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Vrindavan widows in state for pujas

An NGO working for the cause of women is trying to arrange remarriage for widows who lost their spouses and families during the Uttarakhand disaster.

Around 32 widows, most of whom were victims of the disaster, are staying in a shelter home in Uttarakhand

The widows are mostly young ~18 to 19 years old says Sulabh International founder Mr Bindeshwar Pathak.

“We cannot afford to create another situation like that of the Vrindavan widows and force them to spend their entire life alone. They are young women. It will be always better to get them settle in their life and give them another chance to lead their life.” says Mr Bindeshwar Pathak during his trip to Kolkata with fifty-odd widows from Vrindavan, who were ostracised decades ago by their families living in Bengal. They had come to the city to celebrate Durga puja.

The Supreme Court had last year directed the National Legal Service Authority to rehabilitate the Vrindavan widows with the help of Sulabh International.

The NGO is also imparting elementary training to all the widows under its care. They are teaching them three languages ~ Hindi, English and Bengali. It has also trained and employed hundreds of them in making garlands, preparing incense sticks, sewing and embroidery work.

Mr Pathak admitted that it won't be easy for the NGO to convince the women to get remarried as some of them are still very orthodox and some of them even have kids. 

Around 95 per cent of the 900 widows living in Vrindavan are from West Bengal,  says Sulabh International. They spend most of their time praying and begging in the streets in the absence of any family support.

For most of them, the trip to Kolkata comes several decades after they were forced to leave their homes.

None of them are willing to go back to their families but surely it give them great pleasure to return back to their “janmo bhoomi” says Ms Kanujawati Debi, one of the women.

Lalita Adhikari (104), the eldest in the 50-women group, who hails from the city refused to meet her son, who had turned up at the Kolkata airport on Sunday intending to take her home, saying that she had not come to visit him.  

They had made a trip to Belur Math and attended the inauguration of Singhi Park puja. They were overwhelmed to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who came to inaugurate the puja. The women gifted “Bhagwad Gita and Uttari” to the chief minister.   

During the inaugural speech Miss Mamata Banerjee, said: “Whenever they want to return to their home (West Bengal), the state government will make arrangements for it.”

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