Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mummy Mummy, are you fasting for me?

So, its time for another fasting! This time mummy is supposed to fast for the long life of her "SONS". For those who don't know, this festival is called Ahoi Ashtami. To learn more, click here

At the outset let me highlight that I really have nothing against the practice of fasting. Occasional and periodic fasting definitely does more good to one's overall health and well-being, and I speak from experience here! It is the 'social significance' which leaves me with many a pondering!

First of all, for a baby to be born - any woman / mother endures the 9 months of pregnancy and the arduous labor / a surgery. No two pregnancies / deliveries are really alike,  but suffice to say that a woman "endures" a lot during this period - physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and not to mention even socially (especially in a place like India!). In fact once she becomes her mother, life is never really the same for any woman.. till the last breath! So my first point (assuming for a minute that mummy's fasting can indeed play a key role in how long the children live!) is this - "Why should a mother fast only for the "SONS"? Why not the "DAUGHTER"? If indeed the sole objective of the fasting is a long and good life, would any mother not wish that for all her children - be it boys / girls?

Next, is it really every mothers desire that her children should live long? I can't generalize, but suffice to say that as a mother I'd want my children to be healthy, happy and live active meaningful and fulfilling lives. I don't really know if the quantity matters as much beyond a point. Better to "truly live" for 50 years than to "simply exist" for 80 years - right?

Thirdly, if indeed "fasting" is one of the ways to ensure that your "SONS" do live a long life.. Why does the Daddy not fast? After all, does the Daddy not want the son to live long? The son is after all the successor of the family name, right? And the family name is indeed the fathers name, right?. So why is it always the woman / the mother who should fast? Why should she endure always?

Fourthly, what kind of message does this send to a "girl child" if she is born in the home where she has one / many brothers. That on this special day, her mother is fasting for the well-being of her brothers? As a young girl at an impressionable age, what "seeds" are being planted in her young impressionable mind? That her brothers life is more important significant and valued. And what about her life? Imagine what thoughts and emotions the girl would have to endure.. and what impact and influence it has on her own self-worth, self-confidence, perspectives and views of the world.

And lastly, if indeed a long life and well-being is achieved by "the practice of fasting by a woman" (Karva Chauth in which the wife fasts for the "husband", and Ahoi Ashtami in which the mother fast for the "sons"), then why does no one fast for the wife or the mother at some point in her lifetime? Don't they value her presence? Don't they want her to be healthy and well? Don't they need her to be the best possible "herself" to do the best possible for them? I don't really know! Do you?

As I conclude, I do honestly believe in the power of prayer - More so if it is a mother's prayer. So if a mother wishes well for her children, and believes that fasting is one path-way to her children's well-being, then so be it! Just one request, if you do fast - please do so for the well-being of both your SON and your DAUGHTER.. Thank You

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post simply for the fact that you highlighted an important bias that most of our religious and social rituals have against women in general. Fasting for sons, only wives observing fasts, none of these make any sense to me in the first place, and the funny part is that a lot of people seem to follow these rituals blindly because they have been asked to do so.