When it comes to Hindu last rites, customs dictate that women do not participate, not even for their parents. But why not?

“It has been part of the ‘parampara’ or the tradition since the ancient times,” answers a woman from Varanasi in the video above. Some men even go on to justify the practice –menstruation deems women to be seen as “impure”.

Obviously, they’re wrong.

In fact, none of these reasons is actually to be found in the Vedas, say many Hindu scholars and priests in the city whose ghats are considered an auspicious location for performing the cremation.

The video above is aimed at spreading awareness of the fact that nothing in the Hindu scriptures denies daughters the same right as sons to perform a parent’s last rites. The campaign may not usher in change overnight, but it might – and should – start conversations that lead to change.

Here is a video of a woman who has actively participated in the last rites of her father and husband.


And here are the real-life stories of some who didn’t get that opportunity.