The societies around the world developed elaborate customs and traditions to maintain the quorum. Almost all the religions have focused upon the essential dimensions of life and living including the most fundamental ones like marriage, birth and death. While marriage is a healthy basis of social life and conduct, there are aberrations also that generate the gaps and inconsistencies. What if one spouse dies and the other is left to bear the grief and sorrowful life. The Indian religious scriptures have responded many a times with utmost orthodoxy to spell and practice the customs as extreme as sati. The earliest Hindu societies post Vedic period saw the sati immolations by the widows left over after the death of their husband. However, some religions also developed as admirable ones and assumed such customs as inhuman and religiously illegitimate. In Sikhism for example, there is no sati for the widow and she could even marry as per the codes of conduct. This code of conduct is called as the Sikh Reht Maryada or the SRM.
Remarriage allowed for widows in Sikhism
Sikhs are allowed to remarry and there is no bar on the Sikh widows. This reflects the manifested liberalism that was adopted as a mark of more humane society and Sikh faith has succeeded in making a healthy matrix therefore. Throughout the world, the Sikhs are a notable demographic segment and are known for their superior life principles that are simple yet definitive of a good life. Other religions took time to shun their ill principles and practices pertaining to sati or widow remarriage. The loosening was rather slow because as the society grew mature and educated through ages of socio economic revolution, the people started to learn the futility associated with such practices. The faiths like Sikhism rather began on the corrective note and the fundamental aim was to educate the society against the practices of unfounded basis. There was rejection of the sati and child marriage practices since inception. Today, Sikhism is counted as a revered faith throughout the world.
Sikh widow remarriage as per Sikh reht maryada
Sikh widows could remarry but certain principles have to be always followed. One essential principle is that she could marry only a Sikh else the anand karaj (the Sikh matrimonial rites) could not be performed. The SRM or Sikh reht maryada stipulates that a Sikh widow could remarry if a ‘suitable’ match is found for her. This suitability has been inferred by the Sikh scholars as also by the Sikh matrimonial traditions as concerning the above stated factor; that the person has to be a Sikh!
More acceptance of widow remarriage
With the growth in cosmopolitanism in the societies, there is more openness and less of the orthodoxy. People are less interfering in the personal lives of others and marriage is one such dimension. A widow of any religion could seek remarriage with less of resistance and more of support. The interfaith marriages are also common now and the couples are finding recognition unlike the yester century when brutal repression was the norm against such couples.