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Widow in an ashram
VRINDAVAN, INDIA – MARCH 29: Manu Ghosh, a widow relaxes, takes an afternoon nap in her room in Meera Sehbhagini Mahila Ashray Sadan in Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on March 29, 2013 in Mathura, India. In a typical widows ashram (loosely called a hostel) a room is allotted to 3-4 inmates, each widow having too small a space to her. Thus she must keep all her meager belongings under her bed. There is no sense of privacy, yet each one cooks her own food and even worships and offers prayers to her own set of deities within the space available. Widows’ fierce independence, especially in the city of Vrindavan, is unmistakable. This can be contrasted with the fact that most of the widows escape the tyranny of living with other family members after the death of their men. Historically, they generally faced contempt from the families of their in-laws and community at large, who would attribute their men’s death to themselves, believed to have brought bad luck to the families.
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