Very usually, we Indians are inclined to overlook the downsides of our traditions. We are so blinded by them and their centuries-old heritage that schooling or no period of time has modified our perspective. And even when we do, we are inclined to overlook it, as a result of that’s what our tradition is manufactured from. Our mother and father adopted the traditions and their mother and father did it too, which makes us surprise if we’re proper in going towards our personal traditions. Also, when somebody dares to query or make any modifications to those traditions, they’ll be threatened by the extreme ambiance of spiritual intolerance that has been rising dangerously prior to now few a long time. Amidst all this, Nandini Bhowmik, West Bengal’s first girl priest, performs weddings with out Kanyadaan.
Nandini, a Sanskrit professor, and a priestess has her personal distinctive means of solemnizing weddings, which is a tad totally different from what we’ve been following for years. She simplifies Sanskrit mantras to Bengali and English in order that the bride and the groom can recite them accurately. This additionally helps the folks attending the marriage, perceive the hymns higher. Besides, Nandini retains away from performing Kanyadaan — a marriage ritual that’s thought-about to be of excessive significance. Read on to know extra about Nandini and why she is towards the ritual of Kanyadaan.
Who Is Nandini Bhowmik?
Nandini Bhowmik is popularly generally known as West Bengal’s first feminine Hindu priest. However, she’s additionally a professor of Sanskrit at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, a drama artist, and a doting mom. Nandini has solemnized the marriage of her personal daughter! And in whole, she along with her group have taken over about 40 weddings in 10 years. While Nandini recites the hymns for the to-be-wed couple, her group sings Rabindra Sangeet within the background, including to the sanctity of the entire ambiance. Nandini and her troupe have garnered an enormous fan following in Kolkata and its suburbs over the previous few years.
Even although she will get little or no time whereas juggling between instructing and being related to greater than 10 drama teams, Nandini one way or the other makes sufficient time to carry out weddings. She principally opts for inter-ethnic, inter-caste, and inter-religious marriages to carry out, breaking the shackles of cultural stereotypes.
Nandini On Kanyadaan
Kanyadaan is a ritual that symbolizes the gifting away of the bride. During the ritual, both the daddy of the bride or an older male family member entrusts the groom with the bride. While it’s one thing that’s irreplaceable within the conventional Hindu weddings, Nandini decides to take away it and never exchange it with something comparable. In an interview with a newspaper, Nandini says, “I don’t carry out Kanyadaan as I think about the follow regressive, wherein ladies are handled as commodities. I attempt to maintain the rituals brief and easy and full your entire program inside an hour.”
“I wish to get rid of the patriarchal mindset the place mother and father look like renouncing the custody of their kanya (the bride), treating her like a commodity and giving her away as daan (donation),” she mentioned in one other interview quickly after she carried out the marriage of Arka Bhattacharya and Anvita Janardhanan. Well, we couldn’t agree extra along with her.
According to the groom Arka, ladies usually are not solely breaking right into a male monopoly, however are additionally enhancing the worth of priesthood. “I’ve heard so many male monks reciting the mantras incorrect. At a pal’s marriage ceremony officiated by Nandini and her buddies final yr, I used to be immediately drawn to the way in which the Sanskrit traces had been vividly defined in English and Bengali,” he mentioned.
Kanyadaan isn’t the one ritual junked by Nandini Bhowmik. Piri ghorano, a ritual throughout which the bride sits on a piri (a brief stool) and is carried across the groom in circles by her household for seven occasions, can also be reduce out of the ceremony. Another ritual Chaal chhora throughout which the bride throws again rice to represent her paying again the debt of meals she consumed at her father’s home since beginning can also be scrapped off.
When requested if Nandini ever felt threatened as a result of progress of political Hindutva that may flip towards anybody who tries to convey a change of their cultural practices she says, “I respect the normal monks and I’m not in confrontation with them. Though my husband generally feels threatened as a result of progress of aggressive Hindutva, I’ve not but obtained any private threats.”
The mom of two is impressed by Gouri Dharmapal, her instructor. She not solely brings in progressive modifications into rusty previous traditions but additionally tries to make optimistic modifications to the society by supporting the poor. Most of Nandini’s earnings are donated to an orphanage situated in Balighai close to Puri, Odisha.
Change just isn’t all the time a nasty factor, so long as it’s progressive. Nandini Bowmik’s distinctive means of performing weddings is one thing that symbolizes the triumph of equality and dignity of girls over misogynistic traditions. What do you concentrate on such modifications made to our traditions? Share your ideas with us within the feedback under.
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