Fash­ion show highlights progress for In­dia wi­d­ows

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

In most of In­dia, mil­lions of Hindu wi­d­ows are ex­pected to live out their days in quiet wor­ship, dressed only in white. They are typ­i­cally barred from all re­li­gious fes­tiv­i­ties be­cause their very pres­ence is con­sid­ered in­aus­pi­cious. Un­til re­cently, In­dian wi­d­ows were ex­pected to fol­low the so­cio­cul­tural codes of a pa­tri­ar­chal Hindu so­ci­ety that de­mands a woman lead a life of as­ceti­cism after a hus­band’s death. But slowly, wi­d­ows are mov­ing to­ward moder­nity.

The holy city of Vrin­da­van, in In­dia’s north­ern state of Ut­tar Pradesh, is known as the City of Wi­d­ows be­cause it has given shel­ter to thou­sands of poor women. Their lives ap­pear to be chang­ing for the bet­ter, with women’s groups and In­dian aid or­ga­ni­za­tions tak­ing in­ter­est in their wel­fare. The wi­d­ows are break­ing age-old tra­di­tions of stay­ing aloof by ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing in Hindu fes­ti­vals like Holi and Diwali. They went a step fur­ther re­cently, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a fash­ion show.

In­dian Hindu wi­d­ows ap­plaud as they stand on stage dur­ing a fash­ion show in New Delhi, In­dia, Satur­day. — AP photos

An In­dian Hindu widow helps an­other just be­fore step­ping onto the ramp dur­ing a fash­ion show.

A makeup artist gets an In­dian Hindu widow ready for a fash­ion show.

An In­dian Hindu widow prac­tices to walk on the run­way be­fore a fash­ion show in New Delhi.

An In­dian Hindu widow gets dressed back­stage be­fore par­tic­i­pat­ing in a fash­ion show in New Delhi.

An In­dian Hindu widow laughs as she wears a Sari back­stage be­fore par­tic­i­pat­ing in a fash­ion show.

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