Taj Mahal hosts widows for a day

Taj Mahal hosts widows for a day

The Taj Mahal played host to over a hundred elderly widows from Vrindavan and Varanasi for International Women’s day on Sunday.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Sulabh International took widows, who they have adopted, for a guided tour of the “monument of love” as well as the Agra fort.

ASI Superintending Archaeologist (Agra) N K Pathak explained that the motivation behind the initiative was to make widows feel as important as other women on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“Many events are organised for women on this occasion, but somehow they (widows) are left out,” Pathak said.

“We came across several new stories about their lives in recent times, which in turn motivated us to organise this event. We want to send out a message that they are also an integral part of society and deserve attention and affection,” he added. The ASI official said the department invited 125 widows to visit the monuments.

“For centuries widows have been virtually ostracised by the society. They were not allowed to participate in any auspicious functions. Such initiatives will go a long way in bridging these gaps,” Sulabh mentor Bindeshwar Pathak said.

The tour was organised drive home the message that people should learn to respect women and be sensitive towards them (women), more so if she is a widow, he explained.

“One must remember that widows, too, are part of the society…By losing their husband in an unfortunate circumstance, they have not committed any crime…Society should not sun them as outcasts,” he said.

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