Five widows from Vrindavan will reach Delhi tomorrow along with 11 big earthen pots containing herbal ‘gulaal’ and choicest sweets meant for their “brother” – Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The widows of Vrindavan played ‘Holi’ today at the historic Gopinath temple here for the sixth consecutive year breaking a tradition that forced them to lead the life of a recluse. It was a riot of colour as hundreds of women clad in spotless white sarees came out of the ‘ashrams’ to sprinkle colours and ‘gulaal’ on each other in the revered temple. Apart from celebrating Holi with sister widows, they have also prepared herbal ‘Gulaal’ which lies filled in 11 earthen pots waiting to be handed over to the authorities at the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi tomorrow.
Ninety-five-year old Manu Ghosh explains that since the widows consider ‘Modiji’ as their brother, they had arranged special ‘gulaal’ for him. “It’s love from thousands of widow sisters to Modi Bhaiya,” says 81-year-old Kanak Prabha. Five of these widows will go to Delhi to handover ‘gulaal’ and sweets for the prime minister. For the last couple of years, some widows were going to tie ‘Rakhi’ to Prime Minister Modi on ‘Rakhshabandhan’, says Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak who organised the ‘Holi’ for widows in Vrindavan.
The celebration is an attempt to add a dash of colour to the otherwise insipid lives of the widows who earlier used to live the life of a recluse, having been deserted by their families, Pathak said. The widows today played Holi with over 1600 kilograms of flower petals and 1600 kilograms of Gulaal. And the joy radiates from their faces. They also danced and sang including bhajans on the occasion. In many parts of India, widows are not permitted to play Holi. Since 2012, Sulabh began working in this direction aiming to bring them to the mainstream.