Supplication Number 5,501



This post, and the next, may come across as a bit ranting, in style. I think that I am allowed a bit of a rant.

I had gone to Vrindavan a few times in the last two years, and if you do want to see some pictures of the widows of Vrindavan, I can only encourage you to head over to the blog of a young lady who calls herself A Quirky Wanderer.

These are widows, largely from the state of West Bengal, who find themselves in Vrindavan and lie out the last years of their life here. Most of them are supposed to stay at Ashrams, however, they end up begging on the streets. Some of the younger ones find themselves prostituted in the city.

Vrindavan is known as the city of Radha, and Krishna. Radha is the muse, the consort, of the God Krishna. People in Vrindavan will, in a holier than thou manner greet you by saying, “Radhe Radhe”. The piety is skin deep, evidently.

This is a town with, they say, 5,500 temples. Do we need one more? To my mind, no.

Yet, a few days ago, our President Pranab Mukherji (from the same state as the widows) announced that he would like to build a new temple that is 220 metres high (or 140 metres high). The Qutub Minar in Delhi is 72.5 metres high.

In his asinine brilliance, he said that this temple is necessary for India to take it’s place in the developed world.

The question that I have, is that if we have so much money in India, shouldn’t this money be spent on helping the widows? Or, doing something else for the poor and uneducated of the country?

The widow above spreads the pallu of her sari, and supplicates for money.

Our brilliant people, however, feel that Temple Number 5,501 is more important.



  1. It’s like this all over the world. 😦 Shouldn’t the pope sell his golden throne and scepter? What about that million dollar hat the queen of England wears while she gives austerity speeches? All assholes. Your rant is justified. I can’t even get started on America…

    1. She wears a million dollar hat and gives austerity speeches? Wow? the CEO of my last company did that. He came to India, stayed in a suite costing 1,000 USD a day, and asked us all to travel intercontinental by economy

  2. You bring to mind that trite quote about the results of being ignorant of history. And in schools today, kids are still being “taught” history by being required to memorize the dates of various wars, coups and revolutions. If there’s any discussion of the causes of a revolution, it’s a list of bullet points, one of which might be “commoners’ resentment of the wealth and lifestyles of the ruling class.” This is an inadequate description of watching your kids die of cold, starvation and diseases associated with poverty. But that’s what I was taught about the cause of Russian Revolution: envious, resentful commoners. In an environment of widespread poverty and a huge wealth gap, one guy with a good speechwriter can spark a revolution and the politicians and leaders around the world don’t know enough about history to see it developing.

    1. I once read that history is written by the victors. In India, we like to pillory the Brits, for instance. And, they did us much harm indeed. yet, they also did us much good. They created the institutions that much of modern India is based on. Two gentlemen (one was called Everest, after whom the mountain is named) mapped out the country, and it took them years to do this.
      We don’t learn the lessons of the past, only the dates. This is true

  3. That’s a great question, Rajiv. The problem with it is that the wealthy and powerful might be trading a tiny bit of their opulent lifestyles if they were to get involved with needy people. That is historically rare, if not completely nonexistent. We have to help each other one by one.

  4. Have you seen the movie Water? It is a beautiful movie based on the same issue…I wholeheartedly agree on this topic.

      1. Oh ok. She made a triology…1942 Earth, Fire and Water. Water is completely based on the life of these Widows and shows their plight. There is a 5-6 year old widow as well, in the movie.

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