Archive for the ‘karma’ Category

in Nepal widows are considered to be social pariahs who are despised, insulted and abused. It makes no difference if the husband died from natural causes or was killed fighting in a war. Their widows are cursed

November 13, 2009

For those who think Christianity has oppressed women:

You would expect a woman who has been widowed to be afforded sympathy from her family and friends at the very least. But in Nepal widows are considered to be social pariahs who are despised, insulted and abused. It makes no difference if the husband died from natural causes or was killed fighting in a war. Their widows are cursed. (In)… this disturbing situation…the women’s own family will be angry with them for being a financial burden (there’s little chance of remarrying). One man openly admits he is so irritated with his 13-year-old daughter who was widowed a year ago that he beats her and treats her as a slave. The in-laws are just as cruel, considering widows to be bad luck and holding them responsible for the death of their son. No wonder married women pray that their husbands will live a long time… one Hindu religious leader…explains that the widows are being punished for a sin in a previous life. He even suggests that the traditional practice of sati (where the wife throws herself on her husband’s funeral pyre) should be resurrected.

TV Times review of Channel 4’s Unreported World, broadcast 13/11/9

I used to wonder what on earth drove women in India to want to throw themselves on their husbands funeral pyre. But there was the carrot and the stick. The carrot was the (delusional) hope of a better reincarnation; the stick was the kind of social exclusion this programme narrates. Why, the poor widow reasoned, should I live in this body and suffer from even those closest to me, when I can perhaps achieve moksha (liberation from the cycle of existence) or at least a better go next time around? Ideas have consequences.