Vrindavan widows revel in colour

Vrindavan widows revel in colour

Multiple hues and bursts of colour filled the otherwise dull and drab lives of hundreds of widows residing in Vrindavan, for the first time on Friday.

Around one thousand widows played Holi at the 200-year old Meera Sahbhagini Sadan, their residence at Vrindavan, about 400 kilometers from here. The event was significant because of a break from patriarchal tradition, which prevents widows from celebrating festivals like Holi because they are supposed to be in lifelong mourning after the death of their husbands.

The widows gathered in large numbers with gulal and water colours. They played with each other in the presence tourists and followers of Lord Krishna in the holy town of Vrindavan.

For the thousands of onlookers, which included tourists from India and abroad, it was remarkable to witness widows in their 70s and 80s dancing and splashing gulal and gallons of water on each other.

The Holi celebration was organised by Sulabh International, which has adopted around one thousand widows in the light of the Supreme Court’s directives. Till then these widows lived in  extremely poor conditions. They used to beg outside temples and sing bhajans to make a living.

“Vrindavan Holi is an effort to free widows from the shackles of age-old tradition. Not only will the widows play Holi, they will also participate in many cultural programmes,” Sulabh International Founder, Bindeshwar Pathak said in a statement.

Last year, the widows played Holi with flower petals. This time they decided to celebrate the festival of colours with gulal.

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