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The Remains of the Feast

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Gabby Schwartz

on 1 October 2015

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Transcript of The Remains of the Feast

The Remains of the Feast
Born in Coimbatore, India
Grew up in Bombay and Manila, where she was first educated before she moved to the United States. Now a writer based in New Delhi.
Social activist known for her care and concern for women
In 1995, Hariharan challenged the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act as discriminatory against women. The case, Githa Hariharan and Another vs. Reserve Bank of India and Another, led to a Supreme Court judgment in 1999 on guardianship - mother was also a “natural guardian”.
Gita Hariharan
Critique of the most, recognizable, and perhaps constraining manifestation of orthodoxy: dietary restrictions.
Shows how the older generation can influence the younger generation when it come to following customs and staying true to rules of a religion.
Questions how important ancient restrictions are that are still held in practice in modern day - Ratna believes that she should be able to live her life the way she wants to not the way someone hundreds of years ago said to.
Analysis
Brahmin Diet
Story of a dying women, Rukmini, who asks her great-granddaughter Ratna to fulfill her dying wish of breaking from the tradition and eating what has been forbidden to her for her entire life.
Summary
Right before Rukmini dies, she asks for a red sari, a complete break from the traditional simplicity she had been used to. Ratna is unable to complete this before she dies, yet she follows her commands and makes all attempts to follow her great-grandmother's wishes after her death. Ratna's mother immediately rids of the sari, disgusted by the mere idea of it.
Summary Cont.
"The Remains of the Feast by Githa Hariharan - College Essay - 1314 Words." StudyMode. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
John, Bobby. "The Remains of the Feast." The Remains of the Feast. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
"Hindu Dietary Customs." Hindu Dietary Customs. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
"Githa Hariharan." Githa Hariharan. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Works Cited
Ratna understood that her grandmother wasn't a crazed dying women, she just wanted to break from tradition in her final days and living the remaining of her life enjoying what she truly wanted.
Ratna ends the story by putting her own book in the old shelf of Rukmini, as a means to say she sought to continue the method of Rukmini. She wanted to live as a free women, not subject to the outdated traditions of religion and culture.
Summary Cont.
If we see someone break dietary restrictions, does this influence others to do the same. A person think a detachment from tradition is more acceptable if they see other's detaching as well.
Just because Rukmini and Ratna defied the resitrictions of Hinduism, does that make them any less religious or Hindu? Is Ratna trying to defy her religion or just the restrictions that it calls for?
Rukmini believes the restrictions enforced by her religion denied her from enjoying her life the way she wanted to, yet the restriction are placed for a reason, and often one that would be beneficial. Does Rukmini think her religious standing has denied her from truly living life? If so, why would she continue to follow until until right before she dies? What makes impending death lead her to believe defiance is okay?
Prompt Questions
Starts small - asks for epicurean curiosities she has seen enter the household. She then get more adventurous asking for food prepared by unclean hands. Ratna obliges, seeing no harm in granting a dying woman her wish.
Vegetarianism vital aspect - meat is forbidden along with meat products
Tamastic (heavy) food such as meat and fermented food (including alcohol) promote dullness and inertia - forbidden.
Rajastic (expanding) foods including onions, garlic, hot spices, stimulants, fish, eggs, salt, and stimulants are thought to excited intellect and passion which interfere with meditation - forbidden.
Sattvic (ascending) foods including fruits, vegetables and grains are thought to promote transcendence, sublimity and orderliness.
Mushrooms avoided by higher castes because they “grow in dung and unclean ground.” Forbidden among all other fungi.
Milk and milk products permitted, butter, yogurt, cream, etc.
Cheese must not be coagulated with rennet (an animal product).
Full transcript