‘Sindoor Khela’ is a traditional Bengali custom celebrated by women on the last day of the puja, on Bijoya Dashami, when everyone bids adieu to the Goddess. Women apply sindoor on the feet and also on the parting of the hair of the goddess. Then celebrations continue where one woman will playfully smear sindoor on another. Womenfolk pray for a happy married life and the prosperity of their husbands. There is a controversy regarding this ritual and many people find this ritual patriarchal as only married women participate in this custom. While the festival of Navratri /Durga Puja itself is in celebration of women power this ritual is often tagged patriarchal as here the ritual is where women pray for their partner’s long life and prosperity not for themselves. On the last day of Navratri Singing Sensation, Soumita Saha took the internet and her message regarding Sindur Khela left the internet quivered. She posts a picture of herself with a wonderful write-up. She wrote ” When they were shouting “Bolo Dugga Mai ki joy… Aasche bochhor aabar hobe” … My overthinking mind was trying to relate the color red to what it denotes. Thinking rationally I found
According to mythology, the colour red denotes bravery, protection, and strength. This wasn’t the end. A sudden thought consumed me almost. Why not celebrate the glory of women who are brave enough to fight every day with society and its vicious norms. They are living examples of strength. They don’t need your protection because all their life they have done that alone. Why not smear their faces too with vermillion and not just that of the married woman?
These women are brave enough to fight every day with society and its vicious norms. They are living examples of strength. They don’t need your protection because all their life they have done that alone. Hence, let us smear their faces too with vermillion and not just that of the married woman.
To those who are unaware, ‘sindoor khela’ is a traditional Bengali custom celebrated by women on the last day of the puja, on Bijoya Dashami, when everyone bids adieu to the Goddess. Women apply sindoor on the feet and also on the parting of the hair of the goddess. Then celebrations continue where one woman will playfully smear sindoor on another. Again here the womenfolk would pray for a happy married life and prosperity of their husbands. But the question is Why do you need to be a man’s wife first to participate in a ritual? Durga Puja itself denotes the celebration of a woman’s universal power. Isn’t it?
I am quite aware of the fact that I am a feminist… Well, maybe the one they address ‘Toxic Feminist’… Something happened right in front of my eyes. Someone smeared vermillion on a man’s cheeks. Immediately a middle-aged aunty uttered ” Aadikhyeta dekhe more jai bapu…” Meanwhile, another aunty added fuel to the fire…” A kyamon purush manush bapu…amar uni hole shob adekhlapona jhere diten ..jotto shob”
I was enjoying the show while a man in his mid-thirties joined the vermillion play saying “ami baad naki “….
Much of an eye opening incident…I realised I was half correct… Celebrating the color red with vermillion is a beyond gender thing. Bravery, Protection and strength isn’t a gender confined concept. Sindur Khela is for anyone who you think to symbolise Bravery, Strength and Protection.
Over the last few years the scenario has changed a little, these days unmarried women, transgender and many others who are not typically the married woman clan are also seen celebrating “Sindur Khela”. Sindur Khela earned itself a new definition over years, these days the ritual is celebrated to signify the victory of strength, bravery and protection, and women and transgenders smear Sindur on whoever symbolises Bravery, Strength and Protection to them. Some men are also seen participating in the ritual. Netizens appreciated Soumita’s thought and observations on this Ritual that over the course of years earned itself a beyond gender stature.
Soumita Saha is not only a famous name in EDM and Rabindra Sangeet but also a celebrated Painter who’s work is gets exhibited all over the globe. Soumita launched her Own record label ‘Melo Tunes’ last September. She is a popular playback singer in tollywood and known for being vocal about various social issues.
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