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Musings/Confusions of a TamBram Woman seeking answers – Part 1

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ganeshrev

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Well, this is a post reflecting a few questions I have been having as I was growing up as a girl, woman wife and a mother (I am not going to post all the questions I have in my mind – only a few now) in a Tamil Brahmin family and huge set of relatives. Based on the reaction and answers, I may either participate or silently whither away.

Actually I was out of the country for the past few days and due to my work, could not visit the site. After seeing the recent posts after returning today and the kind of in-tolerance for different/modern/opposing (what ever you name it) views, suggestions etc, I was a bit skeptical to start this discussion – But I thought I will give a shot.

Some may oppose/condemn/throw brick bats telling that it is fashionable now a days for the woman to question everything.(one of the members in a post called Brahmin women as selfish and holy cows) .

But, esteemed members - let me tell you - it is very difficult to blindly follow practices without conviction. To have conviction and belief, one should be convinced and have answers for all the “whys”. Unfortunately, the kind of education we have been imparted in the past 3-4 decades is towards getting employment and money – It is a harsh reality that without money , no body is going to look at you – even the relatives will look down upon you inspite of the fact that the family which is poor knows and follows all so called “Brahmin Practices” imparted by our earlier generations. Because of this kind of education towards meeting practical needs of bread, butter and getting married, I ( and I can say I represent a portion of middle class Tamil Brahmin woman who had to fight external and internal discrimination ) have no ideas on what Vedas, Upanishads, sastras , manu smrithis are all about – believe me I heard about Manu for the first time when I was over 21 after reading a DK article quoting verses from Manu Smrithi.

The first set of questions is about the discrimination of women in Tamil Brahmin practices and customs.To quote a few which always bothers me are:

• Women are not supposed to eat during Vrathas, but is perfectly alright and in fact mandatory for men folk to have tiffan before yearly Avani Avittam. It seems men are not supposed to be hungry during Poonal changing function(that’s what my MIL says) . I know one tamil Brahmin lady who had come to visit in-laws had to catch a train at 9 PM on Karadayan Nonbu and that year karadayan Nonbu was at night 8 PM. The whole day she was not allowed to eat and she had to pack,make Karadai,cook for husband and inlaws , attend to chores and then had to do Nonbu and rushed for the train. She fell ill for two days! Whereas the men of the family ate three times a day happily and was commanding for their coffee and other sevices and the MIL was insisting that she should not eat for the sake of welfare and long life of the husband. I find it difficult to believe and follow such practices.Also I do not find any festival in which a man prays for the welfare of the woman!

• When a wife’s relatives (Siblings, Parents etc) die, the woman is allowed to grieve for only 3 days where as even a far off Dayathi’s death on husband’s side some times is grieved for the whole year. In one of the incidents I know , in my relatives circle, for a woman , Diwali came after 6 days after one of her parent’s death. She was forced to make sweets, take ganga Snan and celebrate the festival on the reason that as per sastras, a woman’s theetu will be over in 3 days and if she does not celebrate, it is not good for husband’s family. I felt so bad on the insensitiveness shown. The love and attachment towards one’s parents is same for a man and a woman.
Typical answers I get when I ask elders is this – This is what our tradition is and we should not ask questions – more so definitely not by a woman.

Pray, why should I believe in our traditions and culture which is very insensitive and biased towards comforts of a man only? I am also sometimes irked equating women to amman , mahalaksmi and all deities and then treating her differently on the day to day practices.

May I know the views of the esteemed members on this? Considering the fact that the women membership and participation , more so from the young and middle aged tam bram woman is far less compared to Men folk, I am curious to know the answers/views.

Thank you for your patience
Namskarams
Revathi
 

amala

Well-known member
Dear RevathiJi,

This just proves that our customs, not just tambram ones but general Hindu customs and all other religions, are made by men for men. Even I get really amused or annoyed depending on my mood on women/girls being equated to Amman and other goddesses. Because we're hardly shown the reverence that everyone shows Amman! If we're Amman why on earth are we made to do all the cooking and cleaning etc? Surely its hardly befitting of Mahalakshmi to do any cooking and cleaning.

I have a theory about why there are so few women posting compared to men. All the women are soo busy working at work and at home, while the men get to come home after work and post
icon7.gif
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
dear reva,

i am just another member without any esteem or learning. but i am going to respond anyway :).

first of all, you have a right to be here, as anyone else. please do not quit because someone is nasty.we have a great sponsor of this website in praveen, who has very clearly stated the aims and goals of this forum. now, everyone has to sign a code of conduct. in addition we now have KRS back as a moderator - i have great respect for his judication. so i can, with some confidence, assure you, that you will not be abused.

your questions re avani avittam and death on the women's side, i am unable to address. because these go into the are of philosophy and traditions. my paternal grandparents died before my dad was three. so when my parents were married, it was mom's rule and regulations which counted.

re கரடியான் நோம்பு , i am of palghat heritage. we never had it in our home. only female function was பொண்டுகளுக்கு இடல், we had before certain auspicious functions. that's it. again it was what my mom said and did.

