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Widows Assemble For An Evening Of Devotional Songs And Meditation At Swadhar Mahila Ashray, Seetaram Sadan In Vrindavan
VRINDAVAN, INDIA - MARCH 30: Mostly widows, women assemble for 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. Women cover their heads and faces as a mark of dignity. As a part of their daily chores, devotional sessions last about three hours, morning and evening, and widows participants are compensated with about Rs 5 (about $0.1) each and some holy food. 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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