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In a heartwarming incident, a businessman from Gujarat invited 18000 widows to his son’s wedding to break the taboo that widows are inauspicious.
India is a country of opposites. On one side, we are talking about getting smart cities, bullet trains, and becoming a world super power and on the other side we still have ridiculous social taboos that are religiously upheld.
Let us take the way; India has treated its widows. In many rural and urban areas, the taboos related to widows are very strong. Widows are always considered inauspicious. They are kept away from auspicious ceremonies like marriage and birth. As if once a woman loses her husband some sort of devil takes over her. Many such widows are thrown out of homes. Many come to the city of Vrindavan, Mathura or Rishikesh, some beg and a few are forced into prostitution.
Amidst all these, a ray of hope struck when a businessman from Mehsana, Gujarat, Jitendra Patel invited 18,000 widows from five neighboring districts to attend his son’s wedding. They were invited to bless the couple. By this one invitation, Mr. Jitendra Patel broke the taboo that widows are inauspicious.
In an interview with the Times of India he said, “It was my heartfelt desire that the couple should be blessed by widows, who are mostly neglected by the society. Their presence is considered a bad omen at auspicious functions but I wanted to prove that all these beliefs are nothing but superstitions.”
Not only did he invite them to bless the couple, he also offered a blanket to each widow and a sapling with a promise that they would nurture the plant in their backyard.
Also, he gave 500 milking cows to 500 widows who came from poor economic background so that they can now have a source of income.
55-year-old Hansa Thakore of Vijapur town in Mehsana district said “I can hope of earning a decent livelihood now that I have a cow. I never expected getting so much importance after becoming a widow.”
Can’t we really understand something as basic as this that society is supposed to be all inclusive? No God is pleased when you treat a fellow human being so shabbily. We often tend to forget the basic tenets of humanity. You cannot ostracize a section of the society just because someone’s husband has died. It’s such a feudal mindset, where a man owes a woman and when the man dies, the woman too loses her place in the society. Not only this, there are sanctions that are imposed on the woman. It’s strange how the widows of Vrindavan were not allowed any festivities, until last 3 years when an NGO had to fight through so that they can play Holi and Diwali.
The constitution of India which is supposedly supreme in India, guarantees equal rights to every citizen of this country. It discriminates no one. But we still do it each day. It’s almost disrespecting the constitution of India. When widows are asked not to play Holi, it’s interesting to note that how come God be displeased if someone plays with colors. If that is a God made rule that widows just can’t wear or play with colors, everything would turn white when a widow touches or sees it. The Sun still shines on them, the apple is still red, blood is still red, yet we humans won’t let the widows play Holi. Can anything be more absurd than this?
Lord Krishna started this Holi Festival, but then in Vrindavan when you stop a widow from playing Holi, how does it displease the Lord, the Lord who himself was adorned with all possible colors? How would he deny colors to anyone? In the Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna himself says that every devotee is equal in front of him. He never said that widows are different or they should be shunned of all colors otherwise, I will be displeased. Did he?
Diwali is celebrated as a festival of light. Diyas are lit. Lord Rama came back from exile to Ayodhya on that day. If a widow celebrates Diwali, will it displease Lord Rama? Is it written in the Ramayana that the widows of Ayodhya were shunned the moment Lord Rama stepped in? Did not the whole of Ayodhya rejoice with lights?
A society, culture or a country does not become better or more respectable by the taboos or customs it holds on too, that make its own citizen live a miserable life. It becomes great by the kinder ways it treats its own citizens. This is the 21st century, let us re-examine and do away with what is brutal, unjust and painful.
Cover image via Shutterstock
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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