things ofcourse are different when there are in laws. i think it is a cruel system, where a beloved girl goes into an utterly stranger's house, and overnight have to live with different rules, and does not have a say in her own life. this view might be termed as 'anti brahmin', but i am willing to live with it.

i am doubly happy that today's girls are asserting themselves away from this type of nonsense. the boys don't have to follow these rules. what is good for the gander is apparently not good for the goose.

when mom died, on the first anniversary i wished to perform rites for both my parents at kasi gaya. i had no intention of taking my wife, as her relationship towards my parents was lukewarm at the best.

the only two people who cried and felt for my parents are me and my sister. so we both agreed to go together to kasi/gaya and she kept me company while i performed the rites. this was the most satisfying experience for both of us, and 10 years later, we look back that trip with fondness.

reva, by tradition and practices, the dices are rolled against the woman. thank God these are all changing in our communty. there are some folks who cannot adjust to this, and would consider even talking of this as 'anti brahminism'. their frustration is even more compounded, because increasingly, even in their own families, people are abandoning the age old inequalities. to others it is abuse of tradition, and to me these are signs of insecurity often tied to old age. the old should have more wisdom and less of dogmatism.

also, now the families are small, and many have only one or two girls. you would be surprised as to how quickly traditions are
dropped. do not look back. look to the future, and ensure that these malpractices are stopped with your generation. we don't need to pass on these abuses to our descendents, and within 20 - 30 years these would be forgotten or go out of practice. our descendents would look upon these as quaintly uncivilzed same as the way we view மொட்டைப்பாட்டீஸ் now.

i would never put a woman on a pedestal as amman or devathai. to me, she is my equal. physically different yes, but equal in every other aspect of life and death. i think, we should inculcate this in our children, particularly the boys, so that they do not grow up with assumptions which are far removed from reality of tomorrow, and wil find even more difficult to find tambram wives. let us teach the boys sensitivity and gentleness as conducts befitting of a good man, and not entitlement and servitude in the home. what a man can do, a woman can do, and i have found, better. :)

take care.
 
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Nara

Well-known member
...I am not going to post all the questions I have in my mind – only a few now.....

Some may oppose/condemn/throw brick bats telling
Dear Revathi, I was just wondering today why we have not heard from you and was hoping for you and Valli to take part more. Don't worry about brickbats, the more the brickbat, the more right you are. I for one, even if I disagree with you -- from what I have seen of your posts so far, that would be rare -- will stand up between you and the brick thrower.


• Women are not supposed to eat during Vrathas, but is perfectly alright and in fact mandatory for men folk to have tiffan before yearly Avani Avittam
No, Revathi, this only shows women are sincere and men are hypocrites. Men are supposed to not eat anything as well until they change the poonal. The upAkarma time is about 12 nA. after sun rise, which normally will be around 11 o'clock. But then, no self-respecting Brahmin man can go so long without having their morning coffee. Realizing this practical ground reality -- I so much wanted to use this phrase, ground reality -- the instructions call for doing Kamoakarisit japam in the morning before eating or drinking anything, then do whatever ground reality calls for, then take a second bath because now that you have had your coffee or eaten something you are no longer "madi", change into madi clothes, then only perform upAkarma, then madyanhikam, then lunch. But many blissfully ignore the little inconvenience of second bath and what else.

Not only this, all tharpanam must be done before eating or drinking anything. The tarpanam time varies, most Amavasya tarpanam will be around 11 o'clock. Nobody waits until that time and get it done as early as they can, i.e. if they have the routine of doing these tarpanam. The masapirappu tarpanam may sometimes come late in the afternoon. In these instances there is absolutely no excuse to eat or drink anything before doing tarpanam in the afternoon, but I wonder how many even bother to know what the rules are.

Then there is Ekadasi vradham. Men are supposed to go without anything to eat or drink the whole day till next morning. Women are exempt from nirjalam, they have to forgo only rice. But in reality, even the observant ones have full three course meals, except, instead of rice they have sadam with arisi noy. Of course, the non-observant ones have no idea when Ekadasis come around. usually it comes twice a month you know, sometimes three. Please forgive another dog analogy, the shashthras say that eating cooked rice on Ekadasi day is equal to eating you know what from that animal I mentioned in the first part of this sentence.

The main purpose of Jyotisham for Brahmins is to be able determine when these rituals fall and at what the time frame is for their observance, but alas Jyaotisham is treated only as a means to get a peek into what future holds for them.

So, Reveathi, the shasthras are much more demanding of men than women. Women are more sincere and men are hypocritical.

Typical answers I get when I ask elders is this – This is what our tradition is and we should not ask questions – more so definitely not by a woman.
Yes, this is what tradition is, blindly following, or not following at all and only pay lip service. Many people who show extreme passion for preserving tradition have no idea what those traditions are and what is required of them.

So, Reveathi, what I would like to tell you in summary is, don't worry about all these men, or women, running around telling women what to do what not to do. Just do what gives you satisfaction and peace of mind. If you want to stay empty stomach for karadaiyan Nonbu till evening, then do it for you and your family. If you want to eat something, but would like to perform the ritual, don't feel guilty, just do it, isn't it a tautology that what you feel for your husband and family is more important than the rules for the ritual. Of course, if you want to skip the whole thing, I say, more power to you.

