Women of the world rise it is time to invent a new God(s)

22 Dec

In all religions followers are the subordinates serving the all mighty God(s). They carry forward God’s divine will be it to eliminate the defectors or propagate the followers. There is an unspoken hierarchy between the Gods and the followers. Just as some animals are more equal the followers have their own preferred club for selected few be it caste, class, gender or degree of loyalty based. Most patriarchal religions ordain a subordinate position to women just because they are women. Even the mother Goddesses in the patriarchal religions prefer male devotees over the female or they forbid them during their moon cycle. In patriarchy religion corroborates with other institutions to legitimize oppression of women; seek a change in any law some one will run to fetch a scripture to see if Gods permit it or not (as if Gods’ granted them permission to land on moon and drive cars).

In the colonial times the clergy banded together to prevent women from attaining formal education, they argued the great culture of this mighty land will be erased from the face of earth and most of all the education will divert the much-needed blood supply in the uterus to women’s brains rendering them infertile. When the later argument could not be substantiated it came and rested on the fear “if the educated women will cook and scrounge dishes;” so we have convent educated homely girl clause in the matrimonials. [Similar arguments emerged in the west and many other parts of the world so this was nothing unique to Des, to argue, read the references below this post and we’ll have a good discussion.] It is interesting to observe religions oppress women publicly, intimately and spiritually but still women are its most ardent followers. They not only religiously follow the rituals even those that oppress them but also make sure other women follow the suit; a MIL will insist the DIL carry on the family tradition and perform fasts and rituals that will ensure longevity of the male kin (both women are praying for the longevity of the same man as their social/financial survival depends upon him).

One may wonder why women do not question this oppression or give upon the religion or oppressive rituals. Religion not only scares its followers of divine wrath for individual failures but also makes sure followers monitor each other. In this process of co-monitoring it creates a space for agency and social status for the most oppressed. A woman who is prevented from stepping outside the homes by her in-laws can easily navigate the wider world if she is to perform a religious ritual or pilgrimage that will ensure longevity of their son or grandchildren or welfare of the kinsmen. Those women who cannot utter a word in the presence of family elders or have to keep their heads covered find an opportunity to sing and dance in public amongst the strangers during mata ki chowki; it is one occasion when the great family honor is enhanced not maligned. If one is a true devotee they can get possessed and the Goddess can play through them to beget what ever they want or get even with someone you don’t like or have a grudge against; beat them black and blue no questions asked rather one is worshipped and offered gifts. Then some can do a scary dance and show off their powers to create a fear and reverence in the hearts of their detractors. The important thing to note is that the woman possessed is always the one who is either lowest in the female familial hierarchy or otherwise oppressed young mother. If it were to be a childless woman then she would be dakin, a possesser of evil powers (property was always in the root).

The idea to evoke women to find their own God has been tossing and turning in DG’s head for quite sometime because she read the fear in a co blogger’s post and in many other women’s writing but it was finally nailed in by this post. DG is sure the Gods’ (especially the bachelor God) were okay with Jayamala’s visit twenty-four years ago because no curse befell on her, she had a thriving career. Not Gods but the male followers felt violated because she escaped their scrutiny. Now when they have found out her folly the sheepish few have to subject her to penance (fines/imprisonment) and commit them and Gods to purification forgetting a lots of water has been under the bridges… Both Gods and these men had numerous baths in last 24 years. How imposing fines will purify the impure is beyond comprehension it just brings to mind this couplet in Urdu.

Is shehar e tijarat main har cheez moyassar hai      

(In this business world every thing has a price)

kitney ka nabi lo gay , kitney ka khuda logay             

(how much will you pay for a demi God and how much for a God)

The multiplicity of Gods raises too much confusion, to each their own.

If someone was to question the existence of God, will it offend the God? Could one describe God? If one could then it won’t be God, it will be just another thing within human comprehension.

