In simple words and by definition, a widow is a woman who has lost her husband. Decades ago, widowhood used to wreak havoc in the life of the woman. She was denied all basic rights. Man used to be the sole earning hand of the family and his dismissal used to bring an end to family’s happiness. Unfortunately, woman was tied to Sati ritual especially in India according to which she had to set herself on fire at husband’s funeral pyre. White colored attire and no means of entertainment and socializing used to be the basic keys of widowhood. Suddenly, a woman used to become unfit for holy practices and was kept at a corner of the house. Even eating delicacy was banned.
Though the condition of woman as a widow has ameliorated since then but it still lacks in morality in rural areas. Sati system is no more into practice but what if life is made hell-like even till today for few. In under developed areas, widow is still considered as a pitiful woman who doesn’t have the right to start afresh. Forget about standing on her feet and working for her bread and butter. She is looked down by fellow married women. In fact, the worst part is that men look at her with evil eyes. It becomes impossible to sustain life smoothly especially when they have kids to nurture. Widowhood is not a curse its’ rather destiny’s decision. A woman’s happiness is churned and smashed into an unending vicious cycle of superstitions and myths. Sanctity of human life lies in its existence and belief. If the spouse ceases to exist that doesn’t mean the life of the better half ends. Husband and wife are like two wheels of a vehicle; their coordination makes the vehicle move ahead gradually. If one of them falls off, it is replaced with a new one but vehicle never stops. Similarly, life never halts. In urban areas, a widow doesn’t have to face such issues but our rural fellow women do not get the chance of enjoying rights on equal sharing basis.
Lack of adequate awareness and knowledge leads to ignorance which is clearly evident. A woman who is already bound because of shackles of society and responsibilities since marriage succumbs to her pain after her husband’s loss. She merely needs the support of the society; neither its sympathy nor its limitations. Sadly, the scenario is other way round till date where under the chimney a woman sobs at night and wishes to die at the pyre of the night.
- Written by Dr Aakshi Kalra