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29 Gram Panchayats of Maharashtra to Ban Widowhood Rituals

The women are no longer expected to remove sindoor, break bangles and give up mangalsutra and toe ring after the death of their husbands.

Widowhood Rituals

Following a petition from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and an Government Resolution (GR) to this effect, 29 gram panchayats in Pune district of Maharashtra have decided to ban breaking of several ancient practices associated with widowhood such as removing sindoor (vermilion), breaking bangles and giving up mangalsutra and toe ring after the death of the woman’s husband.

All 29 gram panchayats in the district passed a resolution to this effect on Thursday, June 9, as a mark of respect for women.

Recently, on May 5 this year, Herwad gram panchayat in Shirol taluk of Kolhapur district passed a resolution to end all such practices related to widowhood to maintain the status of women who have lost their husbands.

The MVA government welcomed the proposal of Herwad Gram Panchayat and issued a GR urging all local bodies to follow it. In view of this GR, the chairperson of Maharashtra Women’s Commission, Rupali Chakankar took the responsibility of publicising it. Chakankar, who is from Pune and a part of Khadakwasla Vidhansabha, persuaded 29 gram panchayats of Khadakwasla Vidhan Sabha to stop these practices.

“The Khadakwasla assembly constituency will be the first taluka in Maharashtra to do away with these ancient practices,” Chakankar said. “A joint programme to end all these traditions and pass a resolution through 29 gram panchayats will be held at Bhairavnath temple in Dharai on Thursday evening,” she said.

Member-secretary of the Maharashtra women’s commission Shraddha Joshi; Pune municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar; district collector Rajesh Deshmukh; Zilla Parishad (ZP) chief executive officer Ayush Prasad and other officials will also be present at the resolution passing programme.

“Recently, I attended the last rites of my close relative. As per tradition, all these rituals were going to be performed, but I convinced all the relatives and they agreed not to follow these customs,” she said.

The writer is a media professional based in Delhi. She has been writing on diverse subjects, including sustainable businesses, environment and climate change, health and education and others.

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