PM Modi to get rakhis from widows

Lucknow: Ageing widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi have designed around 1,000 special rakhis for Prime Minster Narendra Modi and will send it to him on the occasion of raksha bandhan on August 29.

The elderly women living in Meerasahabhagini Ashram in Vrindavan have made rakhis displaying pictures of Modi and would sent it to the PM’s house.

The widows, mostly in their 80s, are engaged in making colourful rakhis in the government-run five ashrams in Vrindavan.

They had started rakhi making about a fortnight ago and have so far prepared around a thousand such sacred wrist bands in Meera Sahabhagi and Chetan Vihar ashrams of Vrindavan.

“We have planned a target of sending around 1,000 rakhis to our prime minister,” said 90-year-old Manu ‘Maa’, who got a chance to visit PM’s house to tie rakhi along with four other widows from Virandavan and Varanasi last year.

In places like Varanasi and Vrindavan, hundreds of widows lead an isolated life to attain ‘moksha'(liberation) from the cycle of death and rebirth.

“My idea is how to change thoughts, behaviour and attitude of the people of this country towards widows, who are their mothers, sisters, aunties and so on,” said Bindeshwar Pathak founder of Sulabh International, who takes care of around 1,500 widows in Varanasi, Vrindavan and Kedarnath valley.

Pathak said that such an initiative would bring cheers to their lives.

“We will organise many such programmes for them in near future,” he said.

The event comes on the heels of these women celebrating ‘Dipawali’, the festival of lights.

Breaking several established traditions, Sulabh International had organised a visit of the widows to Kolkata to participate in Durga Puja celebrations.

Sulabh started taking steps for the welfare of widows after the Supreme Court took strong exception last year to the manner in which the bodies of widows, who lived in government shelter homes at Vrindavan, were disposed.

Every widow is given Rs 2,000 per month by the organisation which takes care of their health and other needs, even entertainment in the form of organising ‘kirtans’ and ‘bhajan sandhyas’ and providing TV with satellite connections.