Indian Feminists Despair As Film Star Marries a Tree

New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram Posted: Feb 02, 2007

Editor’s Note: As Indian women struggle for equality, feminists find they can’t count on their celebrities for much support. Viji Sundaram is a NAM editor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai is once again making headlines, this time for romancing a tree. Well, not exactly romancing the flora, just marrying it, as per astrologers’ suggestions.

Ash, as she is known, had what it took to become Miss World in 1996 and enough acting skills to make it big in Bollywood after that. It appears, however, that she hasn’t got the right planetary arrangement to live happily ever after with Abhishek her fiancé and the son of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan.

rai and abhishekAbhishek, also a film star, proposed to her last month in New York, following the release of their film, “Guru,” there. The wedding is expected to take place later this year.

But Ash is reportedly blighted with what in astrological terms is described as “manglik dosh,” which means that the planet Mars (mangla) and possibly even the planet Saturn are in the seventh house. People with manglik dosh are prone to multiple marriages, according to San Francisco Bay Area Vedic astrologer Pandit Parashar. That means Ash’s marriage to Abhishek could either end in divorce or his death.

In Hindu tradition, in order to offset the evil influence of manglik dosh, a woman should marry a peepal or banana tree before she ties the knot with her fiancé. Or she could even marry a clay urn, which should be broken soon after the nuptial ceremonies, signifying that the bride has become a widow, and the manglik dosh problem has been solved.

It’s not known if Ash has married, or plans to marry, an urn, but she reportedly has married a peepal tree in the holy city of Varanasi, and a banana tree in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

Would the peepal and banana trees need to be chopped down in order to free her from the curse?

“I’m not sure, but probably, she can annul those marriages, or divorce the trees,” says Los Angeles-based Vedic astrologer Yatrika Shah-Rais.

Since the announcement of the young couple’s engagement, their parents have been spotted in a number of temples together. But Parashar believes the two families have no reason to worry since manglik dosh dissipates as one grows older and it loses about 60 percent of its strength once the woman reaches 28. Ash is 33; Abhishek, 31.

Parashar says had the couple consulted him he would have told them to get married in traditional ceremonies, then wait for six months or so, and get married again in Reno. “Getting married to a tree would have been okay in (ancient times),” he says. “But these days, there are other options.”

Meanwhile, Ash’s actions have invoked the wrath of feminists and women’s rights activists in India. Shruti Singh, a Patna lawyer, filed suit against the two families, saying such ceremonies are in violation of the Indian Constitution and offensive to women.

“I agree with her,” says India-born Berkeley resident Shobha Hiatt, a women’s rights advocate. “It is shocking that people as forward thinking as the Bachchans should engage in such archaic practices. It is like moving back in time.”

This is the second time in as many months that Ash has been slapped with a lawsuit. Last November, someone filed an obscenity suit against her by because she kissed her leading man Hrithik Roshan on screen.


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Gaurav on Feb 27, 2007 at 19:25:18 said:

It might sound absurd to many but those who know India, it is hardly surprising. gasharma.blogspot.com


Jay Antani on Feb 07, 2007 at 03:40:57 said:

This only underscores that sad state of affairs for the Indian woman -- indeed for all young Indians who're forced into arranged marriages and have absolutely no choice in the way their live their lives. India has long way to go before it can call itself a truly free society, and women like Rai, frankly, aren't doing the crusade of female empowerment in India any favors, with their conservative kowtowing to ridiculous (and backward) traditions. The Bachchans, by the way, aren't progressive, not in the real sense, they're just proud nationalists.


Dilip on Feb 05, 2007 at 12:33:21 said:

Feminism today is a Western Idea, and as all Western ideas this is best applied to the West. India has its own traditions and Indian Goddesses represent the feminine quite well. These goddesses give strength to the Indian women. This is why Indian women are ahead of women in Muslim countries.

A woman like Aishwarya marrying a tree in a symbolic gesture is empowering to all Indian women. Aish is successful, assertive, her own person and a true feminist in every way. For her to marry a tree is in keeping with the Indian tradition, and this act should be considered as an act of free will.

If the constitution bans such a wedding, then the constitution must be changed as it limits the freedom of Indian women.


Vinayak on Feb 03, 2007 at 17:08:10 said:

I often get a feeling that MODERN DAY astrology could NOT be 100% Hindu. I am NOT against astrology per say, but am vary of the way it is practiced in modern times ...

