Kurva Chauth or Romantic Blackmail?

Today is also Kurva Chauth, a fast Indian women keep for the longevity and prosperity of their husbands.  For those well familiar with Bollywood movies, Kurva Chauth is often associated with romance and sacrifice for husbands. Wives dress up in gorgeous Indian saris, lenghas and salwar-suits waiting anxiously for the moon to rise. Bollywood has played it’s own part in romanticizing the fast, with gorgeous filmi actresses fasting for their husbands both on-screen and off-screen.

Credit: Internet, Bollywood Wives Fasting for Kurva Chauth
Credit: Internet, Bollywood Wives Fasting for Kurva Chauth

With a sifter in hand, women see the image of their husbands against the rising moon. The night goes on with much fanfare, and women celebrate the Moon Gods with much jubilation and respite. The husbands then lovingly offer the thirsty and famished wives water and mouthwatering snacks. Here are some pictures describing the whole process!

For those who think of Kurva Chauth as an archaic reflection of Indian culture, the modern adaptations of the fast are…due to a lack of a better word…COOL! Women organize parties to put henna on each other’s hands; they often visit the parlors to look like blushing brides; go shopping with their husbands to pick out jazzy outfits; or enjoy the day preparing snacks for the evening with their girlfriends.

Traditional Kurva earthenware used for praying
Traditional Kurva earthenware used for praying

However, women holding jobs typically find it hard to go without food and water throughout the day. My neighbor discussed her modern adaptations, “Come on yaar, gone are the days when the poor woman had to starve all day for her hubby dearest to offer her food in the evening. I refuse to do fasts that don’t involve eating.” When asked what the point of the fast if you’re eating all day, the wonderfully liberated lady added, “Do you think the husband would ever do that for me?” The point is valid, though mother-in-laws typically frown at such random logic!

Mother-in-laws play a very critical role in Kurva Chauth. Typically the mother-in-laws send “sargi” or a collection of snacks, ornaments etcetera for the daughter-in-law. But the modern mother-in-laws have also evolved with the times and are often seen buying packaged sargis decorated with chocolates and dry fruits. My neighborhood mother-in-laws prefer giving cash so that daughter-in-laws can spend the money on what they like.

Credit: www.tajonline.com
Credit: http://www.tajonline.com

To assume women are forced into traditional cultural activities is the thing of the past!  As my neighbor’s husband aptly put, “It is the modern husbands that are forced into this fast. I had to buy my wife a sari, perfume, bangles and a necklace!  It’s romantic blackmail if you ask me!”

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2 thoughts on “Kurva Chauth or Romantic Blackmail?

  1. Great article addressing gender equality, traditional roles are changing in society and society runs a fine line between liberalising people and degenerating society into a place where people forgot where they came from, and lose sight of where they are going.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s wonderful to see women finding new meaning in old cultural traditions. Indeed, what you say is very true especially given the evolving gender roles in the Indian society and across the world in general.

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