Vrindavan: On the eve of International Widows Day, several widows living in Vrindavan today voiced hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ensure that a Bill on protection of rights of such women is introduced in the Budget Session of Parliament, beginning next month.
90-year-old Manu Ghosh from West Bengal, who is living in the temple town for the past several decades, has expressed hope that Modi would pay attention towards the condition of widows.
“We will approach Modi and our new MP from Mathura Hema Malini to take measures for the welfare of widows who are living in Vrindavan and Varanasi,” Ghosh said. Social reformer and founder of NGO Sulabh International, Bindeshwar Pathak had recently drafted a widow protection Bill for the welfare of widows in the country.
“Along with widows from Vrindavan, we plan to meet Modi to push the draft Bill to be introduced in the coming Budget Session of Parliament,” Pathak said.
Pathak expressed hope that “the new PM would certainly pay attention towards the widows.”
Sulabh takes care of widows living in six government-run ashrams and pays Rs 2,000 to each, besides having organised a series of welfare measures in the past two years. Life of around thousand widows has remarkably been improved with the intervention of the Supreme Court.
To highlight the inequalities involved, June 23 was officially recognised as “International Widows Day” at a New York-based conference at the United Nations in 2011. Around 40 million of the world's widows live in India and life for these women is particularly hard, Pathak said.
Not only have they lost their husband, but then society turns on them stamping them out as worthless undesirable and a burden, he said.
“Their plight is often invisible with many people unaware of the injustices taking place,” Pathak said. While eight per cent of women in India are widows, only 2.5 per cent of men are widowers, due to the fact that men usually remarry, Pathak said.