New Delhi, March 1: It's Holi time. The entire nation is soaked in the colours of Holi.
As we celebrate the festival of colours, five widows from Vrindavan have reached the national capital on Wednesday to gift special herbal gulaal (colour powder that is used during the Holi festivities) and an array of sweets meant for their "brother"--Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The women are said to be carrying gulaal in 11 earthen pots for the PM. On Wednesday, several widows played Holi at the historic Gopinath temple in Vrindavan for the sixth consecutive year breaking a tradition that forced them to lead the life of a recluse.
It was a riot of colour as hundreds of women dressed in spotless white sarees came out of the ashrams (special places only meant for widows) to sprinkle colours or gulaal on each other in the revered temple.
Ahead of their visit to Delhi, the widows prepared herbal gulaal, filled into 11 earthen pots waiting to be handed over to the authorities at the prime minister's residence in New Delhi on Thursday.
95-yer-old Manu Ghosh explains that since the widows consider Modiji as their brother, they had arranged special gulaal for him.
"It's love from thousands of widow sisters to Modi bhaiya," says 81-year-old Kanak Prabha. For the last couple of years, some widows were visiting Delhi to tie Rakhi to PM Modi on Rakhshabandhan, says Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak, who organised the Holi for widows in Vrindavan.
The celebration is an attempt to add a dash of colour to the otherwise insipid lives of the widows who earlier used to live the life of a recluse, having been deserted by their families, Pathak said.
The widows played Holi with over 1,600 kilograms of flower petals and 1,600 kilograms of gulaal. And the joy radiates from their faces. They also danced and sang including bhajans on the occasion.
In many parts of India, widows are not permitted to play Holi. Since 2012, Sulabh began working in this direction aiming to bring them to the mainstream.
"We have brought these pots for Prime Minister Modi, who is like a brother to us. We want to celebrate Holi with him and have hence come to Delhi to personally convey our greetings to him," one of the widows, a native of Assam, told ANI.