Look at the statement below.

On being asked if the trees would be cut down ? This Jyotish says that Aishwarya could divorce or annul the marriage with the baanan tree.

Obviously IF this is some age old custom [of divorcing the tree] it should mean that the very concept of Divorce DID EXIST in the ancient shashtra

But one does NOT find acceptance for women divorcing men in the shashtra

so where did this so called Jyothish practice come from ?

what nuts ?


regards
Vinayak




] In Hindu tradition, in order to offset the evil
] influence of manglik dosh, a woman should marry a
] peepal or banana tree before she ties the knot
] with her fiancé. Or she could even marry a clay
] urn, which should be broken soon after the
] nuptial ceremonies, signifying that the bride has
] become a widow, and the manglik dosh problem has
] been solved.
]
...............
] Would the peepal and banana trees need to be
] chopped down in order to free her from the curse?
]
] "I'm not sure, but probably, she can annul those
] marriages, or divorce the trees," says Los
] Angeles-based Vedic astrologer Yatrika Shah-Rais.




]
]
] ]
] New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram, Posted: Feb 02, 2007
]
] Editor's Note: As Indian women struggle for
] equality, feminists find they can't count on
] their celebrities for much support. Viji Sundaram
] is a NAM editor
]
] SAN FRANCISCO -- Bollywood superstar Aishwarya
] Rai is once again making headlines, this time for
] romancing a tree. Well, not exactly romancing the
] flora, just marrying it, as per astrologers'
] suggestions.
]
] Ash, as she is known, had what it took to become
] Miss World in 1996 and enough acting skills to
] make it big in Bollywood after that. It appears,
] however, that she hasn't got the right planetary
] arrangement to live happily ever after with
] Abhishek her fiancé and the son of Bollywood
] legend Amitabh Bachchan.
]
] rai and abhishekAbhishek, also a film star,
] proposed to her last month in New York, following
] the release of their film, "Guru," there. The
] wedding is expected to take place later this year.
]
] But Ash is reportedly blighted with what in
] astrological terms is described as "manglik
] dosh," which means that the planet Mars (mangla)
] and possibly even the planet Saturn are in the
] seventh house. People with manglik dosh are prone
] to multiple marriages, according to San Francisco
] Bay Area Vedic astrologer Pandit Parashar. That
] means Ash's marriage to Abhishek could either end
] in divorce or his death.
]
] In Hindu tradition, in order to offset the evil
] influence of manglik dosh, a woman should marry a
] peepal or banana tree before she ties the knot
] with her fiancé. Or she could even marry a clay
] urn, which should be broken soon after the
] nuptial ceremonies, signifying that the bride has
] become a widow, and the manglik dosh problem has
] been solved.
]
] It's not known if Ash has married, or plans to
] marry, an urn, but she reportedly has married a
] peepal tree in the holy city of Varanasi, and a
] banana tree in the southern Indian city of
] Bangalore.
]
] Would the peepal and banana trees need to be
] chopped down in order to free her from the curse?
]
] "I'm not sure, but probably, she can annul those
] marriages, or divorce the trees," says Los
] Angeles-based Vedic astrologer Yatrika Shah-Rais.
]
] Since the announcement of the young couple's
] engagement, their parents have been spotted in a
] number of temples together. But Parashar believes
] the two families have no reason to worry since
] manglik dosh dissipates as one grows older and it
] loses about 60 percent of its strength once the
] woman reaches 28. Ash is 33; Abhishek, 31.
]
] Parashar says had the couple consulted him he
] would have told them to get married in
] traditional ceremonies, then wait for six months
] or so, and get married again in Reno. "Getting
] married to a tree would have been okay in
] (ancient times)," he says. "But these days, there
] are other options."
]
] Meanwhile, Ash's actions have invoked the wrath
] of feminists and women's rights activists in
] India. Shruti Singh, a Patna lawyer, filed suit
] against the two families, saying such ceremonies
] are in violation of the Indian Constitution and
] offensive to women.
]
] "I agree with her," says India-born Berkeley
] resident Shobha Hiatt, a women's rights advocate.
] "It is shocking that people as forward thinking
] as the Bachchans should engage in such archaic
] practices. It is like moving back in time."
]
] This is the second time in as many months that
] Ash has been slapped with a lawsuit. Last
] November, someone filed an obscenity suit against
] her by because she kissed her leading man Hrithik
] Roshan on screen.

-->




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