Standing strong against superstition and breaking taboo in one celebratory swoop, a widow from Dhrangadhra in Gujarat performed the rites at her daughter’s wedding.
Daniben Makwana, a 50-year-old woman, comes from a region where widowhood is still attached with a lot of stigmas. “It is considered inauspicious for a widow to participate in any religious ceremony or ritual in the family, according to an age-old belief held not just in Dhrangadhra. Members of my family and community never allowed me to perform any rituals during the wedding ceremonies of three of my sons,” she told The Times of India.
It was after a concerted effort by an NGO called Video Volunteers that led a campaign called Khel Badal, did Daniben and other widows like her in Dhrangadhra start talking about the effects of patriarchy in their lives and the need to break free of stereotypes.
Image for representation. Photo source: Flickr
While Daniben herself was a little reluctant of coming forward and performing the rites at her daughter’s wedding, she was also encouraged by her own family to take the step. In doing so, she has inspired other widows in the region who also have to silently suffer mistreatment in the name of tradition.
The NGO has been working to dismantle discrimination by instating discussion groups in five different pockets in Gujarat. Its primary purpose is to empower men and women from underdeveloped areas through video journalism skills thus giving communities a direct mode of exposing the prejudices and bigotry that exists in their world.
Learn more about Video Volunteers here