Through this, we can say that we are going the right way after, at a wedding ceremony in Kolkata, a woman priest ( breaking the concept of patriarchy ) performed all the rituals without kanyadaan.Nandini Bhowmik is Sanskrit teacher at the Jadavpur University and even after being engaged in ten drama groups and teaching, she manages to perform wedding ceremonies especially those of inter-religious, inter-caste and inter-ethnic couple throughout Kolkata and its suburbs.
“I want to do away with the patriarchal mindset where parents appear to be renouncing the custody of their Kanya (daughter), treating her like a commodity and giving her away as dana (donation),” said Nandini Bhowmik.
Nandini believes that she can do away with the patriarchal mindset when she said: “parents appear to be renouncing the custody of their Kanya (daughter), treating her like a commodity and giving her away as dana (donation)”.
Recently she performed the ceremony of Anvita Janardhanan and Arka Bhattacharya on February 24, where she was accompanied by her team- college-mate and fellow priest, Ruma Roy and vocalists Semanti Banerjee and Poulami Chakraborty.
While Nandini and her team were simplifying the Sanskrit hymns to English and separately in Bengali for bride and groom to chant, the background was getting bright with Rabindra Sangeet. It was indeed an awestruck moment.
The practice of women priests solemnising weddings without Kanyadaans is mentioned in the earliest Hindu texts, especially the Rig Veda. “I have heard so many male priests reciting the mantras wrong. At a friend’s wedding officiated by Nandini and her friends last year, I was instantly drawn to the way the Sanskrit lines were vividly explained in English and Bengali,” said Arka.
It has never been such a delight to read such things and the priest – Nandini has been also approached over social media. The gesture is not an end to her story, whatever little she earns, she has a practice of donating it to an orphanage in Balighai near Puri in Odisha.
Where else one finds such actions on humanitarian grounds?