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  1. Mathura, 2014.10.18 (PTI): Pledging to keep Yamuna clean, widows of Vrindavan will offer thousands of ‘diyas’ on the ghats of the river this Diwali to raise awareness about its pollution. Widows of Vrindavan, who have continued to defy the age-old traditions by celebrating not only Diwali but Holi and Raksha Bandhan, besides taking part in Durga Puja in West Bengal, would light earthen lamps to ward off darkness in their lives. The three-day Diwali celebration would begin in Vrindavan from Tuesday. Besides lighting the colorful earthen lamps, they will sing bhajans. Around a thousand widows, mostly from West Bengal, live in Vrindavan for decades. Earlier treated as “inauspicious”, they were not allowed to take part in rituals, till NGO Sulabh International took a keen interest in their uplift. All the seven ashrams in Vrindavan will be decorated with lights and earthen lamps during Diwali. “Sulabh will continue with its nationwide campaign for the welfare of widows,” NGO’s founder Bindeshwar Pathak said. Pathak said he intended to draft a bill and hand it over to the Parliament to improve the plight of widows, who are abandoned by their families. He urged all political parties to support the proposed bill drafted by him.

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