Widows deserve a respectable life too!
It cannot be denied that death of spouse is a harsh blow for any woman, be it emotionally, socially or economically. Perhaps in India, the state of affairs for widows is even worse since they are mostly looked down upon, hence their lives are often reduced to making ends meet and carrying on with their bare survival. However, this calls for a redress. Though the absence of a loved one will definitely be felt, but life cannot be overpowered by death.
The widow population in India is about 35-40 million, the largest in the world. India being mostly a patriarchal society, holds little promise for such unfortunate women, thus degrading their lives to an extremely impoverished and marginalized one. In certain communities, they are even socially ostracized, exploited and victimized by meaningless customs and rituals. The majority of widowed population belong to the rural parts of India and are thus ignorant of their basic rights, thus passively subjecting themselves to endless subjugation and ill-treatment.
However, we CAN and MUST bring a change. It is the need of the hour not to simply identify the problem, but to uproot it from the society in order to cleanse and purge the very world we live in. As human beings, we should all live with dignity, and widows need to realize that their lives are precious as well. In the last decade, India has been making small but sure-footed endeavours in that direction. Today, we can boast of having many NGOs and self-sustaining communities that bring widows from different parts of the country, especially villages, where they attend workshops and receive training for months in order to make them self-sufficient. They learn seamstress and needle-work, and other such skills, and the things that they make afterwards are sold for them to earn on their own. This way, they can lead a respectable life, without being ashamed of their own existence.
A ray of hope has also come on behalf of the government as the Supreme Court of India has appointed a seven-member panel to collect data on the socio-economic conditions of widows in Uttar Pradesh. The committee is also entrusted to conduct an enumeration of the widows living in the city. The SC bench has taken note of the need for – “immediate steps for their rehabilitation and better living.” Also, Renuka Chowdhury, India’s Minister for Women and Child Development, has thought of providing a set of initiatives to help widows recover from their loss. She aimed at giving the country’s widows opportunities to work through proper training and skills development, and also to sufficiently motivate them.
Psychologists say that widows can regain enthusiasm to live through healthy socialization. She must attempt to overcome the bereavement and engage herself in a good network of friends and family. She can also keep herself occupied in an activity of her liking, joining classes or group events. Meeting people with similar interests can help her deal with the grief, and mitigate it to a great extent. Religious organizations, state agencies and community outreach programmes often offer weekly or monthly meetings for widowed partners. Members usually become good friends within these groups and thus derive tremendous support in knowing that they are not alone.
Thus, it is the duty of each and every citizen to let them know that they are not outcastes, they still belong to the society and life still holds prospects for them, which must not be led to waste. Losing someone who genuinely loved them is undoubtedly an irreparable loss, but life does not come to a standstill.