BANGALORE : Parivathana, a trust that promotes widow marriage, has announced its second feature film to take the cause to more people.
Founder Nadahalli Sripada Rao, who has written a novel on widow marriage titled Hosa Badaku (A New Life), has married a widow with a child and set an example, practising what he preaches.
In this exclusive interview, stage and TV artiste N B Jayaprakash, Parivarthana's co-founder and trustee, explains its mission. He was the co-producer of Kannada film Hoomale, and former director of Dignity Foundation, Bengaluru chapter.
Tell us about your initiative.
Parivarathana was established in 1994. In 1995, we established a sister organisation called Parihaar Foundation, striving to eradicate the woes of widows. We also strive to eliminate the scourge faced by divorced women, and offer social support services to senior citizens. Parivarthana observed International Widows Day on June 23 this year. A hundred volunteers are contributing their time for the cause, and three regular staff manage our activities.
How many widow marriages has the trust facilitated?
Twenty-five. Many young men are open to the idea of marrying widows. But often, they yield to pressure from their families and society, and back out. The courageous few stick to their decision and see that nothing comes in their way. We are not setting targets; our objective is to promote the idea of widow marriages.
Any ended in divorce?
None. About 90 per cent of the marriages are successful. For the rest, we offer post-marital counselling. We also offer a bouquet of services, like a helpline, moral-social-security support, emotional-legal-medical counselling, mediation and conciliation. We also help in career development, livelihood creation, and in securing widow pensions (government and non-government).
Typically, what class of people approach Parivarthana?
Most of the aspirants are rich and middle class. Very few from the lower middle class approach us. We are spreading awareness through every possible means.
Any moving stories that can be shared?
Most of the couples fear publicity. A woman working in a public sector organisation was teased by her colleagues as she had got her job on compassionate grounds after her first husband's death. She does not want anybody to know that she has married again. Recently, a private Kannada channel wanted to interview two pairs we had persuaded to appear before the camera. But at the last moment, the couples backed out. We are putting in efforts to remove the stigma associated with widow marriage. We have some well-known people like Bhargavi Narayan, Lily Paul and Deepika Gandhi explaining their experiences about widowhood, and these are available on social media.
How do the children cope when their parents get married a second time?
Almost all children with a desire to get their fathers’ affection adjust, but it is the grown-ups who do not co-operate for various reasons, like fear of losing their property.
How does the trust go about making matches?
We conduct face-to-face events regularly. We have websites, too. One, www.parivarthana.in, now under development, and www.parihaarfoundation.com is already active. We are also developing a website called www.parihaarmatchmaker.com for online matches. It should be ready by next month.
Why make movies? Isn't it an expensive medium? How do you find producers?
The team is planning to come up with their second feature film titled Single Bun, By Two Tea, Full Love, inspired by the lines Naanu badavi, avanu badava, olave namma jeevana (I am poor, he is poor, love is our life) by Jnanapith awardee Da Ra Bendre. Movies are a strong communication medium and transform society. For instance, our first feature Kannada film Hoomale dealt with widow remarriage, and was directed by ace director Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, and starred Ramesh Aravind. The title song was sung by Dr Rajkumar and music was scored by Dr Ilayaraja. The film won state as well as national awards, and inspired individuals to take bold steps. A Tamil film called Keladi Kanmani directed by Vasanth, with the main roles played by S P Balasubramaniam and Radhika, revolves around a widower who marries a spinster, and it delivered a strong message. The film also explains how the widower's child accepts the new mother gradually.
No doubt film is an expensive medium, but we have a distinct mission.
Artistes and technicians accept a small or no honorarium, and thus we minimise the budget. We organise premier charity shows at about 100 centres in Karnataka.
We intend to crowdfund the next film. The crowd will get back their principal amount plus profit proportionately.
Parivarthana has organised a meeting to explain its mission and film project on October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti day). Call 94820 10433 / 9972 322 322 for details.