Odisha MLA Performs Last Rites Of A Beggar After No One Came Forward
In Amanapali village of Odisha’s Jharsuguda district, when not a single villager was ready to touch the lifeless body of a woman beggar, it was Ramesh Patua, a BJD MLA from Rengali constituency, who decided to perform the woman’s last rites. Ramesh Patua is one of the poorest MLAs in Odisha. He still lives in a rented house. His actions, however, are that of a truly compassionate public servant.
The deceased woman, who survived on pennies and leftover food from village feasts, lived with her ailing brother-in-law. Both of them survived the alms they received from the villagers. However, the relative could not perform her last rites on account of his poor health.
Apparently, the villagers did not come forward to even offer a shoulder to the deceased’s body because of the fear of ostracisation. According to a village practice, if an individual touches a deceased’s body belonging to another caste, he/she gets ostracized by his own community. After the local police informed him that nobody was willing to touch the deceased, Patua, decided to perform the woman’s last rites.
Although Amanapali does not come under his constituency, the MLA did not hesitate in attending to the crisis at all. He first sent two of his relatives to perform the last rites. “It did not take me much time to understand why nobody was coming forward for the last rites of the deceased. [According to a practice in the village] If a person touches a body belonging to another caste, he is ostracised by his own community. As I was away from the spot, I sent two youngsters from my family to take the body to the burial ground,” Mr. Patua told the Hindu.
“I thought the two youngsters may not be able to handle the situation, so I rushed to the spot. We brought four bamboo poles and prepared a bier to carry the body. Since I did not want any controversy by tinkering with the existing beliefs, we took the body to the ground and performed the last rites,” the MLA added.
Most of the rituals were performed according to Hindu beliefs, however, because of a shortage of time to arrange for a cremation, the mortal remains of the old woman were buried. Since the relative of the deceased was extremely unwell, he could not attend the funeral.
Odisha: Ramesh Patua,BJD MLA from Rengali, came forward to perform last rites of a woman in Jharsuguda's Amnapali Village y'day after locals skipped it fearing ostracisation. The woman,a beggar,lived with her ailing brother-in-law who couldn't attend the ceremony as he was unwell pic.twitter.com/ljoWPTXFSi
— ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2018
One of the poorest MLAs in Odisha
It is to be noted that Mr Patua was elected from Rengali in Sambalpur district. He is also one of the poorest MLAs in Odisha and lives in a rented house.
He expressed his disappointment over the fact that none of the villagers came ahead to help even at such time.
The Logical Indian take
The Logical Indian appreciates Mr Patua on taking due cognizance of the situation and going out of his way to do such a good dead. However, one must not forget that the people of the village where this woman regularly went around asking for alms did not come ahead to perform the last rites. Such is the stigma around the caste and fear of ostracization which prevents a person from seeing an individual as a human being like them. The Logical Indian hopes that people leave behind such regressive belief and come ahead to help anyone who is in need.