India is a very male dominated society, looking to woman as only wivesand mothers. In his Manusmriti (Law of Menu), Mendu, a Hindu spiritual law giver says,“Her father protects (her) in her childhood, her husband protects (her) inmarriage, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit forindependence.” Although this comes from an ancient texts, these practicesare still used. Women are treated with unequal measures, statistically showing that oneand every five married women are subjected to domestic abuse.An extreme example of abuse is in the form of “dowry deaths,” wherenewlywed women are murdered or pushed to suicide then masked as aaccidents to profit more dowry (money, goods, land).Women from lower classes, where traditional views are still abundant areforced to be dependent to their husbands and freedom is limited.
In all aspects of society, Indian women have taken on moreindependent roles as the economy liberated.A growing rate of woman are taking on head of household inthe absence of men.Even after taking their husband’s name after marriage, womanhave the right to hold their assets separately.By India law, women have access to all educational facilities toseek higher education and follow careers goals.Government has passed various laws to protect women’srights along with encouraging the hopes of woman to havemore activity in the public.Traditional practices such as child marriage, templeprostitution, and Sati (the burning of a widow alive on herhusbands burial) have been completely outlawed.
Men are dominant and women take the back seat and are more submissive Men do all of the work and are the main bread winners in the household. Along with bringing home all the money men traditionally decide how the money in the household is spent. Men, traditionally, don’t do housework they instead go out and socialize with other men and worship at the temple everyday after working.
Men and women are able to converse in more of an equal sense. Women play major roles in the household also Men take part in helping in the household and help women with the cooking Men are not the only ones allowed to work in the household women are allowed to work and bring in money also Men take part in helping raise the children and don’t leave all of the work to the men
Men do not chose their wives, their parents do, and men don’t meet the wives they are to marry until 3 months prior to the wedding Men can divorce their wives if their wife doesn’t give him sons, which has caused a high divorce rate in India. If a married male in the family dies, the eldest male in the family will then assume responsibility for the wife and children and take care of them Once married the father in law and males that are older than the bride are not allowed to look at the bride face to face and the bride must wear a veil when speaking to the bride. Most middle aged men don’t remarry if they a widowed the young men are normally the only people who get remarried.
India is a country that has a magical or mystified allure, with bright colored clothing,bangles and bells. It is diverse in culture and religion. It is through their choice ofclothing that they communicate their social status or caste, religion, region, age andeducational background. (Shukla. P, pg 4).The most common piece of informal clothing that is worn by men and women of India,is the Salwar suits, that consists of a three piece outfit. The pants and ,the mostcommon choice is the Churider pyjama, has a tightfitting drawstring waist, then thematerial blousons to the ankles and is fastened with tight fitting snaps. The tunic orKurta, is varied in cut, it can be tight or loosely fitted to the body, and can have eithershort or long sleeves. The most common feature of the Kurta is its length, it willalways fall between the upper thigh or well below the knee. The men will wear thesepants with a jacket to complete their everyday ensemble. (Shukle,P. pg71).The scarf or Dupatta, is worn mostly by women, and can vary in style or print. It isdraped over the breast, then hangs vertically down the back and over one shoulder tothe front part of the body. Since it is usually flimsy, sheer cloth, it can also be used tocover her head and face for modesty purposes.(Shukle,P. pg72).
The Sari is another form of clothing that communicates the age and statusof the women of India. The styles of cloth ultimately are chosen by themen, since they are the buyers of the cloth and usually the weavers.India is a predominantly male culture. She may posses severalSari’s, some for everyday wear and others for special occasions. The Sariis one piece of unstitched cloth, this gives a statement of being pure, thisis why they are usually purchased by brides to be or married women ofIndia. They are worn with a blouse and petticoats. They are usuallychosen for their weave, color and texture (Shukla,P. pg 68). The younger brides of India usually choose the bright bolder colors ofred, orange or yellow, to communicate their youth for their Sari .Thesecolors will also be chosen for their ghunfat, the veil that young brideswear to cover their faces from the men in the household. As no verbalcommunication is allowed between the father in-law and the brothers ofthe new bride. The more mature married women will choose the lightercolors of blues and pale yellows to communicate their presence in thefamily. When a women becomes a widow, she will only wear the colors ofwhite, black or brown to signify mourning. The widow will then becomepart of her husbands brothers family and will be treated as equal to hiswife and family. (Aruna, personal communication, October 21st,2011).
