Shunned From Society, India Widows Flock to City to Die

Shunned From Society, India Widows Flock to City to Die


VRINDAVAN, India (CNN) -- Ostracized by society, thousands of India's widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets, hunched over with walking canes, their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces.

These Hindu widows, the poorest of the poor, are shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition -- and because they're seen as a financial drain on their families.

They cannot remarry. They must not wear jewelry. They are forced to shave their heads and typically wear white. Even their shadows are considered bad luck.

Hindus have long believed that death in Vrindavan will free them from the cycle of life and death. For widows, they hope death will save them from being condemned to such a life again.

Tango’s Take It is a little tough to make jokes about shunning widows. In the US, they move in with family or have pensions and social security or become wards of the state. In some regions of India, they become wards of the streets. This is what happens, we guess, when an emerging country has 3 and half times our people in a space that is between 1/5 and 1/6 the size. This looks like the first time that we should be thankful for nursing homes. For the record, The Dish is against putting old people into the street. Bad times. And keep in mind that there are thought to be roughly 40 million of these homeless widows. And you’re welcome for ruining your day.

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