Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Indria Goswami, Celebrated Writer on Widowhood Dies

I just heard the sad news today that Indira Goswami had passed away. I have my google alerts set on Vrindavan Widow so that I can keep abreast of any news that affects our work. Today the alert was about a remarkable woman who was a source of inspiration when my husband Dharan wrote the screenplay for our film "White Rainbow". Many times people ask me who the protagonist in "White Rainbow" is based on and I always mention that the character is loosely based two women, one is a young affluent widow that was suicidal, but eventually went to Vrindavan and started helping the widows there.

Read the articles below and you will see the similarity. I am thankful that Indira spoke out and wrote about such a sensitive and personal issue so that many others can be helped!

Excerpts from The Hindu Newspaper

Indira Goswami, who died on Tuesday aged 69, was among India's most celebrated contemporary writers whose work spoke boldly and evocatively for the empowerment of women and other marginalised sections of society across the country. For this, she won the nation's highest literary honours, and respect and adulation in her home State Assam, where she was known as “baideiu” or elder sister. Far ahead of its times, her Neelkantha Braja was one of the earliest works of Indian literature to highlight the exploitation of destitute widows in Vrindavan. The book was born out of Goswami's own early widowhood, and a short experimental stay in a widows' home in the U.P town. Her frank Adhalekha Dastavej (An Unfinished Autobiography), written in 1988, details her battle with intense depression after her husband's death, her nights with sleeping tablets, handfuls of which she swallowed in two attempts to end her life, and the story of how she won the struggle by immersing herself completely in her writing. From Wikipedia After the sudden death of her husband, in a car accident in the Kashmir region of India, after only eighteen months of marriage, she became addicted to heavy doses of sleeping tablets

Her experiences as a widow as well as a researcher finds expression in her novel The Blue Necked Braja (1976), which is about the plight of the widows of Vrindavan who lived in abject poverty and sexual exploitation in everyday life. One of the main issues that the novel touches upon is the plight of young widows for whom companionship beyond the confines of their ashrams and fellow widows become impossible. Their urge to live, as well as the moral dilemma that they face vis-a-vis the order of precepts of religion in this regard, are brought out with astonishing clarity and feeling in the novel. The novel exposed the uglier face of Vrindavan — the city of Krishna, an Hindu deity — inviting criticism of Goswami from conservative sections of the society. It remains a classic in modern Indian Literature. It is autobiographical in character as she says the anguish of the main character Saudamini, reflects what she had gone through after her husband had died. It was also the first novel to be written on this subject. The novel was based on Goswami's research on the place as well as real-life experience of living in the place for several years before she joined the University of Delhi as a lecturer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks!

And don't forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:16

Dear Friends, November is a time to give thanks and the White Rainbow Project is very grateful for all our blessings! We had an amazing "Friend Raiser" dinner, a very successful "Party with a Purpose" and I just returned from a very productive trip to India. Please read the below to get all the exciting details and please continue to remember our work in your thoughts and prayers. All the Best for the upcoming Holiday Season, Linda

First Annual Friend Raiser Dinner A big thank you to all who came out to our first annual Friend Raiser dinner which was held on October 11th at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad California. Over 65 people came to hear about the exciting ways that God is blessing our work. Suzanne Baker of the Spiritual Spa hosted our event and shared about the importance of friendship - friendship is something that is chosen something to cherish and not taken lightly. Linda Mandrayar the co-founder and executive director gave an overview of the history of the White Rainbow Project where we've been and where we are going. Anne Taylor of Anne Taylor Catering provided a delicious Indian meal and the rest of the WRP team shared about ways to become friends of the White Rainbow Project by becoming a social media friend, sponsoring a widow, hosting a Party with a Pupose or joining us on an upcoming service trip. Learn more at Party with a Purpose Carolyn Feneck and Debra Kolek hosted a wonderful Party with a Purpose on October 18th at Debra's beautiful home in Temecula, Ca. Over 20 of their friends came and watched the White Rainbow film enjoyed a light Indian meal and then many of them purchased items from the White Rainbow Collection. Over $800 dollars was raised to help the widows. Won't you consider hosting one as well? It is so rewarding and the items make wonderful Christmas gifts. There is no cost and we will send you everything you need. Contact us right away to get your event kit.
YWAM Team comes to Vrindavan to help the Widows
Youth with a Mission is an international volunteer movement giving young people opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the whole world. When I was in India this past July, I met with a YWAM team that worked in another holy city, Varanasi. I shared with them about our work with the widows in Vrindavan and I showed them a copy of White Rainbow. After viewing the film, 9 of them felt led to come to Vrindavan to minister to the thousands of widows living there. I was fortunate to meet up with them on my recent trip to India, October 29th - November 12th. They are doing fantastic work and have had such a positive influence on so many already. They are staying in Vrindavan for the entire month of November so please keep them in your prayers!
Ganga and Mukesh's Wedding One of the most rewarding parts of working with the White Rainbow Project is to see lives that have been transformed. Ganga is one of those lives. Ganga was a young widow living in a shelter with little hope for the future. Last summer, Katie and I taught her how to make paper beaded necklaces and offered to pay her for the necklaces and asked her to teach other widows how to make them as well. She started to earn a living, regained her confidence, and married Mukesh a paraplegic man who had also been abandoned in Vrindavan by his parents when he was a child. I was fortunate to attend their wedding ceromony on November 2nd. The bride was radiant in a lavender sari that had been dontated for the White Rainbow Collection. God is Good!