The plight of Indian widows and the social stigma attached to them is a well-known knowledge.
Deemed as bad omen, the widows in India are often thrown out of their houses and forced to fend for themselves. Most of them end up landing in the Holy cities of Mathura, Varanasi and Vrindavan. Many resort to even begging while not-so-fortunate among them, fall victims to forced prostitution.
Amidst this prevalent social boycott, there was recently an incredibly good news for 18,000 widows in Gujarat, where a millionaire businessman chose to invite them as special guests for his son’s wedding.
Mehsana-based businessman Jitendra Patel invited 18,000 widows to the wedding of his son Ravi Patel seeking their blessings for the couple.
Times of India reported that these widows were invited from five districts of north Gujarat including Banaskantha, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Patan and Aravalli.
Patel earned plenty of plaudits from all and sundry when he announced that the invited widows were his privileged guests for his son’s wedding, held at Derol.
“It was my heartfelt desire that the couple should be blessed by widows, who are mostly neglected by the society. Their presence is considered a bad omen at auspicious functions but I wanted to prove that all these beliefs are nothing but superstitions,” Patel was quoted by the paper.
Each invited widow was presented with a blanket and a sapling with a request that they will plant them in their backyards and nurture them with care. The 500 most poorest among them were also provided with a milking cow.
This gesture had the widows in moved with some in tears. One of them was 55-year-old Hansa Thakore. An emotional Thakore said that she had never experienced such honour and importance after she became widow many years ago.
Patel’s gesture is an example worth emulating for all of us across villages and towns in India.