About equating women to Amman and Mahalakshmi, you really don't want me to get started. IMO, that is the most cynical selfish play by men. By this equivalence men are not saying we want to treat women like a goddess, but only to set a very high standard that no woman can hope to achieve and therefore feel guilty. It is also a way to keeping bold women from questioning men, they can tell see what happened to Parvathi when she disobeyed her husband, or see how dedicated Sita was to Rama, et al. It is a big stick to keep them in line. Even the great wise law giver Thirvalluvar set an impossible standard for women (to protect herself and her husband, and provide for her family without tiring) but for men it is just not coveting other married women -- even this is a protection for men, with no man coming after his he can treat her any which way he wants without fear of losing her.

Amala, you are absolutely right, but it is the women who get tagged as indulging in vambu. I for one love vambu, and I think it shows :).

Cheers!
 

valli

New member
Dear Revathi

I agree with your views in your post. My teenage years were full of asking the question 'why' and challenging some outdated practices still followed to this day!

Luckily for me, in my house, my husband and I have an unwritten law that we don't follow rituals that we don't believe in, just because the society/community/family/relatives expect us to!! There was some initial resistence from in-laws and my parents, but of late they have started respecting our views.

Also some (most?) of our men folk must change their attitude towards women and their so called duties of cooking and cleaning. I am posting this while my husband is cooking full fledged lunch! We involve both our son and daughter in cooking at home and expect them to share in the duties of home depending on their age and not on their gender.

I will keep posting though at a slower pace (thanks Mr Nara)

Cheers
 

sravna

Well-known member
To me equality makes sense only for the identical orthe similar. But women are different from men in various aspects. The main defining variance between men and women is the more physical aspect of men. If men have physical supeiority over women, I think women generally have psychological dominance over men. That way it evens out.

There are some areas where the distict features of men make them suitable for doing certain jobs especially ones that grant authority, the main reason why men are being seen as exercising control over women. But I think it is women who end up influencing men by a more subtle dominance.
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
Musings/Confusions of a TamBram Woman seeking answers – Part 1

Dear Revathi,

Good questions. When a discriminating mind start thinking, questions and more questions arise. Unfortunately, we may not get answers to clear the doubts, instead we get quotes from writings of the past some times.

Yes, traditions hold the society tighter than any written law.But be sure that Social customs and unwritten rules of tradition do change according to the times, though it will take years or generations. When I look back the tight control of tradition on the women during my grand mother's time and the freedom that my grand daughters enjoy today I could see a sea of change that has taken place in a Brahmin household during these four generations. According to my thinking, this was possible due to good education and economic freedom that the girls enjoy today.

As for the authority of scriptures on our social customs, most of us do not know what is written in our holy scriptures, even learned pundits who recite them may not know the purport or relevance of their application in our life today.

My wife accuses me as an "opportunistic non-believer"and hypocrite . True, I do not believe most of the traditions, but enjoy the fun of participating in the festivities and food prepared specially to the occasions.

You have taken up an important subject, please continue. I may join the thread slowly.

Best wishes,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore
 
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tbs

Well-known member
hi revathi/valli,

i agreed some part.....as a tradition to be followed many generations....for example i was in army...many things we call it army

tradition....still we follow british colonial army rules/army act....some very difficult to understand to follow...same way some

religious traditions/ cultures....and its differs in many places....like a thread called aathu pazhakkam/ooru pazhakkam....

some rituals are based on puranic based.....like savithiri nombu etc.....some are smrithi based......mostly vedic rituals smrithi

based........now i have 4 generations of woman folk in my home......my great grandmother's life is entirely different to my teen age

daughter's life in USA....its huge change....if we like it or not....its reality....becoz it takes many generations......mainly due to

education/economical independency......the TIME will give many answers to many questions.....


regards
tbs
 

sangom

Well-known member
Woman was only slightly above the status of "chattel" according to the approach of English Common Law which came about in the 12th.century. Colonial American women's rights were restricted by the patriarchal view of English Common Law. As in England, women were viewed as chattel and had no individual legal rights. Hindu scriptures are much older and they also looked upon women more or less in the same way. Today, while the law of the land (India) recognizes woman's equal rights in many spheres, the religious lore has not changed and it cannot be changed because it has become ossified and no alteration or interpolation - as in the olden days - nor even consensual amendment of such lore, is possible today, except when the religionists themselves are interested.

Regarding the mourning period or "theettu", it will be interesting to know that the inclusion of female ancestors as deserving of sraaddham, tarpanam, etc., itself seems a post-vedic refinement.