The over emphasis on HE God (yes, some believe he has little bit of she in him) tilts the whole balance. Women constitute half the population they can demand an unattached (single) SHE God (Goddesses won’t do as they are wives and mothers tied to male Gods for status; each Goddess is subordinate to a corresponding a male deity).

SHE God who’ll not be upset with women’s moon cycles she’ll not feel polluted by the touch of a menstruating woman. If they were to become impure that will imply a woman in her periods has more power than Gods. Will have to wonder what kind of God is it that fears a menstruating woman.

At times it seems working with Gods is like walking on egg shells. Do X or Gods’ wrath will befall on you. Don’t do X or Gods’ will be offended. They appear to be pretty angry and vengeful easily offended by minor ritual failures. Is HE a God or a neighbor’s kid who believes in tit for tat; you slapped me so I’ll kick you.

On another level it seems it’s not God(s) but a Car that one has to use according to the manufacturer’s user manual (rituals) or the insurance claim (prayers) will be denied (prayers not answered) hence loss (may be curse).

There has to be a mutual relationship with scope of negotiations and play like Moshsin naqvi says:

Har zara chamakta hai anwar e ilahi se

(every particle shines due to God’s grace)

Har saans yeh kehti hai hum hein to khuda bhi hai

(every breath says, if I am then God is)

How about a kind and benevolent God, who’ll not discriminate against anyone; not even non believers. Who’ll work with us in bringing out the best in us humanity, kindness and compassion? Who’ll accept us for who we are irrespective of our doubts and weaknesses and help us in being human.

DG has one such kind and benevolent God that was, is and will be always be there for her. Who does not scare her with fear of hell or entice her with promises of heavens. She is willing to share it with you or you can find your own God.

 

 

For Good Reading:

Padma Anagol, The emergence of Feminism in India, 1850-1920.

Gena Corea, The Mother Machine: Reproductive Technologies from Artificial Insemination to Artificial Wombs.

 Charu Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims, and the Hindu Public in Colonial India.

Mery Keller, The hammer and the Flute: Women, Power, and Spirit Possession.

Bibliography on Witch Hunting in India

The references are purposefully incomplete to keep GGTS a non academic space.

 

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18 Responses to “Women of the world rise it is time to invent a new God(s)”

  1. ghughutibasuti June 3, 2013 at p06 #

    I need no God,new or old, male or female. I don’t like someone being so powerful, having power over others and their lives. I am happy without a god.
    Ghughuti Basuti

    @Ghughuti Basuti,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Good for you. To each their own.
    Please share this mesage of hope with anyone who maybenefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  2. Indian Homemaker December 28, 2011 at p12 #

    Congratulations :) This post in one of the winners of ‘Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards – 2011′ (TRBA 2011). We would like to create an ebook with all the winning entries in 47 categories on Feminism and Gender Issues in India (and one category on Animals Rights). Please do let us know if you are fine with your winning post/s being included in this ebook. ( Please click here to let us know).

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  3. Deeps January 11, 2011 at p01 #

    Yes, totally agree! Enough of putting up with ridiculous religious customs and traditions that suppress and oppress women. Yes it IS time to find one’s own God. I’m glad you’ve found yours, DG! God bless :)

    Thank you the mention :)

    You are welcome. :)

    Like this

  4. Clueless January 3, 2011 at p01 #

    About the Sabarimalai excuses….Right now we have birth control pills that will give us periods only 4 times a year. So women can take up the 41 day ritual without tiring or becoming impure.

    Will they be allowed NOW?

    @Clueless,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.

    I don’t think that will solve the problem, men will find some other excuse also one of the argument was men will be distracted by women’s presence, as if they are bulls in a bull ring bound to chase the skirt.

    I did mention about “Seasonale” the four period pill somewhere in some post or comment. Desi women have been using scientific inventions for most unscientific purposes for long time. During college days I came to know the so called “backward, hindi medium types”* were using BC pills to keep up with Navratri and other fasts and festivals.

