HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Vrindavan widows to celebrate Holi at last

Gaurav Saigal, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, March 22, 2013
First Published: 00:52 IST(22/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(22/3/2013)

This Holi will bring some colour to the lives of the Vrindavan widows, living on the margins of society forgotten and abandoned by all.


Nearly 800 widows of the sacred town of Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna is believed to have grown up, will play Holi with flowers on March 24 — symbolising a break from tradition which forbids a widow from wearing colours, among many other things. The celebrations will conclude on the Holi day on March 27.

“In an effort to bring widows to mainstream and help their social assimilation, we have organised several events,” said Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International which has organised the event in a government-run widow home.

Vrindavan is also known as the City of Widows for the sheer number of women who find shelter here after being shunned by their families.

The event, the orgainsers hope, will bring about some change in the mindset. But it will not be easy. “The widows will not use colours but only flowers,” said Pathak.

Sulabh is not only providing stipend to the women in five government-run shelters but is also giving them vocational training and basic education to lead a dignified life instead of begging on the streets.

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