Dr Laxmi Gautam gives dignity to widows both living as well as dead.

Vrindavan, the famous Hindu pilgrimage,  is located on the banks of the Yamuna in Mathura district, Uttar Pradesh. Everyday in the morning one can see a lady walking the alleys besides the Yamuna ghats as if on a mission.

laxmigautam2That lady is Dr Laxmi Gautam. She is on the lookout for abandoned dead bodies of widows.  Once she spots a dead body, she arranges for a dignified end by organizing for logs and other things needed to perform the last rites.  If help is not available, she carries the bodies on her own to put them on the pyre. Over the years, Dr Gautam has helped 500 + widows meet such dignified end when they died and no one came forward to claim them.

“The city of widows” is home to thousands of widows across ages who have been ostracized from the society and disowned by their own families.

Dr Laxmi Gautam is completely devoted to these widows who are victims of such evil social practices.  She discovered her pupose in life when she was deeply moved by scenes of head shaven widows draped in white sarees and moving around bare-footed.

Some incidents which set new benchmarks for cruelty also firm up her resolve.

  • Sons throwing out an 80-year-old woman from the house without a single piece of clothing.
  • dogs eating abandoned corpses and worm infested feet of dead bodies
  • a daughter trying to poison a widow after snatching her cash and other accessories.
  • the body of a widow lying on the road for three consecutive days with no one claiming it. The deceased’s son had driven her out of the house.
Image Source: dnaindia.com
Image Source: dnaindia.com

Her NGO,  Kanak Dhara Foundation does its best to help these abandoned widows. It provides

  • warm meals, milk and snacks to destitute widows on the roadside.
  • blankets and clothes to as many such folks as possible.
  • medical support. Sick and injured widows are taken to nearby government hospitals to receive free medical aid. . She pays from her own pocket if the hospital is not in a position to give free medicines. After beign discharged they are either sent home or rehabilitated in local ashrams or homes run by NGOs.
  • emotional support. Most importantly, these hapless widows are given the “emotional patch” which goes a long way in redeeming their self esteem which was other wise destroyed by the ruthless society and heartless family and relatives.

50 + years Dr Laxmi is a professor at the “Institute of Oriental Philosophy” in Vrindavan college where she teaches Ancient History and Culture. She does all this without much financial help.  Her sons pitch in whenever she is short of money. She has hosted three widows at her residence and takes deep care of them.

We salute this great Indian hero and request every Indian to support her in this noble endeavor.

Dr Gautam is the recipient of “the Nari Shakti Puraskar” by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on International Women’s Day.



Sanghamitra is the founder and Chief executive officer of www.olympiadtester.com, the global leader in Olympiad exam preparation.

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Sanghamitra is the founder and Chief executive officer of www.olympiadtester.com, the global leader in Olympiad exam preparation.

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