Why Indian Women Pray for Long Lives for their Husbands Even as Millions are Killed for Dowry

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Last week millions of Hindu women proudly celebrated a festival whose fundamental tenet is misogynistic. This is the festival of Karva Chauth. Women deprive themselves of food and water all day, and after sunset break their fast after they’ve viewed the moon through a kitchen sieve. They’ve been told that if they do this, the gods will ensure long lives for their husbands. In a country where every year, more than a 100,000 married women are murdered for dowry — burnt, hung, stabbed, poisoned, drowned, or driven to suicide — by their husbands and in-laws, and not a day goes by without media reports of such deaths, this womanly fixation on ensuring a long life for the husband seems sort of bizarre. But there is a cultural explanation for Indian women’s fixation on their husbands’ long lives….

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE http://www.huffingtonpost.in/rita-banerji-/karva-chauth-a-womanly-ce_b_8429386.html

Is this the Angle to the Clinton-Lewinsky Saga That Feminists Turned A Blind Eye to?

I started reading this book at bedtime, and after the first chapter, I couldn’t put it down. I had to stay up and finish it, just to find out if the Clinton-Lewinsky theme that I perceived in the first chapter, played out through the rest of the book. And for me, it did!

This is ‘The Penelopiad,’ one of Atwood’s lesser read books, and in it she retells the story of Homer’s famous epic, ‘The Odyssey.’ It’s a thin book, a fast read, and even if you are not familiar with Homer’s version it’s OK, because Atwood sticks to the original storyline. The story is about Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, and his wife Penelope. When Penelope’s beautiful cousin Helen of Troy is abducted, Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan war and returns home to Penelope after 20 years, and many adventures. And while he plays the field, making as many love conquests as war victories, Penelope remains loyal to him despite overtures from male suitors, who actually are more interested in the wealth and power she had hold over, than in her. Odysseus is unhappy about these suitors when he returns, and he kills them, as well as Penelope’s twelve maids-in-waiting by hanging them.

However, where Homer’s version is through the eyes of a male narrator and explored within a patriarchal context, Atwood’s version (not surprisingly), is through the eyes of a female narrator (Penelope’s eyes after she’s dead), and explored within a feminist context. And this is what makes it really interesting. This is the same story, yet the questions asked and the conclusions reached by a female narrator give this epic a whole different twist.

What for me was most fascinating was the Clinton-Lewinsky twist. It is true, that the lure of mythologies is that they provide a philosophical framework in which we can eternally recognize patterns of human behavior, responses and relationships. Yet, as I read on to the end, I did wonder, if Atwood was inspired by the Clinton-Lewinsky account in her reading of The Odysseus. Below I share some of these specific excerpts from the book. You decide! (more…)

Hrithik, Don’t Fret, Your Divorce Won’t Destroy India’s Marriage Institution

Hrithik Roshan & Suzanne wedding Pictures 2Dear Hrithik Roshan,

I have received your tear-soaked letter about your impending divorce. It was duly delivered at 6 a.m. on December 14, at my doorstep in both my weekend newspapers.  In fact it was in the headlines, on the front page of both newspapers! At first I was irritated. I thought these idiots are copying off each other and just fooling me into paying for two different subscriptions.  But then I thought — what if this is a matter of utmost national importance? And so I read your letter slowly and carefully, registering all the critical information it gave, in both newspapers. 

I am proud to say that I’m now enlightened. You say (more…)

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