Every European knows the following details about the life of a Hindu woman: satyas (burning widows), kayaking and child marriage.
As for the custom of burning widows, the British – by incredible effort – managed to eradicate it. However, we should not forget that only three-fifths of the country is purely English, the latter belong to the native princes.
Whatever they say, but the “satyas” take place in them, and now, apparently, especially since the widows often demand it themselves. Otherwise, they are exposed to a public scorn that is so strong that nothing remains in the widow’s mind to throw themselves into the arms of prostitution: two-thirds of all public women are widows. Older men shave their heads and become yogis, penitents, and poor nuns. Widows who do not have a penchant for either of these two classes become cooks in European homes: in all three cases they become strangers to their family and their circle.
As far as child marriages are concerned, they also, to English influence, have been subject to some degree of restriction, although they are still quite common.
When you then get to India, you don’t have to deal with women at all. Although the streets of these densely populated cities are teeming with people, you will hardly meet one woman in hundreds of men, and she will probably be very old or very ugly, and additionally, of course, from the lowest class. And the reason is not that women are buried there. It is believed that the wife should work: in the daytime – a pack animal, at night – a female, – so the Hindu thinks. If you go into the yard or go down to the river, you will find yourself on the driveway, or in the field – you will see many women, and far fewer men. And they all work, work all day long.
The birth of a girl is seen everywhere in India as a great misfortune. The killing of a newborn girl was practiced a hundred years ago quite openly, and most probably still is; mainly in the upper caste, in the Brahmins. In fact, the difference between female and male is very significant. While in all countries with normal population growth, the number of women always exceeds that of men, in India, on the contrary, 60 per cent of men account for only 40 per cent of women. Thus, in the suburb of Calcutta, 150,000 men account for only 100,000 women.
Thus, from the very beginning, a Hindu girl comes to life despicable and hateful. There are female names such as Shi-shi (Thu-Thu) or Ghirna (shameful); Arno (enough!) or Khayuto (end!) are also rare. When a man is very embarrassed, he says, “I’m like a grandma!” He hits his wife as much as he can and she finds it absolutely natural; she would be greatly surprised if her husband treated her, her maid, kindly.
Hindu Brahmins, like the Mohammedans, recognize polygamy. Some restrictions are created by the fact that there are not too many women in general, and, in addition, relatively few men can afford to have several wives – especially since women of higher caste jobs usually do not work. Thus, same-sex marriage, as in Europe, is the fate of the majority, and polygamy is found only in the wealthy classes. The rich and the noble are not synonymous here; on the contrary, the highest caste, the Brahmins, who are very lazy and proud to work, are often very poor and more likely to feed on true begging.
Public stairs for women in India are as follows: the top level is, of course, European, but now it is followed by a woman from the Parsi tribe. Then, at a long distance, there is a Mohammedan whose fate is quite tolerable compared to that of the Hindu. And the Hindu envies her fate, and readily avails herself of the first opportunity that is presented, to pass into the faith of the prophet; this is to a large extent the key to the widespread success of Islam in India.
Every Hindu woman can become a Mohammedan from today to tomorrow, but she cannot become European despite all baptism, and she understands this perfectly. In addition, only the poorest and most shameful castes convert to Christianity.
It goes without saying that in the wealthy classes there are also very educated and very learned women, but the numbers are scanty. There are women with deep knowledge who are considered pandits, which means that they can read the sacred books in Sanskrit. Unless lower-caste women are anything but a working cattle, in the upper classes, they are well-nourished, well-groomed, and hidden behind the bars of animals for fun.
Each good house has its own zenana, female half, strictly separated from the last rooms. All women live there, and their main activity is to keep showing each other their jewelry over and over and arguing over their estimated value. Jewelry, jewels, gold items, besides silk dresses and fragrances – this is all that a Hindu woman is interested in. If she is able to read, then she is reading a novel, or more willingly, any obscene book with pornographic pictures; moreover, erotica in general plays a very significant role in the whole life of a Hindu.
Since young people of wealthy classes can not see each other at all, any love, at least before marriage, is excluded. However, marriages cannot be considered unhappy at all, because the woman is overwhelmingly satisfied with her new destiny: after all, she receives many new ornaments and has many more topics to talk about than at home. servants. And if she gave life to several boys, then she even enjoys her husband some respect.
Married Indians have 16 features and differences: special wedding jewelry – earrings, necklaces and bracelets; Unmarried girl’s bracelets are not allowed to be worn but widows are worn on one hand only; hair or a bundle of hair, as well as a section dyed with red paint; sometimes referred to as a “teak” circle (a special sticker) of red in place of the third eye (between the eyebrows), the unmarried ones wear black stickers as a decoration.