    * (DG uses this phrase because that is how distinctions between groups was made. The so called “modern, English speaking were branded black sheep and the college watchmen kept an extra watch on them and “backward, HMTs merrily bunked classes.) :)

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • Clueless January 3, 2011 at p01 #

      Oh I am pretty sure this is not the solution. But since the priests seem so hung up on menstrual cycles I was wondering if they will accept medically helped women….btw how do they determine if all the men have faithfully followed the 41 day ritual? For all you know these men might have made merry all those days, then put on their sabarimalai garb and shown up. It is sad that the same trust is not extended to women.

      As far as I am concerned, I never followed this crap. I have boldly stepped into places of worship when I had menstrual cycles and strangely enough, I live to tell the tale :) If God was a vengeful, petty being, then I am not sure I should worship HIM anyways.

      Agree. Until men own the God(s) women will be discriminated against in the releams of religion.
      If you lived to tell that means God(s) doesn’t care :) . DG salutes a menstruating woman for she can scare the God(s). :)

      Like this

  5. gallas December 25, 2010 at p12 #

    Indian women i know always prefer women doctors for medical needs. For guidance and mental support they visit women counselors and societies.

    But when it comes to spirituality, they go absolutely gaga about ‘babas’. Husbands wonder whom they adore more.

    Its one of things that naturally comes to men, like many inherent qualities of women.

    @gallas,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.

    Your observation is right, women do flock to male spirituality sellers. There are two reasons for that first, we rarely come across female religious preachers. The social environment is not single woman friendly, the female monks are shrouded by all kinds of stories even when they make it they are flocked by men as they challenge their masculinity (read the red brigade sadhavis).

    Second, selling spirituallity has been a male forte as women were prevented from seeking salvation on their own (a Hindu woman could go to heaven only if she was married). Even in other faiths the social environment prevents women to become religious preachers.

    Glib talking male preachers as act as emotional surrogates for emotionally absent husbands. Another hindi blogger had done a good post on women’s fascination with these babas (sorry, DG doesn’t have the link).

    Hope this explains the husbands the “gaga over baba” attitude of their wives.

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  6. Jubeee December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    Its amazing that Religion was created when we were unable to explain things scientifically. Now we know that a woman’s menstrual cycle is a necessary part of her reproductive abilities and yet many religions continue to malign us as “impure” when we are menstruating. Religion continues to see women as unequal and inferior yet we hang on.

    I wish I could say that God was merely created by man so he could affirm his own ego but that would make me a non-believer and that’s scary. Maybe we do need to create our own God or at least a Religion that views as equals.

    What is wrong in becoming a non-believer, if there is a God then he/she will even love a non believer. The problem is not with the God as @Preeti said but with the religion. A personal ever lasting God will be a better deal than a new religion- many came and many perished. Here is something for you, though A, is the right person to explain it to you but this person has done a reasonable job too. http://publicmb.wordpress.com/2008/03/19/naaz-khiaalvi-tum-ek-gorakh-dhanda-ho-you-are-a-puzzle/

    Like this

    • Jubeee December 23, 2010 at p12 #

      I should also say that as a Christian, I am amazed yet not surprised at how all the world’s religions treat women. They all have different ways of treating women as second class but are all similar in that they do.

      Yup, all patriarchal religions will have one thing in common discrimination against women just the degree will vary.

      Like this

  7. preetidutta December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    DG … its not the Gods but the religions that propogate all this non-sense … my mom told me once that in olden days when women had absolutly no off from work , they used this as an excuse to avoid work for 3 days a month … They wont cook food , not touch anoyone , wont do any work , just be in a room , isolated and rest . similarly the concept of 40 days of rest after child birth was evolved . that was a women’s time to rest all day in bed …if she has a male child then she will be even fed on bed and taken care of by all and given gifts and gold and dreses … its a tradition that became evil practice …whatever , i find it absurd and anyways my religion is impartial to gender if You go by holy book …there is nothing like man and women ..whatever it is, its for both ..:)..ofcourse religious leaders will have their own versions .

