A Man’s Perspective on Karva Chauth: Is It Really Necessary?

Yes, the Karva Chauth fast is kept by a woman for a man, but has anyone asked what a man goes through?

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Women
3 min read
Karva Chauth: Chef Sanjeev Kapoor with his wife.
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(This article was first published on 30 October 2015. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Karva Chauth.)

Karva Chauth: The festival when a married woman fasts the entire day to ensure the long life of her husband. But how is it a festival, if the women are fasting?

It’s the 21st century for heaven’s sake, and if your husband smokes two packs a day, there’s no way he’ll live a long life, regardless of your Karva Chauth fast.

And guess what, even when women fast, it’s not like husbands accept things quietly without suffering.

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol break their Karvachauth fast in DDLJ. (Photo Courtesy: Yashraj Films)
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol break their Karvachauth fast in DDLJ. (Photo Courtesy: Yashraj Films)

It’s not even been a year since I’ve been married and thank god, my wife is a 21st century woman. (PS: I am not saying this because I am afraid of my wife, unlike many of you out there, I am saying this because that’s a reality).

She is beautiful, smart, well-educated and an independent thinker. That’s the reason I decided to spend my life with her.

But as society will have it, she too was asked by everyone about her plans for the first Karva Chauth after marriage. I thought it made no sense at all for her to fast. But eventually she gave in and is fasting as I write this.

Not eating for a day can be cruel, but guess what, nobody’s talking about the guilt we guys feel. It’s an equally tough day for a man, knowing at the back of his mind that the person he loves is starving the entire day.

Woman in Siliguri celebrates Karva Chauth. (Photo: Reuters)
Woman in Siliguri celebrates Karva Chauth. (Photo: Reuters)

To all the fasting ladies, I would suggest that you only do something if you really want to do them. Don’t be burdened by societal pressure and don’t give in.

Make your own rules with your husband, start a family tradition of your own that does not involve suffering. Enjoy the rest, you can still get henna on your hands, do the pooja that you want, buy a new saree and even all the moon-seeing traditions—but not at the cost of not eating all-day-long. Have a feast with your husband instead of fasting.

Because, you’ll be the ones then responsible for spoiling it for the future of womankind. Just as your mothers, mothers-in-law and aunties gave you grief about why Karva Chauth is important, you’ll do the same to your future daughters, daughters-in-law and nieces.

And for that special man in your life, all he wants is that you remain happy and healthy. He might not show to you that you are the world, but secretly it breaks his heart to see you like this on Karva Chauth.

We’re living in the 21st century guys, and yes, I’m a Brahmin who understands traditions. But even our Gods have said that ‘adharam’ makes you suffer. And fasting for your husband’s long life is well, hello! suffering. For both you and your husband. And in no way are you doing ‘dharam ka paalan.’

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