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Widows At An Evening Of Devotional Songs And Meditation At Swadhar Mahila Ashray, Seetaram Sadan In Vrindavan
2013-2014
VRINDAVAN, INDIA - MARCH 30: Mostly widows, women raise their hands in reverence of deity at a session of Bhajans, devotional songs at Swadhar Mahila Ashray, Seetaram Sadan in Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on March 30, 2013 in Mathura, India. They chant the deity’s name- ‘Radhe, Radhe’, also a common greeting aross the religious city. The word Radhe comes from Radha, the beloved wife of Lord Krishna. Together they hold an important position in the Hindu Religion. Women cover their heads and faces as a mark of dignity. Traditionally, 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. A widows’ ashram in the ‘city of devout widows’, believed to be birthplace of Lord Krishna, as Vrindavan is known as, and the activities like Bhajans offer an apt platform for camaraderie and a sense of belonging among the fellow inmates. (Photo by Xavier Zimbardo)
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