Sunday, May 28, 2006

Water: child brides.

I just saw the film Water by Deepa Mehta. It is a good film, and paints a very disturbing and sad picture of the fate of widows in 1930's India. These widows can be as young as 5 or 6. They can't remarry, can't wear colorful clothes, can't eat certain foods, and are abandoned by their families in squalid "widow houses". They are shunned and stigmatized in numerous ways. In the house in the movie, they are rented out as prostitutes by the head widow.

Unfortunately, both child marriage and hatred of widows still takes place, in India and elsewhere. These are deeply rooted things and seem to create a tremendous amount of suffering. Numerous laws have been passed banning these practices in various countries, but in rural areas the laws are often ignored.

I knew intellectually about these things before, but the movie really brought home the reality of what it might be like to be considered a widow in such a culture, even as a young child. It was incredibly sad. It boggles my sheltered and privileged mind to know that this sort of thing is still going on.

The picture above is of the main character, a young widow (from the Variety review).


Anonymous Sarah said...

Just want to "ditto" this blog entry and recommend that folks see this movie. It was incredibly sad, but also fun in some parts (the Bollywood influence is very evident), so don't steer clear of it because you're afraid it will be too much of a downer.

One of the things that really struck me in the film was the same thing that got me when I read Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" - why don't people just leave? I kinda get why they don't, but it's hard to understand sometimes. But I think that's very American of me - to believe that people can just pick up, move to a new town, and re-invent themselves.

7:34 PM, May 28, 2006  

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