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While the plight of Vrindavan widows is well-known, the recent report on them being denied dignity even in death, is shocking.
Till the other day I imagined that I had read all about the plight of widows in Kashi or Vrindavan, and that I could empathize with their plight. I knew of the sexual exploitation of widows by the pandas, the police and the pimps; I knew that they were paid a pittance for singing bhajans for hours on end; I knew of their shaved heads and the taboos relating to food and clothes; and I knew they died lonely deaths.
I believed that death would be a blessing for these unfortunate women till I learnt that the bodies of widows who die in the government-run shelters in Vrindavan are taken away by sweepers at night, cut into pieces, put into jute bags and disposed of (by throwing the bags into the Yamuna), as the institutions do not have any provision for decent funerals.
One such institution, started by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2006 and run by a non-governmental organization called the Akhil Bharatiya Maa Sharada Samaj Kalyan Samiti, says on record that it is not their responsibility to arrange funerals of these hapless women.
No, I am not hallucinating. I am quoting media reports which rely on a study (Plight of Forsaken/Forlorn Women- Old and Widows Living in Vrindavan and Radius) by the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Mathura. The DLSA in its report quotes Mithilesh Solanki, a widow living in Swadhar Mahila Ashray Kendra, Chaitanya Vihar (Vrindavan), to reveal this horrifying state of affairs. The report says, and I quote, “the bodies of widows who die in government-run shelter homes in Vrindavan are taken away by sweepers at night, cut into pieces, put into jute bags and disposed of as the institutions do not have any provision for a decent funeral. This, too, is done only after the inmates give money to the sweeper!”
I thank Sapna Tripathi, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mathura and Vijay Bahadur Yadav, Chairman (DLSA) and District Judge, Mathura for bringing this horrific state of affairs to light, and I wonder if people like you and I can do something about this.
I am a former bureaucrat, and have worked a lot on gender issues, disaster management and good governance. I am also the proud father of two lovely daughters. read more...
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Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 might have had a box office collection of 260 crores INR and entertained Indian audiences, but it's full of problematic stereotypes.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 starts with a scene in which the protagonist, Ruhaan (played by Kartik Aaryan) finds an abandoned pink suitcase in a moving cable car and thinks there was a bomb inside it.
Just then, he sees an unknown person (Kiara Advani) wave and gesture at him to convey that the suitcase was theirs. Ruhaan, with the widest possible smile, says, “Bomb mai bag nahi hai, bomb ka bag hai,” (There isn’t a bomb in the bag, the bag belongs to a bomb).
Who even writes such dialogues in 2022?
Most of us dislike being called aunty because of the problematic meanings attached to it. But isn't it time we accept growing old with grace?
Recently, during one of those deep, thoughtful conversations with my 3 y.o, I ended a sentence with “…like those aunty types.” I quickly clicked my tongue. I changed the topic and did everything in my hands to make her forget those last few words.
I sat down with a cup of coffee and drilled myself about how the phrase ‘aunty-type’ entered my lingo. I have been hearing this word ‘aunty’ a lot these days, because people are addressing me so.
Almost a year ago, I was traveling in a heavily-crowded bus and a college girl asked me “Aunty, can you please hold my bag?” It was the first time and I was first shocked and later offended. Then I thought about why I felt so.