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KOLKATA: As people in the city started opening their sleepy eyes on Friday morning, many early train catchers halted for a while seeing a group of white sari-clad elderly women coming out of Howrah station chanting "Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe".

About 70 widows reached Kolkata from various ashrams in Vrindavan on Friday to visit the city and witness the spirit of festivity here.

Kanaklata Devi (105), who left the city 70 years ago, pointed at an advertising hoarding with a Hema Malini photograph and shot a humorous comment: "Tumi to asechho amader sahore, amra gele dosh ki?" (You have come to our city, so what is our fault if we stay at Vrindavan?"

BJP's Mathura MP Hema Malini's recent comment on the presence of many widows from Bengal in Vrindavan created a furore among various people and activists. The actor-turned-MP later clarified that these widows should not be thrown out of their native state by their relatives after their husband's death. They should rather be treated with care and affection by their own people in their own state.

Kanaklata had a point to counter Hema Malini. "I am coming to this city after 70 years. Because I did not want to miss the chance of attaining 'moksha' by not passing away in that divine land of Vrindavan. According to myth, a person attains 'moksha' if he dies in Vrindavan. But this year, I could not refuse Pathak babaji's requests to visit my hometown."

Sunitra Devi (79) was nostalgic as she got down from the bus in which they were brought to Raj Bhavan to meet the governor. The lady, who lost her husband at the age of 26, used to live at Maniktala. "After our marriage, he brought me here to show Raj Bhavan. But at that time, we could see Raj Bhavan only from a distance," she said.

The widows of Vrindavan will be in the city for two more days, during which they plan to visit the artisan's hub at Kumartuli, hop some Puja pandals and enjoy a tram ride. "Getting an opportunity to see their favourite spots in and around the city after so long, the elderly women were behaving like teenagers," said Bindheswar Pathak, founder of Sulabh Foundation, which is looking after about 1000 widows in Vrindavan.





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