Heartbreaking Widow Traditions in India | Fusion - WeRIndia

Heartbreaking Widow Traditions in India

Heartbreaking Widow Traditions in India

To lose her husband is the most tragic moment in the life of a woman. The worst part is to have close relatives and friends consider the woman “untouchable” from the very next moment. There are around 40 million widows in India.

In the ancient days, there was the ritual of Sati in which widows are forced to end their lives immediately after the death of husband. They were burnt alive in the funeral pyre along with the husband’s dead body. Due to efforts of many social reformers, the traditions were gone. But, even now, many of the widows are suffering badly. They are being referred to as “it” instead of “she” and are being treated as “de-sexed” beings. They are discriminated everywhere. Here are some tragic traditions throughout the country.

In several regions of the country, widows are accused of their husband’s death. Furthermore, they are expected to mourn on the death of their husbands till the end of their lives.

In Punjab, a widow is referred to randi, which means “prostitute” in Punjabi. The widows are arranged to be married to the brother of her departed husband.


Widows are expected to leave their colorful saris and jewelry. In conservative Hindu families they even shave their heads. According to Meera Khanna, a trustee of the Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia which is based in India, widows are made ugly to deny her of her fundamental femininity.

In many orthodox Hindu families, widows are not allowed to eat pickles, garlic, onion, fish etc. They believe that these foods increase sexual desires.

As per the research of the Guild for Service, the mortality rate among widows rate is 85 percent more compared to normal married women.

Unfortunately, many widows are considered as a burden by their family members. They are sexually threatened. Furthermore, many of them are living in an emotional prison since their family members will not show any interest to talk to them due to them being considered “bad luck”.

Vrindavan is otherwise known as the “city of widows”. Here over 15,000 widows live by worshipping Lord Krishna for their salvation. Here, many young widows are forced into prostitution. Some are raped. If they get pregnant, these widows are forced towards abortion.

There are many laws to protect widows. But they are abused everywhere. The Home Ministry’s National Crime Bureau of India states that violence against women is the fastest-growing crime in India. If existing laws are enforced properly women’s rights will be protected.
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