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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Vrindavan-Varanasi widows make Rakhis for the prime minister

Gaurav Saigal, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, August 09, 2014
First Published: 18:49 IST(9/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:31 IST(9/8/2014)

An octogenarian widow Manu Ghosh, a resident of Meera Sahbagi (widow) Ashram was differently busy on Saturday. Manu and her other residents were busy making special Rakhis for prime minister Narendra Modi, which they hope to tie on his wrist on Sunday – on rakshabandhan.

“Widows in Vrindavan and Varanasi have collectively made 2,000 colourful Rakhis for Narendra Modi, which we shall take to New Delhi tomorrow (Sunday),” said an excited Manu, part of the ten widows delegation from Vrindavan and Varanasi, going to New Delhi.

For making these Rakhis threads and other material were selected personally by the widows from the market and even designs were chosen meticulously. “All the Rakhis have been made with utmost care. We made sure each one looks nice,” said Manu.

Read: Modi rakhis hit the market ahead of Rakshabandhan

The widows will visit the PM and offer some sweet delicacies too. It will be Motichoor Laddo from Varanasi and from Vrindavan it will be specially prepared Pedas. The Motichoor Laddo have already been brought to Vrindavan.

Widows from Varanasi are Anuprna Sharma, Rajkumari, Hari Priya, Savitri and Sakultal. From Vrindavan Manu Ghosh, Sarojini Devnath, Parul, Arti Mistri, Maya Mandal will go to New Delhi.

On Saturday about 100 widows mostly in their 80s celebrated Rakhi at the Meera Sahabhagi and Chetan Vihar ashram in Vrindavan. They made hundreds of them in the past few days and tied to the people who came to celebrate Rakhi with them.

The ashram had about 100 children from various schools of Delhi and priests from local temples who took part in Rakhi celebration. Widows tied Rakhi to local holy men and Brahmins to mark the occasion. The widows also participated in cultural programmes especially chalked out for the occasion by the Sulabh International.

“I hope the Prime Minister will take time off his busy schedule and meet us for a while,” said Sarojini Devnath, who has made dozens of Rakhis to be given to the prime minister.

The day was indeed memorable for the widows who till recent past used to face humiliation and insult from their family members after the death of their husband. Often being treated as inauspicious, they were barred from wearing coloured sarees and ornaments and eating garlic, onion and non-vegetarian food. In places like

Vrindavan and Varanasi thousands of widows lead an isolated life to attain ‘moksha’ or liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth.

But, their life changed for them better when the Supreme Court intervened and asked NGO Sulabh International, known for promoting the concept of low-cost sanitation to take care of the widows waiting for death in despair in the last stages of their lives.

Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said, “Such an initiative will bring them in the mainstream.”


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