Vrindavan, 2014.09.24 (The Hindu): Widows of Vrindavan have asked BJP MP and actor Hema Malini to initiate welfare measures for them to lead a comfortable life, instead of criticizing them for choosing to live in the holy city.
Angered by her recent remark that widows from West Bengal and Bihar should not crowd Vrindavan, they feel that if everyone started thinking this way, they would have no place to go.
It is believed that over 5,000 widows live in Vrindavan, mostly belonging to West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Some 50 of them embarked on a journey to Kolkata, the land of their ancestors, on Tuesday to celebrate Durga Puja. They said they would take up the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other leaders.
‘Nowhere to go’
“For me, Vrindavan is my home. I have been living here for decades after my family refused to accept me after my husband’s death. I came to this place to be near God … I have nowhere to go. Important people should talk about our welfare and make our life more meaningful,” Kanak Lata Devi (95) from West Bengal told The Hindu on the phone.
Ms. Devi is among the 1,000 widows now being taken care of by the Delhi-based non-governmental organisation Sulabh International after a Supreme Court committee sought its help to make their living condiions better.
Refusing to comment on Hema Malini’s remark, Sulabh’s founder Bindeshwar Pathak said, “These widows need care and compassion … Society should openly embrace them. We need to take care of our elders, particularly these widows.”