Scanning Indian Widowhood-The Social Demise!

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The wounding loss of a partner gives a long-term struggle for their basic rights and fulfillment for many women. widows have historically been left disregarded, unfounded, and unmeasured in our societies. in India the burden of widowhood differs upon caste hierarchy, among the upper caste it’s a state of social cessation. after the death of the husband, the widow is estranged from reproduction and sexuality and banned from all other social as well as family functions. According to Uma Chakravarti, the famous Indian historian “the widow’s marginality is a state of condition between being physically alive and being socially dead”. And the trouble was unduly worst among the brahmins community.
group of people

Society expects the widow to execute a defined behavior .and a prime idea behind certain elements of this is associated with the metaphoric denial of sexuality of these widows. among the brahminical ritual, shaving the head is a very common ritual. in order to cement the idea of ‘permanent widowhood’ upon women, the community ought to constantly reiterate its superiority over the widow. the shaving of the head is a part of that. moreover, it is an indirect way of controlling and tieing the sexuality of a widow.

a women under a tree
indian widows

when a woman is having zero choice and voice in her sex and sexuality it is a kind of social death for her. 

this social and mental condition of every widow is further hooked with the idea of `Pathivratha’ and the word means one who remains loyal to her husband. after the death of their husband, an attitudinal shift from the society will be evident and she surely not been a pativrata and she is an outcast.

apart from tonsure, a widow is supposed to behave in a way that; she should give up munching betel-nut, she should wear only white attire, should not wear ornaments, flowers, Sindhoor, Haldi, etc, and only allowed to take two meals in a day. 

widow traditions

the rituals associated with making or preparing a widow for her widowhood are also significant. from a wife to a widow she gets a physical, emotional as well as social transition. those rituals include the breaking of mangalsutra and bangles. they were not supposed to use sindoor or Haldi which are connected with sexuality and reproduction and they were forced to wear white clothes which display asexuality. instead of sindoor widows apply Vibhuti or ash with symbolizes the funeral pyre.

While comparing widows of the brahminical community with others we can see drastic differences. there we cant find a complete end of social life or any other dramatic social breaks. in the case of lower caste and untouchable widowhood is more slack in the structure, where they were not excluded from anything or subjected to isolation. 

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