Vrindavan, 2016.08.18 (Indian Express): In a one-of-its-kind event, hundreds of widows from Vrindavan and liberated manual scavenger women on Wednesday publicly tied Rakhi to 50 upper caste sants, Sanskrit scholars and priests at the ancient Gopinath temple in Vrindavan.
Defying tradition, the women were in the temple town at the initiative of NGO Sulabh International. Around 100 widows, many in their 80s, have been engaged in making colourful rakhis since the beginning of August at Meera Sahabhagi and the Chaitanya Vihar widows’ ashram. About 1,000 of these were made.
Besides these 800 widows and 200 liberated manual scavenger women from Alwar and Tonk districts of Rajasthan also took part in the Rakhi celebrations. Widows tied Rakhi to local holy men and upper caste men to mark the occasion and break the tradition. They even shared food with them.
Later, the widows also participated in cultural programmes especially chalked out for the occasion.
Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak, who takes care of around 1,000 widows in Vrindavan, observed that such an initiative will bring cheer to their lives.
A collection of 2,000 colourful Rakhis and sweets will also be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the widows who have expressed a strong desire to meet him and urge him to ensure their well-being.
At least ten widows from Vrindavan and Varanasi will visit the Prime Minister’s official residence in Delhi with the Rakhis on behalf of around 2,000 widows living in Vrindavan and Varanasi on Thursday.
Pathak said the purpose of the initiative is the acceptance of widows in the society. “Like Holi and Diwali, it would be an attempt to bring widows in the mainstream so that they do not feel isolated,” he said.
He also announced that Sulabh International is providing a monthly financial assistance of Rs 2,000 each to around 900 widows living in six widow shelters in Vrindavan.
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