Vrindavan widows light up Diwali
The banks of Yamuna were lit up by the widows of Vrindavan today, as hundreds of diyas, or earthen lamps, started the three-day Diwali celebrations, hoping to spread awareness about the river’s cleanliness. It started at the century-old widow shelter, Meera Sahabhagni Ashram, in Vrindavan.
The widows marched towards the river bank with lighted, colourful ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps), as well as spiritual bhajans. They have reversed tradition by celebrating not only Diwali but Holi and Raksha Bandhan, apart from Durga Puja in West Bengal.
Almost a thousand widows, mostly from West Bengal, have been living in government-run ashrams of Vrindavan for decades. In August last year, the Supreme Court had asked the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to ask Sulabh International if it was willing to take care of the destitute women. The Sulabh founder, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, took on the task of ensuring food, clothing, health and hygiene for them after that.
“Sulabh will continue with its nationwide campaign for the welfare of widows,” he said.