Over 10,000 Gram Panchayats in Maharashtra Ban Widow Rituals, Embrace Reforms

Share this News:

Mumbai, 23rd June 2024: Two years after Herwad village in Kolhapur set a precedent by banning “widow rituals”, more than 10,000 gram panchayats across Maharashtra have followed suit, marking a significant shift towards progressive social reforms.


The initiative, pioneered by Kolhapur’s Herwad village, not only prohibits traditional widow rituals but also promotes opportunities for widows to remarry in some communities. The impact of this pioneering step has resonated not only within Maharashtra but across the nation.


“After a national-level workshop in New Delhi, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued an advisory on June 11, outlining 11 key points to improve the quality of life and uphold the dignity of widows,” stated NHRC officials. The advisory urges states and union territories to implement these measures within two months.


Citing the 2011 Census, NHRC highlighted that India has approximately 5.6 crore widowed individuals, with women constituting 78% of this demographic.


Pramod Zinjade, founder of the Mahatma Phule Samaj Seva Mandal, initiated the movement by pledging that his wife would not observe widow rituals after his demise. “Since Herwad’s resolution, an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 gram panchayats out of Maharashtra’s 29,000 have adopted similar resolutions,” Zinjade noted. “The Maharashtra government issued a circular urging all zilla parishads to encourage gram panchayats to follow suit. This movement has also gained momentum in other states.”


“In the Goa assembly, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant pledged to enact legislation supporting these reforms. We are collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations nationwide,” Zinjade added, reflecting on the movement’s outreach and impact.


Zinjade was honored with the Maharashtra Foundation (USA) award for 2022 in recognition of his pioneering efforts in social reform.


The widespread adoption of these resolutions underscores a growing momentum towards empowering widows and fostering more inclusive and equitable communities across India.