Women in Hindu culture are forced to live a ‘colour-less life’ once they become a widower. Fancy, colorful clothes, bindi, bangles everything that a woman wears to beautify herself is forbidden to these widowers.
What can be called a shameful and outrageous act, a 77-year-old woman wearing a pottu on her forehead was denied her late husband’s pension by the officer and if that did not satisfy his beliefs, he went ahead and abused the old woman for wearing the pottu.
The old woman has been struggling with the formalities for transferring her late husband’s pension. Her husband used to work in the settlements wing of Electrical and Mechanical Department at the Port Trust. He passed away in March and ever since then she is making rounds of the office departments said the woman’s son.
The son and his wife accompanied the woman to complete the formalities. Narrating the incident, the daughter in law of the woman said: “When we came to the settlements wing, the officer in question who identified himself as Ravi, was actually sleeping. We gave them the forms that they required, my mother-in-law’s identity proof, and a photo of hers that was taken four months back. But he took one look at her and then at the photo and refused to accept it.”
She further explained, “In front of my mother-in-law, he insensitively told us that we should understand that a widow is not supposed to be wearing pottu or flowers. He told us we need to take another photo, where she is wearing only sacred ash on her forehead. He asked how a widow could come to the office looking like this.”
The official expected the same norm to be followed.”When we tried to reason with him, he told us to bring her ration card, which was initially not even a requirement. We told him that she is old and can’t keep coming to the office, but he did not care. He refused to take her fingerprints or even begin the process to transfer pension,” the daughter-in-law Madhuri told
She also added that her mother-in-law was inconsolable and later took a picture without the ‘Pottu’ admitting it was her grave sin to wear it when her husband is no more.
Angry at the official’s act, Madhuri was even more surprised when she complained against him.
The senior officials had only responded saying ‘that is how they are, you will have to adjust.”