Hinduism is one of the oldest and most rapidly growing religion in today’s society. It’s estimated that over 1.5 billion individuals word-wide are a part of the Hindu religion. It is practiced in countries such as India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Like many other religions, there are rules, rituals, and regulation you must follow.However, these rules are extremely different when it comes to women in the Hindu culture.
From the very beginning, rules were laid out for women in a book called “The Laws of Manu”. The book was written around 200 C.E and was a way to strip women from their independence. It states how women are supposed to act and be treated by their father, husband, brother, brother-in-law, and sons.The Laws of Manu states that women must be honored and respected by their male relatives.
It also states that women should never be independent. Can you imagine what it is like being a women who has no independence whatsoever? There are three stages that all Hindu women go through growing up in this culture. For starters childhood. Growing up as a child, a girl is to have close supervision by her parents. Girls are to be respectful and obedient at all times. Responsibility such as house work and cooking falls on them so unfortunately girls typically do not receive an education.In fact, research on education in 2008 showed that 62% of girls do not received the education they so desperately need. When growing up in countries such as India Hindu girls have to be more careful than boys for several reasons.
For starters, because their isn’t enough girls due to child abortion many girls are kidnapped and are sold to men as child brides. This can cause stress on not only the child but her parents. Secondly, Girls are to participate in what is called a Ritu Kala SamsarMany people believe that girls are to be protected by her father until she is married. One aspect in a girls life is her virginity. This is something that is priceless and should be valued.
Many Hindu women refer to virginity as “Kanya “.Women must stay a virgin until marriage because this is something that comes with extreme consequences. In many countries such as India if a women is not a virgin she can be killed. They also believe sex before marriage results in bad karma. Marriage is the most important occasion in the Hindu religion and culture. It symbolizes the union between a man and a women for eternity. It also symbolize four things they can pursue together, duty (darma), possessions (artha), physical desires (kama) and spiritual release ( moksha). Many women are married young due to arranged marriages.
An arrangement marriage is a marriage that is planned by the bride or grooms family. The person who is getting married typically have little or no say about the marriage. As a women, this can be frustration. Many Hindu women do not meet their husbands until the day of the ceremony. Since the bride doesn’t know who her husband is she is not able to tell what kind of husband he will be.
However, when it comes to wifely duties women must be fulfill them regardless of how she feels. Many Hindu wives get instructions from a book called “Stri Dharma”. In the book it states that a wife should regard her husband as a God. The term God means an adored, admired, or influential individual.
The book also talks about how a wife should serve, follow, and pray for her husbands well being. According to the book, the wife shares the same karma and destiny as her husband. Since women are instructed to never been independent the husband must provide for his wife.
This includes needs such as housing, clothing, food, and protection.