Caring For India’s Abandoned Elderly Women & Widows

Taran Bai copyIf an elderly woman is thrown out by her family and not allowed to connect with her children, where should she go? Who will look after her when she grows frail and is unable to care for herself?

Unfortunately, this is the story of so many elderly women and widows in India. You can meet hundreds of them in Vrinadvan and Radha Kund everyday. Vrindavan being a town of temples, it attracts many elderly women and widows who come here to find solace in religious pursuit.

One such woman is Taran Bai. Taran Bai was born in a village called Bheema, which lies in Balaghat district, Madhya Pradesh in close proximity to Kanha National Park. Married at the tender age of fourteen Taran Bai didn’t have a wonderful marriage. Her husband was violent and abusive. Things didn’t look better even after she gave birth to two beautiful daughters. One day, her husband threw her out of home. Later, she tried to reconnect with her daughters but her husband and his family did not allow.

She had nobody left, besides her sister, Kamla Bai. She was able to continue living in Bheema with the help and support of her fellow villagers. Although she had settled down to her life in the village, Taran Bai felt a lacking of something. A devotee of Sai Baba, she had initially considered moving to Shirdi. Taran Bai’s mother’s dying wish for her however had been that she go to Vrindavan. With that purpose, she decided to leave Bheema for Vrindavan.

Very organized in her personal affairs, Taran Bai got documents signed and notarized from her local panchayat that she had no connection or relationship left with anybody from her family. Taran Bai also bought a ticket for a bus journey that took her to various sites of religious importance before leaving her in Vrindavan in February 2015, together with her sister, Kamla.

For two months, Taran Bai and her sister lived in an ashram and worshipped at various temples before making their way to Maitri Ghar, Maitri’s Old Age Home on April 25, 2015. In the months since coming to Maitri Ghar, Taran Bai and her sister have happily settled down here, in the company of other elderly women and widows who have been abandoned, and suffered so much throughout their lives.

Sometimes, when Taran Bai thinks of her daughters who were taken away from her, and with whom she has no contact any more, she is brought to tears. However the solidarity and care that she receives at Maitri enables her to look forward to each day with a brighter perspective than she could ever have done before. She is very happy to have found Maitri and live in her life with its support.

Join us in providing shelter, food and other essentials to widows living in Maitri’s Old Age Home:

Written By: Tara Rana & Shatrunjay Mall

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