The wife was supposed to have become a member of her husband's gotra (and family) and had very little to do with her parents' gotra (family). Till recent times, some elderly north indians (brahmins and non-brahmins) never used to take any food from their 'sambandhis", perhaps based on this injunction. The 3 days' theettu is itself a concession given by the smritis and probably reflect changing social awareness. Same applies to the maternal relatives of the males. There are cases where the maternal uncle brings up the nephew just as a father would, since boy' father dies and the wife seeks shelter in her borther's house. But in the end, the uncle is an uncle and the mourning period is only 3days. Such inequalities go back to our early tribal life, gotras, the concept of sapindas etc. To those who view these as sacred and inviolable, all these rules are just and perfect. But others may find them inequitable. I will not be surprised if even the above statement of facts are treated as brahmin-bashing, ego arising out of little knowledge, etc.

But the life of ordinary tambrams - and I am here referring to those in India - has reached a satisfactory method of "live and let live"; at least this is what I find in the many of tambram communities in Trivandrum, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, etc., and I think this is the ground reality now though some rare exceptions can co-exist.

Now, coming to Karadaiyan nonpu (it means, kaar=yama, adaiyaan=unreachable) everyone including the children like the sweet "adai" with (fresh?) butter which is the by-product of that day. The time is supposed to be "exactly" when the Sun enters the Pisces rasi. But the fallacy in this belief is that we do not know whether Savitri followed the sayana or nirayana observation (?) during her forest life; we go by the nirayana almanac, anyway. People have come to realize, though not in so much detail, that the time which is given such importance, is after all not so crucial. So women here do the pooja, after taking a bath and avoid unearthly timing such as between midnight and say, 4 A.M. They will do either before midnight or early the next morning. Most women do not fast on that day, but, it is the general consensus among women to avoid onion, previous day's food, ready-made food, etc., during that day. I do not know whether any woman will fast till the nonpu time if it is after 10.00 or 11.00.A.M.!

As Shri Nara has rightly said, the kamokaarsheet japa is to be done before taking food. But tambrams generally cannot live without coffee, so it is allowed. But avaniavittam (AA) itself is a very ambiguous rite, today. Brahmins are supposed to do vedadhyayana everyday but such a practice has long disappeared. AA is in one way a reenactment of the ideal brahmin way of life for at least one day in a year and thus a "praayascittam". If this is accepted as the basic principle, that day need not have anything extra by way of food, except not using the items prohibited by the sastras for brahmins. How so much emphasis came to be bestowed on food of that day is a subject for further research! During my childhood, in our central Travancore village, the only addition to the noon-meals used to be a "paayaasam" because sweet is supposed to be one taste in food not normally found in our daily meals. While, as children, we used to have our breakfast, elders had only coffee till they returned from the temple by about 2 P.M., after completing all the rites. Incidentally, and one which probably Nara omitted, there is one more bath after the "maha samkalpam". But what we now do on AA day is a caricature of that annual rehearsal of real brahmin's life.

In regard to many aspects of our religion, we can find smritis giving widely different opinions. This strengthens the belief that in one period, there was freedom to have different opinions according to the necessities of each locality and period. Hence, sticking to some minor aspect as inviolable and sacrosanct is not a very wise idea.

If we understand these basic facts and allow the "live and let live" philosophy, I think most of our religious observations will become joyous occasions for all - men, women and children - without much of inequality. I am using the word "much" because it will always be possible to find 'some' inequality in each one of the activities in our daily lives, if we go after it.


 
H

hoover

Guest
the answer to why is only known to god.
so someon is so much rely on the question why, more than the natural instinct, commen sense and emplied code of virtuous conduct,first quetion one should ask to himself is 'why he/she calls her father a father, did he/she conducted any DNA test or have any adoptation certificate' only then progress is possible.
my intention here is not to offend any indiviual or group but to show the futility of asking why everywhere.
a why can be answerd in most good manner only as why, you are asking? If why is the ultimate question then only why is ultimate answer.
and If he/she wants to more studey why read Ludwig Wittgenstin.
 

C RAVI

Well-known member
Dear Revathi, I was just wondering today why we have not heard from you and was hoping for you and Valli to take part more. Don't worry about brickbats, the more the brickbat, the more right you are. I for one, even if I disagree with you -- from what I have seen of your posts so far, that would be rare -- will stand up between you and the brick thrower.

So, Reveathi, what I would like to tell you in summary is, don't worry about all these men, or women, running around telling women what to do what not to do. Just do what gives you satisfaction and peace of mind. If you want to stay empty stomach for karadaiyan Nonbu till evening, then do it for you and your family. If you want to eat something, but would like to perform the ritual, don't feel guilty, just do it, isn't it a tautology that what you feel for your husband and family is more important than the rules for the ritual. Of course, if you want to skip the whole thing, I say, more power to you.

About equating women to Amman and Mahalakshmi, you really don't want me to get started. IMO, that is the most cynical selfish play by men. By this equivalence men are not saying we want to treat women like a goddess, but only to set a very high standard that no woman can hope to achieve and therefore feel guilty. It is also a way to keeping bold women from questioning men, they can tell see what happened to Parvathi when she disobeyed her husband, or see how dedicated Sita was to Rama, et al. It is a big stick to keep them in line. Even the great wise law giver Thirvalluvar set an impossible standard for women (to protect herself and her husband, and provide for her family without tiring) but for men it is just not coveting other married women -- even this is a protection for men, with no man coming after his he can treat her any which way he wants without fear of losing her.

