The NEGLECTED half [part -1]
We may be proud of many of our Traditions – note the capital T – that we have followed for thousand of years. I repeat thousand of years though some so called foreign researchers along with many ‘yours truly types’ among us, would give only a few hundred years to Badaga history.
One such tradition, call it a custom if you want, that needs immediate attention is how we treat our WOMEN.
I am a staunch devotee of Hethe(y) Amma and very proud about the fact that Hethe(y) Habba is the ‘mother’ of all festivals for Badagas. But, let us face it. We call ourselves ‘Hethe(y) Makka’ – the children of Goddess Hethe(y). And we very fiercely follow the strict customs associated with Hethe(y) Habba.
But alas, at the same time, our women are side lined and given only a secondary position in many of the rituals associated with this great and grand festival.
I have discussed about this aspect with many Badagas, including some from Beraganni and Pedhuva – “when we are so devotional to a deity that is personified in the purest female form called HETHE(Y), why are we NOT allowing our womenfolk who form half our population to participate in some of the rituals of Hethe(y) Habba?”
There are no clear answers. We cannot live in isolation.
Traditions need not be changed for the sake of change but surely, by involving the other half of our population in a much more ‘inclusive’ way instead of ‘rash restrictions’, will we not enhance our name and fame as a community that is forward looking?
If we do not change with times and be part of the larger society that encompasses the entire country, then, we will be condemned to face the serious and severe consequences.
May Hethe(y) bless us with the wisdom.
[To be continued …in ‘Part- 2’ we will see the injustice done to our women]