[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
More Indians in 'city of widows'
By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi

Women in India
Widows are seen as a drain on resources
The number of young Hindu widows seeking refuge in India's holy city of Vrindavan - nicknamed "the city of widows" - is rising, a study says.

The study, funded by the United Nations women's organisation Unifem, found it was poverty, and not spirituality, that was driving women to Vrindavan.

The report said that poor and helpless women went to the northern city to escape "humiliation and dependence".

Nearly 15,000 widows are believed to be living on the streets of Vrindavan.

Widows are traditionally ostracised in India and the new study shows their plight remains pretty much unchanged.

Unaware of help

It says that almost 80% of the widows who come to Vrindavan - in the state of Uttar Pradesh - are from West Bengal, and a large number of them are very young.

All this is despite the fact that West Bengal has one of the highest pension schemes offered by the government for widows, almost $20 (10) a month.

A well-known journalist, Usha Rai, carried out the research. She said that widows go to Vrindavan because often they are not aware of government policies to help them.

She said charities in Vrindavan are relatively well-off as they receive huge donations.

She recommended "rehabilitation and skilled training" for widows so that they are not dependant on charity alone.

But these women are often driven away because their families see them as a drain on their finances.




SEE ALSO
India's demographic dividend
25 Jul 07 |  South Asia
First female president for India
21 Jul 07 |  South Asia
'Promiscuous men' fuel India HIV
16 Jul 07 |  South Asia
'Indian register' for pregnancies
13 Jul 07 |  South Asia
Afghans 'visit India sperm banks'
21 Jun 07 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific