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Have you ever heard someone earning their livelihood by selling their sorrows or by shedding a few drops of it. Sounds weird right? trust me it is! The torn pages of ancient mystical secrets never seize to intrigue me . According to the ancient scriptures, women were supposed to participate in activities which help them expose their physical as well as mental sadness.
If a woman can be forced to sell her own body to pleasure others for the sake of money, then why is hard to believe that she can even sell her tears for the same . I’m talking about a group of woman called the ‘Rudaalis’. Thanks to the recently launched Radio Mirchi advertisement , few of us are now aware of this group of women. When I saw the advertisement, I became curious of their origin and purpose. My first thought was, “So is it just some random group of women who cry dramatically or is there more to it?. I had a few questions like, who are these women and how can they involve themselves with such an unpleasant profession ?
I guess now is the time to unveil the story of the ‘Rudaali’.
‘Rudaalis’ is a group of women belonging to the lower caste who are hired as ‘professional mourners’ for a funeral ceremony just after the death of the male member of a family. This kind of practice is seen in some of the villages across Rajasthan. Some say that they are hired by the upper caste to express the grief of the female members of the family who can’t publicly display their emotional side while others have a different way of judging the validity of this profession. They wear black clothes during the ceremony and unkempt hair just to show how ‘sorry’ they are for their loss. It is their way of making the funeral a success. It was believed that excessive mourning at the funeral is an indication of peaceful departed soul. They cry their eyes out, beat their chest and sometimes even perform a sad dance.
We cry when we feel an acute streak of pain in the throat, sending out a signal to our brains to produce tears. But, ‘Rudaalis’ cry because they want to feed themselves and their families by literally selling their ‘tears’. Probably, it one of the most forced and painful professions for poor women. Faking tears is no child’s play but they master this as well, just to make it a source of income.
She cried for the departed, thinking of them as her own.
She cried to bid them a good farewell
She cried to ‘let it all out’
She cried to help them mourn
She was a ‘Rudaali’.