For India's Widows, A Riot Of Color, An Act Of Liberation

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Life for widows in India has often been pretty grim. They are exiled by their families, invisable in society and left eek out an existance in poverty and on charity.
Official dress for widows is white, it's nice to see them rising up and claiming colors in this festival.

Entire story and some fantastic photographs of this colorful festival at this link:
For India s Widows A Riot Of Color An Act Of Liberation NPR

Hindu tradition frowns on widows celebrating at such festivals. In some parts of the culture, the women are seen as the cause of their husband's death and relatives believe they should be cast out. The segregation of widows can be so extreme that in some places they are prevented from attending family gatherings, including weddings. Many poor widows are abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves. According to census data, India is believed to have tens of millions of widows. Thousands live out their lives in the ashrams in the ancient temple-filled city of Vrindavan, popularly known as the City of Widows.

But when the widows of Vrindavan ignore the social taboo and join in the fun, Holi takes on a whole new dimension. Cavorting in the chaos of color, women young and old stand in showers of rose petals and marigolds and playfully smear each other with fuchsia, green and gold powder. With this act of joy, the women fight back against restrictions that have ostracized them.
 
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Slightly on a separate note:

Khalistan will never be created - Indian Sikhs

 
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Well at least they've moved up from being tossed on the funeral pyre.

We have the British to thank for that actually - they banned the practice outright. It still happens occassionally - usually labeled "suicide", in the rural more backwards areas.
 
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Good thread but not something I know about
I lot of people don't, widows are invisible in Indian society, they are considered of no value. If you ever are interested, Deepa Mehta did a beautiful movie trilogy that challenged different forms of religious intolerance, woman's status and cultural backwardness. He tackled sexual bigotry in "Fire", religious sectarianism in "Earth" and the oppression of widows in "Water". Not only are they interesting (I wasn't aware of the status of widows before that) but they are cinimigraphically works of art - every seen is art. India is one of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth and this trilogy makes the most of it. :)

 

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I doubt widows are considered prime catch in any society especially if they are old :) I think everybody wants young hot things.

As far as Brishits are concerned, they were too busy robbing, looting and creating traitor class to do anything good in India. The Sati Pratha was abolished by hard work of Arya Samaaji movement. Any civilization under foreign occupation goes through dark times. Sati Pratha does not have any religious origin other than in the minds of bigots. It was born out of chaos and disorder caused by British occupation. It is remarkable that Indians were able to keep their soul intact despite having lived through British occupation. My hat is off to them.

However, I will give Brishits credit for one thing: they had canny sense of identifying groups in India that had no self respect or backbone. They nurtured these groups to create a traitor class out of them.
 

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By the way is this discarding of widows also true of Indian Christians as well?
 

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By the way is this discarding of widows also true of Indian Christians as well?
I cannot believe you had to ask that question. You should know the answer by now. It is only Hindus who do not like widows. Everyone else particularly Khalistanis get instant boner thinking of widows.
 

william the wie

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By the way is this discarding of widows also true of Indian Christians as well?
I cannot believe you had to ask that question. You should know the answer by now. It is only Hindus who do not like widows. Everyone else particularly Khalistanis get instant boner thinking of widows.
Well with the verses in first Timothy on the subject they should.
 
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I doubt widows are considered prime catch in any society especially if they are old :) I think everybody wants young hot things.

As far as Brishits are concerned, they were too busy robbing, looting and creating traitor class to do anything good in India. The Sati Pratha was abolished by hard work of Arya Samaaji movement. Any civilization under foreign occupation goes through dark times. Sati Pratha does not have any religious origin other than in the minds of bigots. It was born out of chaos and disorder caused by British occupation. It is remarkable that Indians were able to keep their soul intact despite having lived through British occupation. My hat is off to them.

However, I will give Brishits credit for one thing: they had canny sense of identifying groups in India that had no self respect or backbone. They nurtured these groups to create a traitor class out of them.
The treatment, the abandonment of widows by their families is particularly sad and emphasizes the idea that a woman's status is entirely dependent upon husband or sons.

