Saturday, May 14, 2011

Widow, Courtyard of Mosque, Zakat Foundation of India, Old Delhi, India, November, 2008

Like the previous images of widows in my blog, the courtyard of a mosque is the scene for this portrait. The courtyard is open to the sky and for an hour or so allows direct light at a low angle against a white wall.

The wall is next to an area of washing hands and feet, where men gather to do so before prayers. So men are doing such constantly while we are making portraits. This is incredible due to the fact that we are photographing covered women in a mosque, with their acceptance and permission.

Over 40,000,000 women in India are widows, countless of them experience hardships like the woman above. For many, the remaining years are lived in anticipation of death to free them from this life of isolation. On becoming a widow, many women are viewed as burdens on the remaining family. While a tradition of burning widows has been outlawed, their remaining life is referred to as a living version of such.

Upon the death of a partner, women are traditionally forbidden to remarry while men are free to do so. In light of the reality that many women marry when young, this means that many will be handed a life of destitute loneliness for a long portion of their remaining life.

The woman above receives support from Zakat Foundation of India, and the good people that give of their earnings in accordance to their Muslim beliefs.

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