Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Celebration of Shakti?

Gadchandur is a vibrant, colorful town, with festivals having a special place in it's heart. With Navratras starting, the smells and sounds of celebration fill the air and you can almost taste the fervor. The pictures above, and below show the many mesmerizing and magical devis in town. 

As a festival that celebrates the feminine force or 'shakti', it is a little weird that it excludes women experiencing their monthly period from doing anything holy in this duration and this causes considerable distress, anguish, and sometimes almost the feeling of being cursed; in the affected. 

In fact, so many cultural beliefs and practices are related with the, 'flow' that a discussion could become a book!! From menstrual huts, to untouchability, and from having to sleep on the floor, away from the family, to not taking part in any 'holy' celebrations, the sanctions range from the weird to the erratic. Some say food goes bad, if touched by an 'impure' woman, and others say puja becomes meaningless if attended by her. Infact, in an interesting practice in Orissa, there is a festival, called Raja Parva, celebrated by girls, which is observed for three consecutive days from the day preceding Mithuna Sankrati, during which Mother Earth is supposed to be in her menstrual period!! It is a fertility rite, where girls pray to Mother Earth for their welfare.

The systematic use of religion to subjugate women, while worshiping 'shakti' sounds like the plan of a scheming mind! However, this is one thing that has been common across religions, regions, and cultures!!

 Not intending this to be a discourse on religion and gender, here's wishing everyone a happy and blessed pujo or puja, and a prosperous navaratri, and blessings & Shakti from the divine force herself.


makethebest said...

We have Manu (of Manu Samriti fame/notoriety) to thank for some of these practices. Of course he was probably just reflecting the times.

drhimangi said...

Even though I am not really an expert on Gender but the systematic subjugation of women by citing authoritative text or divine will, has been common to cultures and religions around the world.

Patriarchy is such an integral part of our world that women are made to feel guilty even for thinking of being individuals in themselves.

This control, and dominance, has been established by using religion as a potent weapon. Otherwise do you really think that there would be a divine decree to keep a woman, immediately after the delivery, outside the village boundary in sub-human conditions?