In this age of Kalpana Chawlas, Aishwariya Rais and Sonia Gandhis it is sad to know that such heinous practices like discrimination of widows still exist. There are fourteen thousand odd widows living in institutionalized hell in Vrindavan,Mathura,India

Widows of Vrindavan

There are fourteen thousand of them,
Carrying the ghosts of unforgettable past,
Singing Bhajans: "Mere to Girdhar Gopal..."
To a God who never smiles on them;
The Widows of Vrindavan
Marginalized by society,
Hiding in the garb of piety,
They perform their daily Pooja chores,
Trying to hide their bleeding sores,
Buried deep within their souls,
Souls, hollowed to their cores;
Overlooked by every one
The Widows of Vrindavan...
Married at twelve
Widowed at fourteen,
She mourns for a husband
She hardly knew,
That too at a time
She could not comprehend
The meaning of the word: Husband,
Life has taught her, at every bend-
Like a living 'curse', she on others descends-
Paying for someone else's death,
By a life which is living hell,
Paying penance for her 'sin',
She never committed on the nearest of kin,
Living with a sense of guilt-
Imposed on her by the religious guild-,
She often wonders:
"Won't it be better to be killed?
To be burnt on the 'funeral pyre',
Then to burn in this living fire,
Of guilt and sin,
And nameless desire...?"
Shorn and shunned by every one...
The Widows of Vrindavan...
Considered a 'bad omen'...
The Widows of Vrindavan...
Age-old heinous practices of society,
Perpetuated under the garb of piety-
Though, declared 'crimes' by our sense of propriety-
Still, continue to erode, I say with anxiety,
The very fabric of our society,
When man's hunger and insatiety,
Of ruling over the 'women of notoriety',
Continues unabated, as if he is Almighty...
In twenty-first century still,
She is considered a 'Bad Omen'...
The widows of Vrindavan...
With Radha mocking,
Govida making fun...
The widows of Vrindavan...
"Mere to Girdhar Gopal..."
(My God and Lord is Krishna),
My future dark and dun...'
"O When my savior, Kalki,
Will you ever come?"...
Sing the Widows of Vrindavan...

Author: Zoya Zaidi
Aligarh, (UP), India
Copyrightę: Zoya Zaidi

In the medieval India, widows were made to shave their heads off, wear coarse white clothes, eat frugal meals (minus spices, believed to excite sexual desires), which they prepared themselves, sleep on bare floors or at best on rough mats; singing, dancing, even humming was a big no-no! Needless to say that remarriage was unheard of... Sad to say, such practices exist even today There are a total of three million widows in India....

In ancient Indian practice of 'Sati', women were burned alive on the 'funeral pyre' of their husband; this act of supposed self-emollition was considered holy and pious. By performing 'Sati' their place in the heave was ensured. Satis were even worshipped and temples were built in their honour.

Photo: Widow face; Geeta Devi from Nepal, marriaed and widowed one month later at the age of five; according to the age- old Hindu tradition never remarried.

Poetry by Zoya Zaidi
Read 1710 times
Written on 2005-10-02 at 13:29

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what to say... the text really makes a difference... it reveals truth that I (and I think many with me) don't know or is trying to not see, these kinds of texts are so important... make people see and you're on the way of solving the problem, maybe it's a long way but you took a step in the right direction and ... what can I say... you should be proud..

2006-03-04 Moods The PoetBay support member heart!
i was not aware of this appalling situation... how horrible... discrimination of this sort (or any, really) is truly beyond me... it holds no sense at all... youve brought me into the sad reality these widows are being made to endure... overzealous archaic minds and superstitions dictating the fate of ones who have had nothing to do with this situation of life (death of their husband)... how can we treat each other in such inhumane manner... makes me sad this... how can we change mindsets that are so deeply void of reason? is there hope for change, you think? oh i hope so very much... this is poignantly disheartening... but expressed so beautifully... thank you for sharing this... opens my eyes to others' realities ive never been made aware of... :f

later... xx

John Ashleigh
This tells me that the measures of discrimination go further than martin luther king.


This one brought tears to my eyes. I have read/watched things on the caste systems and socio-economic systems. And some people here (USA)think they have it bad when they can't get the car/outfit/makeup they want!

You have presented the depressing scenario very well. I agree with what you say just as I agree with the views of other readers.

Sofiul Azam
Another impressive poem but only this time you have become more socially conscious of the widows at Vrindavan in the Indian socio-cultural context. Your concern for widows is a kind of setting oneself in their context to better understand their situations they are already trapped in.

I give thanks from within my heart beyond the intellectuality we always aspire to have on display for others. Anyway, there is a certain chance for any person to fall in love with such compassionate human being like you! And I, like others perhaps, am no exception. I hope to hear from you soon...

chasingtheday The PoetBay support member heart!
just to let you know, if you click on my messages at the top right hand of the screen you will find an im section. :)

chasingtheday The PoetBay support member heart!
a good piece - pointing out the sufferings of some around the world. no matter how much we cry for justice, sadly, there will always be those who stick to persecution.