I think widows in Indian society though, are treated worse than widows elsewhere: Indian Widows Face Life of Begging and Destitution TIME.com

“In India widows are treated as untouchables,” says Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, a Delhi-based nonprofit. Sulabh helps around a thousand widows in Vrindavan and Varanasi, giving them a monthly allowance of $31, as well as health care assistance. Sulabh is also working on a draft bill, which it hopes to table in Parliament next year. The draft suggests a monthly pension for abandoned and destitute widows and to make their eviction from either their parental or husband’s house a punishable crime. “They have to give up every thing … and live a life of isolation,” says Pathak. “That it is happening even today is a huge shame.”


I won't disagree that there were certainly negatives with the British colonial rule - as there was with colonialism throughout the "undeveloped world" and the divide and conquor strategy was common.

But they did have some positive influences and one of those involved the practice of Sati. The Moghuls tried to end it, but only succeeded in limiting it through regulation. The British made numerous attempts to limit it and ban it and it took a concerted effort with Hindu groups and the British to put an end to it. Despite that though - there are those who still do it, fortunately rarely.
 
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Life for widows in India has often been pretty grim. They are exiled by their families, invisable in society and left eek out an existance in poverty and on charity.
Official dress for widows is white, it's nice to see them rising up and claiming colors in this festival.

Entire story and some fantastic photographs of this colorful festival at this link:
For India s Widows A Riot Of Color An Act Of Liberation NPR

Hindu tradition frowns on widows celebrating at such festivals. In some parts of the culture, the women are seen as the cause of their husband's death and relatives believe they should be cast out. The segregation of widows can be so extreme that in some places they are prevented from attending family gatherings, including weddings. Many poor widows are abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves. According to census data, India is believed to have tens of millions of widows. Thousands live out their lives in the ashrams in the ancient temple-filled city of Vrindavan, popularly known as the City of Widows.

But when the widows of Vrindavan ignore the social taboo and join in the fun, Holi takes on a whole new dimension. Cavorting in the chaos of color, women young and old stand in showers of rose petals and marigolds and playfully smear each other with fuchsia, green and gold powder. With this act of joy, the women fight back against restrictions that have ostracized them.
I heard about this- good for them.

How widows are treated in India is tragic.
 

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William you raised an interesting question - so I googled "treatment of widows" and religion to see what I could find.

Sikhism Religion of the Sikh People
The Treatment of Islamic Widows People - Opposing Views
What does the Bible say about orphans and widows
Widows in Jewish Tradition - My Jewish Learning

Not sure about Buddhism as I can't find much. Often, however - religious teachings say one thing and cultural behavior does another.
Not to be a jerk, just carnal, which I are, the following Biblical points had me firing off an email to Samaritan's Purse of this subject bailing out widows and orphans:

Gets you the title of redeemer and lord.

Is treated by God as a loan to him at loanshark (first century) interest rates.

And it is one of the few legal ways to evangelize in India

That's my kind of deal.
 

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Well at least they've moved up from being tossed on the funeral pyre.

We have the British to thank for that actually - they banned the practice outright. It still happens occassionally - usually labeled "suicide", in the rural more backwards areas.
Sati only happens in the rural areas of the North. North India, the most populated region, is also largely a primitive, rural backwater due to the lack of industrialization and economic surge that other Indian cities/states have witnessed be it Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, etc.

Socioeconomic uplifts can and likely will reform the social ills. Though not a Hindu, I can vouch that Hinduism is far more prone to adapt to the changing times and get with modernity than, say, Islam.
 
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Well at least they've moved up from being tossed on the funeral pyre.

We have the British to thank for that actually - they banned the practice outright. It still happens occassionally - usually labeled "suicide", in the rural more backwards areas.
Sati only happens in the rural areas of the North. North India, the most populated region, is also largely a primitive, rural backwater due to the lack of industrialization and economic surge that other Indian cities/states have witnessed be it Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, etc.

Socioeconomic uplifts can and likely will reform the social ills. Though not a Hindu, I can vouch that Hinduism is far more prone to adapt to the changing times and get with modernity than, say, Islam.
I think education is a big key along with improved economic situations - most of the push for reform comes from the more educated communities - not just for this, but FGM, child marriages, etc. I was just listening to PRI last night and they interviewed a rapper in Burkina Faso, a country with a high rate of FGM who is rapping about putting an end to it and has a strong following.
 

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