Breaking taboo, Vrindavan widows celebrate festival of colours

Holi celebrations were organised by Sulabh Foundation, which has been striving to bring back these widows to the mainstream

yoshika

Yoshika Sangal | March 22, 2016 | Vrindavan


#Sulabh International   #Holi   #widows   #Vrindavan  


Hasna mera kaam, hasana mera kaam, hass ke dikha do, hass ke dikha do, hass ke dikha do ji!
(Laughing and making others laugh is my motto, laugh for me!)

These are the words echoing in rhythm as one enters the ancient Gopinath temple in Vrindavan town in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh. A set of three young girls are singing similar melodies, mostly inspirational and high in spirit. The speakers allow their words to reach all the 1,500 widows sitting across the temple hall. They have gathered from various ashrams situated in the ‘city of widows’ to celebrate the festival of colours, of Holi. Aid group Sulabh International, has been organising the celebrations for them since 2013. And this year, for the first time, they chose a Krishna temple to mark the occasion.  

Being a widowed woman in India bears with it certain stigmas that ostracise them from social gatherings. They give up colour, make-up, perfume and jewellery. Abandoned by their families, these destitute women have gathered in this city from all over the country. Known as ‘miras’ of Lord Krishna, they spend most of their time in ashram’s doing daily chores and singing hymns. But during this month of March, these women look forward to celebrating the festival that lasts a fortnight.

Fistfuls of powdered colours are repeatedly thrown into the air; blue, red and green, the cheerful colours settling into their white sarees, the symbolic attire of a widow. Women cover each other’s faces with colours while dancing to the beats of music played by Sulabh volunteers.

They enthusiastically talk to tourists and pose for cameras as many onlookers try to capture these beautiful moments. Bucketful of fresh rose and marigold petals are thrown from the first floor balconies on the crowd below that encompasses widows, volunteers, visitors and well-wishers. As one tries to make way to join the dancing circles, fresh piles of colours and flowers are thrown generously, making sure that no one is left with even an inch of their bodies without colour. As many of these women laugh and excitedly move around the hall, some of them choose to sit aside just looking at the scene in front of them. As they refrain themselves from colouring others and occasionally try to cover their faces from splashing colours, they seem to be content in seeing others, the smile on their faces never fading away. Outside the temple is a line of widows sitting on the side of the corridor. They are mostly old women trying to avoid injuring themselves in the crowded hall. But even as they sit away from all the merriment, they too seem to enjoy listening to the music and loud cheers of the crowd coming from inside. The celebrations that break away all their taboos and feelings of abandonment, last for almost three hours. Towards the end, as they all get up to dust the Holi colours off their bodies, and continue to the next room for lunch, followed by changing into fresh set of white sarees, these colourful days remain intact in their hearts, yearning for their next Holi.

 

Comments

 

Other News

Seeking religious aid in governance in India

India is known for its old and rich culture, and religion forms a substantial part of it. In India it is hard to find people who categorise themselves as atheists, unless we refer to the matrimonial or dating apps that now have a breed distancing themselves from any religion and categorise themselves as sp

Uneasy calm in riot-torn Delhi

No untoward incidents have been reported from the parts of the capital that witnessed communal riots this week, but the peace Thursday morning was still tentative and a number of those hospitalized for injuries were battling for life. Clashes began Sunday evening and engulfed parts of northe

Modi-Trump show gives India-US ties new dynamism

In the more than 40 hours of stay in India during his two-day visit, US president Donald Trump exhibited his talents as a politician and also a showman with acumen to provide the Indian audience and Americans back home enough opportunity to stay glued to his activities on the Indian soil. Whether it be his

People-to-people relations the real foundation of Indo-US friendship: Modi

On the second and last day of US president Donald Trump’s India visit, prime minister Narendra Modi said the real foundation of Indo-US friendship is people-to-people relations. Trump, meanwhile, sidestepped the contentious issues of the protests against the new citizenship law, telling a joint press

America loves India, America respects India: Trump

America loves India, America respects India, said US president Donald Trump as he and first lady Melania Trump began their short visit of India from Ahmedabad on Monday, welcomed by prime minister Narendra Modi. The US president was in Ahmedabad, in Modi`s home state of Gujarat, to attend th

2020 is crucial for CPSE: Arjun Ram Meghwal

"The year 2020 is going to be a significant year for India and especially for Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), "said the Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for heavy industries and public enterprises on Wednesday at the 7th PSU Awards and Conference organised by Governance Now on 19th



Archives

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter