BY: SUN STAFF
Aug 15, USA (SUN) A great deal of attention has been focused of late on the plight of the widows of Vrindavan. These women, who have been shunned by their own families when the husband dies or disappears, find their way to Vrindavan. There, they hope to live out their days in the place where Sri Krsna had His pastimes, before leaving their own bodies. The widows are expected to shed all physical adornments, including long hair, wear only white cotton sarees, and lead very austere lives. Some 1,200 widows take residence at the Bhajana Ashrams, where they are minimally fed and housed. Sadly, there is little other support for them in the Holy Dhama, and their lives are filled with unnecessary suffering. Fortunately, many of the widows receive Krsna prasadam thanks to the efforts of Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir.
The majority of Vrindavan widows from West Bengal come from the districts of 24 Parganas (North), Nadia, Murshidabad, Midnapore, Burdwan and Purulia. The Minister for social welfare of women and children in West Bengal recently proposed several support programs to assist them, including an old age home for women over 60 years of age. For those who do wish to return, and are accepted by their families, the recommendations proposed that the state government provide them support in the form of a land settlement. The plan hopes that those who return, but are still not welcomed by family, will find shelter in local old age homes.
Focus was increased on this issue due to the recent nation-wide release in India of a film called "Shwet-White Rainbow", which exposes the horrible treatment meted out to widows in India.
"Shwet-White Rainbow" is the story of four women and their journey to overcome the societal stigma and grim reality of widowhood. Abandoned by their families and impoverished by a system that fails to recognize them, they resolve to transform their lives, and in doing so, the lives of Vrindavan's widows. Shwet tells the story of four women and their journey to overcome the social stigma and grim reality of widowhood. Abandoned by their families and impoverished, they effort to change their lives and the lives of the Vrindavan widows.