There is a lurking mentality in India which doesn’t ‘allow’ women to go to the crematoriums. The women folk has to stay back at home while the men folk goes to the crematorium to conduct the last rites of the person who has passed away.
The reason for this? There are plenty and none of those are worth following. ‘Long hair attracts negative energy’, ‘women should take care of the house’, ‘women are not strong enough to see the process of cremation’ – are some of those reasons. Most people simply don’t want women to be there just because there is a tradition that is being followed since years (they forget the concepts of change and time here). There is also some nonsense about impurity of women – as if the force of nature that gave birth to them didn’t also invent the concept of death!
Dear woman, go to the crematorium and stand by your family members as you all see the face of your loved one for the last time. That experience will change you, it will make you stronger and bring you face to face with death – a topic which we don’t like to talk about. There I said it.
Women aren’t weak. In fact, weakness is not gender-specific but person-specific. Also, with so much education that we are getting these days, we should also get rid of ‘gender roles’ where one gender has to behave in a certain way at the time of death. Many women who want to go to the crematorium but are pulled back inside the house, go through a harrowing time of not seeing something end. You have to see something till its end to get a mental closure.
I am saying this from personal experience. These are not the words of some internet feminist.
If I had stayed back at home, I would have stayed back in life and in everything that I did next. I would rebelled with myself every single day for being of a gender who did not have the right to be there till the end of my loved one’s journey on Earth. I did fall weak at first but only to become stronger – much more stronger than I was before. Name one person on this planet who hasn’t fallen weak during the time of death.
Today, in the 21st century, we have women who have won medals in boxing, wrestling and other physically vexing sports that were originally played only by men. That was physical strength. Coming to mental strength, we have women psychologists, politicians, revolutionaries – women in every single field that requires mental strength (that is all fields). So why this attitude about asking women to stay back at home?
You have the right to be the fourth shoulder to carry your loved one’s body. You have the right to light your loved one’s funeral pyre. Don’t let anyone rob you of that right just because you are born with a certain set of organs that are different from theirs. Don’t even let those with the same set of organs as you tell you that you can’t do it. You can. It is a part of life. And the sooner you face it, the better it will be for you to deal with pain and move on.
Let the woman decide whether she wants to go to the crematorium or not. It’s simple. It’s necessary.
Aren’t we all going to end up there one day?