OPINION

Mothers Who Die And Wives Who Fast

October 31, 2007
annamma

India has the highest number of maternal deaths per year - a whopping 1.17 lakh women die every year in India bearing children. This is almost double the number for the country coming in second - Nigeria with 59,000; and almost three and four times the number for the countries coming in third and fourth - Congo with 32,000 and Afghanistan with a measly 26,000 dead mothers. These figures were released by WHO earlier this month.

The irony is that in no other country is marriage and motherhood venerated so much. Marriage is our highest calling, and family, motherhood and "ma" are sacred archetypes. Right at this moment, millions of women from North India are breaking the full-day fast, which they keep for the welfare, prosperity and long life of their husbands.

The fast is no easy one, yet they keep it with zeal, and make a religious and social duty and also, a pleasure out of it. Bollywood movies turn Karva Chauth into an intense emotional moment, with the camera focusing in turn on moon, sieve and husband's face. While I get a trifle impatient of the sexism behind Karva chauth, certainly, there is no denying the devotion behind many women's sincere prayers for their husbands.

Yet, I cannot help but ask - haven't we got the shoe on the wrong foot? Going by our shocking statistics of maternal death rates in childbirth, shouldn't it be our husbands who should be fasting for our welfare, prosperity, and most important, for our lives to be at least slightly longer?

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#1
Deepti Lamba
URL
October 31, 2007
01:16 PM

Death and taxes are inevitable - KC won't shield either spouse from death's scythe;)

#2
Sumanth
October 31, 2007
02:46 PM

Indian Men have life expectency of 62 years compared to life expectency of Indian women at 64.2 years.

As Amartya Sen suggested, this gap has to increase to 8 years. Otherwise, everyone has to continue harping on 50 million missing women.

Men protect and provide for women, children, elders and society. Free them from these responsibilities first, then men will happily fast one day for wife, one day for mother, one day for father, one day for children.

Men's sacrifice for family or society is in no way less than that of women. Look at life expectency or suicide rates all over the world.

Social customs are discriminatory for all and not just for women.

#3
annamma
November 1, 2007
07:38 AM

Of course death is inevitable, :-) but death in childbirth? That should not happen, barring a few exceptional cases. Our rate is un-acceptable.


#4
annamma
November 1, 2007
07:58 AM

Sumanth,
Of course men make sacrifices, but I suggest we be just a little ashamed that India is the world leader in losing women in childbirth, a completely preventable thing. Lets not justify our national callousness.

#5
Sandeep
November 1, 2007
10:46 AM

"Men protect and provide for women, children, elders and society".. this sounds as if women just sit back and idle away their time. I was wondering what is that men "provide" women. Today if one looks around -rural or urban- everywhere women was balancing work outside home and managing family.

Be it toiling in fields or trapesing (donno if i got the word right)on public transport to reach their office,women are every where. And the interesting (???)part of it is that at end of the exhausting and tiring day they r still keeping a smile while serving the food for the family.
Just wondering how many "providers" here help their wife or mother in kitchen in the evening?

@annamma

To keep the record straight, most the deaths during pregnancy are attributed to many factors- malnutrition, Anemia, multiple pregnancies in shorter span, young motherhood. Problem lies not in religious expressions but general apathy towards women. Today no matter how progressive we claim to be, if you visit interiors of India, the rural underdeveloped sector, you will see the grave neglect of child healthcare for girls.

It is also a general apathy of women about themselve. They someone have groomed to believe that they have to be givers, they care the sole caretakers of their husband, kids, in-laws, families...but not themselve. And god forbid if such woman has to live for herself, she will kick the bucket just because of the guilt.

I do understand the urgency of matter, but no fasting on either sides is going to change a thing, unless we empower woman in true sense. Teach them to eat for themselve, breath for themselve .....for a change live for themselve.

#6
Sumanth
November 1, 2007
01:18 PM

Annamma,

India is not really a world leader so far as human condition is concerned. Please take a look at Govt spendings on healthcare.

For example, every year 80,000 people die in Road accidents. Millions of children are forced to work and we just ignore.

I accept that maternal deaths are to be tackled. But, I oppose any attempt made to present that men have a comfortable life compared to women.

Sandeep,

There is no data which says that women are working hard compared to men or women do more dangerous work than men. It is the biased agencies which want to show only women as victims and men as opportunists.

I have seen enough men slogging hard for years to get their sisters married. Why? Because sisters and daughters are to be married according to STATUS.

The suicide rates and the life expectency rates show that men are not well off. Women's liberation must not equate to "misandry" or disadvantages to men which can lead to higher suicide rates and even lower life expectency to men.

Societies which evolved for centuries have learnt to balance and it is not possible for a society to keep harming only one gender.

Many women have a choice. To work or not to work. Do men have similar choice of not working and in stead cooking, house keeping and taking care of children, elders remaining at home?

Women are considered indispensible because they produce children and society needs children. At the same time society considers males as disposable. Push men further to the wall, then you will find a backlash which will not do anyone whether men or women or society any good.

Life is harsh. Life is harsh for all and not just for women.

#7
ravi
November 2, 2007
04:27 AM

sandeep

"""Just wondering how many "providers" here help their wife or mother in kitchen in the evening?""""

why are you considering 'only helping in the kitchen' is the help, remaining or not. getting vegetables from market, stationary from stationary shops, bringing water from bore well, look after kids for sometime when mother is in work aren't these are household works? my brother brings vegetables from market, stationary from stationary shops, i too do the same if i am at home.not only me many youngsters do the same in middle classes. don't you know these.


