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More takers for Vrindavan widows’ lifestyle

Aarti Dhar
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‘It is possible the women believe widows’ condition live a dignified life’

As the Vrindavan widows, laden with the bounty of an exciting day of shopping, on Tuesday made to depart the Raja Ghat pandal here, a group of women could be heard telling them tearfully, “Maa, please call me to Vrindavan. I want to be there.”

These words — coming from a group of six or seven women aged between 50 and 60, who looked neither poor nor destitute but from well-to-do families — left the gathering stunned. Attempting to shed some light, Vinita Verma, vice president of Sulabh Hope International, says: “It is very difficult to say why they said so. Either they are unhappy and lonely at their homes and, hence, identify themselves with the widows, or they just want to seek solace in Vrindavan. It is also possible that now they believe the condition of widows is no [longer] pathetic and [that] they live a dignified life.” . SHI is a foundation started by Sulabh International, an NGO looking after the welfare of the widows on Supreme Court directions.

Panchhi’s daughter seemed to have had her fill during an emotional meeting with her mother. When asked by Ms. Verma if she would like to take her mother home, the daughter replies, “I think she is in safe hands.” Panchhi cannot stay in her — the daughter’s — house and her sons would not treat her well. The two incidents marked a sentimental end to an otherwise exhilarating day out for the widows — saree-shopping at Adi Dakeshwar Bastralaya in the famous Gariahat market. They picked out coloured garments — even silks — and traditional Dhakai sarees for themselves and for some of their friends who could not come on this visit.

“Even when my husband was alive, I never went to a shop to buy myself a saree; someone else would buy it then and now, at Vrindavan, sarees come as charity,” a widow whispers excitedly to her friend. Many could not recollect when they last went to saree store.

“We thought they would all buy white ‘tat’ [traditional widow attire] but the younger ones went for coloured and even silks and traditional Dhakai sarees. What was more surprising was the respect shown to them by other shoppers, who came to touch their feet and seek their blessings. Even shopkeepers were kind and patient with them,” Ms. Verma said.


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