In a one-of-its-kind event, hundreds of widows from Vrindavan and liberated manual scavenger women on Wednesday publicly tied Rakhi to 50 upper caste sages, Sanskrit scholars and priests at the century-old Gopinath temple in Vrindavan.
Defying tradition, the women were in the temple town at the initiative of NGO Sulabh International. Around 100 widows, mostly in their 80s, have been engaged in making colourful Rakhis since the beginning of August at Meera Sahabhagi and Chetan Vihar Ashram to organise Rakhsha Bandhan on a massive scale. They have prepared around 1,000 of these sacred threads, an official informed.
Besides these 800 widows and 200 liberated manual scavenger, women from Alwar and Tonk districts of Rajasthan also took part in the Rakhi celebrations. Widows tied Rakhi to local holy men and upper caste men to mark the occasion and break the tradition. They even shared food with them.
Later, the widows also participated in cultural programmes especially chalked out for the occasion.
Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak, who takes care of around 1,000 widows in Vrindavan, observed that such an initiative will bring cheer to their lives.
A collection of 2,000 colourful Rakhis and sweets will also be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the widows who have expressed a strong desire to meet him and urge him to ensure their wellbeing.
At least ten widows from Vrindavan and Varanasi will visit the Prime Minister’s official residence in Delhi with the Rakhis on behalf of around 2,000 widows living in Vrindavan and Varanasi on Thursday.