23 Nov 2016 / Lucknow
HT Correspondent ■ firstname.lastname@example.org
AGRA: Having lived most of their lives in the dark shadows of despondency, two widows of Vrindavan recently got a ‘never-dreamt-of ’ opportunity of being photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was no less than a miracle for these two devotees of Lord Krishna, who travelled to France to participate in an international conference and photography festival.
93-year-old Manu Ghosh and 70-year-old Gaurvani Sheel, living in Meerasahabhagini ashram in Vrindavan, were invited to one of Europe’s biggest photography exhibition – the Montier-en-der photography festival, held from November 17 to 21.
The two ladies were representing Vrindavan widows who were the subjects of some of the exhibits shown at the festival.
Manu and Gaurvani spent about a week in the small city of Montier-en-der, located about 200 km from Paris, and participated in the various conferences and lectures associated with the festival.
Founder of Sulabh International Dr Bindeshwar Pathak was the force that made the visit possible for them.
On returning to India on Tuesday, Manu said that the trip was not just a ‘foreign tour’ for them but ‘an experience of being given respect on an International platform’. “I got a chance to represent thousands of widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi at the International festival,” she said.
Speaking to HT, Pathak said, “Manu Ghosh is known for being a volunteer. She speaks about the cause of the widows and has travelled to various places in India for representing the widows of V rind a van and Varanasi. Manu and Gaurvani are from West Bengal and share a bonding due to their origin and common fate. They make for a formidable combination.”
He added, “Earlier, we had successfully organised Holi and Diwali festivals for these widows in Vrindavan. When we came across this opportunity of this foreign trip for these widows, we were happy that they were not neglected anymore.”