True Diamond : Dr. Laxmi Gautam-the saviour and protector11:52:00
Returning their dignity, in life and in death.
For a nation that prides itself on being called ‘Bharat Mata’ our treatment of women in general and widows in particular is rather appalling. An outsider wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that the Indian mindset was inherently misogynistic and therefore, maltreatment and widows was a subset of this widely held belief. In Vrindavan, famed for being the land of Lord Krishna, the incredibly pathetic treatment of widows spurred positive action from a woman, who today is seen as their friend, saviour and in many cases, their protector.
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Dr. Laxmi Gautam has been a professor of Ancient Indian Culture and History at the ‘Institute of Oriental Philosophy’. Every morning she sets out on the streets of Vrindavan, in search of abandoned widows who need care and nurturing. Some days she even finds widows who have died in the streets, with no one to perform their last rites. The inequity is shameful, and not something Dr. Gautam could stand for, which is why for nearly four decades her NGO, Kanak Dhara Foundation, has been rehabilitating, repatriating and even giving the widows of Vrindavan a dignified life and even (in some cases) a fitting farewell.
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The widows of Vrindavan now have a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dreary and bleak existence, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Laxmi Gautam and the Kanak Dhara Foundation. Dr. Gautam was feted with the Nari Shakti Puraskar, by the President of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee in 2015 on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
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A pioneer and a #TrueDiamond in every sense of the word.