The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

There is a special term that describes a married Hindu woman who is blessed with good fortune, who is not’cursed’, who does not bring bad fortune to her husband and hence, whose husband is alive.  Such women are called suhagan or sumangali or saubhagyawati in various parts of India. Traditionally suhagan women were required to wear symbols of suhaag, that indicated that they were married and that their husband was alive.  These symbols include sindoor, thali, bindi, bichiye, bangles and mangalsutra.  These symbols are not permitted to unmarried women and widows, in fact these symbols are wiped away, torn off or broken if a woman is widowed, and she is considered inauspicious.

Now that many urban Hindu women do not wear these symbols or wear them only as accessories, it becomes difficult for random strangers to tell if a woman is married, widowed or unmarried.

How do some…

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