A video featuring a bride who questioned the Hindu wedding rituals of Kanyadaan, mangalsutra and sindoor offerings has gone viral on the internet. The bride says that she is not against such rituals but didn’t want to be a ‘typical bride’, she modified the rituals to make it about equality.
The bride in question is Phalasha, included new rituals like offering sindoor to the groom and Kunwar daan, while getting mangalsutra off the table. However, social media has gone haywire in opposing the couple’s stand to deteriorate the Hindu wedding rituals. But what do you think about the video? Is it progressive?
Phalasha is a gender and health systems researcher. She and Shiv Verma, now her husband, are vloggers too. In an interview with SheThePeople, Phalasha said, “Shiv and I share a similar opinion about marriage and won’t tolerate some of the age-old regressive rituals. We decided for every ceremony for a girl, we’d have a corresponding ceremony for the guy. We both decided to put sindoor on each other, cut out the part of the mangalsutra, and both of us threw rice at the end of the ceremony. There was a male version of kanyadaan as well, and we came up with ‘kunwar daan’.” Read the full conversation here.
Kunwar Daan And Sindoor On Husband: Does it become a question on their religiosity?
We are not unaware of the importance that Hindu rituals – be it weddings or festivals – hold in our country. These rituals, have been followed without questions for a very long time. However they are not words carved on the stone that cannot be changed. Any twisting or missing of the rituals is considered an apshagun or ill omen and considered a disrespect towards ancestors and Gods. So naturally, this bride’s progressive changes in the wedding rituals became a centre of criticism on social media.
A user said, “Hindu rituals have become marketing gimmicks for sorry lots like these. Want to grab attention? Want to stand out? Slip in gender nonsense to gain the spotlight. The underlying purpose is to create an element of surprise/newness & pass it of as progress. Guerilla marketing pro max.”
Some even suggested that the couple should have opted for court marriage rather than showing their progressive selves by including nonsense in the pristine custom of Hindu weddings.
But my question is that what is wrong if couples modify the customs as they deem fit? Just changing a few regressive aspects, cannot be showing disrespect to the entire community or the religion?
Is it not true that Hindu wedding rituals like Kanyadaan, Mangalsutra and Sindoordaan are sexist? Why should a woman be given away in marriage? Why should she wear mangalsutra and sindoor to show their marital identity? Are men expected to wear anything to show that they are married? Aren’t the donation and the mangalsutra and sindoor a marker of ownership of a man on the body of a woman? Is marriage about ownership or equality?
Dulhe Ko Dulhan Bana Diya: Feminism is not not about looking the same. Period
Apart from opposing the modifications in the wedding rituals, social media has made the kunwar daan and sindoor in the groom’s parting a joke. Many users are jokingly asking who will be the one carrying a child? The husband or the wife? Or both?
A user writes, “Khud typical Dulhan nhi banne ke chakkar mei, Dulhe ko hi Dulhan bana diya.”
A user says, “Haan sahi hai, for equality husband ko bhi periods aane chahiye, who bhi bache ko janm de, woh bhi lipstick lagaye, who bhi mangalsutra pehne. Are bhagwan agr sabko equal nhi bnaye to kuch soch smajh kr hi banaya hoga.”
Some users even said how the bride and many others have distorted the meaning of feminism.
A user writes, “They think feminism is a concept where men and women are the same. Feminism means that men and women are equal but not the same. Masculinity is beautiful; Feminism is beautiful; Both in its own sense.”
These reactions on social media clearly show a lack of understanding of feminism and equality in our society. Dear people, feminism is about equality in every aspect and not about looking identical.
The bride wanted to reinterpret the rituals, she didn’t mean to say that by putting sindoor in the husband’s parting of the head or by doing the kunwar daan, he loses his masculinity. The change is in the way they look at each other. The husband doesn’t have to objectify the bride as his property and the bride doesn’t have to look up to the groom as God or owner.
Other people have also changed wedding rituals. Why can’t we accept it?
This bride is not alone in twisting the wedding rituals to make them more progressive. Recently, RajKummar Rao and Patralekha performed the custom of putting sindoor daan in each other’s parting of head. Dia Mirza opted out of performing rituals of kanyadaan and bidaai because they were regressive according to her.
So yes, times are changing. And so are people’s perceptions towards marriage and everything that involves in it. It is time we accept the progressive changes and understand the importance of feminism in moulding the rituals, practices and norms of society.
The views expressed are the author’s own.
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