Doing away with orthodox norms and social stigma, widows in Vrindavan celebrated Diwali by lighting diyas (earthen lamps) at the famous Keshi Ghat along the river Yamuna on Wednesday, November 11.
Helping Widows Celebrate Diwali
As per a Times of India report, the widows in Vrindavan usually celebrate Diwali a few days before the rest of the country. Traditionally, widows are expected to give up worldly pleasures and lead a sombre life. Most of them do not take part in the festivities and have to face a lot of social stigma. Such communal celebrations are an attempt to include the otherwise marginalised widows in mainstream celebrations. For the eighth year in a row, elderly widows took part in such celebrations and took out a procession with colourful diyas to the Yamuna. Given the various restrictions mandated amidst the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of widows took part in the celebrations. They also wore masks and maintained social distancing. Sulabh International, a social service organisation, organised the celebration for the widows.
Also Read: Laxmi Gautam An Angel For Vrindavan Widows
Describing the Diwali celebrations, Vinita Verma, vice-president of Sulabh, told ANI, “We plan to celebrate Diwali, Dusshera, Holi and several other festivals with these widowed women and infuse some positivity in their life … We have been celebrating Deepawali with these widows and hope to continue the trend forward.”
What You Should Know:
- Widows in Vrindavan celebrated Diwali by lighting diyas (earthen lamps) at the famous Keshi Ghat along the river Yamuna on Wednesday, November 11.
- For the eighth year in a row, elderly widows took part in such celebrations and took out a procession with colourful diyas to the Yamuna.
- Given coronavirus restrictions, a limited number of widows took part in the celebrations. They also wore masks and maintained social distancing.
Defying Age-old Restrictive Norms
This year’s celebrations witnessed many widows, donning white sarees, chanting prayers in chorus. One widow who made a rangoli and lit diyas at Keshi Ghat said that she “really enjoyed the festivities.” Another widow commented, “We are delighted to celebrate Deepawali this year. Due to COVID-19, the celebrations have been minimal. I have also made rangoli today."75-year-old Chabi Dasi, another widow who took part in the celebrations, said that “widows are now happy and enjoying their stay in Vrindavan” because of the “series of revolutionary initiatives” undertaken by various organisations.
Laxmi Devi, a widow who came to Vrindavan in 2019, told TOI that after she became widowed, "celebrating a festival was unimaginable" for her. Consequently, she was happy to join her peers in celebrating the festival of lights. Shanti, a 70-year-old widow from Varanasi, also expressed her happiness regarding the celebrations and said that those who couldn't come to the ghat would light diyas at the ashrams.
Picture Credits: Times of India
Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV