Ever wondered how a modern professional woman views the Karva Chauth vrat or fasting ritual? Some women see this fasting for the wellbeing of the husband as servitude. Many modern women don’t agree to the traditional ideas associated with Karwa Chauth but instead they see the whole ritual as a symbol of love. In a thought provoking article in the Washington Post Anu Kumar, a vice president of marketing with Bank of America, shares her thoughts on Karva Chauth and why she observes the ritual.
Some excerpts from the article
Tradition says if a wife eats before moonrise during Karwa Chauth, her husband may die. Not that any of these modern, professional women believe that, but still...
…I still treasured the memories of Karwa Chauth. But I began to feel conflicted, too. I was in college -- emboldened to reassess old beliefs and assumptions -- when I first questioned the servility implied by this holiday. Indian women have a reputation for submission to their husbands as it is, and this tradition demands that women go so far as to sacrifice their physical nourishment. I was caught between my commitment to women's equality and my girlhood fantasy. In one vision, I was among those women shattering stereotypes and demanding their rightful place in the world. In another, I was a happily married princess dressed in silk and jewels for the love of her husband.
The girlhood fantasy won out: I keep the fast and celebrate the rituals of Karwa Chauth. But so did feminism: When I wed, I chose a marriage of equals.
….I decided to seek out friends of Indian background and to try to persuade the married women to dress in their saris and wait for the moon. Some rejected it as an antiquated, sexist tradition. But that first year, I found five women, each either Indian or married to an Indian, willing to fast. In the seven years since, our observance has grown to include eight or nine couples.