India is a home to an estimated 40 million widows which is approximately 10% of all women, becoming the country with the largest number of widows. ‘Widow’ is a term given to a woman who has lost her husband and doesn’t marry again. The issues faced by widow dates back to the 19th century. The infamous ritual called ‘Sati’ was practiced then, where the widow was forced to set herself on fire along with her husband’s pyre. Though the practice of Sati has been abolished, however the other disheartening challenges still exist for the widows even today. Widows are shunned by the communities and abandoned by the families considering them to be financial burdens. Widows aren’t allowed to participate in any religious & social ceremonies and are treated badly in many households. Widows are forced to wear only white clothes all through their life; white being the colour of mourning in India and aren’t allowed to adorn jewelleries. They are looked upon sympathetically with just one question hovering around her – ‘Ab Tum Kya Karogi’? (What are you going to do now ?How are you going to manage alone?) The holy city of Vrindavan in India is now the ‘City of Widows’ homing all the abandoned widows.
‘Say NO to Widow Shaming’ is essentially a campaign which has been thought of and started by our team to highlight and bring forth the challenges faced by an Indian modern-day widow.
There seems to be a conspicuous absence of feminist activities, scholarly writings, mass campaigns around the biasness faced by a widow even in the present modern world .The sad & sympathetic portrayal of a widow hasn’t changed much in the recent day cinemas and advertisements too .
Therefore the ‘Say NO to Widow Shaming’ campaign is essentially an initiative aimed at trying to make a paradigmatic shift in our perception. From time immemorial, widows have always been a victim of our patriarchal system, without ever trying to challenge this system. The oppression which exists even today is detrimental to the critical awareness to respond to such a situation, to the extent of even lacking the basic vocabulary to expose it.
Widowhood showcases our historically known poor power imbalance between a man and a woman. While a widower ‘s life goes completely unquestioned and left at his will, at the same time a widow is questioned at every step in her life and every move of her life is under scrutiny.
Even today, marriage is considered as the biggest achievement for any woman. All flaws in the relationship or any kind of a misfortune is termed as a disaster; women being mostly held responsible & accountable for it.
The unfortunate COVID-19 epidemic has literally turned social media / networks into a complete infotainment medium reaching out to a larger audience base. And hence we decided to utilize this lockdown opportunity and the social media medium to raise & highlight this critical public issue which has been ignored and taken for granted since years ; something which needs immediate public attention with the hope that we together can try and make a little difference in the way one perceives the image of the Indian modern widows.
Campaign site designing: Priya Ravish (CEO – Shri Technologies).
Campaign video narration: Mahathi Vijay Prakash (Singer, Voice Actor, Model).
Script: Tara Chettur (Jouranlist) based on her experience.
Music: Mithun Hariharan (IT Professional).
Editing: I’MPerfect Media
Released by: Madras Chorus.