India has a culture that worships the Feminine Divine such as Durga, Kali, and Parvati…a country whose ancient religion celebrates the union of Shiva and Shakti, where some depictions of Shiva show him as half-man, half-woman…the yin/yang that we all are…
If any of you have seen the movie Water, the above story will be familiar to you. Deepa Mehta was forced to film her movie in Sri Lanka because of the fundamentalist protests against the depiction of this subject in her movie. However, the plot of Water takes place in 1930s India, and the CNN story takes place now.
Indian widows, dowry deaths, female infanticide….for all of its “modernization” or “westernization”, whatever you want to call it, there are still aspects of India that make me shake my head. These are controversial subjects, and these practices are certainly NOT supported by the vast majority of Indians, but to burn even ONE bride, to abort even ONE fetus merely because of its gender, or to turn out even ONE widow is too much.
I know that a news story like this inflames passions, and I thought about whether I should post the CNN story. People are sensitive about how their countries or cultures are portrayed. The reporter’s tone is sensationalistic and the implication is that the majority of widows are treated like this, and that is not the case. However, that does not take away from the fact that the story is grounded in reality. The topic is something that should be thought about, along with the 50 MILLION WOMEN ARE MISSING PROJECT, a project started in India by an Indian woman (see earlier posts.)
To those of you who are upset about this Western portrayal of India, I suggest you channel that anger into something positive and make a donation to The Banyan, a Chennai-based organization “that cares for and rehabilitates homeless women with mental illness found in the streets of Chennai. …The Banyan provides the women a safe shelter, care, medical attention, and a supportive environment to enable them to recover and to take responsibility for their lives again.”
Instead of leaving negative comments on blogs or the CNN website, put your money where your mouths are and donate some rupees and dollars.
India is not all yoga, spirituality, and vedic chants. It’s a country and culture that has beautiful and wondrous aspects at the same time that terrible things happen — and that makes it just like any other country, mine included.
We are all yin and yang — the dark spot in the light, the light inside the dark.