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Maharashtra: Campaign To Ban Widowhood Rituals Gains Ground; Ganpati Pandals Invite Widows For Aarti, Puja

Maharashtra: Campaign To Ban Widowhood Rituals Gains Ground; Ganpati Pandals Invite Widows For Aarti, Puja

Herwad in Kolhapur was the first gram sabha in the state to pass a resolution in May this year banning practices like breaking bangles, wiping off sindoor (vermillion) and removing 'mangalsutra', toe ring of widows as part of funerary rituals, social activist Pramod Zinjade told PTI.

Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Jammu
The campaign to ban regressive widowhood rituals in Maharashtra is getting a good response Photo: PTI

The campaign to ban regressive widowhood rituals in Maharashtra is getting a good response with more than 7,500 villages passing resolutions to curb these practices and even Ganpati pandals chipping in, a social activist associated with it said on Sunday.

Herwad in Kolhapur was the first gram sabha in the state to pass a resolution in May this year banning practices like breaking bangles, wiping off sindoor (vermillion) and removing 'mangalsutra', toe ring of widows as part of funerary rituals, social activist Pramod Zinjade told PTI.

"My appeal to Ganesh pandals to allow widows to perform aarti (prayer ritual with lighted lamp) and puja of the idols met with good response during the festival that just ended. Some 100 mandals allowed widows to perform aarti and honoured 1,500 such women," he said.

Expressing joy on the development, widow Asha Shinde (80), who was invited to a Ganesh pandal in Pune, said, "Since my husband's death in 2011, I live alone as my children are abroad. I haven't participated in such public functions after the death of my husband as widows have no place in society."

"I am satisfied. Women in my family never treat me like a widow. I feel proud that I participate in all social functions in the family," she added. The movement was gaining ground, Zinjade said, adding that Brahmanwada village in Akole taluka in Ahmednagar has passed a resolution demanding a law to protect the honour and dignity of widows.

Banners of 'vidhwa pratha mukt Maharashtra' (widow rituals free Maharashtra) were being put up on autorickshaws as part of a mass awareness campaign, Zinjade said.

(With PTI inputs)

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