Wednesday, February 6, 2013



The Times of India (New Delhi) As burqa-clad Sumaira walks past the streets of Jama Masjid, there's nothing really striking about her. That's until she flashes the bright red bangles she's wearing - the kind that newly married Hindu women have around their wrists. Young Muslim women in India, and even Pakistan, can be increasingly seen sporting the chooda, mangalsutra and often the sindoor. And they see no taboo in it, taking it as a fashion statement, something that adds to their 'just married' look.
''Wearing a chooda doesn't make me a Hindu or a lesser Muslim," says 21-year-old Sumaira. "See, among Muslims there is nothing that differentiates married women from those who are still single. I have been fascinated with choodas ever since I was a kid. So that was one of the first things I bought after my engagement. In fact, my cousin Saima, too, wore one at her nikah."

It's not only the chooda. The demand for mangalsutras is picking up, and not just in India but also in Pakistan where many of those who ask for it attribute it to the influence of India's enormously popular saas-bahu soaps. "Mangalsutra is a beautiful neckpiece and goes with every suit," Naseema Aziz, a resident of Karachi, explains. "If one is wearing it out of choice, there's nothing wrong in it. In Pakistan everyone knows I am a Muslim. Merely wearing a mangalsutra won't have me confused for a Hindu." 
With the mangalsutra and chooda finding favour among Muslim women, how can the sindoor, that eternal sign of a married Hindu girl, be left behind? But while most Hindu women prefer red sindoor, Muslims tend to go for orange. Interestingly, in parts of Kolkata the two different shades have come to distinguish women from the two communities. In Bihar, however, many Hindu women also use orange sindoor.

This confluence of cultures can these days be witnessed during Muslim weddings too. Some of them come complete with what resembles the Indian Sangeet ceremony which is a musical evening organized before wedding. Rizwana (a Muslim young woman), who works as a nanny in Kolkata, has seen her mother with orange sindoor. She followed suit when she herself got married in 2010. "Hindu women use red and we orange. Don't women in Delhi do the same?" the 24-year-old asked. As regards mangalsutras, jewellers in Delhi confirm this trend. "Many Muslim women, some in burqas, ask for the mangalsutras which have diamond pendants," says Ankit Kohli, owner of Raj Jewellers. If we avoid segregation, we will see that all cultures have beautiful things to contribute to the peaceful unity of the world. 

A Hindu wedding is essentially a ceremony of sacred rites and rituals. ... The bridegroom adorns the bride with Mangal Sutra, by putting the auspicious black-beaded ornament around her neck. Panigrahan - holding hands to accept the vows and exchanging the places - is a ritual of sacred vows. The bridegroom applies sindoor, vermillion, in the parting of the bride’s hair as an auspicious symbol of her married status, followed by Shantipath - the peace invocations. ... Hindu scriptures implore upon every man to love and care for his wife, despite any shortcomings. He is forbidden to strike or speak harshly to her or ignore her needs. ... Hindu theology regards the ideal marriage as a spiritual journey, where the man and woman must complement and help one another toward divine realization. The path is often long and arduous; the spiritual awakening comes through many experiences on the physical plane.

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 50: “Hindu Wedding”
“Nuptials for Eternity”  -

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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