In the state of Haryana, women, caught in the strands of patriarchy, are often dishonoured by the society after the death of their husbands. Call it their age-old belief or mentality, but it is very much prevalent there even today in some sections of the society. Despite strict laws that promote widow remarriage and suppress their discrimination in the society, there are instances that stand against the present legal set up.
While the widows of the ex-servicemen in Haryana are being granted dual pensions, the widows in most of the sections of the society are not even treated like humans. Confronting the harsh reality is essential to abolish the ill practices being carried out in the state. Either widows are ill treated by their in-laws, beaten to death, burnt alive or are forced into mismatch marriages for financial benefits. Karewa is the practice that has been the root cause of the sufferings of a widow in Haryana. As per this custom, after the death of her husband, a woman is forced to marry the brother of the dead husband, so that the wife cannot claim the property that he inherited as a son of the family.
Whether married, single, or widowed, every woman needs to realise that she has the right to freedom. It’s their right to raise voice against iniquities and fight for justice. The legal system has always been in support of the widows, making laws to eradicate objectification of women. Aimed at securing widows financially, the pension schemes have been ineffective in providing respite to the widows' suffering. They are unable to draw their money without bribing the touts present in the pension offices. It is also being seen that the state is hardly sensitive to the plight and needs of such individuals and opportunities need to be created to utilise their strengths in avenues such as childcare, orphanages, nursing etc. bring them back into the mainstream in case they desire.
However, the women of present era have learnt to lead an independent life without any support. Even in the state of Haryana, while we have some individual examples where widows have ditched the old customs of subjugation and have explored ways to success mainly due to their own will power, the state has to come forward and create awareness.