Social Death: Banning Widow rituals

A snowballing ban on repressive widow rituals in India’s Maharashtra state shows how compassion can accelerate change.

Women’s rights activists say the tough-to-shake widowhood rituals are common throughout India – which is home to more than 40 million widows – and stem from patriarchal beliefs that a woman’s value is inherently tied to her husband. Upon his death, she may be subject to a variety of demeaning rituals and social ostracism, barred from wearing colourful clothing and attending religious or family functions. Some activists have called widowhood “a state of social death.”

A story by Kanika Gupta

Publisher: The Christian Science Monitor

Date: 29 Aug 2022

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