Karva Chauth is here, as it arrives each year, with the usual anecdotish significance of the husband’s well-being. The funny but well-meaning cat and mouse chase between the adoring wife and the shy moon has begun. Speculations are rife and guess-work has begun regarding the spotting of the moon, which as always, appears too shy to reveal its beautiful self around this time of the year.
An exciting euphoria that strikes each year
There is a feverish pitch here in India regarding the frequent attempts to spot the moon from the window of the living room. And so is the phenomenon of frequent log-ins into social media so as to check what all is being posted about Karva Chauth celebrations around India. They always do that, our lovely women. It is a mark of their excitement and euphoria to read and consume all that is happening about a festival they look up to. And where they deck up in admirable beauty for the religious piety, meant for the well being of darling husbands.
A ritual with solitary participation albeit with cheer and glee
But while it sits perfectly well in conscience about there being a special day-long festivity marking respect, well-being and longevity of the husband, the celebration doesn’t seem complete with participation coming only from one gender, while it is both who are involved in a marital bond. Isn’t it?
No harm done in fasting. No damage done by evading food in respecting the traditional accord of a country known to exude philosophical vibe. But why is it that our women in India must keep the fast alone? A bit perplexing, a bit complicated albeit it being a beautiful festival despite seemingly appearing unfulfilled, Trend Mantra maintains its regard for Karva Chauth. But also poses a few good reasons why men too should keep fast for their wives:
1) It is a moral duty
If marriage is a bond of communion between both genders, then shouldn’t it be a natural duty for men to step in? That the woman should keep off from food is akin to keeping off from a natural vital for the body which if not consumed by one gender should lead to the prosperity of the other! That’s a lonely process to follow.
2) The basic of all human principle states that men and women are born equal
Why the discrimination? Quite simply there, if that is the case (above) then why should women bear the brunt of abstaining from food and even water for a good part of the day? That sounds impractical. Impractical not to mock an age-old cultural belief but in the sense that it paves way for strict abstinence for a specific gender alone. It doesn’t quite fit the picture well.
3) Women have already often gone too far to observe religious and cultural beliefs alone
We found a simple observation here but one marked with draining effort for women. If you look across the spectrum of traditional festivities or even patriotic festivals, it is our women in India who have had to essay more: detailed and scrupulous roles.
Southern Indian men and those exposed to reverence and piteous observations in family notwithstanding, how many men do really clean the house temple? Or make their kids dressed in cultural attires? Just how many men actually undergo the long painstaking tedium of organizing ‘Havan’, ‘Pooja’ or other auspicious gatherings?
Why is it that the epitome of sacrificial doing sees women rendering all their heart and effort with little contribution from men? And then add to it, the process of engaging in detailed ceremonious observations on the eve of Karva Chauth? How many men have you seen preparing the ‘Pooja Thali’ (the tray decked with auspicious items for worship)? Which rule book requires just women to follow religious customs in grand detail alone?
4) Why should our wives, mothers and sisters fast alone?
Fasting to some is an antidote to the happiness derived from pure, unhinging love of consuming delicacies freely. For some, it is a matter of frequent practice. Then there are many who are plainly indifferent to the custom of observing a fast (Vrat in Hindi). The real cognizance behind observing a fast or keeping one from the perspective of Hindu custom isn’t to merely worship one’s god or deity. It is beneficial for health and for overall upkeep of the body.
But impractical to say the least is the custom where women observe a fast- whether for health reasons or for pure spiritual following while the men-folk regale and continue to make a feast out of Karva Chauth, with all due respect.
5) If men keep fast, it will augur well for equal participation
Dowry, female infanticide, the abominable and condemnable ritual of Sati! These aren’t written in any Hindu scriptures to be followed with painfully correct tedium. But not only are they vigorously observed in world’s most populous democracy, but so is rape, violence and molestation of women, in a country which prides itself on often regarding its spirit as ‘Bharat Mata’.
But if mother is the source of our life (which they are) and wives and sisters the constant inlet of love and support, then can we not keep a day’s fast to regard, value and repay their profound love for us? That too, by simply mimicking them in the same fashion where they follow millions administering this custom for love and trust? Can we not be as giving in our admiration for them in the same emotionally riveting way in which they do it all for us? Think about it!
6) In the lighter vein of things, skip food to help that tummy
We have led you to believe that we were passing foolhardy lessons in moral science. But we were not. We can smile and lighten up. We are just presenting interesting observations about Karva Chauth. The important festival, is in fact another key opportunity for men to live up to that age old promise ; to fast for a day once a week. It is often self dictated, but seldom followed. Imagine, all the calories you do not end up consuming? Time to buckle up and run hard for health fellas.
7) Karva Chauth: a perfect opportunity to cuddle up to your love
If you happen to observe a fast this year on October 19, then you will be gently reminding your wife about three eternal truths: First, that she is as important to you as her obedience and love for your way of things. Second, that she has a partner beside her who supports her in her every move marking true love and unbridled enthusiasm to share things. And lastly, that marriage is a communion where she isn’t alone working to make things better, happier and healthier. That she has an able and caring companion by her side who respects her and devotes himself to her cause, her belief will eventually make her love you all the more!
And that, doesn’t sound too bad, does it folks?
The writer of this article will be fasting with his wife this year.