Diwali at Vrindavan

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widows-of-vrindavan-diwali-2All the ladies were playing with fireworks, and were getting excited at Pagal Baba Ashram of Vrindavan. The light was not only of candles and lamps. The entire Ashram has turned into a fairyland alight with joy.

They all had retreated to their childhood, leaving their years far behind. Diwali was full of gaiety and the widows living in the Ashram were participating merrily in the Diwali festival being celebrated by Sulabh International.

The Meera Sahbhagani Pagal Baba Ashram was illuminated with multi-coloured bulbs. The entrance of the Ashram and its court-yard were decorated with flowers and had Rangoli painted on the floor. With dusk alighting widows-of-vrindavan-diwali-3with the sunset the entire Ashram livened up in a bath of light and colour. In every Diwali, candles and lamps were a usual sight in the Ashrams, but the way they were enjoying dancing and singing was a rare festivity.

For the programme organized on October 31 at Vrindavan, the ladies purchased shawls and sarees for themselves from the shop situated in front of the Iskcon Temple. Most of them went for coloured sarees against the white dress code for widows. Clad in these they participated in programmes and enjoyed the festival of light till late in the night. The Sangeet Mandali of Sulabh was further making the atmosphere vibrant with Mrs. Nandini Jha singing, Mahaka hua gulshan hai, hansta hua maali hai. There was wide applause for the music from the audience.

widows-of-vrindavan-diwali-4Addressing the widows, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh International said, it was possibly the first occasion after Mahabharata, when ladies, widows in particular, were participating so freely and happily in an auspicious festival.

Citing the name of Alexander, Dr. Pathak said, “people pluck flowers they like, but they don’t do so with flowers in their own garden; rather they protect and water the plants bearing flowers there. The widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi living in the Ashrams are close to our hearts; we are trying to help them to be self-dependent and happy. Participating in such functions and festivals they are trying to break the evil shackles society has forced upon them. Now they have been freely taking part in Holi, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan and Dussehra. They do have now their self-esteem restored, living a new life. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, National Legal Services Authority and the media do have positive roles in the matter. The Ashrams of Vrindavan are experimental houses where a new culture is being created”. On this occasion of Diwali, cultural programmes were also organised. The ladies of the Sulabh Training Centres of Alwar and Tonk (Rajasthan) regaled everyone with their dance and music.

Dr. Pathak visited the Ashram on November 1 as well when it was again flooded with light and brightness.

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