    What your mom told could be true but have you thought how this tradition is common from north to south and east to west in Indian Hindus where as same thing does not apply to other religions but they have other logics and restrictions on menstruating women. If rest was the motive (menstrual and postpartum confinement taboos also give women respite from over bearing and imposing men) then why are menstruating women committed to do back breaking and eye straining work like cleaning lentils, stiching and sowing during those days even when they are isolated from other family members. If it was for “rest” then it should have been rest from every things else not just kitchen. DG had posted a comment here long long time ago, check it out https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/desi-son-obligated-to-take-care-of-mother/

    Even religions that do not prevent women from entering kitchen do subscribe to other forms of menstrual restrictions. This post was not about menstrual humiliation, how did that enter our discussion :) it was about nature of God and ownership of God. What holy book talks about the equality of genders? Yes, religious leaders rather self appointed or not voted in by women do the interpretation of religious texts according to their agendas. :)

    Like this

  8. yayaver December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    Most of the time, i am unable to understand your post due to lack of experience of marriage. I was able to understand this one.

    Thank you, one doesn’t need to be married to understand what desi women go through in everyday lives, just being observant and kind will do.

    Too change in gender of God of any religion will not affect anything. Religions of the world are creating cultures that are fatal to human rights and lives.

    That is ture so instead of changing the gender of exixting Gods create a new unique one may be even a genderless God.

    Patriarchy goes and Matriarchy will take over. because they are not based on equality but dominance of gender.

    Do you think DG and those like her will advocate replaceing one dysfunctional system with another that believes in domination, like treating one bad habit by replacing it with another bad habit or two.Matriarchy does not believe in domination as such, women hold the key leadership positions- spiritual and religious leadership, transferance of proferty is through the female lineage but men are not beaten around, they have important roles and dignified space.

    Let me quote here George Orwell’s warning that a corrupt system will if unchanged, stay corrupt even if power shifts hands from its tyrants to its past victims – and soon enough, as he wrote, ‘ it’s impossible to tell which is which ‘ ; When a long abuse of power is corrected, it is generally replaced by an opposite violence. In the new dispensations, all that was good in what went before is tarred indiscriminately with the bad. Those who have to face political or social persecution become highly polarized.

    That is very true, it already happened to us. When our colonial masters said we desis were dirty and backward all of a sudden desi woke up to cleanse the house throwing away everything desi even that was functional (social practices including desi attire). In the enthusiasm to modernize (read, to become ideal colonized) desi created a system that is more evil than colonization, more corrupt and demeaning. Now we have classic desi haves and have nots, former charitably eliminating the later.

    And,God is a dead concept for me.

    Friedrich Nietzsche, did declare God is dead, if it died then how could it be God, it had to have something more than human. If it were born, lived and died then it was definitely human not God.
    If he said God is dead did it kill God?
    What ever works for you just be safe and happy without hurting yourself, others and the planet that is DG’s motto…

    Like this

    • yayaver December 24, 2010 at p12 #

      U can be a good teacher ! try that career !

      What makes you think that?

      Like this

  9. Bikram December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    :)

    :) :) :)

    Like this

  10. Mysticspirit December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    Oh Desi Girl – i just love your posts. This one, while being angry(as you so rightly should be) made me laugh out loud where you wrote – the sheepish few have to subject her to penance (fines/imprisonment) and commit them and Gods to purification forgetting a lots of water has been under the bridges… Both Gods and these men had numerous baths in last 24 years. How imposing fines will purify the impure is beyond comprehension. Hilarious, you hit the nail on the head with that.

    Was distressed to read about Revathy’s menstrual humiliations. @ Revathy – when I was newly wed and visited my MIL she also told me I could not go to the mandir during my period. I found that absolutely awful, because everybody was going and I didnt want to be left at home. I wish I had taken a stand but I didn;t because I loved my husband and I can”t deal with disharmony ( big failing, I know, I have since learned to fight it and now just say it like it is). What I did do though, was not inform MIL – and threaten my husband with dire consequences if he did not support me. It worked for me because I was just an occasional visitor. And because I knew the gods love me, whether I am menstruating or not.

