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I am writing this letter in response to the article Forgotten Widows by Subhash Sharma in your November 2010 issue.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Machabeng College P.O. Box 1570 Maseru 100 19 November 2010 The Editor of REAL Magazine 2nd Floor South Block 3 Sandown Valley Crescent Sandown 2196 Dear Madam Re: Forgotten Widows I am writing this letter in response to the article Forgotten Widows by Subhash Sharma in your November 2010 issue. On seeing the capturing title, I had prepared myself for an interesting read as I could imagine that it would be about widows in India and I was curious to find out what the journalist had to say. The article effectively pinpointed the problems that Indian widows face: isolation, sacrifice, sufferance and intolerable pain. It is dreadful to learn that even in the twenty-first century; such Indian communities prevail, whereby the widows are treated as social outcasts. Being an Indian citizen myself, born and brought up outside India, I have neither seen nor experienced much about my country. Whatsoever, from my observations, I believed that India had long passed the stage of following practices based on 'illiteracy, superstition and age-old beliefs'. However, I learnt with shock that the article proves otherwise. In fact, this article points an accusing finger at India's appalling attitude towards widows. Furthermore, this article gives me the implication that widows are being held responsible for the death of their husbands; hence, they are ill-treated in their respective families and societies. ...read more.

Middle

They lack proper toilets and are deprived of medical attention; subsequently, they have been infected with various diseases. Disappointingly, they do not have any 'proper schemes for old age and widow pensions'. This indicates that they have no money to live in a world, which revolves under the influence of cash. Outrageously, widows are classified as part of the lowest level in the social hierarchy. It appears to me that the rural Indian citizens are ridiculing them; the widows are treated like dogs and it is entirely unjust. This poses a significant question: Why are widows enslaved to traditional beliefs, illiteracy and the ignorance of rural Indians? Horrendously, even amongst these vast numbers of widows in Vrindavan, they consider class, beauty and age. Widows from the upper class do not associate with those from a lower class; widows who are young and charming have the upper hand in the ashrams. This leads me to wonder how they still think of caste in a situation such as theirs; it is inexplicable to me. Another distressing matter is that widows of different religions give up their religious identity to become Hindus - in order to attain shelter in Vrindavan. According to the journalist Usha Rai, she believes that widows take this step, as they are oblivious to government and charity groups that can assist them in living a reasonable life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once we as individuals change our mindset towards widows, the rest of the Indian community is sure to follow suit. Slowly, but steadily, widows can hold a significant position in the society. In essence, I believe that a start should be made today; so that if not the present widows, at least the future ones will benefit from it. This article though it discusses negatively about my homeland, was true to its facts and was appealing. I specially appreciated the way the journalist included the well known chant 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare' making the article ethnic and also enlightening for the readers. Nevertheless, there was one subheading that I disagreed on: the 'City of Widows' in reference to the divine town Vrindavan. This is where Indians consider that Lord Krishna (a Hindu God) spent his childhood, leaving behind myths and legends of love and friendship; thus, it is more known for its sacredness and its piety rather than the population of widows that reside there. Therefore, the subheading 'City of Widows' can mislead readers and thus they will always link Vrindavan to widows when in actual fact it is better known for Lord Krishna. However, in conclusion, the article was extremely informative. Kudos to Subhash Sharma whom despite being an Indian presented all the raw facts in an unbiased manner. I certainly look forward to many such articles written by Subhash Sharma. Yours Faithfully _______________________ Bhavana A. Narayanan ...read more.

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