Lucknow: Decades after they were shunned by their families and asked to leave their homes in Kolkata, 50 widows from four ashrams of Vrindavan will be visiting their native city to participate in this year`s Durga Puja.
The homecoming of these widows, who were socially ostracised after the death of their husbands, has been organised by the founder of Sulabh International and social reformer Bindeshwar Pathak after the group had expressed their wish to visit Kolkata during the festival.
"A few days back, some of the elderly widows expressed the desire to visit Kolkata during Durga Puja. Though it was a good idea, we were apprehensive what kind of reception they will get during festivities which is a very busy and crowded affair," Pathak said.
"However, we thought this could be a novel idea that will give them a break from their monotonous lives in the ashrams," he added.
He said that some organisers approached the organisation and said they would make special arrangements to ensure grand reception of the widows.
The widows would fly to Kolkata to inaugurate the Pally Mangal Samity Durga puja at Jodhpur Park whose organisers have sent special invitation to Sulabh International, he said.
Pathak said he has been in touch with leading puja organisers for the past one month in Kolkata and its suburbs to ensure these widows get a grand welcome and they succeed in getting rid of the social stigma attached to their lives.
"Their trip to Kolkata is an effort to bring some joy and sense of belongingness to their lives. They are going back to the land of their ancestors. They will fly for the first time and you can`t imagine how excited they are," he said.
He said other organisers have also approached his organisation after they got to know about the initiative.
The organisers have also requested West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to be present on the occasion to felicitate the destitutes.
"We have also requested Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee to be present on the occasion to felicitate them," one of the organisers stated.
The group of women, who are also likely to meet the West Bengal Governer, would be flown to Kolkata on October 6.