Recently, actor Mandira Bedi’s husband, director Raj Kaushal, passed away due to a heart attack, at the age of 49, leaving behind two young kids.
Consequently, photos of Mandira Bedi carrying out her husband’s last rites also surfaced on social media. And while she did break patriarchal conventions, it was still a private moment, that should not have made it to social media in the first place. But what was worse were the comments people left on the photos.
While most people commented on the media’s insensitivity in capturing a person’s private moments and paid their condolences, a section of society decided this was the right moment to troll Mandira for not behaving like an “adarsh Bhartiya naari”.
Because she carried out the last rites of her husband, a practice traditionally performed by male members of the family. And she did it in a ‘Western attire’, rather than in a saree.
For starters, restricting a person from carrying out the last rites of a deceased relative simply because of gender is a regressive, patriarchal custom that we need to do well away with.
More importantly, what culture, tradition, or ‘dharam’ are we defending, where it’s okay to pass comments on someone’s attire, even as they are struggling through a deep, personal loss.
Passing comments on someone’s attire is never okay, but this has to be an absolute violation of human decency where a person grieving the sudden loss of her partner is subjected to vile trolling.
As a society, we need to be more sensitive and understand that rituals and customs can not and should not overpower human emotions of love and respect. More importantly, it is 2021 and it’s high time we do away from carrying out regressive practices and moral policing in the name of religion.