City of Widows

I’m watching a rerun on Oprah’s Next Chapter: India and I’m really blown away.  She visited Vrindavan, a holy city where widows flock.  They call it the City of Widows.  I never knew that widows had such a stigma in India.  It’s a curse to be a single woman, that’s what the woman she interviewed just said.  WOW.

I think it hits me because I was a widow for two years.  That means if I was widowed in India, society (especially a rural society) would have looked down upon me.  Way down.  They say crossing the shadow of a widow is even considered bad luck.  Oprah visited a temple where about 16,000 widows visit, to chant for hours, just for a handful of rice.  😦  How sad.

Many elderly widows end up living on the street.  To go from being someone’s wife and protected, raising children, then one day your husband dies and you hold no worth anymore makes me cringe.  They cannot remarry or wear jewelry.  They are considered a drain on the family’s finances…say what?

Here’s an article CNN wrote years ago on the subject: http://articles.cnn.com/2007-07-05/world/damon.india.widows_1_widows-vrindavan-india?_s=PM:WORLD

photo via Subrato Bhattacharya

By the way this whole show is interesting, right now I’m watching Oprah interviewing woman of different classes (castes) in India…total eye opener.

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