Lifestyle: Life in ‘Village of Widows’ at standstill

(From the Statesman)

Rain symbolizes doom for this tiny speck of Uttrakhand (in northern India) that saw nature’s worst fury in the form of floods caused by a cloudburst two years ago, leaving thousands of people dead and causing widespread devastation. Despite efforts made by the government, NGOs and other social organisations to restore normalcy in the region, people continue to be in the grip of despair and helplessness even after two years.

Statue of Shiva during Uttrakhand floods

Statue of Shiva during Uttrakhand floods

Among many stories of grit and hopes in the valley is one such tale of Deoli Brahmgram — a village nestled on the hills of Guptakashi with a population of 1,100. The village, that was completely dependent on the earnings from temples, where the residents worked as priest, porters and guides for the pilgrims, witnessed 70 deaths – leaving behind over 60 widows and giving it the “Village of Widows” tag.

The trauma of the incident was so intense that even after two years, those who survived are terrified to go back to Kedarnath, 30 km away, and work. This has not only caused unemployment among the people but also compelled them to become daily wage earners. Read more



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