Window Seat: Widow Remarriage

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | December 03, 2023 IST

Window Seat, Widow Remarriage

Mrinal Chatterjee

For a woman, losing one’s husband is painful and traumatic. Adding to the sorrow, unspeakable misery is heaped on the widows by the society, and ironically by even the family members. Many widows experience loneliness, isolation, neglect, and even rejection from their relatives. In the face of these stigmas and ostracization, widows are often socially othered and are not only invisible to their local and global communities, but to each other. Hindu widows have been subjected to these harsh conditions more often than in any other religions. 

It was Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-1891), who fought against this and was responsible for bringing about Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, which was passed on 16 July 1856. He did not stop at thatHe married off the first widow, much to the opposition of Hindu conservatives. The widow was Kalimati, daughter of Brahmananda Mukherjee. Kalimati was married to Shrishchandra Vidyaratna, son of Iswar Chandra’s close friend. The event took place on 7 December 1856. It was held under strict police protection from fundamental Hindu Brahmins who were against such social reforms. Vidyasagar had invited around 800 people for the occasion including well-known personalities like Kali Prasanna Singha and Pandit Prem Chandra Tarkobagis. To practice what he preached, Vidyasagar also married off his son Narayan Chandra to a widow named Bhaba  Sundari. 

There was huge opposition from the orthodox section of the society, when Vidyasagar campaigned for widow remarriage. To silence his adversaries, who were talking about sastras (the scriptures) denying widows a remarriage, Vidyasagar wrote his two famous treaties on the marriage of Hindu widows in January and October 1855. Drawing upon the Sutras (literary compositions) and the Sastras (scriptures) he  argued that there was no prohibition on remarriage  of widows in the sastras. He cited scriptures which clearly stated that women are at liberty to marry again if their husbands are insane, dead or have renounced the family or are important or outcasts.

After Vidyasagar, Veerasalingam Pantulu (1848-1919), considered as the father of the Telugu Renaissance movement and Professor D.K. Karve from Maharashtra (1858-1962, who married a widow himself) took forward the campaign in other parts of the country.

Chamatkari Baba

I never realized that it is so easy to fulfill all your aspirations, solve all your problems, get everything that you have always wanted. Just a phone call and within three hours you get express solutions to all problems. It is a pity that leaders and policy makers are not realising the power of the 'chamatkari' gurus that are abundantly available across the country. And yes they can also solve your domestic problems including marital disharmony.

I have seen posters proclaiming such miraculous solutions to all problems pasted in local trains in Bengal, Odisha and in several states of North India. The posters usually include the Baba or Swami or Guruji’s mobile number and credentials like, Ajmerwala Baba, Hrisikesh ki Sadhu or Kamakhya ki Sanyasi. Some posters also offer refunds if you do not get the desired result.

I often wonder, if these Babas have such miraculous powers, why can’t they utilise this power in changing the fate of this country? Why are people staying hungry? Why do they not have a roof over their heads? Why are the farmers committing suicide? Why can’t the Babas use their powers to help them? Why couldn’t they rescue the workers trapped inside the Silkyra tunnel in Uttarakhand?

I get no answer.

Tailpiece: Desi Lesson, Deshi Style

Indian sweets carry Positive Psychology and Management Messages. It's all about Perspective.

1. Jalebi: Your Shape doesn't matter, your nature does. No matter how messed up you look or life is, keeping a sweet tone will always help.

2. Rosogolla: No matter how much you are squeezed by circumstances, only sweetness should come out and just remember you will return to your original self as soon as the pressure diminishes!! So be resilient even when squeezed. 

3. Boondi Laddu : Every little drop of Boondi matters. Similarly little and continuous efforts can bring in miraculous results. Continue doing little things, success will follow.

4. Soan papdi: Not everyone likes you, yet the maker doesn't stop to make you pursue your goals, irrespective of validation.  

5. Gulab jamun: Your Softness is not your weakness, it can be your strength. Softness is a quality much appreciated, be Proud of it.

6. Besan Laddu : If you get shattered due to pressure, you can always Rebuild. It's a symbol of HOPE. No Matter what goes wrong, we can always fix it.

So don’t give up on sweets no matter who says what.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

Rajasthani Googly

Bhagaban ko diyero sab hai

Daulat hai, Ijjat hai, Sohrat hai

Tato pani vi hai

Par..

Nahane ki ichha koni

(God has given me everything. I have wealth, respect, and fame. I even have hot water. But … I don’t have the desire to take a bath.)

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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