Dr Punam Yadav, who delivered the most recent Online Guest Lecture Impacts of Armed Conflict on Women: Lived Experiences of Women in Nepal (which you can still comment on or ask questions of Punam) has recently had an article published in Gender Technology & Development. This article is entitled ‘White Sari – Transforming Widowhood in Nepal‘ (click on the link to open the attachment or you can find online here).
Abstract: Before the People’s War (1996) in Nepal, widows were not allowed to wear anything other than the white sari, especially in Hindu families. It was a common practice even among highly educated women. Widows were considered impure and carriers of bad luck as a result of which they were excluded from public events, such as weddings and religious ceremonies. This belief system was deeply entrenched in the history of the country spanning thousands of years. However, when hundreds of women became widows during the People’s War in Nepal, they started organizing themselves and resisting the discriminatory practice of the white sari. This article explores how widows of Nepal subverted thousands of years of this oppressive practice. It also examines the challenges that they faced in the era of the white sari and the citizenship benefits that they have achieved after liberating themselves from the shroud of widowhood.