Death for bad cooks?

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by DT Strain, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    My mother is a conservative Christian and it seems to me that much of her perspective on other relgions is highly tainted by that perspective. Anyway, she said to me recently that Hindus think its ethical to kill your wife if you didn't like her cooking.

    I'm sure this must be incorrect, but can you tell me what she might be basing this on?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste DT Strain,

    thank you for the post.

    i would imagine that she is basing this on her imagination or the imagination of another. it is pretty hard to have a teaching of Ahisma when you go about killing folks for not making your rice correctly :)
     
  3. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    She seems to have a lot of misunderstandings about other religions. I've spoken with her since and found out that she heard from a person she worked with, who was from India, that they are having a "BIG problem with women being murdered by their husbands" and that this is accepted there.

    First, I'm not sure what the Indian woman is referring to (perhaps some sociological problem with domestic abuse?). But secondly, I'm not sure what passages those who accept something like this may be using or distorting to justify their views (if such people exist).
     
  4. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    There has been a fair amount of press off and on about the (illegal) practice of "wife burning" by families displeased by the dowry - there's an interesting summary at http://www.straightdope.com/columns/020405.html about "suttee" or the practice of widows burning themselves to death (which was outlawed by the British over a century ago), which mentions it in passing, and there was a CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9608/18/bride.burn/ discussing the problem. Oprah's website has a special report from last year at http://www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200401/20040116/tows_slide_20040116_01.jhtml

    Reading these reports, it's not a religious-based issue, but a pure greed & abuse issue, when the husband & his family are dissatisfied with the dowry. I found a more comprehensive discussion at http://www.asiaobserver.com/India-story2.htm . None of these tie it to a religious requirement, but rather a social custom of the bride's parents giving the groom's family a large dowry.

    Being intrigued, I chased after more links and found a discussion at http://www.hscnet.org/hwp.php?articleid=17 which specifically addresses the liturgical side. Since it was a speech at the conference on bride-burning, the author's conclusions are very strong that there isn't a scriptural sanction for this practice.

    Thanks for sending me off on a bout of research .... there does appear to be a major issue here, but from what I found it's not got a religious justification, but rather a societal one.
     
  5. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Ah, a great many thanks for these informative replies!
     
  6. Indogenes

    Indogenes Well-Known Member

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    Dear D T Strain,
    I am a Hindu woman from India. As far as I know, killing a wife for bad cooking wouldn't be considered ethical by normal Hindus. The husband would definitely be convicted in an Indian court of law if found guilty of murdering his wife, bad cooking or otherwise. Yes, there may be some Indian guys who might kill their wives just for that, but not because the religion condones it, but because they are high-strung, abusive and violent... as you might find in any other society.

    Though there are many Hindu women in India who have achieved a lot academically and professionally, and are allowed by their parents and husbands the freedom to think for themselves, there is still a large segment of the Indian population which maintains very traditional patriarchal values. In such families, it would be considered the husband's duty to earn the bread, and the wife's duty to cook it (and appetisingly well!;)). No doubt in such families a woman who is a bad cook might be looked down on for not catering to her husband's taste buds, but I doubt their community in general would condone the criminal act you mentioned.

    If that were so, I should have died a hundred deaths by now: for all the untested new recipes that I foist on my unsuspecting (Hindu Indian) husband once in a while!;)
     
  7. Indogenes

    Indogenes Well-Known Member

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    Hello again D T Strain!
    I won't blame your mother or the Indian woman entirely for the misunderstanding or the confusion she created in your mother's mind. There are one of two situations prevailing in what you described, as I have experienced myself. Firstly, there are some Indians living outside India who hardly know enough about the social issues there or the current events to give you an educated, objective analysis of a situation. Secondly, if the Indian has adequate knowledge of the issue, usually a discussion of a few minutes at the office with a non-Indian co-worker who is not familiar with Indian social mores is not sufficient to convey all the facts. In either case, the non-Indian listener leaves with some half-baked ideas or misconceptions about the Indian situation.

