I recently saw the tragic images of Mandira Bedi doing the last rites of her husband in a very shocking death at a young age. Om Shanti . May Prabhu give strength to his family and friends .
As expected I saw also headlines from WOKE publications as to how Mandira Bedi had SMASHED the patriarchy by doing so. Well there is nothing anti woman about women not being allowed to do the last rites of a dead family member .Let me explain the science behind it .
As CORONA introduces us to many medical terms (and made all WOKES certified doctors giving gyan on everything ) , we learnt the FOMITE is any medium that can carry , transport or hold a virus/bacteria . Anything can be a fomite , a doorknob, clothes , skin (hence the sale of sanitizers ) , wash your hands , etc. By washing hands frequently we were minimizing the risk of accidentally transferring virus to our face , mouth etc.
In a nut shell , the aim was to MINIMIZE the risk of a virus reaching any part of our body , from whree it can enter (nose, mouth , eyes etc.)and infecting us .
Hair is also a fomite and a much dangerous one because whiel we can wash off virus from our hands,bodies, the virus in hair can live upto 2 weeks and slowly enter our body.
We read news about how Sikhs doctors shaved their breards inorder to minimize the risk of carrying virus for a long time after they come out of hospital treating COVID patients .
Many female nurses also shaved off their hair ,to minimize transfer of virus via hair to people outside the hospital .
And that is the reason , doctors wear head cover inside hospitals, to avoid virus getting transferred to their hair.
In Hinduism , we have cremation grounds where EVERYONE came to do the last rites and burn their dead. While someone from your family may have died due to natural causes, there is a HIGH probability that someone from another family may have died due to an infectious disease. So the chances of a VIRUS or a bacteria getting transferred to you at a cremation ground was always there . Now hindus being very scientific realised this , they even realised that hair acted as a fomite for LONG (2 weeks). (Sometimes I wonder how our Hindu ancestors had SUCH high scientific knowledge to figure such details out ). While we may wash off any virus from our bodies and clothes by having a bath and washing our clothes , hair could carry it for 2 weeks , so it was decided to make it a norm to shave off hair( a fomite with the possibility of carrying a virus for two weeks) . And also to minimize risk of transferring any disease they may have caught at the cremation ground , a tehravi was mandated, where the family members stayed at home and Havan ( a way to kill all virus and bacteria inside the house and purify the house , old school fumigation) . So tehravi (14 days isolation /quarantine, day 1 being the day of infection ) was old school 2 week quarantine .
Now in the olden days , there was no contraception, the birthing partner (yo man me too woke) pretty much had multiple children of all ages. The lactating/breastfeeding partner , which was the same as birthing partner (atleast in that era) had the task to feed the lactating children. There were no refrigerators, microwaves, Swiggy and Zomato in that era , so all food needed to be cooked at home , someone had to go purchase food , enter kitchen , cook food, feed children . So between the lactating /feeding partner and the non-lactating and non-feeding partner , it was decided that the lactating/breastfeeding partner would stay at home and not go to the cremation ground while the non lactating/non breastfeeing partner will go and do the cremation, hence almost eliminating the risk of children catching the virus and food being cooked getting infected . Recently my uncle died of Corona, while his elder son went and did all cremation, his wife (‘who was pregnant) and his sister (who has a 2year old son) stayed back as they could not risk getting exposed to virus as they needed to take care of babies . His younger brother was supposed to go to US for higher studies in 7 days , so he also did not go to the cremation ground as he could not quarantine for 2 weeks . His elder son later isolated in self-quarantine in a different room for 2 weeks . As you can see here only the people who could quarantine went to the cremation ground, man or woman.
Also it was not practical for women to get head tonsured which is a scientific requirement after getting potentially exposed to any virus . The hair which men sport can grow back in a month, but women will need to wait for many months .
The practice of widows tonsuring their hair was a different one. That will be covered in a different post.
We have also seen discussions about vaccination for pregnant women , children below 18 etc. You have to understand that hormones differ for pregnant women and children . They may react differently, that is why it is even more important to shield them from any possible risk of infection .
So the rule to keep women(the birthing /lactating partner) at home for cremation was a scientific one , not sexist or partiarchal.
Yes , I am aware that many people do not get their head tonsured . That is totally upto them. just like many people oppose vaccination. The mandate of head tonsure after creamation was a scientific one .
Hinduism is science .
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