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Like the Devi idols lie lifeless in ponds and lakes after Durga Puja similarly many Indian women suffer in silence. It’s a shame that a society where millions are spent on a festival which depicts a clear picture of women empowerment lets its women live in horror.

Why such hypocrisy? Aren’t the masses more educated now? Then why doesn’t the trend change? If people can change their palette from Indian to continental then why not choose to become more rational. Is it so hard? 

People await Puja for the fun and festivities it offers without understanding its importance. “A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing” as quoted by Alexander Pope. It’s important for us Hindus to know that Our culture promotes gender equality like no other.

‘Devi’ means Goddess and Puja is the ceremony held in order to appease her and get blessings. There are many goddesses who are offered ritualistic offerings throughout the year. 

The peculiar thing in all these ceremonies is that the worshiping last only for a limited period much like the wooing of women for Wedding or Shaadi

Puja of any deity in India is a huge deal and requires months of preparations and huge expenditure which is similar to that of Indian Weddings. 

Both Devi Puja and Shaadi take place on a particular date basing on planetary positions known as ‘Tithi’ and ‘Nakshatra’ which is favorable for the goddess or bride. Like Laxmi Puja is observed on a full moon night of ashwini month, similarly a bride is to be wed on a day auspicious as per her planetary positions or kundali.

It takes months to prepare the Devi Idol which involves finest craftsmanship. The idols are dressed in most elegant saris and decked with dazzling gold ornaments. Every Puja committee hires the best craftsman in order to make the most beautiful Devi idol to draw more spectators towards his pandal.

Similarly a boy’s family spends months before finalizing a bride for their son and demand her to be decked with the most expensive saree and jewelry to add glamour to the boy’s family.

On both the occasions huge masses of people are invited to be part of the celebration. There are also provisions made to feed people who play a very vital role of being judgmental! 

‘Pujas’ and ‘Weddings’ gives reason to people to celebrate. People get dressed in their in their finest attire and indulge in the preparations and festivities. Pandals and mandaps are decorated with beautiful flowers and lights to add beauty to the occasion. People put in day and night to make everything perfect. 

Like all things come to an end so does the celebrations. The site of Immersion or ‘Visarjan’ is the most painful sight to every Hindu. On completion of Puja the idols are stripped of their sari and jewellery and drowned in the nearby water body. The ‘Idol’ people tried to please with offerings and hymns are now submerged in water like debris. It’s such a horror to think what if someone did the same to you! 

Surprisingly many woman go through a similar ordeal post their grand wedding.

Women are laden with responsibility and turn to a mere domestic help. They face the trauma of dowry, domestic violence and marital rape.

Pleasing your husband and in-laws becomes priority, failing which she is mistreated and badgered upon. It’s not a rare site to read about domestic violence in any local daily. Wives being burnt down for dowry or being beaten up for refusing to have sex with her husband.These are common terrors wives go through.

What can be done to change this scenario? Are the Laws made to protect women enough?

Laws are guidelines to guard people and not to threaten them. It’s hypocrisy on the part of Indians who celebrate Durga Puja and later abuse women in their family.

It’s obnoxious that families, who have committed female infanticide, pray every year to welcome Goddess Laxmi into their homes. Goddess Saraswati is considered as the goddess of wisdom yet many girls remain uneducated.

The biggest predicament is that you don’t need western education degree to establish the gender equality.

These Pujas itself mark the presence of gender equality which has existed in our society from ages.  It is sheer negligence on the part of society to create dominance over the physically weaker sex. We don’t have to look beyond in other countries to improve our situation. We have the remedy to deal with the situation in our culture itself people just need to understand the rituals and not just practice it.

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Devi Pujan – A Reflection of Hypocritical Society

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