Posted in "Thursday Blog"

Thursday Blog 4.10.12

The first solid traces of a well organized civilization, the Indus valley civilization have been dated back to 3750 B.C. (approx) in India, ever since, this country has seen rise and fall of civilizations and dynasties. So it’s quite obvious that along with this enviable heritage India has to have some ugly skeletons in its cupboard too.

This month, in quite contradiction to my usual Thursday writings I will write a bit methodically, using information in books and internet about a son of India I love and the changes he has brought in India (in ethereal heights) and about the things he has changed (in earth in black and white).

These won’t be the famous ones like Gandhi or Gautam Budhdha, everyone knows about them. These are (sorry) all Bengalis, the province I live in because of only one natural reason, I grew up reading and admiring them and I prefer talking about those I know well about.

First one is Raja Rammohan Roy, every Bengali woman should be grateful to two men- Raja Rammohan Roy and Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar.

Raja Rammohan Roy made arrangements to make the abolition of satipratha (burning alive wives along with the dead body of the husband). He tried to abolish child marriage and purdah pratha – Hindu women too covered their faces. In every noble, well to do families women did not show their faces to men that were not directly related to them, the houses were visibly separated in bahirmahal and andarmahal- the bahirmahal was open to all and the andarmahal was guarded and meant for only women, children and their direct relatives. It was quite reality that a man if he was not a direct relation like brother, father,son or husband was never allowed a single glance on the faces of these women, they used to cover their face when communicating with their son in laws too and addressed them indirectly- that is, they had to grab a child and pretend that she is talking via that child- the child is playing the role of messenger- phew!

A widely circulated story about these women was if they wanted to taka bathe in Ganga they used to enter a palanquin and shut the door. the carriers used to take the palanquin to ganges, dip it and take it back- its not a joke.

The satipratha was a really ugly affair- in this system the wives were burnt alive with their dead husbands, mostly by force because this practice quite obviously was followed by crème de la crème of the Hindu society most, the wealthy aristocrats who possessed immense amount of land and other properties. Sometimes the women were provoked by the tall tales of glorious death and of course heaven afterwards but mostly they were forced, drugged and burnt alive! What a horrible society! Thank God that Raja Rammohan Roy worked tooth and nail to get the society rid of this monstrous act.

Child marriage is still quite rampant in India but fortunately sometimes police or locals intervene and stop them.


A bookworm transformed into an addicted writer. I love to write and illustrate them myself. By love I mean love, no half-hearted relationship, a full-fledged, passionate love, I can’t pass two days in a stretch without writing/painting (cyber), just feel empty like lovers do when their lovers are away on a tour! Even though I am thoroughly enjoying self-publishing with amazon, but if you like my work and want to publish my works in your magazine, books or better if you want to publish a book of my works please make me very happy by contacting me. Or if you want to sell my works on commission basis only!! contact me, I will be quite relieved. Honestly writing and selling your own work is a very BORING combination. So you are more than welcome! Mail me, or go to- my blog (I have 16 blogs in wordpress, all active, some on daily basis, every one on weekly basis screaming and vowing my LOVE for writing and painting- this one is first-born, so special) (You will get the link to my remaining blogs there) or you can check out my ezines- monthly- And if you want fb you can go to my page, linkedin- my email id and I am in goodreads and completelynovel too I guess I said enough about myself, right? You will forget if I stuff too much here, so if you are curious to know this humble creature just join me in my blogs :)

22 thoughts on “Thursday Blog 4.10.12

  1. OH Sharmishta how terrible – and interesting. I knew about this of course but it’s always good to be reminded of the atrocities that man will commit without the ‘good guys’ (and women!)speaking up for change, and to remember that awareness is always the first step to change. Well done for writing and thank you for sharing.

  2. Some women in the West get so aggressive with all males blaming them for all sorts of things – past and present. Such stories show, however, that in all times there were great men who cared about others, who cared about women and children, and were trying to do whatever they could to make this world a better place for everyone. Let’s not forget those great men!!! Thanks for sharing this story 🙂

  3. Unfortunately, it is this same Hinduism that during its inception placed both male and females at par, and it used to be a matriarchal society. That was the time of great female scholars like – Ghosha, Lopamudra, Sulabha Maitreyi, and Gargi. Megasthenes (fifth century B.C. E.) mentions heavily armed women guards protecting Chandragupta’s palace. However, somehow in-between the number of women in forefront diminished, giving males the opportunity to re-write rule book. Manu-samhita is one of them, which in times to come were misinterpreted to suit the males and slowly females got confined to a role of material satisfaction giver to the males of the society. In-spite of many good men such as Rammohan – Vidyasagar and Dayanand Saraswati, the pit in which women of India were thrown into for millenia is not going to get reversed in decades. I feel the mind set of Indian society still needs a sea change to go back to where it started from !

  4. Sharmishtha, I love your idea of doing posts about Bengali people. I love history but I don’t know anything about those people. I look forward to reading the rest of your series. 🙂

  5. A really interesting post, Sharmishta,

    I remember seeing a film about satipratha and it has always seemed to me to be one of the most terrible things that could happen to a woman. It must have been like having a death sentence hanging over you from the moment you married. Given that so many young women married much older men they must have known that they would die prematurely.

    I hope that the practice is now completely over. Is it?

    Corinne at

  6. Trisha. I love to learn about societies other than my own. There have been dark periods in all of them unfortunately. I hope to learn more from you about yours. Very well done.


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