Lata Sawant, breaking social norms fearlessly!
Lata Sawant, leader of our Single Women campaign, from Beed is an emotional person and speaks limited. But through her action she has set a courageous example which has solid potential to make thousands of people reflect on their action.
In India, approximately ten lakhs marriages are performed every year. Most of these marriages are performed through Hindu tradition in which grains (mostly rice) is showered on the newly wed couple as blessings. The rice used in this act is called as Akshata and in every marriage, approximately 20- 25 Kg rice is used so in total lakhs of kilogram of rice is wasted through this ritual which cannot be used later, in most of the cases. In a country like ours, wasting food this way is absolutely unaffordable, where most of the people struggle on daily basis to make their ends meet. Andha Shraddha Nirmulan Samiti have initiated a campaign of using flowers instead of rice but Lata was unaware of it.
Lata had seen flowers being showered on the newly weds in Buddhist marriages which has various benefits such as- income to farmers, avoid wastage of food and also it seems pleasant to see piles of flowers around, after the ritual is over. Lata belongs to Maratha community and she decided to take brave step in her niece’s wedding celebration. She made efforts to convince her family members for using flowers as Akshata instead of rice. She was opposed by some of her family members but with support from her brother who is a soldier in paramilitary forces, she successfully changed this old and rigid tradition. Not just that, her niece’s wedding became one of a kind celebration and first in the area to modify the tradition of Akshata in Maratha community, for good. Thousands of people attended the marriage; both positive and negative discussions were initiated amongst her community members over this.
Each marriage is attended by almost thousands of people hence if anyone is able replicate Lata’s idea, it has a potential to reach wider audience and through the snow ball effect, there could be bigger change in the attitude of the people.
Brave Lata also broke another practices through her performance of some rituals which are not done by widow women. She had a dialogue with the groom and his relatives and broke those rituals. With these fearless actions, Lata has continued to influence other women and men from her area.
More power to her!