I HAD INDEPENDENT CONVERSATIONS WITH Zithromax Pregnancy, two friends recently, about the same topic. Both friends fasted/will fast this week, for Sharad Purnima and Karva Chauth respectively. Since I had never heard of the former and the only knowledge I can claim to have about the latter is a sappy scene from DDLJ, I got to thinking and reading more about the subject. I wanted one question in particular answered: Is gender-selective fasting (females, in all cases I read about) a covert form of oppression, and consequently, Zithromax Pregnancy craiglist, socio-cultural violence.
For ease of understanding, let’s focus on the more widely publicized karva chauth. The etymology of Karva Chauth is largely unknown, although bolstered by many possible hypotheses, Zithromax Pregnancy. One theory states that this was the time of year (on the 4th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik) that travel away from home and military campaigns commenced, which led women to fast for their husband’s well-being. The festival also coincides with the beginning of the rabi crop cycle, 750mg Zithromax Pregnancy, and hence may have also been a form of prayer for a good harvest, given the transactional nature between deity and devotee in Hinduism, where striking bargains and ‘bribing’ deities is acceptable practice. While Karva Chauth is predominantly a Northern and North-western ritual, it exists in numerous variations all over India (it is less pervasive in the North-east), but always involves women fasting for male kin--specifically, spouses.
To understand the ritual, Zithromax Pregnancy ebay, I also read about the zeitgeist in which it originated. Zithromax Pregnancy, Since we do not know when exactly women began practicing it, we can assume that it was either during the Golden Age of Hinduism—when women were officiating priests and gender-specific practices like child marriage, sati, etc. had not crept into mainstream society—or it began during a time of uncertainty and oppression for women, when their marital status was all that kept them from a life of wretchedness and societal abandonment. In either case, it appears clear that Karva Chauth was adopted and implemented for women’s own preservation, i.e. 30mg Zithromax Pregnancy, less for their husband’s well-being and more for their own, since their existence was so closely tied to their spouse’s.
In 2011, my friend’s husband is not going to war. Both she and her spouse travel with equal frequency, Zithromax Pregnancy. And while both my friend’s happiness is certainly closely linked to the well-being of her spouse, her existence and survival is not. It is even less so in the case of the friend fasting for her brother. What then, Zithromax Pregnancy overseas, drives urban, educated women, one living in Bombay and the other in San Francisco, to go a whole day without food and water.
I turned the question over to them. Zithromax Pregnancy, “I am from UP,” one said, adding a sad emoticon to our screen conversation, “it is an important day there.” She explained that there was pressure to follow the ritual and it was hard to say no when “they connect the fast to someone you hold dear,” in this case, her brother. Both she and my other friend were a trifle apologetic about engaging in something that they understood at a cognitive level was illogical. Zithromax Pregnancy india, “It does embarrass me,” the other said, “that I who talk of women’s rights and the empowerment of womanhood so frequently, undertake the fast anyway.” Would her spouse join her and abstain from food as well, I asked. “Oh no,” came the answer, “he can’t stay hungry.”
I get the power of social conditioning, 200mg Zithromax Pregnancy. If this is something you have seen female role models do and have been told it is an expression of love and concern for a dear one, you are likely to not push the envelope and err on the side of caution and tradition. What interests me is that neither woman gave much thought to what they were subjecting their bodies to (even if it is just one day—unless the doctor recommends it, is an entire day of abruptly denying your body food and water healthy?) and that there was minimal questioning of their partners’ non-opinion on the issue, Zithromax Pregnancy. I am aware that we are talking of an 18-hour time frame. Ramzan is a whole month of similar deprivation. But do remember that in the case of Ramzan fasting, both genders are expected to do it, 500mg Zithromax Pregnancy, and not for each other.
I will admit that it isn’t the fasting per se that bothers me as much as the social expectation that one gender must undertake it for another, while being provided compensation in monetary forms (jewelry, clothes, make-up, henna, etc.) Many of you may say there is no coercion and you undertake fasting of your own free will, but you may want to consider whether free will exists in a vacuum, 250mg Zithromax Pregnancy, without socialization, cultural pressures and gender-specific expectations creeping into the mix. Zithromax Pregnancy, How many of you do this only because your in-laws expect it. How many because you saw your mother do it. Because it's just the way it is and it's only one day and we may as well please "them" and be done with it.
My individual conversations with both friends were full of banter and joking about how they need to sneak in some gajar halwa and how a Parsi (I am one) must never be separated from her food, but on a more serious note, 40mg Zithromax Pregnancy, do give this action deep thought if you are undertaking it and question your reasons other than “because they say so.” There is love for your partner/brother/other male kin and then there is logic. And it IS perfectly possible for the two to co-exist. As women, let’s not do ourselves a disservice by blindly going along with what always has been. If you carefully consider your compulsions and still wish to abstain because you believe starvation on your part will help your loved one live longer and thrive, power to you. Don’t forget to tell me how you do it.
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