Pseudoscience & Religion

Why I don’t celebrate KarvaChauth

I don’t do Karva Chauth, It never made sense to me. Today, if my daughter were to ask me questions like “how is one parent’s life more important than the other?”, “how can my fasting prolong someone’s life?”, “why should a married woman’s ambition be to NOT outlive her husband, but why the husband need not labour under any such obligations?” – Would I take the same stance that my mother did and respond with “because I said so”, everyone does it “, or “are you too clever to question centuries old traditions?” I would lose my daughter’s respect for sure – a mighty precious thing to lose. I would only be perpetuating the myth of the supremacy of the masculine gender.


Oh sure, no one forces me into anything, I have every right to choose whether or not I want to prolong my husband’s life! I decided it’s time to do away with all that is regressive and patriarchal. There are other festivals like Jamai Shashti in Bengal, Pehli Lohri after marriage in Punjab (loads of goodies sent from the bride’s to the groom’s house), Raksha Bandhan ( though I have indeed seen Rakhi to be changing with the times in many households with siblings tying each other the Rakhi instead of only sisters seeking protection from brothers). Yes, festivals can be celebrated and enjoyed, only the message needs change. We can proudly proclaim that we treat our daughters equal to the sons, but with these massive contradictions in our preaching and practices, how could we?
Many of my friends argue that women are physically weaker, hence the unequal treatment. But don’t we know of the fact that there are in fact men who are physically weak? Yes, physical strength was a yardstick for success when we were hunter-gatherers – not anymore!

Information and technology are what drive the world today. Success of an individual or a society depends not only on whether it can change with the times, but how fast it can change. Each year that goes by, I see no substantial change in our ways of thinking. We watch approvingly the same regressive portrayals of women, minorities, LGTBs, the disabled, in movies, serials, literature. We laugh at sexist jokes, we keep our women indoors or in groups (“never move alone”, “public parks are only for thugs and the police!). We want to educate our daughters; and at the same time we tell them they will forever be children, requiring male guardianship. What we achieve is obvious- we create more bullies. If we do want change in the society, we have to first believe that it’s possible. In this democracy that is my country, I believe we have a fighting chance – To step out of the shackles of patriarchal customs, to teach our daughters that they are as valid and important as the sons, to change!

This is me, eating bhindi. What did you eat during karvachauth?

This is me, eating bhindi. What did you eat during karvachauth?

About the author

Radhika Mukherjee

5 Comments

  • Truly! Most festivals in any religion are gender discriminatory. In Hindu religion, for example, the birthdays of male Hindu gods – Rama or Krishna or ganapathy – are celebrated but the birth of sita or rukmini seldom discussed for celebration. Major festival is dussera and that too is celebrated for killing mahishasur – a revered god for some adivasis and tribals. Similarly, the birth of Jesus is more crucial to Christians than holy Mary , who endured sufferings all her life. The birth of prophet Mohammed is more prominent than his wife or mother. When every festival points to male domination, why karva chauth for the women to ‘ protect men’?
    This trend of male hegemony should change. Just chanting the names of ‘devi’ to show respect for women is not enough ! Atrocities on women have increased. Rapes and murders have risen alarmingly. Men should encourage empowerment of women.
    Festivals should reflect the greatness of women and not their fasting for protection of ‘ men’. The celebration of any festival will be meaningful only if it reflects gender equality . Hence festivals of harvest season, new year or birthdays of great women are worth celebrating more than male skewed festivals like karva chauth or raksha bandhan .

  • Fantastic. Another of those articles where the author chastises a festival / ritual / belief without actually stating the origin of why it is practiced. There are several festivals / rituals / belief’s etc. which may look archaic today but when started there was a purpose. It is like saying why would anyone want to write inland letters when one can easily whatsapp or tweet or email etc. Before writing such articles understand the context then make comments. You have chosen to not follow & do it in your own way, good for you. But why write an article linking this with the other social evils you see in the society? What purpose are your serving by this article ?

  • Went through the article by Radhika Mukherjee.ed Its nothing new what she has written. I had lived in WB for 11 yrs Karwa chaoth is never been a festival of WB . this is celebrated in particularly in western Part pf U.P. Punjab, Haryana , Rajashthan and some other hoindi speaking States. Even in Bihar which is a hindi speaking state celebrated. The article shopws the less inform abt hinduism to Radhika jai , Pl study “Ishippanishad” there it has been very widely mentioned abt Nastik and Astik . Well just to criticise Hinduism u can write what ever u can , it is a democratic country and u r free to express ur vies. but my request these r the traditions religion never force any one to abide or not abide thats the beauty of Hinduism , One can be a Nastik (Athiest) He /she may bot obey any religion but they too have a un named religion, Religion doesnt mean traditions or rituals these r being celebrated just to celebrate the day and enjoyment . Enjoymewnt doesnt hv any religion cast and creed . So better commenting on any tradition study these and analyse why these r celebrated. Our sanatan dharm is the oldest religion of the world a. nd if u study all our vedas upanishads then u will get the reply of ur question. Study. Yes just to be some special human being a new trend has started “Athiest” I feel like laughing. Some body has mentioned on facebook ( Ayesha Sharma)as “Half Hindu Half Muslim ” means u obey Christianity or Budhism or jainism then where is the Athiesism” nothing but just a nautanki so that people think u r a special creature of the world but a drama.

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