Cheers!

Well said Sri Nara ji.......Love and responsibility towards family members and towards onself is more important than performing rituals...I liked your quote above as I do believe and follow on the same lines...Do what you feel like doing and do it how comfortably you wanna do...Feel yourself and do yourself without blaming any one, complaining any thing and repenting doing..

A man who truely considers his wife as Ambal, Mahalakshi etc.etc..would truely mean it in the sense of her charismatic presence in his life and not for any kinda ego massaging and or for restricting her rights.

 

Raghy

Well-known member
Sow.Sri.Amala said -

I have a theory about why there are so few women posting compared to men. All the women are soo busy working at work and at home, while the men get to come home after work and post
Sow. Amala, Greetings. This is a 'Bull's eye' statement!:clap2:

Cheers!
 

C RAVI

Well-known member
Chi.Ravi,

Greetings. Welcome back. It is very nice to hear from you.

Cheers!

Thank you Sri Raghy ji.....Missed you and many for so many months....I apologize for being out of board for so many months..
 

Raghy

Well-known member
Sow.Sri.Revathi said -

Women are not supposed to eat during Vrathas, but is perfectly alright and in fact mandatory for men folk to have tiffan before yearly Avani Avittam. It seems men are not supposed to be hungry during Poonal changing function

Greetings. In our home, the boys were required to fast until the end of ceremony. Most of us will get an extra coffee and a ' திருட்டு தம்' in between. That's it. Except Deepavali, all the other functions (like Pongal, Ayudha Pooja etc, There will not be any ' பலகாரம்' before lunch. In my Father-in-law's place, lunch would be served before 9 AM. He never believed in fasting. He used to ask ' எதுக்கு வ்ரதம் இருக்கே? பகவானை blackmail பண்றயா?'....As one can imagine, beyond 1200 noon, nobody 'fasted' in his house. (வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசிused to be great in his house...one would not stop eating பலகாரம்ஸ்! Just the opposite in my house...கொடுக்கா கொடுக்கான்னு வ்ரதம்! that's for everyone until night time). No kaaradayan Nombuus in our home....so, we have zero experience.

When a wife’s relatives (Siblings, Parents etc) die, the woman is allowed to grieve for only 3 days where as even a far off Dayathi’s death on husband’s side some times is grieved for the whole year.

Once my சித்தி said that to my wife. I became furious.....I did not enjoy someone actually teling my wife that she should not celeberate any festivals for one year.....net result..at the end of the 'very civilised conversation', as of today there is no முகாலோபனம்between us. (okay, I was lying. It was not a civilised conversation. I did not spare any harsh words). As far as I know, Dayathi தீட்டு, 10 days only.

esteemed members - let me tell you - it is very difficult to blindly follow practices without conviction.

I couldn't help but smile when I read the above words. But most of the practices are not black and white though; a large portion of grey area remains. Well, I think we have to use our discrition in such situations.

Cheers!
 

pannvalan

Well-known member
Accept only those in which you show interest and faith. Anything imposed may be gently (ladily) repulsed.
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
reva,

i am awed and pleasantly surprised not only by the frankness of the replies that you received, but also the tone and progressively realistic views as expressed in those responses. i would have liked to hear from someone defending the status quo, but those only seem to send private messages to me, while keeping their mouth shut publicly.

for those among here, who think that females are the weaker sex, have you ever noticed the resilience the woman of today has. she handles more roles than her grandmother, though it is possible that her mother could have a similar life. today she is not only a busy career woman, but also a mother, a nurse, a lover, a home maker and above all an equal companion to her husband. how many men can perform so many roles - motherhood and pregnancy atleast for now being denied :)

starting the 60s, our tambram women joined the workforce in droves. in most cases it was financial as career fulfilment probably came in only with their daughters' era. the earned money was handed over to the mother, and after marriage to the husband or mil. such was the norm.

i remember, it started as a trickle, but by the start of the 70s, employed bride was the most popular stipulation by the boys' families. i think, the attitudes towards girls has not changed much in many families - ie there is still an inherited attitude of entitlement for somehow boys are supposed to be 'superior'.

RVR has stated elsewhere that nothing is better than traditional arranged marriages because it has worked in the past as is evidenced by the low divorce rate in india. with so much stacked against the women, and with no financial security, i wonder, how many women would be in a position to complain or leave an abusive household. or worse still, feel welcome, back into their parents' home.

this was the norm in all families as far as i am concerned.my own girl cousin, brought up as a princess, was given in marriage to a traditional family, not in religiuos values, but 'traditional' in their attitude towards women, particularly dils. she was basically a servant in her inlaws' house, her new husband specifically told her that her primary duty was to wait upon his dad, hand and foot. this was passed on to her on her wedding night.

