Monday, March 12, 2012

When Mars mars the Man

"Mangal Dosha is an astrological combination that occurs if Mars is in the 1st,2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of the Vedic astrology Ascendant chart. A person born in the presence of this condition is termed a manglik.
This condition is astrologically believed to be devastating for marriages, causing discomfort and tension in relationship, leading to severe disharmony among the spouses and eventually to other bigger problems."

I used to find some aspects of astrology very amusing, but lately being of age that I am, I do not find some concepts so funny anymore, both as a psychologist and as a human being.

It is a fact that when there is ambiguity, rumours will come up, and people will keep cooking stories to get a sense of satisfaction of knowing what is out there. Just before examination results, students will try to find out the result by asking that crystal ball reader online or perform a lot of rituals, as if the marks are miraculously going to change. 
All these are nothing but tactics we employ when we are anxious to calm our nerves with this perceived sense of control we get.
In the society of arranged marriages, where the bride and the groom are are strangers to each other, both sides of the family are digging for some amount of certainty, some assurance that all will be well. For this reason, very prevalent is the practice of matching horoscopes. The boy and the girl will both have their janampatris or horoscopes, based on the exact time and the location of birth. This will detail their personalities, problems, etc. based on the positions of the planets at the time of birth. 

"Mangal dosha" is the most common problem in horoscope matching. Mangliks are said to have a disastrous relationship with  non-manglik, to the extent that the presence of the former can lead to accidents, ill health, and even death of the latter. Hence, Mangliks can only marry Mangliks to "cancel out" the ill effects. 

How would you feel, if you woke up one day to realize you are a bad luck? And why, because your deeds are bad? No, because you were born at the certain time at a certain place. 

I always was of the opinion, that even if I do not believe in these superstitions, it is alright to respect others' sentiments and sit quiet, as there is no harm. 

However, I rethink the last part of the sentence. There is harm. Lot of it.

If we come to think of it, there maybe so many cases where lovers would have to part because of this superstition, and so many cases where they would have go through a completely unnecessary struggle!
And I will not even talk so much about lovers. I will here talk of the person who has been diagnosed with this "Mangal Dosh". How would it effect the individual's psyche, his self esteem, even if he/she is once told he/she is a threat to his/her loved ones? And in cases of arranged marriages, the word spreads among the community, who tut-tut the individual and pray they get someone...anyone with a similar dosh. 
I would not like to insult positive people, but its almost like you have a sexually transmittable disease, because your mother's labour ended at a certain time and hence can only marry a partner who too has that. 

I am in fact encouraged to study the self esteem levels of these people diagnosed with Mangal Dosh. No doubt it is affected, and more so of those who internalize this belief.
Self esteem, which plays such a major factor in one's emotions, cognition, and performance does not deserve to be marred by a superstition. It is criminal. In fact, I would strongly advocate legislation against this. We can match horoscopes for fun, even for 'compatibility' alright, but no one has any right to inflict such shocks on you, that you are unlucky or mystically life threatening! 

Legislation will not happen now. There is too much of a vote bank on stake. If Sati pratha and Hindu Succession Rights faced so much opposition, this is likely not to happen very soon. But us, the youth of marriageable age can stand up strongly against it. Look around, it could be your friend who would have liked to get married before she hit 30, but is forced to stay unmarried as she is not getting a "suitable partner" whose major qualification to be her life partner would be that he is manglik. It could be your girlfriend/your boyfriend, your potential spouse in an arranged marriage. It could be you.

These days, there are "cures" for being manglik. This has evolved only because the society is evolving and more and more people are choosing their partners themselves, popularly called love-marriage n India. They obviously do not match horoscopes before falling in love. So to adjust their dakshina with this crowd, the pandit community have come up "cures" and "solutions" to reduce the impact of mangal dosha. 

There are elaborate poojas and kumbh vivah. How demeaning can it be to go through such rituals to free yourselves from some superstition? I dont speak of the rites per se, but I do speak of the intentions and the concept behind the rights. Like I pointed out earlier, no human should be made to go through this...its inhuman.

I was born on the first day of the navratras (a good omen), just after a lunar eclipse (a bad omen) ended. I shudder to think what would I be going through had the foetal me decided to give my mother a little less of labour pain. 
But regardless of what I would have been made to go through, rest assured, I would have definitely not taken all this lying down. Neither I will let anyone around me get effected by it, however mildly, nor should you.

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