We have a reader question by Anonymous
Why do Indian women wear Bangles? Is there a science behind it?
There are quite a few reasons why Indian women wear bangles. The primary reason is defence while the secondary one is sound.
The male members of the family were responsible for providing and protection, while the female members were responsible for nurture and nourishment. Females were vulnerable and it is the duty of the male to ensure that women are protected from attack.
When someone attacks you, the first thing you do is oppose the attack with your hands. The attacker will first try to grab your hand to suppress your defence. The culture came into existence to ensure that if the female member of the family is overpowered by an external entity and is captured or kidnapped, some signs of the incident is kept for tracking. In the occasion of an attack, glass bangles will break and fall somewhere so that the male members of the family can track and get some clue whether something went wrong. This is the reason why the breaking of a bangle is considered inauspicious – it is a strong signal that something wrong has happened.
A woman wearing Bangles at home and doing household work will constantly produce sound which keeps the man alert that his woman is around and safe. Should the man notice that the sound isn’t coming, he can quickly check her whereabouts.
A child recognises the sound produced by his mother’s bangle. In a situation when the woman cannot attend her child, the bangle can be used to communicate with the child and give him the feeling that the mother is around and he is safe.
Bangles were also used as a symbolic identity. In earlier days, no two woman can have the same set of bangles, since women used variety of bangles and mix different items to create a uniquely identifying set. In an event when the woman desperately needs to prove her identity, she can transact her unique set of bangles to prove that she belongs to a particular family or man.
Sound waves produced by Bangles helps control mood swings of a woman and manifests the “Sattva” component, thereby controlling “kriya shakti”. Power is present in unmarried women in an unmanifested form, so unmarried women should wear three or less bangles. A newly married woman should wear at least 8 bangles on both hands and a mother should wear 12 bangles. The number is an indicator of the “Marak” energy that should be manifested through sound waves. Every ornament stimulates a particular nerve, regulates blood pressure, increases blood circulation.
The practice has scientific as well as cultural reasons. Note that this is applicable only for glass bangles and modern day plastic or designer bangles don’t serve the original purpose.