HAF Replies to WSJ's Flippant Blog on Karva Chauth
Houston, TX (October 26, 2010) - The Hindu American Foundation posted the follow comment to the Wall Street Journal in response to a recent blog entitled What Husbands Think of Karva Chauth
The Hindu festival of Karva Chauth originates in a time where men and women were subjected to harsher realities of living. Upon marriage, a woman would generally travel a long distance from her parents’ village in order to move in with her husband and in-laws. Travel from to and from her parents’ village was restricted due to distance and lack of reliable transport. Regular communication with her parents and friend was nearly impossible due to lack of telephones. Thus, the new bride found it necessary to forge friendships with women in her adopted village - women with whom she would bond with as she assimilated into the her new life as a wife and daughter-in-law. Karva Chauth allowed women to develop this bond and support system while praying for the well-being of their husbands, who generally had shorter life spans while being the traditional provider for the family. Fasting with focus is believed to channel spiritual energy toward both the observer, the wife, and the objective, the husband.
In modern times some of these factors exist in the rural countryside, but conditions have largely improved. So, what is the need for these rituals today? Many of the same needs for community building are found even today in urban apartments where busy professional lives make it difficult for families to know one another. As Hindus lead busier lives, the ability for women to remain connected with each other as well as with their spouses on a spiritual level becomes integral to deepening bonds among friends and family as well as with the divine. The beauty of Hinduism, and the reason that it has survived for millenia, is its ability to mold with the ever changing times. Some may modify Karva Chauth to include a husband’s fast. Some may not feel the need to fast at all. And still others find comfort in continuing a tradition that has brought generations of husbands and wives closer together.