    I see that Brucegdc has correctly identified and addressed your question on what the Indian woman was referring to. Bride-burning is a truly horrible crime inspired by greed, and a callous attitude to women. It is not something sanctioned by the Hindu religion. I don't mean to offend anyone, but this is akin to asking if Christianity sanctions Nazism or racial violence, because most Nazis were/are Christians or some Christians commit racial violence.

    Your mother's Indian co-worker, however, is making a great generalisation in saying that it is accepted in India. There are several Indian NGOs which attempt to publicise and deal with issues of violence against women. The Government of India has tried to establish laws that can be used against these crimes, provided they are reported (which doesn't always happen), and if evidence can be found to prove the case (which also may be difficult to obtain in some cases).

    In case you want to learn more about the attempts being made to prevent these crimes, I am providing some links. Here is the link to the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 http://www.indev.nic.in/marg/dowry.htm . This next link is for the Legal Redressal against The Offence of Dowry Deaths
    http://www.indianwomenonline.com/womenhome/Serious/law/dowry/dowrybot.asp
    Centre for Social Research is an Indian NGO working on women's issues, including violence against women: http://www.csrindia.org/

    On the flip side, a recent trend is that a few wives have used the anti-dowry laws to falsely accuse their innocent Indian husbands and their equally innocent parents. :rolleyes: Here is a news article related to this subject:http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/articleshow?msid=802133
     
  8. Indogenes

    Indogenes Well-Known Member

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    Dear Brucegdc,
    You've done an awesome amount of research on this subject of dowry deaths! You are correct that it is mainly a societal aberration. It was in the late 1970's that dowry deaths began to be publicised in the Indian media. They were not a well-known phenomenon until then. But it was only after the The Fourth World Conference On Women in Beijing in 1995 highlighted violence against women, that the subject has received so much international attention.

    In earlier times the concept of dowry in Hindu families was used by parents as a means to provide their daughters a share of the ancestral wealth. At one time, Hindu women had no right to inherit ancestral property, which was distributed among their male siblings or relatives. Only in recent years have the laws been changed to permit Hindu women to also inherit ancestral property. Dowry used to consist of land and/or gold jewellery and utensils to set up house. But in the age of consumer durables some bridegrooms and their families began to expect such items as well as part of the dowry. The better-placed the bridegroom, the larger the dowry. In spite of anti-dowry laws, this practice continues mainly because the majority of the society still wants to keep up with the Joneses, at whatever cost, and in the end, some women pay the price.

    There is the converse of this situation, too. There are a few Hindu sects and tribes in India among whom the bridegroom pays dowry to the bride's parents. This was to show the bride's parents that he could take care of their daughter. Some of the poorer men have had to take loans from local money-lenders to pay the dowry and spend a major part of their lives repaying the loans. If they can't pay the dowry, they remain single.
     
  9. tatvamasi

    tatvamasi idol worshipping advaitin

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    This particular Indian person she spoke with should certainly have been a Pentecostal or a Baptist. I can bet my house on that.

    It is very sad that some Indians stoop to any level simply to besmirch their ancestral faith.
     
  10. satay

    satay Well-Known Member

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    Before I got married I thought what's the big deal...I will get married and if the roti she cooks is slightly burned, well, then I will have a reason to kill her alas, she turned out to be a professional cook.
    My luck!

    satay
    ps: okay before you guys forward this post to my wife...I am only joking. This post is supposed to be sarcastic.:rolleyes:
     
  11. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    LOL--indeed there are hidden threads here--I am quite sure this has probably been addressed, but if you stick to the letter of the Law, not the Spirit--I think that somewhere along the line you can justify perhaps not stoning, but divorce.

    When I was a little girl, my mom and dad were having a disagreement. I guess she loved him because she made his breakfast. But when she served it up for him, it was very creative. She arranged the eggs and bacon into a skull and crossbones!!!:D It was a stroke of genius, and my dad is a pretty perceptive guy. Something I will never forget..
    (They are still together, by the way--LOLOLOLOL)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     

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