Among the multicoloured tank-tops and neon-coloured trainers of DNA Women’s Half-Marathon participants, there’re a coterie of women, sans make-up, standing quietly in a group. The reason that they stand out is that they’re dressed in perfectly spotless white sarees and salwars. They’re the Bramhakumaris, and 250 of them turned up to form the single largest group of women to take part in the inaugural women’s Half-Marathon.
Sarees and salwars are not the best gear to run a marathon in. But they’re hardly here to race. “The Bramhakumaris often host rallies and walks for women’s causes, so it was a natural extension of their agenda to participate in the DNA Women’s Half-Marathon’s 5 km Dream Run,” says a bramhakumari who doesn’t deign to give us her name. Instead she points out Bramhakumari Vishnu Devi who’s the leader of the intrepid group.
They were particularly happy that the issue of cervical cancer was being propagated through the marathon. “We also conduct women’s medical camps and spread awareness about women’s health problems. So we really wanted to participate in the marathon and bring awareness to the issue of cervical cancer,” says Bramhakumari Vishnu Devi.