In Nepali culture a widow is looked upon with great animosity, often being branded a witch or a whore. Their society believes it is their immoral actions in a previous life that form the defining reason behind the death of their husband. They have therefore been ostracised for generations, losing their status in both the home and society.
A wife in Nepal is considered the home maker and is highly celebrated, in some senses, worshipped. It is the men that provide the financial income, in whatever form that may take. Their wife’s role is to raise the children and perform her domestic duties. Appearance is regarded as a salient aspect of a Nepali woman’s identity, adorning intricately embroidered clothing, customarily in red, as this very colour represents the virtuous bond of marriage and the binding vows which provide her with status and security within society.
It is a saddening irony that these lovingly worshipped ‘goddesses’ within the community can soon descend into an ever increasing spiral of discrimination and paralyzing social exclusion for no other reason than that of the passing of her husband. Already encountering the grief that one suffers when losing a loved one, these women face an additional and more debilitating reality, they have to come to terms with existing on society’s brutal and neglected peripheral edge.