The era of 1965 -1971 when in India, losing a husband and to become a widow , was not only a tragic experience for women, but where the centuries old traditions, practices and culture made the life of a widow a hell. The days when widows were forced to isolation and humiliation especially in the rural India, there was a brother who stood up for his widow sister; this is about that man, that brother.
He belonged to the prestigious Brahmin family in a village called Bajna, located around 60kms away from City of Mathura. As the fate would have it, one of his sister was widowed at a very young age, and he was pained to see that his sister was ostracized by the villagers, she was not allowed to attend any community functions, weddings, prayers etc just because being a widow was considered inauspicious and a widow was a “Bad Omen “for all the “Good Things “.
Unable to see the plight of his sister, and the pain which the entire family was suffering .He decided to bring about a change. He decided to bring joy and colors in his sister” Chanda's life.
He thought of getting her “Remarried “.
He knew the road was not easy, and he will have to face a lot of challenges. The first one was the obvious, how would he put the thought across his family. With immense courage he approached his father one day and said “Bauji (meaning father), I think Chanda is too young, she deserves to be happy, and live a life, we should get her remarried “.
The house came to a standstill, the time just stopped there!! Here there was a brother who was talking about remarrying her widowed sister and in the times where widows were considered pariahs.
The idea was obviously beyond acceptance!! His father said, “Shameful, it would be a shameful act!! I would be admonishing by the entire village, family, friends and community .He would never allow such a sinful act.
The brother was of a belief, that a widow is also a human being and has the right to enjoy her life, including the pleasure of life her own family.
Unfettered he carried on, alone on the road which was not easy and he was aware he would not be able to achieve the success overnight. He kept on searching for a suitable man for his sister, a man who would accept a widow in his life, who would be of the same views that, to become a widow was not a curse and the women had full right to all the pleasures of life. The options were definitely bleak.
God also helps , those who are fighting for the cause and finally he saw a ray of hope and the day arrived , the night when he took his sister with him to the temple and got her remarried.
He brought happiness, joy and color back into his sister’s life, the time when a remarriage of a widow was taboo; he showed immense courage and made the most impossible thing possible.
That was his gift to his sister, A New Life.
The brother I am talking about is, no other than, my Father - in –law, Ex Major in the army, a soldier in his real life, turned out to be soldier for his sister and an example for all the other men of yester years as well as today.
He stood up just not for his sister, but all the other widow women who were going through the suffering and miseries of life.
Change is a fact of human life.
There is a change in the way the widows are looked upon now and the incidence of remarriages are showing an increasing trend. I believe that a hundred or a thousand years might be a moment in the life of rocks or mountains, but to change the way society thinks it just needs the thoughts to be changed and that depends on the person.
For me, my HERO is for sure my father –in-law Ex Major Shivram Pathak.
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