Indian culture is an amalgamation of many cultures spread across the continent. While our traditions and customs have earned admiration of the world for its simplicity and values, a part of the same culture has somehow suppressed Indian women of their rights. One such suppressed section of the society is that of Hindu widows. Widow is a lady who has lost her husband. As per the Indian culture, a widow, after the death of her husband, doesn’t have any right to wear colourful dresses or celebrate any festival. In fact, they are often considered as inauspicious. However, now the time has change. This year, the Hindu widows in Delhi went on to break this traditional taboo and celebrated Holu – the festival of colors.
1. Indian Hindu widows sing and pray before the start of Holi celebrations at the Gopinath temple, 180 kilometres (112 miles) south-east of New Delhi.
Hindu priests blow conch shells as Indian Hindu widows play Holi at the Gopinath temple.
3. Indian Hindu widows throw flower petals and colored powder during Holi celebrations at the Gopinath temple, New Delhi.
An Indian Hindu widow lies on a bed of flower petals during Holi celebrations at the Gopinath temple.
An Indian Hindu widow, smeared with colors, sits and watches others playing during Holi celebrations. A few years ago this joyful celebration was forbidden for Hindu widows. Like hundreds of thousands of observant Hindu women they would have been expected to live out their days in quiet worship, dressed only in white, their very presence being considered inauspicious for all religious festivities.
Hindu widows apply colour powder to each other during Holi celebrations at the Gopinath temple. One can easily see the feeling joy these widows have as they break the age old taboo of not playing this festival of colors.
Indian Hindu widows throw colored powder and flower petals on Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of non-governmental organization Sulabh International.
The Gopinath Temple is filled with colors and celebration as Indian Hindu widows breaks the ancient taboo and celebrate Holi.