Something to Think About…

Traditionally, in the Punjabi culture it is not unheard of or uncommon for a widow to remarry after the death of her husband. image.jpgIts seen as a practical idea – the woman doesn’t have to “go back” to her parents home and is encouraged to move on with her life. That women in our community remarry and are encouraged to do so is a point of pride, but its not always the answer

Internet news reported yesterday that:

In a landmark ruling High Court Judge Justice Parker annulled the marriage of a 29-year-old Sikh widow who had gone to India for the funeral of her husband but was kidnapped by his family and forced to marry her father-in-laws nephew. Source.

I don’t think we hear about situations like this very often – I had certainly never heard nor thought much about it. Usually, stories and articles are written about first-time forced marriages and about women being abused because of dowry, but the way Sikh women are treated is an epidemic larger than we sometimes see. In this case the woman’s family went to great lengths to make sure she remarried her brother in law – keeping her locked up, monitoring her phone calls, and even sedating her.

The story didn’t really explain why the woman’s family was so adamant in forcing her to remarry, but I suppose that is not the point. The point is that situations like this take place in our community and sometimes we don’t realize howthewomen in these situations are affected. While I think that we have come a long way as a community – there is yet more we can do to ensure that someday we can look back on stories like this and think of them as history.

The woman in the story above is lucky – she is a UK resident, was able to escape, and take advantage of the legal system. But there are so many others out there who don’t have the means or support to fight back.

To our male Langarites: let’s be aware of the risks our sisters face and help them eliminate these barriers. And to our all our Pangat, men and woman alike, let us be cognizant of the hidden prejudices in our community, treat everyone with respect, and be the change that our Gurus wanted.


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12 Responses to “Something to Think About…”

  1. gurdit says:

    actually, this practice has been prevalent for a long time, particularly among punjabi jatts. it is often referred to as 'chaddar-andazi' or 'chaddar dalna/pauna'. the famous urdu writer, rajinder singh bedi, wrote an award-winning novel (ek chadar maili si) which derives its name from this practice. bedi drew attention to the plight of punjabi women through his literary critique of this disgraceful practice. the novel has been translated into english (i take this woman) by khushwant singh, made into a hindi film in 1986, and widely written about by scholars of urdu literature (search the annual of urdu studies at http://urdustudies.com/).

  2. gurdit says:

    actually, this practice has been prevalent for a long time, particularly among punjabi jatts. it is often referred to as 'chaddar-andazi' or 'chaddar dalna/pauna'. the famous urdu writer, rajinder singh bedi, wrote an award-winning novel (ek chadar maili si) which derives its name from this practice. bedi drew attention to the plight of punjabi women through his literary critique of this disgraceful practice. the novel has been translated into english (i take this woman) by khushwant singh, made into a hindi film in 1986, and widely written about by scholars of urdu literature (search the annual of urdu studies at http://urdustudies.com/).

  3. gurdit says:

    actually, this practice has been prevalent for a long time, particularly among punjabi jatts. it is often referred to as ‘chaddar-andazi’ or ‘chaddar dalna/pauna’. the famous urdu writer, rajinder singh bedi, wrote an award-winning novel (ek chadar maili si) which derives its name from this practice. bedi drew attention to the plight of punjabi women through his literary critique of this disgraceful practice. the novel has been translated into english (i take this woman) by khushwant singh, made into a hindi film in 1986, and widely written about by scholars of urdu literature (search the annual of urdu studies at http://urdustudies.com/).

  4. Singh says:

    i agree that the tradition is long standing, but i wasnt aware of the press that it has gotten in the past. still, i think its something that hasnt been very talked about as of late.

  5. Singh says:

    i agree that the tradition is long standing, but i wasnt aware of the press that it has gotten in the past. still, i think its something that hasnt been very talked about as of late.

  6. Singh says:

    i agree that the tradition is long standing, but i wasnt aware of the press that it has gotten in the past. still, i think its something that hasnt been very talked about as of late.

  7. Phulkari says:

    I have heard of this tradition too … a while back I heard of a woman who had recently had a child was being pressured into marrying her deceased husband's older cousin-brother who was already married and had children. There were Aunties and Uncles who opposed it because they considered it too old skool, particularly since the woman was opposed to the marriage. At the end, she did not marry her brother-in-law.

  8. Phulkari says:

    I have heard of this tradition too … a while back I heard of a woman who had recently had a child was being pressured into marrying her deceased husband’s older cousin-brother who was already married and had children. There were Aunties and Uncles who opposed it because they considered it too old skool, particularly since the woman was opposed to the marriage. At the end, she did not marry her brother-in-law.

  9. Phulkari says:

    I have heard of this tradition too … a while back I heard of a woman who had recently had a child was being pressured into marrying her deceased husband’s older cousin-brother who was already married and had children. There were Aunties and Uncles who opposed it because they considered it too old skool, particularly since the woman was opposed to the marriage. At the end, she did not marry her brother-in-law.

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