i think God is great, for she got relief, after 12 years of this slavery, when her husband had a heart attack and died. the husband's family still would not give her up, and it took all of my relatives' diplomatic skillset to pry her back to her parents' house. today she is highly successful brand name in her career, and to all my urgings of finding a companion, her pat is answer is, 'once hell is enough. i enjoy my freedom and no man is ever going to take it away from me'. it took a tragedy to find emancipation. it should never have come to this. are not both parents at fault? and an அம்மையொட்டி son? those things are never revealed prior to marriage in an arranged affair. it is the girl who suffers.

i have more stories like this in my own extended family, and i am sure, that members, if they are honest, can identify such instances in their own. so remaining unmarried, may indicate a low divorce rate, but not of happiness or fulfilment. a lot of sorrowful wives' tales are still unreported. so, in a rather perverse way, if the tambram marriage failure rate increases, we should not pass blanket judgement that the tambram woman is unreasonable. in most cases, it may be simply that she is not willing to put up with nonsense anymore.

as long as there are two genders, there can never be what we term as 'absolute equality'. but what is important, is that no one feels that they are abused by systemic different standards based on genders.

also, i think it is high time, we teach our boys the art of home making. it is just not how to shop for vegetables or the odd errand running. i mean they should, from the earliest stage onwards, participate in house cleaning, washing clothes, ironing, and learning how to prepare the cuisine of the house. to me, these are not only basic survival skills, but also skillsets that would go a long way in ensuring a successful future marriage. for once you do something, you know how much effort it takes.

nothing irritates me, more than seeing a slob of a husband, ordering his wife for a glass of coffee whenever a visitor arrives. the smart husband, to me, is one, who goes to the kitchen, and within a jiffy returns with two glasses of hot steaming fragrant piping filter coffee - one for the visitor, and another for his wife :)

thank you.

ps.. reva, can we now have part 2 please....
 
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sangom

Well-known member
...

for those among here, who think that females are the weaker sex, have you ever noticed the resilience the woman of today has. she handles more roles than her grandmother, though it is possible that her mother could have a similar life. today she is not only a busy career woman, but also a mother, a nurse, a lover, a home maker and above all an equal companion to her husband.
Dear Shri Kunjuppu,

Even at the risk of this post being removed, let me say that you have, knowingly or unknowingly, disparaged the women of the earlier generations in the above statement of yours. Those women were also playing multiple roles of mother, nurse, wife or lover as you may view it, a full-time home maker and, in some cases at least, a great source of mental strength for the husband. In addition to these, they were also patiently putting up with mils who were not very kind to them, unlike the majority of mils today. The only additional role our working women of today play is that of the earning member.

Let us not forget ourselves and facts too, in our euphoria of eulogy of the "pudumaip penn".
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
Dear Shri Kunjuppu,

Even at the risk of this post being removed, let me say that you have, knowingly or unknowingly, disparaged the women of the earlier generations in the above statement of yours. Those women were also playing multiple roles of mother, nurse, wife or lover as you may view it, a full-time home maker and, in some cases at least, a great source of mental strength for the husband. In addition to these, they were also patiently putting up with mils who were not very kind to them, unlike the majority of mils today. The only additional role our working women of today play is that of the earning member.

Let us not forget ourselves and facts too, in our euphoria of eulogy of the "pudumaip penn".

sangom,

i accept this wisdom without arguement :)

i see no reason that the post should be removed.. you and i have not insulted anyone.. you have only pointed out a flaw in my arguement, which i have no problem accepting..

i hope you do agree that the additional role of working woman, is a significant one, which takes the prime daytime. previous generations, including my mothers', mom used to rest in the afternoons while taking care of the rest of the housework. the modern woman, spends the whole day in the office, and have to crunch the rest of the time doing all the things that the prevous generation did over the whole day. i think it was this point that i missed.

the modern woman cannot afford to come home after a hard day's work and bring home the frustrations and seek solace. her motherhood day is just starting when the typical husband comes home for R&R. simply her sense of duty and love of children, will not let her sit back and order in food. she will cook, care for, bathe the children, help their homework, do the laundry and all of those little things that make a house a home. our sons should be brought up to appreciate that, and develop themselves to be true partners taking atleast 50% of the share of the chores. as parents it is our responsibility to inculcate these habits into our sons.

therfore, the women of today need their husbands as partners which was not quite a necessity for our mothers...sadly, in my family, in the 60s, 70s, the men came home and ordered their working wives about food and service and nary lifted a finger. seeing the sufferings of my cousins, was a great lesson to me. it helped me make a better husband to my own wife (i hope). noted abuses of women in my family has gone a long way in sensitizing me to the travails of women. i am only hoping that situations in india has improved the past 30 years and i see the increase in divorce as an indication that there are still loutish guys out there.

to my children this sensitivity has been imbued from day one, seeing their dad do 'mummy's role' in the house.. my first son for a long time used to call me 'daddy mummy' and my wife 'mummy daddy' ie there was no gender reserved role in our household.

thank you.
 
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pannvalan

Well-known member
If one draws a trial balance, the present generation working women have gained some and lost some, as compared to their mothers and grandmothers who were not employed.

