Anyone with a loving, living spouse is fortunate. Any gender. In any culture.
चाणक्यः – cāņakya: – said that life is miserable for an old widower.
Also, unhappy, lonely people are hard to be around. Emotions are contagious and one may not want miserable people around during fun celebrations.
If movies like Valentine’s day are anything to go by, even single people don’t enjoy being around happy celebrating couples. This is the other side of the coin.
So I can understand, why, in the previous generations, widows were not invited, to weddings and to events, where, one prayed for the longevity of husbands.
I can understand why, in the previous generations, विधवाः – vidhavā: – widows were not asked to give anything or perform festivals etc. They are not likely to have had the means. Mostly.
Not all families supported widow re-marriage, even the ones who supported widower re-marriage. And widows with sons were more likely to rely on their sons than seek new husbands. Step-fathers and Step-Mothers have been viewed with suspicion in all cultures and at all times. Even कैकेयी – kaikēyī – behaved cruelly at a critical moment in रामस्य – rāma’s – life.
Even a woman just connected to a powerful man has derived power. Smt. Jayalalita has never made a secret of her love for M.G.R. and it’s political influence on her life. It threw at the helm of poltical affairs in her state and her people loved her.
There are any number of powerful, celibate, single people in the country. Men and Women. Look at dīdī and namö. So I am not saying that single people are either sad or weak.
What am I saying then?
There are some सौभाग्यवती: who derive their sense of value only from having living husbands. That is a risky proposition. Because they would lose that value after 11 days of losing their spouse. I guess the loss of a spouse is a far greater sorrow than losing one’s seat in the muttaidu club. So maybe they won’t feel it if/when it happens. But one of my high school teachers told me how sad she felt when she saw the sudden status change in her mother’s life.
I would naturally say that one should derive worth only from their own Self. That is the only unchanging thing. But I am influenced by शंकराचार्य – śankarācārya. Not everyone would agree with me.