West Bengal Priestess Does Away With ‘Patriarchal’ Kanyadaan

Nandini Bhowmik has solemnised over 40 marriages over the last 10 years without the Hindu ritual of Kanyadaan.

Published
India
2 min read
Nandini Bhowmik simplifies Sanskrit hymns by translating them to English and Bengali for the bride and the groom to chant easily during the rituals.
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A professor, a drama artist, and a mother, over the years, Nandini Bhowmik has worn many hats. But her most special one till date has been the role of a woman priest. The priest in question has had a unique way of presiding over marriages. Over the last 10 years, she has solemnised over 40 marriages,Times of India reported.

The priest has simplified Sanskrit hymns by translating them to English and Bengali for the bride and the groom to chant easily during the rituals.

But that is not all – throughout the rituals, she has wanted to uproot the patriarchal ritual of kanyadaan, a Hindu tradition in which parents renounce the custody of their daughter, the report added.

Presiding over the wedding of a couple, Anvita Janardhanan and Arka Bhattacharya, on 24 February, she said:

I want to do away with the patriarchal mindset where parents appear to be renouncing the custody of their kanya, treating her like a commodity and giving her away as daan (donation). 
Nandini Bhowmik to TOI  

Bhowmik has referred to the absence of kanyadaan going back to a bygone time of Vedic scriptures. Many youngsters have approached the woman priest on social media, enthusiastically welcoming this school of thought. Her college mate and fellow priest Ruma Roy and vocalists Semanti Banerjee and Poulami Chakraborty have lent a hand in officiating marriages the same way.

Sanskrit scholar and Indologist Nrishingha Prasad Bhaduri has refuted that female priests are a violation of Vedic law. She substantiated the claims by saying that there were multiple references to women priests in “spiritual and philosophical debates.”

(With inputs from Times of India)

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