Gains:

1. Their economic power has increased and it has helped them manage their home better.

2. Their social status has gone up.

3. Their mobility has increased.

4. So also their practical knowledge, gained with real life experiences in the external world.

5. They are able to keep up with the modern trend in fashions and tastes and preferences.

6. Fear of their in laws has almost vanished.

7. They are no longer in the control of their husband.

8. They are no longer required to do all menial jobs and feel the drudgery of routine at home.


LOSSES:

1. In most of the households, even today, they are required to cook, in addition to their job outside.

2. They are hard pressed for time, to take care of their personal needs. This tells upon their health.

3. Children at home miss their mother very badly now and as a mother, this has hurt her the most.

4. They are always in the grip of fear regarding the dangers lurking their kids.

5. Many a time, they are unable to balance their different roles effectively. This has made them develop inferiority complex.

6. They are reduced to a money making machine.

7. They are unable to teach their children all morals, ethics and good hygiene. Thus character building of their kids has slipped out of their hands.

8. They are the most vulnerable lot while on the move. Thus, they are exposed to greater risks in the areas of safety and comfort.

9. Taking leave at office has become difficult and at home, even on those 3 days, they perform all the duties as usual.

10. Expectations and demands from working mothers have been constantly on the rise, from various quarters. This causes great stress and
depression.
 

Raghy

Well-known member
Sri.Kunjuppu sir said -

nothing irritates me, more than seeing a slob of a husband, ordering his wife for a glass of coffee whenever a visitor arrives. the smart husband, to me, is one, who goes to the kitchen, and within a jiffy returns with two glasses of hot steaming fragrant piping filter coffee - one for the visitor, and another for his wife :)

Greetings sir! I really wonder how you would react if you see someone who orders for a coffee sometimes and goes to the kitchen and prepares steaming filter coffee other times ?:heh:

But it was in the past though. We don't make much coffee anymore; I settled for black coffee, the ceremonious coffee making is over. I may yet buy her a coffee maker...I am looking for a fancy one (I couldn't afford the one she wanted...remember the Bond movie 'A View to Kill'? Bond has a coffee making machine in that movie...a huge machine to make cappachinos..That machine was sold for some $300,000 about 7or 8 years ago..where would I go for that kind of money? then, I need a huge house to park that machine..சாமியார் பூனை வளர்த்த கதைதான் :( ).

Cheers!
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member


Pann, many of the ‘losses’ are generalizations. You have not stated whether there is a net gain for the women folks. From your analysis, if I am not mistaken, there is an equal gain and loss. I wish to disagree here.

While I have no quarrel with your listing of gains, which I feel are solid, I would like to comment on your ‘losses’ list, if you don’t mind.


1. In most of the households, even today, they are required to cook, in addition to their job outside. .


This need not be so, right. The hubby should shoulder 50% atleast of the household tasks. Considering that the female is the so called ‘weaker’ sex

2. They are hard pressed for time, to take care of their personal needs. This tells upon their health.

They are indeed hard pressed for time, considering the responsibilities. Instead of considering this as a ‘loss’ I think the husband should step in to help out. It is only when he does not and lives by the old paradigm, there is discord. Add to this discord would be if she is living in a joint family which has the old expectations from a dil

3. Children at home miss their mother very badly now and as a mother, this has hurt her the most.


Not so sure on this one. Several studies have been done on ‘latch key kids’ as they are called in the west as women in workforce was happening a generation before here. Those kids are found to be just as well adjusted as kids with stay at home moms. Ie no better or no worse.

But working moms do have a residual ‘guilt’, it has been found. That is to do with, I suspect, the emotional thing of motherhood, which I don’t expect to understand, as a man, that is.

4. They are always in the grip of fear regarding the dangers lurking their kids.

Sadly this is a reflection of the perception of the society where they live. This anxiety is also shared by the father, not the mother alone. If he does not share it, he should comfort his wife that her fears are baseless.

5. Many a time, they are unable to balance their different roles effectively. This has made them develop inferiority complex.

I do not what is the basis of this conclusion. Today I find that most women, have never been so confident as ever before. Otherwise, they would not flock to the workforce or universities in the numbers they do.

6. They are reduced to a money making machine.

if the men had earned enough money in the first place for the lifestyle desired, the women initially would not have gone to work. That was the original sin. Money making machine, yes or maybe in the 60s thru 80s…

Nowadays, the reasons are definitely different.

7. They are unable to teach their children all morals, ethics and good hygiene. Thus character building of their kids has slipped out of their hands.

I am unable to seriously take this observation. Have you seen the children of today. Ofcourse they do not put up with pompous old farts like their parents or I did.

When I am in the presence of youngsters, I better treat them as equals, and not as a ‘know it all’, in order to win their respect. Knowledge today in this age of internet, is freely and readily available .. and we cannot challenge facts with prejudices.

8. They are the most vulnerable lot while on the move. Thus, they are exposed to greater risks in the areas of safety and comfort.

Depends. Is it not the fault of the society that it fails to protect its citizens? Even a stay at home woman, if she feels unsafe when she ventures out, whose fault is it?

