WND – February 1, 2018
The Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, located at the mouth of the Ganga and Brahmputra Rivers between India and Bangladesh, has the distinction of being the only place in the world where tigers inhabit mangrove forests and the location of the highest concentration of widows in India – that’s not a coincidence.
The Indian government responded last week to a crisis in the region caused by fatal attacks by endangered Bengal tigers on men entering the 625-square-mile reserve to earn a livlihood. Entire villages in West Bengal’s southern region have been left without any men, populated now by “bagh bidhoba” – tiger widows, reported Times of India. The women have been left without the financial support of their husbands, often raising children on as little as $6 a month.
Further, the tiger deaths are seen as signs of the wrath of the forest goddess Bonobibi, and superstitious in-laws blame and shun the widows, calling them “swami-kheko” – husband-eaters. A survey has identified 11 villages of such outcast widows, and a new state program has selected three of those villages for a pilot program to train the women to be self-sufficient.