Breaking Taboos! Maharashtra Village Bans Age-Old Widow Customs, Sets Example For Others To Follow

Image Credits: The Indian Express, India.com (Representative)

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Breaking Taboos! Maharashtra Village Bans Age-Old Widow Customs, Sets Example For Others' To Follow

The ‘widow customs’ covered many restrictions imposed on women after the death of their husbands, including not being allowed to wear colourful and bright clothes, jewellery and fashion accessories.

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In a progressive move, the gram panchayat of Herwad village in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district has unanimously passed a resolution to ban all rites associated with widowhood.

The 'widow customs' covered many restrictions imposed on women after the death of their husbands, including not being allowed to wear colourful and bright clothes, jewellery and fashion accessories. In addition, they were considered unlucky and not allowed to attend any family function or celebration.

After noticing the ordeal of 12 women in the village who lost their husbands to COVID-19, the residents decided to end the regressive customs. Some of these widows were childless, while the rest had kids aged up to 12, The Times of India reported.

Resolution Passed Unanimously

The gram panchayat's resolution passed unanimously, stating, "Henceforth in our village, no woman would have to undergo the painful rite of widowhood. If her husband dies, the woman is forced to remove her mangalsutra, shatter her bangles and remove the sindoor from her head. This process is painful for her and a widow is also not allowed to attend any religious or social programme. This cruel and redundant process is hereby banned from our village."

The proposal was tabled and seconded by women panchayat members.

Many Steps Initiated For Welfare Of Women

Surgonda Patil, sarpanch of Herwad, said that they have initiated many steps for the welfare of the women who lost their husbands to COVID-19. A monetary help of Rs 5,000 has also been extended for their children's education.

Pramod Zinjade, an activist from Karmala town in the Solapur district, is leading the campaign to ban "widow customs" or amend the Anti-superstition and Black Magic Act to make such customs a crime.

"We are approaching the MLAs to raise the issue of 'widow customs' in the assembly session. There is no legal security for women who are subjected to such practices," he told the publication.

Zinjade has also written a will and submitted it to the taluka magistrate mentioning that if he were to die, his wife should not be forced to follow such customs.

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