Faith In India & The Women’s Role From Childhood To Death

 

Photographer Arka Dutta is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From his project ‘Eve Was Framed‘.  To see Arka’s projects  and photographs click on any image.

 

The teachings of total dependency on Gods are incorporated from the very early stages of childhood. But they are more prone to make someone God-fearing rather than God-loving

The teachings of total dependency on Gods are incorporated from the very early stages of childhood. They are more prone to make someone God-fearing rather than God-loving

 

An young girl participate in the holy Ganga Sagar festival dressed up as a Goddess. She traveled 180 KM from hew village to attend this occasion and was told that this custom was more important than her annual exams which was due in 5 days time.

A young girl participates in the holy Ganga Sagar festival dressed up as a Goddess. She traveled 180 KM from her village to attend this occasion and was told that this custom was more important than her annual exams which was due in 5 days time.

 

Hundreds of young girls from villages go missing every year. The statistics from my state West Bengal alone is alarming. In a latest of such incidents, 10 girls went missing during a religious trip.

Hundreds of young girls from villages go missing every year. The statistics from my state West Bengal alone is alarming. In a latest of such incidents, 10 girls went missing during a religious trip.

 

In my country, India, I have seen religious notions that have often ingrained a sense of powerlessness in the psyche of many women, especially to those without proper literacy and sometimes with conservative family backgrounds. In such cases, women’s cultural and social subordination is allegedly rooted to cultural myths and stories. This age old allegation and practice have almost resulted in the belief of women’s inferiority to men and women’s acceptance of their own oppression. Even in the times of modernization, many women receive conflicting messages of newly forged opportunities restricted by religious law and economic insecurity. Because of this, women often feel failed by modernization and find a return to traditional religious shelters and keep following useless rituals. Though this scenario is mainly prevalent in rural areas, urban cities also have such pockets of incidents too.

 

Alongside religion, comes superstition. And in the name of superstition, a young girl is drugged and declared possessed and punched in the name exorcism. The whole point of this exercise was to prove that the girl was possessed by her dead mother who wants to donate her ornaments to a temple (and not to her daughter). It was alarming that the crowd too believed in this.

Alongside religion, comes superstition. And in the name of superstition, a young girl is drugged and declared possessed and punched in the name exorcism. The whole point of this exercise was to prove that the girl was possessed by her dead mother who wants to donate her ornaments to a temple (and not to her daughter). It was alarming that the crowd too believed in this.

 

Like Dandi, there are a number of other events where woman are drugged and then worshipped to appease one's belief and not caring for the woman's plight

Like Dandi, there are a number of other events where woman are drugged and then worshipped to appease one’s belief and not caring for the woman’s plight

 

Woman are told, the well-being of her family depends on her religious practice and dedications. Over it is fascinating to see that how these believes have actually are being hold true by the women who take part in dangerous rituals like sitting with burning fire on her head and laps which is intended to bring well being to her family.

Woman are told, the well-being of her family depends on her religious practice and dedications. It is fascinating to see how these beliefs have actually been held true by the women who take part in dangerous rituals like sitting with burning fire on her head and lap which is intended to bring well being to her family.

 

The sense of power. These religious and superstitious believes run so old that many women actually holds these believes true or may be to find sort of self-esteem that they only gain from society through the religious rituals like keeping long uncut hair.

The sense of power. These religious and superstitious beliefs run so old that many women actually hold them true or may find self-esteem that they only gain from society through the religious rituals like keeping long uncut hair.

 

Another instance of exorcism where the husband believes her wife's epilepsy is caused by possession.

Another instance of exorcism where the husband believes her wife’s epilepsy is caused by possession.

 

In another one of those superstitious rituals, a mother is told to walk over her child lying in a pool of water on the bare road to bring well being to the very child

In another one of those superstitious rituals, a mother is told to walk over her child lying in a pool of water on the bare road to bring well being to the very child

 

If Goddess would have actually reacted to these practice/rituals, she surely would have turned her back to them.

If Goddess would have actually reacted to these practice/rituals, she surely would have turned her back to them.

 

An old woman hangs on to her husbands legs as the man hold her down to take a dip in the cold water during winter during a religious event.

An old woman hangs on to her husbands legs as the man holds her down to take a dip in the cold winter water,  during a religious event.

 

Even after leading such a life dedicated to religion and practicing numerous rituals for the well being for her family, many women are left at widow shelters (ashrams) at the old age and she may be she has every right to look away from the picture of her religious guru.

Even after leading such a life dedicated to religion and practicing numerous rituals for the well being for her family, many women are left at widow shelters (ashrams), at old age she may have every right to look away from the picture of her religious guru.

 

The Final Goodbye

The Final Goodbye

 

Eve Was Framed

 

See also:

The Holy Men of Allahabad

A Day of Mass, Rush and Prayer

By Arka Dutta

 


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