Ratna Pathak Shah asks if India wants to become ‘conservative’ like Saudi Arabia, says ‘women are forced…’

Actor Ratna Pathak Shah has discussed how India is turning into an “extremely conservative society” and wondered if we want to be like Saudi Arabia. Ratna stated in a recent interview that a conservative society imposes restrictions on its women. She added that because India is “very convenient”, it could end up like Saudi Arabia.

Ratna discussed how women in the twenty-first century continue to practice old-fashioned customs such as Karwa Chauth. A woman fasts and prays for her husband’s long life as part of a Hindu tradition. She added that last year was the first time anyone had asked her if she would fast for her husband.

Speaking to Pinkvilla, Ratna said: “Nothing has changed for women, or very little has changed in very crucial areas… Our society is becoming extremely conservative. We become superstitious, we are forced to accept and make religion into a very important part of one’s life. Someone first asked me last year if I am doing ‘karwa chauth ka vrat (observing karwa chauth)’ I said, ‘Am I crazy?’ Isn’t it horrific that modern educated women do karwa chauth, praying for husbands’ lives so that they can have some value in life? Widow in the Indian context is a terrible situation, isn’t it? So anything that keeps me away from widowhood. Really? In the 21st century is this what we talk about? Educated women do this.”

She also said: “We are moving towards an extremely conservative society. The first thing a conservative society does is oppress its women. Look at all the conservative societies in this world. Women are the ones that are most affected. What is the scope women in saudi arabia? do we want to be like saudi arabia? and we will be because it is very convenient. women provide a lot of unpaid labor in the house. if you have to pay for that labor, who is going to do it? women are forced into that situation.”


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