THE FACTS and FIGURES:
A widow should be long suffering until death,self-restarined and chaste.
a virtuous wife who remains chaste when her husband has died goes to heaven.
a woman who is unfaithful to her (DEAD)husband is reborn in the womb of a jackal.
The Laws of Manu.
Chapter 5 Verse 156-161
("SACRED" Hindu Texts)
According to dharamshastras there are three ways for a widow either sati,life of penance or remarriage with the younger brother of her husband.
There are over 34 million widows in India according to the 2001 cencus.many continue to live in the conditions of social,economic and cultural deprivation as prescribed 2000 years ago by the sacred texts of manu.
THE STORY and THE CHARACTERS:
Film:Water(oscar nominated for best foreign film 2007)
Country:Canada(filmed in Sri Lanka)based in India on the banks of river Ganges.
Words defining the movie:Haunting Truth
Scandals involved:Shoot in Varanasi was stopped due to threats and demonstrations orchestrated by Hindu fundamentalist groups supported by the leadership of the state government in Uttar Pradesh due to which it had to shift location to Sri Lanka.
Chuhiya:a 7-8 yr old lil girl who is a widow.
Kalyani:a 19-20 yr old graceful girl who falls in love with narayana.
Narayana:a follower of Gandhi who is 30 yrs old or so and is in favour of widow reforms.
Madhumati:a lady who lives in the widow house and is in two minds whether to follow the so called sacred texts or to follow her heart.
THE STARK COMMENTS and HAUNTING QUESTIONS:
Chuhiya's Father: [to young Chuhiya] Child. Do you remember getting married? Your husband is dead. You're a widow now.
Chuhiya:up until when baba ?
Chuhiya:(after visiting the widow house where she is left by her parents)baba where is maa ? I wont stay here baba i wont i wont i wont *cries out loud*
(Another widow while taking water from a river) a priest says "stay clear of me...let not your wicked shadow fall on me"
(In a temple where all widows hav to beg for money as they are not allowed to earn their own money)
chuhiya:why all this ? go drown yourself! (btw all the money was deposited in ashram's account)
A procurer comes along in the night and takes a young beautiful widow to a rich merchant where she serves as a cyprian(read whore)
In a particular event A very old aged widow dies after which the other widows have to look after her dead body for her last rites but they have no money to do that(coz they arent allowed to work they can only amass money by begging which by the way moves to temple fund...so what was the way out one might ask...i too am left asking the same)
Narayana:kalyani devi,when did you become a widow ?
Kalyani:I dont remember may be 9 yrs old
Narayana:how was he ?
Kalyani:I dont know,I never met him.
Madhumati:even thinking about reamarriage is a crime!
(Chuhiya:where is he ?
Madhumati:how do I know ?
Chuhiya:then who does ?
Madhumati:God knows everything
Chuhiya:how and again where is he ?)
Narayan's dad:narayan listen a brahmin can sleep with any woman because the woman is always benificiary irrespective of who she is.
narayan:lord Ram once said to Bharat said never respect any brahmin who use vedas for their profit.
Madhumati:there must be a reason behind us coming here (widow house)
Narayan:a mouth less to feed,4 sarees,a bed,a corner of your house is free, no other reason,this too is a business in the shadow of religion.
Chuhiya a small girl of age 8 now is sent to a rich merchant who uses her as a tart.(just a fancy word for whore coz I as a human being feel deeply ashamed and immoral to use the word in context to a 8 yr old girl (for that matter any girl of any age) with all due respect to all the hindu shastras and the sacred brahmins and thier laws the sacred thread which gives them the right to... and everyother person who is supposedly sacred by birth and not by DEEDS)
THE CONTEMPLATION and RUMINATION:
A few days ago I was asked to speak about a topic in a sort of elocution competition the topic was "SHOULD WOMEN WORK IN NIGHT ?"I as a part of young DEVELOPING INDIA with a GDP of 9.3 and growing said "if today we ask ourselves that whether women should work in night then I guess we have no rights to dream of a developed India...what purpose does it serve anyway ? isnt it a shame that we are even asking these kind of questions when we CRY OUT LOUD about WOMEN EMPOWERMENT WOMEN RIGHTS WOMEN BILL WOMEN RESERVATION ? the question arises that why arent more women working in night shifts ? because the law and order situation in India needs improvement"and I said a lot more about SO CALLED women empowerment but what followed this was actually very saddening,then I thought why not ask the girls what do they think.I thought most of them thought the same way I did but then what I didnt realise was how deeply rooted this evil and profoundness of shadow of self doubt was.most of the girls who are currently pursuing bachelor's degree answered me negatively and said may be women should not work at night because of several reasons.after which i asked them would you consider your educated decision provided the law and order situation in the cities and towns of India becomes better ? there was a silence which made me substantiate the fact that women empowerment should start with women themselves and empowerment begins in the mind and soul until the minds are ignited with flame of knowledge andwisdom with urge to fly high no change will ever occur in India or the women brooding in it.
(I with all my heart and mind and body and soul want this India to change.hope some if not all of you girls will someday rise form the ashes of so called pseudo culture and customs and realise your potential and set yourself free and fly.......Best of Luck...and yeah kick some fundaMENTALists of which ever religion you want,afterall all of them have prejudices against womenhood)
I live for CHANGE so should YOU.........be THE CHANGE for a CHANGE !