Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die

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#1 Jul 5th, 2007, 19:46
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#1
VRINDAVAN, India (CNN) -- Ostracized by society, India's widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets, hunched over with walking canes, their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces.

Hindu widows are shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition -- and because they're seen as a financial drain on their families.

They cannot remarry. They must not wear jewelry. They are forced to shave their heads and typically wear white. Even their shadows are considered bad luck... more...
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#2 Jul 5th, 2007, 20:30
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This is a dark side of Indian family system. Finding such women is both common and uncommon due to sheer number of families.

Things are far better in bigger cities where widows work (in place of their husbands or find independent job) and earn decent living or remarry and not much restriction in terms or clothing etc. but worse in smaller towns where if they are not thrown out are atleast relegated to position of a maid servant.

Sad.
#3 Jul 5th, 2007, 20:36
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Well, its like stepping out of Leela palace (a 7 Star in Bangalore) after enjoying a lovely dinner and some ugly display of wealth.... and taking pictures of the beggars on the street and calling it "real India". Yes, like every other country, we have issues that we need to fight for.. BUT, at the same time a declaration like "Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die" is total crap...

I know better than that.. I lost my dad when I was 14 and if not for the wonderful society and strong family ties, I would not be what I am today... neither my mom as happy as she is today.

There are 2 sides to all coins..
#4 Jul 5th, 2007, 21:07
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by karthik_mitta View Post Well, its like stepping out of Leela palace (a 7 Star in Bangalore) after enjoying a lovely dinner and some ugly display of wealth.... and taking pictures of the beggars on the street and calling it "real India". Yes, like every other country, we have issues that we need to fight for.. BUT, at the same time a declaration like "Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die" is total crap...

I know better than that.. I lost my dad when I was 14 and if not for the wonderful society and strong family ties, I would not be what I am today... neither my mom as happy as she is today.

There are 2 sides to all coins..
I totally agree, this problem was a major one half a century back, but it has subsidized a lot..I say so, because I have not heard of anything like this in my circle of friends OR family..
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#5 Jul 5th, 2007, 22:17
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a controversial subject indeed. as was Deepa Mehta's movie WATER depicting the same subject.
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#6 Jul 5th, 2007, 22:28
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I don't look at CNN news items on the net, but it does appear to me that this is a very similar style of reporting to that adopted by the BBC on many Indian affairs, especially the more controversial or odd. It may be based in reality, but the coverage is short, narrow and shallow.

The feedback we get here is, I suspect, bound to be positively biased; I don't expect to hear from IMers that, yes, they turn out their widows onto the street. That doesn't mean to say that others are not doing it, or engaging in some other form of elder-abuse.
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#7 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:02
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Originally Posted by YogaGal View Post a controversial subject indeed. as was Deepa Mehta's movie WATER depicting the same subject.

That movie was based atleast half a century back if not more..
#8 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:13
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i saw quite a number of widows in varanasi, living on the streets with their begging bowls and waiting to die. sad and shameful.
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#9 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:17
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Originally Posted by lotus blossom View Post i saw quite a number of widows in varanasi, living on the streets with their begging bowls and waiting to die. sad and shameful.
year Varanasi, Mathura, Vrindawan, few other such religious places are there where you can find widows...

there might be several thousands of them combined..but do you think that a country with over a billion in population this number would show a trend of any kind...

I don't want to sound rude..but who knows whether those ladies are there because they have been shunned by society or they are simply another form of beggars...or at least what percentage is actual..
#10 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:34
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#10
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or they are simply another form of beggars
There's always a reason behind begging.

Just occasionally it may have been adopted as a profession, but often there is a story.
#11 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:37
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post There's always a reason behind begging.

Just occasionally it may have been adopted as a profession, but often there is a story.
huh..don't tell me..its not always the the person who is begging is wrong..

I am sure that you are aware of the begging mafia..

another example..there was a beggar who used to live and beg from the footpath across the street from our place...one fine day he dies and when his belongings were scrutinized..He had a pillow and in that pillow instead of cotton or foam there were currency notes...
#12 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:39
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#12

Statistics and numbers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shashank.aggarwal View Post there might be several thousands of them combined..but do you think that a country with over a billion in population this number would show a trend of any kind...
Completely agree, Shashank. My disconnect (like stated by Nick) is the report being shallow and incomplete. Lets take a look at the below numbers...

Each year 100,000 New Yorkers experience homelessness.
Each night, over 38,000 homeless individuals sleep in the New York City shelter system.
This includes more than 16,000 children and 8,000 single adults. Thousands more sleep on city streets and in other public places.
Nearly 1-in-20 New York City residents have experienced homelessness.

Well, does this make NY sad and shameful??? There are other sides of the city... like there are a billion faces to this country.

I accept there is trouble in paradise (India), but like the Buddha theory.. show me one home, city, country without it!!!
#13 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:56
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#13
Latest report from BBC about Indian Women concerns dowry -from an unusual angle.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6274318.stm
#14 Jul 6th, 2007, 00:58
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#14
Very true, and not to be forgotten... but neither are the problems, such as this one.

We could talk about the position of rape victims disowned by their families, too.

There will always be the wealthy beggar stories. They are probably as rare as those who get rich doing any other sort of job! Hey! did you hear about the wealthy paperboy?
#15 Jul 6th, 2007, 01:04
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#15

Widows + the elderly

About the CNN article- I know these women exist since I've seen them in Varanasi and other places (and they're the only beggars I ever give money to.)

Unfortunately news agencies tend to exaggerate and generalise to the extent of any situation.

In fact usually the Western press is full of admonitions that we should be more like Indians and look after our elderly with tender care!
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