#Opinion

Breaking Away From Patriarchal Customs, Mandira Bedi Performs Last Rites Of Husband

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Mandira Bedi last rites Of Husband: Raj Kaushal, director and husband to actor Mandira Bedia passed away on Wednesday. He was only 49-years-old. He is survived by his wife Bedi and two children Vir and Tara.

The pictures revealed from his funeral showed his wife Mandira Bedi performing his last rites. While Bedi was just being a wife saying a final goodbye to her husband, she also became one of the women who defied age-old Hindu custom that only allows men to take part in funeral rituals. More here.

She was seen going to the funeral site with Kaushal’s body and then carrying the earthen pot while wearing a white t-shirt and blue denims. We don’t see many women near pyres in our country as it has been a custom, rather sexist, that only a man can perform the last rites of a family member.

There have been times when a deceased person is only survived by only female members of the family and distant male relatives have been asked to perform the last rites. Why are wives, daughters, mothers and female friends not allowed to take part in their loved one’s final journey? Do they have to be a man to make efforts so that their loved ones’ soul rests in peace?

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Mandira Bedi performs last rites of husband.

There are people who will always try to defend the nonsensical customs of religion and society. Some have said that women are not made to attend funerals and perform last rites because it gives off negative energy. Apparently, women are ‘faint-hearted’ so it makes it difficult for the soul to attain nirvana and moksha. How bizarre and illogical is that? Can this or any other reason be enough to stop women from saying goodbyes to their loved ones?

Like Mandira Bedi, there have been a few women who decided to defy the sexist custom and performed their duties at funerals. When a woman named Santori Devi passed away in 2018, her daughters-in-law came forward and performed her last rites. Namita Kaul and Mallika Sarabhai are some prominent names with similar stories. These women in Varanasi also come to mind.

Women are often given warned not to get swept up in grief and follow the tradition by making them fear “what if something bad happens?”. Are the holy texts more important than human emotions? A woman who sees her family members pass away is going through enough, does she have to be burdened by such sexist rules?

Image Credit: Quint/ FreePressJournal


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