Water: Widows of India May 11, 2006Posted by June in Blog, Other, Religion, Women's Issues.
I just watched a movie called Water. It’s a Hindi film with English subtitles by 20th Century Fox about the plight of widows in India. We had to go to an independent film theatre in the ritzy part of town to see it because they aren’t showing it at the Bollywood theater. This film has been banned in India.
You live in a country like the US; and you just never get to see how women are treated in other societies. You don’t realize how truly blessed you are to live in a country that has had the influence of Christianity on the culture and laws. I’ve been to India. It’s nothing like living there; but it was no happy little trip, especially since I spent most of the time sick in the bathroom or….um…throwing up in a corner of one of their monuments because we weren’t near a bathroom… *cough cough* Oops.
The movie was set in 1939 when Ghandi was around; but the end of the film confirmed that widows are still living in deplorable conditions in the 21st century because the Holy Texts of Manu declare it to be so.
According to the movie, widows have three choices:
1. Burn with their husbands when he is cremated.
2. Live the rest of her life unmarried and deprived.
3. If the family allows for it, marry her husband’s younger brother.
The movie begins with the death of a 9-year-old girl’s elderly husband (Ugh. *shudder*). The girl is then sent to an ashram for widows after her hair is shaved and she is dressed in widow’s clothes. Most, if not all, of these women were married off at extremely young ages. These women are not supported by anyone. They are not even given a place to live. They have to rent this barren shack that they live in. They get the money by begging and, in the case of, at least, one girl, by sending her off as a prostitute to some sick old men. These women are shunned and looked down on by everyone.
The story follows the little girl named Chuyia and the young woman who is has to be a prostitute to earn money named Alysha…(Don’t hold me to that spelling. I forgot how to spell it.). They meet a nice young man who falls in love with the young woman.
Things aren’t as bad as that in Chinese countries; but they aren’t extremely great either. Girls are still viewed as burdens that “take rice from the bowl.” And we all know how women are treated in Muslim countries, especially the ones that are strict adherents. Did you know that in the entire Koran that only one woman is actually named? The rest are referred to as so-and-so’s wife or the mother of so-and-so. Did you know that, if a girl is raped, she is viewed as a disgrace on the family and is often killed?
In fact, the only countries in the world that give women respect are the countries that have been greatly influenced by Christianity, the West. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds– his name is the Lord– and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.