Widowed in India

According to ancient Hindu texts, when a man dies, his wife has three choices. She can throw herself on his funeral pyre in the sacrificial act of suttee; she can marry her husband’s younger brother (if his family is willing); or she can spend her remaining days in isolation in an ashram designed for widows, where she shaves her head, wears mourning clothes and seeks to “atone” for her husband’s death.

Water is about a handful of women in 1938 India who end up in such a widow house, forced to live out their days doing menial chores, singing hymns on the street and begging for alms.


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