Women with their SariRetrieved on November “Retrieved November 6,2011”6,2011” http://www.ehow.com/how_77http://www.greatspectrum.c 82408_drape-indian-sari.htmlom
The Sherwani is a long coatthat buttons up the front andhangs down usually below theknee. Men spend lavishamounts of money theseformal wears in preparationfor their wedding night orspecial occasions. TheSherwani is an expression ofones wealth and style. Thesherwani contains a nehrucollar which stands up. Theclothing gets it’s origin fromPakistan, but has beenadopted by the Indian culture.
The Indian Sari is a dress wornby women and has manydifferentstyles. The sari or saree, is alength of unstitched cloth thatcanRange from 4 to 9 meters. Thedifferent styles are differentiatedBy the way the cloth is drapedover the woman. The sari hasbecome a way for women toexpress themselves fashionablyduringMomentous occasions such asweddings.
The lehenga choli is also a formaldress that is more modern. Thelehenga choli are dresses that areembroidered with stones, zari,crystals, cori, mirrors, andsequens. This dress is more formfitting and meant to accent thecurves of the body.
Hinduism began around 1500 BCE and is the third largest religion in theworld. It accounts for about 80% of people in India.While lacking a unified system of beliefs and ideas, it combines very diversetraditions and beliefs. The dharma controls ones ethics and duties, it acts asthe law or natural law. The samsara controls the rebirth, or reincarnation.Karma is controlled by performing the right action. And the Moksha isliberation from the Samsara cycle.Hinduism is an all inclusive way of life. The purpose of life is to attainfreedom from the reincarnation cycle. To do this one must live life followingthe dharma. If successful and ones karma is resolved, they will attainmoksha. If ones karma is unsuccessful, their soul will enter the samsaracycle and be born into a new body.Worship can occur at home or at temples so that one can think of divinityduring every day life. Shrines are created at home with icons to celebratetheir chosen god.Devout Hindus worship daily after bathing at dawn. Worship includeschanting mantras, reciting scriptures, singing hymns or meditating.Special occasions like birth, marriage and death, involve elaborate sets ofreligious customs. These rituals are called samskaras.
Samskaras are rituals and sacrifices that cover every aspect of the Hindulife, from conception to death.There are two categories of Samskaras. One is to encourage kindnessfrom the gods. The other is to keep away or get rid of hostile and evilpowers. There are 16 main samskaras that serve as a rite of passage.Ceremonies can be used to influence many things includinghealth, wealth, intelligence, fertility and social status. It brings man orwoman to their highest potential physically, psychically and spiritually toachieve the highest level of all-round human welfare.Max Muller explained the ceremonies as “the deep-rooted tendency in theheart of man to bring the chief events to human life into contact with ahigher power, and to give to our joys and sufferings a deeper significanceand a religious sanctification.
Samskaras are rituals and sacrifices that coverevery aspect of the Hindu life, from conception todeath.There are two categories of Samskaras. One is toencourage kindness from the gods. The other is tokeep away or get rid of hostile and evil powers. There are 16 main samskaras that serve as a riteof passage.Ceremonies can be used to influence many thingsincluding health, wealth, intelligence, fertility andsocial status. It brings man or woman to theirhighest potential physically, psychically andspiritually to achieve the highest level of all-roundhuman welfare.Max Muller explained the ceremonies as “thedeep-rooted tendency in the heart of man to bringthe chief events to human life into contact with ahigher power, and to give to our joys andsufferings a deeper significance and a religioussanctification.
When greeting an elder, there is also a touching of the feet of the elder, with the right hand, then touching your chest. After this, is the palms pressed together.
Out of respect, it is common to remove one’s shoes at places of worship, when visiting people’s homes, and even in certain shops and businesses. People beckon one another by extending an arm and making a scratching motion with their fingers, palm facing down. The head wobble and mean various things depending on angle, expression and speed One usually eats with their right hand, as the left is considered unclean.
Tilak: a ritual mark made on the forehead between the eyebrows representing greeting, blessing or auspiciousness Bindi: An auspicious mark on a married Indian woman’s forehead, symbolizing Goddess Pavarti and female energy.
We have seen how the culture of India communicates through all sources of verbal and nonverbal use. From the Sari and Bindi of the married India women, to their religion of Hinduism, where the people pray to their Dharma, in the hopes of attaining Karma. We have seen how the society has moved forward in allowing women to work and receive an education. These are all positive ways that communication has helped bring India that much closer into the twentieth century.