Posted: 09 February 2014 at 7:38pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by Rehanism
Why are you seeing the statement out of context? No one denies that loyalty and fidelity are virtues, but is 'not suffering widowhood' an expression of those virtues? In India the most common blessing to a woman is 'Saubhagyavati bhava', which insinuates 'May your husband outlive you'. A woman who dies before her husband is considered to have attained heaven and her death as a 'suhagan' is understood as a fruit of her pious life. And a woman who suffers widowhood is known as 'Abhagi' - as per this belief its the woman's lack of virtue, devotion and loyalty that has hastened her husband's death, therefore she must either die shortly after her husband or live a life of austere penance to escape hell. The stupid and diabolic theory of karma comes into play here in almost same fashion it wrecks the life of lower castes who are believed to have been born as shudra due to bad karma of past life. Victim blaming and glorification of victimhood is an inalienable aspect of Hindu culture, often to a point where victims themselves embrace it wholeheartedly or start considering their position as one of honour.
Leaving myth aside, the prospect of losing a loved one scares me. Forget husband, the idea of even losing my parents or grandparents before me is a heartbreaking one. There is a part of me that hopes/wishes that if any virtue/goodness of mine stalls/averts such experiences, it is worth it. I am sure every human has similar feeling towards their loved ones.
To me "Saubhagyavati Bhava" doesn't necessarily imply "May your husband outlive you" but rather "May you never experience the grief of loss". Being virtuous is just a part of the hope/wishes to avert unhappiness and not a societal burden.
The problem comes when simple notions are taken too far. We all know that logically fate is uncertain. We never know when and why someone will die. To attribute long life to a virtuous wife and short life to a non virtuous wife is an extremely illogical notion as there is no link between the virtue of a wife and the life of a husband. Also to have doubles standards for men is also problematic. Not only does it not expect virtues of a man, but it also fails to acknowledge the love and emotions of men.
The problem wasn't that there is nothing wrong with some cultural views. The problem was that you failed to explain why there was something wrong with it. A person was extolling the virtues of sati, you called barbaric without explaining why. Also perhaps that person may have never thought through all the implications of their beliefs, so to call it barbaric without fully asking for an explanation of their stance is also a bit unfair.
You have a point. You are right in many aspects. However, in that particular interaction you missed making the point and didn't use the right methods to express your viewpoint.