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A City of Widows: Pictures From India's Town for Discarded Women

World  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', death, ethics, freedoms, government, Inida, politics, Religion, society, world )

- 1890 days ago -
When a woman's husband dies in India, she can be subjected to stigma, loss of family and exile to a small city of 4,000 temples.

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Kit B (276)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 5:27 pm
Photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

***Photo Gallery at VISIT SITE****

The Widow at the Door

A widow poses for a picture inside her room at the Meera Sahavagini ashram in the pilgrimage town of Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Thousands of temples devoted to Krishna make up the town, and devotees come from all corners of the Earth to walk the streets that Krishna walked.

People greet each other on the street by saying “Hare Krishna” (Praise Krishna) or “Radhe Radhe” (the name of Krishna’s favorite wife), and chant Krishna’s name with other believers for hours on end.

It is assumed that if you are in Vrindavan, you are attending to business with Lord Krishna.

But Vrindavan is also home to hundreds of Indian widows.

How did the widows all arrive at this sacred spot? What are they doing here? What does their presence say about India and the treatment of women in general? Click through this photo gallery, and all will be revealed.

By: Allan MacDonell | Take Part |


JL A (281)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 7:55 pm
I much prefer this to the dictate that once was a cultural norm that when widowed a woman had to throw herself in the Ganges River to drown.

Tamara Hayes (185)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 8:06 pm
How utterly sad.

Kit B (276)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 8:12 pm

Or on the funeral pyre. Though I do believe that society should never abandon their women, these are mothers, we years wisdom to offer, sisters, daughters. India is losing a great resource here.

Robert T (62)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 8:32 pm
I had never heard of this. Thanks, Kit for submitting this.
Talk about a sad existence and a sad commentary on humane treatment of human beings!!!

De D (96)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 10:15 pm
What a sad and lonely existence. I do hope things improve for them.

Jabi Yeonnmin (164)
Saturday March 23, 2013, 10:57 pm
Thank you

Kerrie G (116)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 2:28 am
Noted, thanks.

Naoko i (264)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 3:03 am
Though I've lived in India I didn't know of this. Thanks Kit for posting this. Really sad situation that should be changed. How can people blame widows for the deaths of their husbands while too many women are injured or even killed by their husbands ?!

Ruth M (235)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 3:04 am
Sure there no need for this like a lot of other things in this world!

lee e (114)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 4:32 am
In death's darkest hour the compassion these women receive is "hi thee to a nunnery"?! The world has a long way to go in learning to respect women!

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 7:00 am
One of our greatest resources is the wisdom and experience of our elders. They have so much to give and teach the world and instead we basically exile them as if they are nothing.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 8:00 am
Thank God we are so much more "enlightened"! Here we treat women as second class all along! I don't understand how this schism ever came about. For me, I find women (mostly) superior to men. If not more intelligent, at least more compassionate and nurturing. Their lives should certainly not be forfit just because their husbands passed away, unless they were the ones who passed him away. ;)

paul m (93)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 8:04 am

At one time the wife was expected to throw herself on the flames of her dead husbands fire ( cremation)
now I see they are put into exile ..

Connie O (44)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 8:30 am
noted, thanks for the info

Tammy B (9)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 9:30 am
so sad. those poor women.

Winn A (179)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 11:20 am
This is so sad. In this day and age to think your life is dependent on whether your are married or your husband dies before you. They are loosing out on all the potential these women have to offer their society. When will they start to value their lives?

Joanne Dixon (38)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 2:22 pm
Yes, my first reaction was that being alive does beat being burned alive. But I don't mean to trivialize this. As several have said, India is the biggest loser by this.

Elizabeth M (65)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 3:45 pm
Article read and noted. This is so very heart breaking.
Thank You Kit.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 9:22 pm
Horrible! Not only are they losing a treasure of wisdom but also the chance for these women to make new mothers to the thousands of orphans India has. Each of these women should adopt at least one of these poor kids and two problems would be solved.

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 9:44 pm
So Swrong

Rose Becke (141)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 10:19 pm

Susanne R (235)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 11:52 pm
Kudos to the White Rainbow Project and its president, Linda Mandrayar, for helping these "unwanted" widows "restore worth, respect and friendship" into their interactions with fellow human beings, in addition to helping them find a way to earn some badly-needed income. They way women are treated in India is truly horrifying. To toss a widow by the wayside because they consider her to be "worthless" unless she has a husband is pitiful!

I hope an organization like the White Rainbow Project is able to educate the people of India. It's obvious that their government can not or will not do the job. Their treatment of women is unacceptable.

Helen Porter (39)
Monday March 25, 2013, 1:26 am

Lindsay K (6)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:28 am
The way women are treated, especially - and all too often - vulnerable women is terrible. When will societies realise that women are human beings, equal to men, and deserving of respect at every stage of life?

alicia m (97)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 4:37 am
noted, gracias

Vivien Green (153)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 1:53 pm
Noted thank you Kit and David for the "heads up"
Susanne R. i could not agree more.

cynthia l (207)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 2:40 pm
very sad but better than being burned on the funrel pyre Thanks to White Rainbow project We still have a Long way to go

Yvonne F (181)
Monday June 10, 2013, 11:36 am
Poor women! What a horrible tradition! Thanks Kit
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