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Widows In Their Room In Swadhar Mahila Ashray, Seetaram Sadan In Vrindavan
2013-2014
VRINDAVAN, INDIA – MARCH 30: Widows in their room in Swadhar Mahila Ashray, Seetaram Sadan In Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on March 30, 2013 in Mathura, India. Two of them sitting on their beds read Bhagwat Gita, a religious book, while two others chat up sitting on the floor. Two or more inmates often share a small room, in an ashram, a commune, in the ‘city of devout widows’, believed to be birthplace of Lord Krishna, as Vrindavan is known as. Bhagwat Gita is devoted to the divine teachings of Lord Krishna. Widows and even single women, mostly from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal choose to spend rest of their lives in the devotion of Radha and Krishna. To Hindus, Lord Krishna is the fountainhead of divine love and spirituality. Radha is His beloved wife who holds an equally august position in the Hindu religion. Traditionally, generally speaking, widows in conservative regions of the country avoid or have been denied social sanction for remarriage, are expected to wear white, eat simple food and abstain from participating in social events. 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. They led, and in several places in the country still lead a lonely life. Vrindavan, offers a platform for elderly single women to live in camaraderie and in religious devotion that holds them together.
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