An end or just the beginning? Life of an Indian widow– By Aditee Mitra

January 31, 2019

My semester exams just got over and what a relief it is. I have decided that during the ‘not so long’ holiday period I will only and only relax,mainly eat,sleep and repeat this. And that’s what I have started doing.Unfortunately the next morning I woke up quite early and as I saw no one awake,I went to sleep again but not before I decided to check my phone. I opened WhatsApp to check the messages and everyone’s statuses. All of a sudden I saw most of them posting birthday wishes. Within seconds I realised it was for my friend Seema whom I last met in class ten. I soon asked one of my friends for her number and wished her and went to sleep. When I woke up the second time,I received her reply. We then decided to meet soon. We decided that a perfect luncheon would be the best.

On that particular day of our meeting,I reached a few minutes earlier. Within no time, I heard a familiar voice calling out my name. It was Seema. I noticed how much she has changed in such a short span of time. Soon we headed to have our lunch followed by chit chats. While I was returning home, I was happy to see the change in her mother who came to pick her up. They had to go through lot of ups and downs when Seema lost her father. He was serving in the army when he had to face a deadly attack on duty.

I admired Rini aunty( Seema’s mother)for her courage. It was because she has paved her own way differently from the path laid down by the society. I am sure it has been a tough journey for her,but she has successfully kicked aside all ‘hate faces’.

In our country India,irrespective of age,caste and other factors ,widows have always been looked down by the majority of the people. When a women becomes a widow,she is supposed to dress up in a particular way,eat only vegetarian food, and not apply any bindi or wear any bangles particularly of red colour. She is also supposed to stay away from various social events as she is considered unlucky. They are made to do things against their will by convincing them with the saying’ log kya kahenge’ .
Moreover someone’s better half would definitely not want their better half to suffer in any way. He would love to see her move ahead in life the way she wants to. Also,no husband ever said on their death bed that after they are gone,their better half should eat or dress in a particular way. The love and bonding was between them and it shall remain intact without odd rules imposed by society. Moreover,applying anything on the face or putting a simple bindi won’t do harm or bring unhappiness to the husband’s soul. We all know about the barbaric sati system and how it was put to an end. It was only due to the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy with the help of Lord William Bentick that the system was finally abolished in 1829. However,from that period onwards till date, the evil practices against widows has not yet stopped. But this time neither Raja Ram Mohan Roy nor Lord William Bentick will come to save us. Women need to fight their own battle.

Even today in the world of widows,some are ridiculed and nasty comments are passed. At a time,when a person needs emotional support the most,she has to go through such conditions. As a result,they are deprived of human dignity which everyone deserves irrespective of caste,creed,colour and situation. After the passage of time,some move on with their kids while some opt for remarriage. Again,living in the 21st century in India, widow remarriage is still looked down by some. People don’t understand the situation until it hits them. Women have to hear a long list of harsh words. In order to fight against such odds,education in some cases serves as a backbone. Infact,doing a particular job or running a business can provide stability in one’s life. In our country where we have laws to abide by and some people refuse to do so,we still need a law to tackle this. A law should be made where harassment of any kind or crime against widows and individual mothers should be dealt with. At the same time,more training programmes can be provided so that they can perform various jobs available that are suitable for them,especially the ones who need it. This will definitely bring a ray of hope for them.At the same time creating space for our loved ones at a time when they need us the most is a step forward towards humanity.

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