SIGNALS

Propriety teaches us not to ask many questions on certain issues. Especially, social questions which should be answered by observation are main accumulation to this. To help members of society communicate without speaking on such sacramental issues societies across cultures have developed strong, standardised and prominent signals.

Strangely, since prehistoric times such signals are more prominent for fairer sex than for men. Availability or privation of a woman for marriage and mating carries strong signals. In Hindu cultures communication happens largely through wearing bindi, vermilion on the beginning of hair line is another strong signal. Beyond this it also is considered auspicious for a married woman to wear it. Largely unmarried woman and girls will abstain from wearing bindi or vermilion. Young girls below marriageable age wear it as makeup accessory.

Muslim cultures where only hands and feet of women are visible, as rest of the body must be covered with black veil toe rings play a prominent role in announcing a women’s approachable status. System of pardha led Hindu societies also to adapt toe ring culture.

Western cultures use engagement rings as most prominent communication for availability of either of sexes.

Though, Hindu history has seen polygamy and polyandry have seen equal reception, yet, men tend to carry no signals which highlight their availability status. Perhaps, its a signal of suppression of women and inequality among sexes.

Availability apart, woman has been under scrutiny in many cultures for virginity. In Muslim cultures, first night after marriage is most crucial to it. White bed sheets, or typically light bed sheets are used where bride and groom sleep to gather for first time. Blood stained sheet is next day displayed with pride and celebration. Blood stains on sheet signify virginity of bride and vitality of groom. Also it is strong message to announce marriage stands consummated. Men, typically need not undergo the moral test or virginity, perhaps, no methods exist to do so as well.

Ygopavit or Janue has been effectively used as strong social signal in hindu societies. It’s been very instrumental in communication of status in cast hierarchy. Hindu scriptures prescribe six string janue for Brahmins, who incidentally sit on the top of religious and cast pyramid. All others according to standing in social hierarch will wear this sacred thread with lesser number of strings. This sacred thread plays another important role of communication, irrespective of social hierarchy; person supporting it is bound by principals of religion and society.

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