Breaking taboos

A businessman in India has invited 18000 widows to his son’s weddings in order to gain their blessings and break a social stigma. Having widows at ceremonial occasions in rural India has long been seen as an inauspicious act but Gujurati businessman Jitendra Patel wanted to prove this to be untrue. Speaking to the Times of India, he stated “It was my heartfelt desire that the couple should be blessed by widows, who are mostly neglected by the society. Their presence is considered a bad omen at auspicious functions but I wanted to prove that all these beliefs are nothing but superstitions.”

He invited widows from five districts of Gujurat who were treated as special guests during the occasion. The widows were each presented with a shawl and sapling upon the condition to nurture it. Additionally, 500 widows were given cows for milking purposes to become self sufficient financially. Of this, 55 year old Hansa Thakore said “I never expected getting so much importance after becoming a widow”.

There are many who in Jitendra’s position would have chosen to spend lavishly at their children’s wedding however Mr Patel’s actions set a great precedent to change cultural perception in our society.