Vrindavan: CNN-IBN's Real Heroes Awards in partnership with Reliance Foundation is an honour that recognises and acknowledges ordinary Indians doing extraordinary things. One such story is that of Dr Laxmi Gautam, a professor by profession, who is transforming the lives of the widows of Vrindavan.
Abandoned and dumped by their own family members in the city of god, it is believed if these widows devote their lives to Lord Krishna, then some day the supreme power will free them from the cycle of life and death and they'll attain moksha.
Dr Laxmi Gautam, a professor at a city college, is bringing dignity to these abandoned widows, both in life and in death. For more than five years now, Laxmi's day begins with walking through city alleyways or at the banks of the Yamuna, searching for bodies that are unclaimed and rot for days.
From getting the firewood to lifting of the body to the pyre, Laxmi is at the forefront. After performing the last rites of almost 500 widows, Laxmi says lighting the pyre is no longer difficult. "People fear the dead, but I don't. I cremate these widows myself," she says.
From helping widows get their pensions, to taking care of their medical needs, to providing them a warm blanket and a meal, Laxmi never leaves any plea unattended.