Why are fasts a for-women-only affair?

Yep, I am not yet done criticizing some of the blindly followed Indian traditions, especially the custom of keeping fasts/vratas that is woven into the lives of Indian women! Recently, I came across an interesting theory that throws light on why Indian women fast for the long lives of their husbands (or would-bes). What it says is that the Indian society doen’t allow a happy/peaceful life for a widow or an unmarried woman, so it is critically important for a girl to not to stay un-married for long and for a wife to stay married perpetually.  Well, on the premise that you believe in the power of a prayer (I don’t), the argument does make sense in the current setting although I want the situation to be reversed asap i.e. I want to witness increasingly less dependence of women on men. That, btw, doesn’t imply that I am against dating guys or marriages or anything like that.

On the lighter side of things, as I had remarked earlier, there is a scarcity of decent guys in the country (and everywhere else, for that matter 🙂 ). Hence, unmarried gals have got to pray for a good dude, and those, who are fortunate to have found rare good ones, have to try all their might to hang on to them for their lifetime!

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Posted on August 26, 2008, in Feminist? and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I beg to object lady, at your last paragraph. :).

  2. Another theory:
    In older days, women of the household used to keep fast very often for the Gods so that the blessing of the God (like Laxmi, Ganesh, Vishnu) will bring material well being in life. The Husbands felt little left behind in the respect given in comparison to Gods. So the ladies knew that a special fast in the year is easy way to let the husband realise that he is no less than God in some many senses.
    Another Theory: Husband were jealous that Wife celebrates Rakhi in love of brothers but there is not a single day in the year celebrating their realtionship. Hence came fasting for dear husband once a year.

  3. Whether women become less dependent on men by gaining jobs, careers and what not, they will always feel imcomplete without the other. And in making sure that no external power such as God or destiny end this longevity of togetherness, they will keep taking the measures of fast as women are always more affected by the idea of loss in any way.

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