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Defying tradition,Vrindavan widows to celebrate Diwali

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Posted: October 28, 2013 4:36 am

After celebrating Holi and Durga Puja this year,Vrindavan widows have another reason to cheer. In a break from tradition,at least a thousand widows will celebrate Diwali this year.

Courtesy the NGO Sulabh International,Diwali celebrations will take place at century-old widow shelter Meera Sahabhagni Ashram in Vrindavan between October 31 and November 3.

Thousands of earthen pots have been arranged and are being painted by widows themselves for celebrations,apart from preparations for cultural programmes. The aged women,many of them child widows,were abandoned by their families or had fled their homes,eventually landing at Vrindavan — a waiting place before death.

In August last year,the Supreme Court had asked the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to enquire whether Sulabh International is willing to take care of the destitute women living in different government run homes in Vrindavan,after which Sulabh movement founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak took the task of ensuring food,clothing,health and hygiene for the widows.

“Sulabh will continue with its nationwide campaign for welfare of widows,”said Dr Pathak,while explaining the idea behind organising events for the widows. Pathak also said that he intended to draft a bill and hand it over to Parliament to improve the plight of widows abandoned by their families and urged all political parties to support the proposed bill.

“I strongly feel time has come for the government to enact a law for the welfare,protection and maintenance of widows so that their living conditions and general existence are improved,” Pathak said.

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