Lucknow, August 17, 2016: In a one-of-its-kind event, hundreds of widows from Vrindavan and liberated manual scavenger women on Wednesday publicly tied Rakhi to 50 upper caste sages, Sanskrit scholars and priests at the century-old Gopinath temple in Vrindavan.
Defying tradition, the women were in the temple town at the initiative of NGO Sulabh International. Around 100 widows, mostly in their 80s, have been engaged in making colourful Rakhis since the beginning of August at Meera Sahabhagi and Chetan Vihar Ashram to organise Rakhsha Bandhan on a massive scale. They have prepared around 1,000 of these sacred threads, an official informed IANS.
Besides these 800 widows and 200 liberated manual scavengers, women from Alwar and Tonk districts of Rajasthan also took part in the Rakhi celebrations. Widows tied Rakhi to local holy men and upper caste men to mark the occasion and break the tradition. They even shared food with them.
Later, the widows also participated in cultural programmes especially chalked out for the occasion.
Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak, who takes care of around 1,000 widows in Vrindavan, observed that such an initiative will bring cheer to their lives.
A collection of 2,000 colourful Rakhis and sweets will also be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the widows who have expressed a strong desire to meet him and urge him to ensure their wellbeing.
At least ten widows from Vrindavan and Varanasi will visit the Prime Minister’s official residence in Delhi with the Rakhis on behalf of around 2,000 widows living in Vrindavan and Varanasi on Thursday.
In a sign that the leadership question in Rajasthan has been settled, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday posted his photograph with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, both contenders for the Chief Minister’s post, as party sources hinted that Gehlot could be the party’s choice for the top post.
The photograph of the smiling leaders had a caption “United Colours of Rajasthan!”, without giving any hint as to who will be the Chief Minister. An official announcement is expected in the evening.
Gandhi’s tweet capped hectic consultations with Gehlot, who appears set to return as Chief Minister in Rajasthan, and state Congress chief Sachin Pilot, who put up his claim strongly.
Gehlot, a two-time Chief Minister, and Pilot reached Gandhi’s residence within minutes of each other on Friday. A decision is expected to be announced on Friday.
Ahead of the meeting, Gehlot took a veiled dig at Pilot saying that the party unit had already left the decision on Gandhi and it was not the time to express individual choices.
“We have given the duty to the High Command. Let it decide who is to be given what responsibility. If I say my choice is this, it is not time for that. The time is to strengthen the Congress, see how its graph goes up.
“If Congress is strong, everyone will be empowered and we prove to be useful in meeting the objectives of the 2019 elections. This alone should be our thinking,” Gehlot said.
He said a resolution had been passed by newly elected MLAs in Rajasthan authorising the High Command to take a decision.
“Whether it is Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh, once a resolution is passed, the decision of the Congress President should be acceptable to all. This is what our workres, MLAs and people expect,” he said.
He said winning elections in the three Hindi heartland states was a big achievement and that it all started with a strong performance of the Congress in Gujarat under Gandhi’s leadership.
“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (BJP President) Amit Shah have lost their aura. They have not been able to recover due to which we won elections in the three states,” he said.
Gehlot had played an active role in formulating the party’s campaign strategy in Gujarat.
Both Pilot and Gehlot had separate meetings with Gandhi on Thursday.
The meetings came hours after the leadership issue was settled in Madhya Pradesh, with Gandhi tweeting his picture with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who were both chief ministerial aspirants.
The picture — akin to the one on Friday — carried the line “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy.”