    Thank you. DG fails to understand their logics. Did you read the news item it said, “women’s menstrual blood will attract animals in the wild and jeopardize fellow travelers.” How scientific, never heard more logical argument. Here is the whole letter. http://www.asiantribune.com/node/1403
    (DG has been rolling on the floor she rarely gets angry.)
    About menstural humilialtion, women forget that peace at any cost is no peace. Today it is one thing tomorrow it will be everything. Most of us of want a change without changing ourselves.

    DG believes, if we keep pushing the boundaries someday we’ll change the map of gender world.

    Like this

  11. Revathy December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    One of my friend says if you have to have a peaceful life “ACT” and dont “REACT”. I follow everything they say, but actually i am cheating them showing them i do believe in GOD, wearing churidhar only when at in-laws place but wear jean when at my parents home, wear jasmine and gold jewels only at home but once at office totally change my outlook.

    Yes, the key to personal peace and equanamity is not reacting. But then there is a question of personal integrity, leading a double life. What will you do if they were visiting you and you have to go to work… Then there is another part to the equation what is our role in bringing about a change we want to see. These are just my views. Do what ever works for you.
    Be safe and happy.

    Like this

  12. Revathy December 23, 2010 at p12 #

    Every married women in this world is forced ress their ideas and beliefs once they get into married life. Though my husband is fine with me being an atheist, he says its every person’s own perception, but still wants me to show no difference in front of my in-laws. And I am following all the rituals, fasts and menstruation time humiliations(Sleeping on the floor, washing hair twice a day, untouchability-not to touch anything in my wardrobe/pooja room, even more which could end up in a blogpost). But sadly all these are imposed by yet another woman.

    Nice post.

    @Revathy,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.

    One has to understand why one woman imposes her beliefs on another woman. The imposer (usually has longer history in the family) thinks she is protecting family tradition and securing good will of the Gods. The imposed is the newer member she has to prove her loyalty so she has to take the nonsense irrespective of her personal beliefs. In this tug of war the imposer begets personal power on the nerwer member and the man she is tied to.
    Ask your self if you really feel you should be doing what you are asked to do? Would your spouse share your plight by washing his hair twice and sleeping on the floor? Read my response to menstrual taboos on Deep’s blog. May be that will give you some ideas to change something in the paradise…

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • anjugandhi December 23, 2010 at p12 #

      please give the address of your God.
      you are right
      when there are thousands of GODS heavens will not fall if we have one more in the long list
      a God who doesn’t believe in discrimination, who respects and trusts women in general and wife in particular ( not like Ram who believed more in what people had to say , who took agni pariksha of his wife and humiliated her publicly by asking her to prove her Chasity and also to prove that the children were his own– did they have DNA test at that time?)
      or like Krishna who flirted openly with gopis
      i wonder what She Gods used to do during their monthly cycles. did they loose their Godliness during these days/
      one more pertinent question does God really believe in discrimination or it is us the human beings who have manipulated and fabricated the whole thing to suit our needs

      …did they loose their Godliness during these days/
      Valid question. No their Godliness enhances they become even more valued and praise worthy. Men rush to Kamakhya temple, that is where the yoni peeth is. During those nine days of holy bloodiness animal sacrifices are made and divine mentruation is celebrated. The Goddess is periodless through out the year she just has one period a year. If they could improve Seasonique then women too will be lucky as Goddess.

      Like this

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  1. Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards – I | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker - October 17, 2011

    [...] Women of the world rise it is time to invent a new God(s). – Desi Girl [...]

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  2. Should women go to this temple? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker - October 3, 2011

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The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

My life and everything that touches it....

Kafila

media | politics | dissent

"कुरुक्षेत्र"

मेरे विचारो का

समाजवादी जनपरिषद

वैश्वीकरण विरोध हेतु

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

W.S.S.A @ UWindsor

Women's Studies Student Association @ University of Windsor, Ontario

संजीव तिवारी . . Sanjeeva Tiwari .. Chhattisgarh

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