What the Hindu scriptures say about cremation women


Body of Mandira Bedivere and her husband Large Causal

Mandilla Bedivere held the funeral of her husband, Large Causal

Indian actress and TV presenter Mandy Labedy was recently talked about after her husband’s Last rites. Cremation is traditionally performed by men, and women are often discouraged from even attending. But where does this belief come from and what does the Hindu scripture say about it?

With a clay pot of holy water in one hand and a bamboo frame with the body of a large cowshall, Bedivere cried during the ritual and lit the funeral fire.

Kaushall, a 49-year-old filmmaker, died suddenly on June 30 in a city in western Mumbai due to cardiac arrest.

The actress received a heartfelt condolence message and praised many for saying that she would confront the patriarchy in sadness.

Popular writer and columnist Shobhaa De said, “Mandira, overwhelmed by the sadness of her husband’s Last rites, has been guilty of challenging the archaic norms that govern our society for centuries. I sent a strong anti-patriarchal message. “

“When Bedive lit her husband this week, she unknowingly had countless in the hearts of men and women who believed in themselves, rather than the customs that have hindered our society for centuries. I lit the fire. The pie touched the sky. ” I have written..

Mandira Bedivere and her husband Large Cowshall

Mandira Bedi’s husband, Large Kaushall, died of cardiac arrest

For the record, Bedivere is not the only woman to cremate a loved one. When former Prime Minister Atalbi Harley Vajpai died in August 2018, his adopted daughter, Namitaka Urubatacharya, gave the last rite. In 2014, Panjaja Munde set fire to his father, Gopinath Munde, a senior BJP leader in western Maharashtra.

During recent pandemics, wives and daughters were often seen performing the last rites. It could also be due to the death of a man’s family, a virus infection, or the inability to travel due to a blockade.

But Bedivere broke tradition, upset the conservative Indians and right-wing trolls who mocked her on social media, and insisted that her 10-year-old son should set fire. It was also pointed out that even going to the crematorium was against tradition for women.

However, Hindu monks and religious scholars have told the BBC that there is no ban on the scriptures of women who visit the crematorium or perform the last rites of their loved ones.

So why do women discourage cremation or participation in cremation? There are many strange theories on the Internet, such as “spirits roaming the crematorium can easily possess a woman with long black hair.”

But Baguwan Dat Pasak, a retired Sanskrit professor in the northern town of Mirzapur, says the reason was probably more mundane-women are mostly at home and men work outdoors to do heavy things. I did the housework while I was doing the lifting work.

Professor Kausharendra Panday, who teaches Sanskrit literature at the famous Banaras Hindu University, said that if a man dies without leaving a male relative, such as a son, daughter, or brother, his wife’s ancient ritual will be held. Say there is a reference to the text. He says that even his daughter had the right to the Last rites.

Relatives carry the bodies of 19 victims at the Gajipur crematorium on May 18, 2021

During a recent pandemic, many women were seen participating in the cremation of their loved ones.

“Ancient Hindu societies were very liberal and women enjoyed tremendous freedom. Conservativeism was also a reaction to other religions, first Buddhism, then Islam and Christianity. I was struck, “he says.

Manoji Kumar Panday, a funeral monk, said the current belief that the eldest son should be cremated is rooted in the Hindu religious document Garn Plan, which deals with funerals. I am. 1,000 years old. However, the book is silent about the role of women and does not forbid funerals.

Professor Pandy says Bedivere is “correct” to cremate her husband. “From the picture, the attachment to her husband seems to be very deep. She was also trying to protect her very young son. She is a very skilled woman and I think she was right.”

He says the reason women don’t go to the crematorium is for their own well-being, as they can be traumatized by death rituals because they are “weak and soft.” This is the view that many women strongly oppose.

Shailaja Bajpai, reader editor and editorial adviser to the news website The Print, said that women rarely attend funerals in small towns and the countryside of India, but in cities it is now commonplace for women to attend. say.

“In fact, people are misunderstood that they don’t go to the crematorium to pay homage and help,” she says.

Mr. Vajpayee says he participated in many cremations, including his parents.

“I went there because I wanted to go there to say goodbye. For me it was the last closure. But my female relatives chose not to go. The belief that women wouldn’t go to cremation Coming down from the past, many women do not doubt that in our family and I respect their beliefs.

“It’s our personal choice and should be respected. We should be allowed to do what we want to do,” she said.