it because everyone else around them is and being left out from all the festivities is no fun. Who is to say any of these reasons is not valid?
Hence, what women need is acceptance from others for their choice. To fast or not fast mustn’t lead to shaming, because a festival shouldn’t ever induce guilt. Those who celebrate it must show kindness and let women who choose not to fast off the hook. Stop taking their refusal to participate as an offence to you or your beliefs. Please remember that their stand is not against you, but a cultural practice they find oppressive. Like you, they have the right to stand by what they think. Similarly, women who do not fast shouldn’t dismiss those who do, as regressive or patriarchal. We all have our reasons to stick with certain cultural practices, and we all deserve a leeway as we cannot wear a placard of reasoning around our neck among all the finery.
Women are capable of moving forward despite holding different beliefs. What is stopping us is the inability to accept choices of other women and our sense of righteousness. It is similar to the shaming matches among working women and housewives. Those who choose to do household work and those who don’t. Those who like to wear saree and those who don't. Or whether women should enter temples during their periods or not. The list of our feuds is endless. Our stand on every issue is shaped by our upbringing, society, family and our own beliefs. However, the resentment we feel towards those who are on the other side of our beliefs is not justifiable. As women, we need to acknowledge that by large we are an oppressed group who always struggle to find acceptance. Wouldn't life be easier for all of us if we extend it to each other?
Pic Credit: Yahoo
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.