Indian culture is very much comprised of tradition. The religion is based on sacred texts passed down from memory, the caste system put in place by the Aryans survived for centuries and social taboos are inherited generation after generation. The film “Water” portrays an aspect of Indian culture that deals with social taboos, religious tradition and social status. “Water”, set in 1938, examines the lives of a group of women who, after being widowed, are rejected by society and are reduced to poverty. This movie brings greater understanding to the treatment of women in Indian culture, the social class system and the effect Mahatma Gandhi had on the social outcasts of India.
1938 India was a patriarchal society. Women were not allowed to inherit property and were legally considered minors. Women were subordinate not only to their husbands but also their sons. The women of India were considered economic burdens. For this reason women were married off at young ages. Being a woman in India seems like a huge feat but, as shown in the movie “Water”, the women of India do not seem to question their status. They accept their position in obedience. A scene involving an Indian woman, whose husband is a member of the Brahmin class, displays frustration with the fact that her husband is rarely home. This gives the viewer a glimpse of how little women were respected in even the highest of social classes.
The caste system of India was divided into a priestly class, warrior class, merchant class, peasants, and the untouchables whom were not even thought to be part of the social caste system. In the film a closer glimpse of the caste system is shown. “Water” depicts the unfortunate circumstance where a nine year old girl who was recently married, suddenly becomes widowed. Unfortunately widows are not even regarded like women but are considered untouchable. In one scene a widow goes down to the river to draw water in close proximity to a wedding. The widow is told to make...
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