9. Taking leave at office has become difficult and at home, even on those 3 days, they perform all the duties as usual.

Those ‘3 days’ as you mention, is a process of nature. While some women may feel discomforts, most of them I know, handle it with hygiene and as a matter of fact. To bring this issues as a’loss’ I am afraid, is a reflection, I think, of a really outmoded thinking.

Recently there was a poll taken in the u.s whether women would wish to do away with 'those 3 days' as there are now medications which can do this. surprisingly most of them wanted to keep it, as they felt it defined their feminity. if you google through you may be able to find more about this. personally, not being a woman, i respect them for this, and if it causes discomfort, the least i can do, is to be accommodative and understanding.

10. Expectations and demands from working mothers have been constantly on the rise, from various quarters. This causes great stress and depression.

Depression to whom? There is stress in everyone’s life. How we handle stress is upto us. It has nothing to do with working women.

When I grew up, my neighbour iyengar had 5 unruly boys, who drove their mother to asylum because the husband would not lift a finger to discipline these boys, as he became a disciple of some saamiyar. One does not have to leave the home to have stress.
 
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Nara

Well-known member
Well said Sri Nara ji.......Love and responsibility towards family members and towards onself is more important than performing rituals..
Thanks Ravi. Welocme back, hope to see more from you...

Cheers!
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
Sri.Kunjuppu sir said -



Greetings sir! I really wonder how you would react if you see someone who orders for a coffee sometimes and goes to the kitchen and prepares steaming filter coffee other times ?:heh:



Cheers!

dosn't matter raghy.

i think as long as we are mobile enough to do things on ourselves, we should not issue orders for other folks. coffe ordering at the sight of strangers, to me, is a familiar habit of tambram men.

would it not be a wonderful change, if we move our arses, shift to the kitchen and started boiling the water. then if the sahadharmini offers to make that decoction, we can avail of that.

but to order? that is crass and behavour unbecoming of a gentleman tambram (if such a person could ever exist)... :)
 
OP
OP
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ganeshrev

Guest
Apologies for not responding early.

Yesterday, I was not able to access TamilBrahmins.com the whole day till midnight 12 whereas I was able to access every other site.(I have sent a mail to administrator)

I started getting doubts on what the reasons are :) Better to leave unstated the reasons that lurked my mind.!

Today I need to go through the responses and will get back further.I may need some time (Yes House hold Chores;)

But I think two of the responses I need to respond back :

1. The need to ask the question of "Why" and elaboration that went on with that.Actually i was reminded of Periyar EVR who said - "vengayatha Urichenda pona kadesila onnum minchathu".I dont want to respond beyond this since it may take the thread's conversations to a different direction.This gentle man even questions the right/need to ask "why".Without asking "whys", IMHO, the west would not have got the scientific advancements including the one we are using right now to voice what we think is right!.I will leave it at that.Thanks Mr Hoover, for your response - But I disagree with your views.

2. The other response I felt that was not answering the intention of the thread was by Shri Sravna.The question is not about emotional superiority or physical superiority of one gender over another.The questions I have is that 1) why are the traditions /practices (including Kula pazhakkam/Athu Pazhakkam) always inclined to provide for the comforts of the men and making woman work for that 2) Why woman's feelings in the case of the ultimate loss of her parents/siblings are never considered? Was she dropped from heaven and her parents brought her up without any love or attachment? The whole traditions, practices either based on puranas (which in my opinion is again a set of stories) or Kula Vazhakkam/Kudumba vazhakkam are convienently inclined towards comfort of one gender and there is an emphasis by most men to safe guard these traditions.So, Mr Sravna sir, with due respect, your response may be a topic for another thread , but not the reasons I was looking for.Thanks for responding to my questions

Shri Kunjuppu, Shri Nara, Shri Brahmyan, Shri Sangom, Shri Ravi, Shri tbs ,Shri Pannivalan - Thanks for your responses- I will respond back, albeit slowly

Ms Amala, Ms Valli - yes your thoughts represent the ones going through the minds of Today's tam Bram Woman.Generally, these thoughts/views could seldom be shared or spelt out in front of the elders in earlier days.Today, I believe I have the freedom to scientifically argue against the practices I am not convinced about - but at times (To be fair and to echo Shri Kunjuppu, things are changing) some times I do get the pattam "Padicha Thimuru".The same mind I use in my official /Business/Client meetings to counter illogical arguments , is expected to behave differently in this respect.

Shri Kunjuppu, I am iintrigued by your statement:

i am awed and pleasantly surprised not only by the frankness of the replies that you received, but also the tone and progressively realistic views as expressed in those responses. i would have liked to hear from someone defending the status quo, but those only seem to send private messages to me, while keeping their mouth shut publicly.

This proves what Ms Valli talked about (some) Brahmin men in the ICM thread which is now closed!Of course everybody has a public and private opinion - but what irks me is that- No I will stop at this - Since I am sure what I say may not serve the purpose of this Thread.

I would request those members who want to defend - please come forward to defend these practices - apart from just saying that this is what our tradition is.I would like to hear both sides and Lets have an argument based on reason- Thats is what the purpose of this thread.Thank you !


Namaskarams
Revathi
 
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