Understanding of Sindoor and Mangalsutra

Posted by Nupur Rastogi
December 24, 2017

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Wearing Sindoor is so common in our country that it seems to be more important than a marriage certificate. Growing up, I observed it and understood it as something “that happens”, there is no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ for it. However reaching 20s, I started questioning its worth and why it is important.
I’m 25 years old now and after having a good theoretical and practical experience, long conversations with men and women,  I have understood that why women wear SINDOOR and MANGALSUTRA.
1). It is considered a ‘Patni-dharma’ that women MUST fulfill, no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. It is a tradition/ religious doing/keeps husband alive or whatever shit reason that can convince a woman to keep it.
2). Certainly, it was a patriarchal structure but now these point 1 women make it mandatory for other women to follow this “patni-dharma”.
3).Pyschological self validation contributes immensely as these women seek validation from others whose definition of a married beautiful lady is different from unmarried one depending on if they wear sindoor, mangalsutra, makeup and other ornaments.
4).They are generally devoid of respect by their partners hence seeking respect from society has a major role to play in their lives. Now, Society openely judges these women on the basis of sindoor and mangalsutra once they’re married, leaves no space for these women to “survive” unjudged.
5).They have no self awareness and are not vociferous for what they want and thus this patriarchal set up of putting symbols on them so that they can not “seduce men in the market” is consumed by them unquestionably.
6). These symbols get stamped by the use of scientific arguments and evidences giving no voice to women if they really believe and want to follow those scientific arguments and evidences if they’ve any. Here, they are devoid of all independent decisions and choices that they want to make for themselves.
7). Once, they start questioning these symbols,a load of allegations, accusations, complaints and hatred falls on them and here they have to fight against society, inlaws and most importantly their husbands.
8). Hence, they end up accepting Sindoor and mangalsutra and put it “willingly” and proudly assert it as their “wish”, leaving no corner for consistent arguments, psychological and physical violence.
My idea of these symbols has been narrowed down to these set pattern of structure where women have internalized violence without being aware of it and propagating it on the name of “choice”.
As an evidence, I would like to see how many divorce rates would go up as soon as “good bahus” even start questioning “sindoor” and “mangalsutra” just for the sake of trial, because anyhow we know its their “wish” so just a trial would be enough to confront reality.

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