Breaking the shackles of tradition, hundreds of widows played Holi with gulal and flowers in the land of Lord Krishna.
Bengali widows celebrating Holi festival with flower petals at a ashram in Vrindavan near Mathura. PTI Photo
Around 800 widows participated in the festivities in ashrams of Vrindavan in four-day Holi celebrations that began on Sunday.
As part of Holi celebrations, traditional 'Raas-Leela' dance and other programmes have also been organised.
"Vrindavan Holi is an effort to free widows from the shackles of age-old tradition. Not only will the widows play Holi, they will also participate in cultural programmes," founder of Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak said.
In the past, widows living in the ashrams could have played Holi only with 'thakurji' (Lord Krishna).
This year, the festival has a different hue altogether as they will enjoy among themselves.
The widows of the holy town feel such celebrations would prove to be an unprecedented step towards ending social prejudice against them, he said.
"In an effort to bring widows to mainstream and help their social assimilation, we have organised several events to encourage them to participate in Holi celebrations at Vrindavan," Pathak said.
As widows do not play Holi traditionally in Vrindavan, the event this year may need some amount of change in the mindset of the society, he said.
The organisation has been providing facilities to all the widows in five government run shelter homes here, he said, adding, apart from giving them stipend, Sulabh was also arranging their food and healthcare facilities.