If you go to villages, youngsters help their mothers in bringing water.when i was in village,my friends and me doing the same.But you are right, no body of my friends and me did help in kitchen, because we thought that is women's work that time.

Men and woman both are doing household work. if you see current generation, in which both of the couple are working, most of the time men also giving their contribution in the home too, men are changing.

#8
Sandeep
November 2, 2007
12:32 PM

@# sumanth
"There is no data which says that women are working hard compared to men." I am sure there is data which shows men work harder than women.

"I have seen enough men slogging hard for years to get their sisters married" and this relevant in reply because ...?

"Women are considered indispensible because they produce children and society needs children. At the same time society considers males as disposable. Push men further to the wall, then you will find a backlash which will not do anyone whether men or women or society any good."....rant again !!!

dude, if you read the post once again, it talks about mortality rate during pregnancy and child birth. The author tries to dwel in the cause and remedies of the problem.
It NEVER goes on comparative analysis as who has greater life expectancy or relevance of ones existance in society. So please dont give such crap here.

your sentences like
"Societies which evolved for centuries have learnt to balance and it is not possible for a society to keep harming only one gender" or "Many women have a choice. To work or not to work. Do men have similar choice of not working and in stead cooking, house keeping and taking care of children, elders remaining at home"
shows ur total ignorance of the topic being discuss.

Also
"For example, every year 80,000 people die in Road accidents. Millions of children are forced to work and we just ignore.

I accept that maternal deaths are to be tackled. But, I oppose any attempt made to present that men have a comfortable life compared to women."

when the author say- "shouldn't it be our husbands who should be fasting for our welfare, prosperity, and most important, for our lives to be at least slightly longer? " She does not mean Husband has a easy life or is better off, she is commenting of regressive rituals and dramatization of it in films and how these affected psyche of women.

Please dont try to take sentences out of context, read the article first, understand what the author means by it. Just because u see a word" woman" dont brand the article as feminist rant.




#9
Sandeep
November 2, 2007
12:43 PM

@ Ravi,
what u picked up from my posting # 5 was just part, have u tried to read the entire posting you would have understood where my response was heading.

What u read in first paragraph was a sarcastic response to nullify the claim that MAN R PROVIDERS. Being a man I hate being branded as provider. In a marriage, both share partners share equal rights and responsibilities, No one is provider and other a receiver. Let us understand MAN is not some HOLIER THAN THOU artifact.

Now said that, I appreciate man taking equal responsibility in household chores, but again that does not make him superior or inferior to his spouse or family.

secondly in #5 , if u take time and read all over again, I have never hold man accountable condition of woman, but woman themselve. Had u read the response in totality, u wud have known better.

#10
A.K.Rathor
November 2, 2007
01:22 PM

The fasting tradition in the house-hold for women was related to their health in general.

Any person [even husbands too] who is not doing too much of physical activity should eat accordingly or fast for a day occasionally.

Since general awareness about diet control was not much in the past, fasting some how evolved as a tradition related to the beliefs.

Working couples who are in control of their diet should not fast. Physically active women should stop doing all these cr*** like Karva Chauth and the likes.

And if it's really about caring for the family, how many husbands drink even a drop of water for the time their wives are in delivery/operation room.

Tradition has good meaning but if it's enforced unnecessarily then it back-fires. People have to adjust with the changing life-style.

#11
Patricia Chettiar
URL
November 2, 2007
03:10 PM

I see girls fasting every monday to get a good husband. And that goes on to a fast that carries on after they get married. I can't see that happening with men.
How can hunger on one person physically do good for another person.
Women dying in childbirth, there are some unexceptional cases, which cannot be stopped.
But in the interiors, the basic problem in lack of education. And the way women are treated.

#12
A.K.Rathor
November 2, 2007
05:28 PM

I agree with u and the girls should come out of this system.

Any person should do it as their health demands and not in the name of the other.

Thease things should go away.

Its other women in the society who convince girls/other women to follow this.

I have never seen/heard a Man demanding the girl to fast for the others or him.


#13
Hardy
November 3, 2007
05:30 AM

India has the highest number of maternal deaths per year - a whopping 1.17 lakh women die every year in India bearing children ... coming in second - Nigeria with 59,000...Congo is third with 32,000 and Afghanistan with a measly 26,000

!!! BULL SHIT !!! ...How much did those misandrist women organizations pay u to spread this misinformation.

Do you know India's population is 8.5 times that of Nigeria, 35 times Afghanistan and 18 times Congo. So number of maternal deaths per person is 4 times "LESS"(AND NOT twice more) than Nigeria and so on so forth for other countries.

You are bunch of opportunistic feminist liars bought by media to spread manufactured incomplete and biased misinformation.

FYI: India is 20th in the list of number maternal deaths.

Also if maternal deaths were a real measure of woman's empowerment then United Arab Emirates and Kuwait which have 100 times less maternal deaths than India( and even less than USA) should be considered to far more women empowered countries even if they insist on veil for every woman. Should not it be Dear author?

I know for people like you if tomorrow a donkey dies, you will prefer to investigate the sex of donkey than the cause of the its death.

#14
KK
November 3, 2007
08:50 PM

Hardy,

Dont you think it is better to be a gay or a homosexual these days? Men behave like PIGS in front of some women and why not since there benefits. Being a PIG is each man's perrogative. I think the information your 'googled' is incorrect, please check again.

I being a man say take it easy. Men love to pig it out and put their foot in their mouth.

"You are bunch of opportunistic feminist liars bought by media to spread manufactured incomplete and biased misinformation."

Is that also googled??

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