Sunday, February 3, 2008

The divine feminist

Religion has some peculiar ways of bringing social order. It has been the pivotal force behind the establishment of many social institutions family being one of them; for no religion has advocated
for disordered living. The rituals sometimes define the way how religion addresses issues that are otherwise contagious to the society and the people. The myths that are told about many dieties in Kerala are good examples in this regard. In Vaikom, the diety Lord Shiva gets out one in an year to see the crops his subjects have produced toling and moiling in the soil. People say that it is a disguise to give blessings to the unchoubles to were not permitted to enter the temple in those days.

The Pongala too answers such socially significant debates. Is it not an assertion of the power of women, or a symbolic demonstration of the respect she should command in the society, or a religious mechanism to assert that woman should not be discriminated. The very idea of pongala is feminine, which involves the cooking of rice an activity traditionally done by women. The demonstration of this activity in public underlines the fact that they are committed to cook the food not only for the family but also for the entire world to dispell the discords and keep the relationships in order, and that they are true force behind the spiritual bond that maintain the family and the world. And the pongala is distributed to all, upholding her divine role. Its here, the roles that an woman has to play converge to a single point.

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