Roughly 100 miles from New Delhi, widowed women live together in the Meera Sahavagini ashram in Vrindavan, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. According to Reuters, many Hindu women are "expected to renounce all earthly pleasures, such as wearing colourful clothes or looking attractive" when their husband dies or risk "social discrimination." These women attend education and training classes at the ashram, operated by the NGO Sulabh International.
Adnan Abidi took some images for Reuters of this community last week. The photographer described life at the ashram:
Hindu widows are branded as inauspicious by society and are forbidden to wear any form of color or be a part of any kind of celebrations like marriage and childbirth, hence most find respite amid their own kind, and seek solace in sorrow. As I spent my day with them I realized that learning was the best part of their day. Each of them would get up early, bathe and offer prayers together in the hall before resuming their daily chores of making prayer beads and flower garlands.