Chandigarh: Venus was the goddess of beauty and love, but the life of this Venus in an advanced age and deprived of her own people, is a merely contradiction of the connotation. She has been thrown out of her house and now is finding her solace in praying to God and spending time with her inmates.
Venus, a homemaker from Ropar who now lives with Prabh Aasra, is in her late-60s. She was around 50 when her husband along with her-in-laws threw her out only because she was not a good cook. At first, her husband and two of his brothers used to brutally beat her up and later they crossed all limits of cruelty making her life miserable. Her situation is unusual, and she falls in the category of ‘elder abuse’, a situation in which older people are subjected to abuse and neglect within their families and communities.
Ironically, on June 15, when the world observes Elder Abuse Awareness Day, people like Venus continue to suffer neglect and abuse. The story is no different for 65-year-old Bimla who holds an MA degree (Hindi). Sharing her plight, she says, “Everybody wants his or her own freedom so did my children want. My being a vegetarian became a reason for my daughter-in-law to convince my son to throw me out of my house.’’ ‘’Anyhow I don’t mind, God may bless them. I am happy here and living a peaceful life. I don’t wish to go back now even if my son and daughter- in-law come,” said an emotional Bimla with tears in her eyes.
Like Bimla, Venus, Rajesh Malik and many more, there are a number of destitute people from all over the country who have no one to live with as they have been abandoned by the families, and now are in Prabh Aasra working for the rehabilitation of the destitutes found by the roadsides in deteriorated conditions, and reunites them with their guardians or parents.
All these cases are empirical evidence to suggest that the incidents of abuse and neglect of older people are increasing by the day, both within families and institutions.
Silence of chocked voice
While everyone was found smiling and talking to their friends at Prabh Aasra, two women Parul and Kiran (both deaf and dumb) at the Prabh Aasra were sitting at the corner of their room, with their eyes filled with hope that someday their family members will come and take them back.
Nothing paid them
Rajeev Malik, a degree holder from PEC, Chandigarh and scholarly researcher, is now dependent on Aasra people for his day-to-day working as his only daughter left him alone.
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