Whenever there is a death in Udala town in Odisha, 56-year-old Mayadhara Naik is the first one to lend his shoulder to the dead, stand by the bereaved for their loss, and help complete the last rites with ease even for unclaimed bodies.
Once he gets to know about a death anywhere in his and neighbouring villages, he immediately comes into action and ensures the dead gets a dignified burial.
A father of six daughters, Naik hails from Karkachia village in Udala and works as a daily wage labourer. Offering his service for free for the past 40 years, Naik has made his life's mission to help the dead, and their family members reported The New Indian Express.
"We treat people well when they are alive. But it is equally important to offer dignity in death. This is the reason I am there to help people 24x7,'' says Naik.
Naik feels that cremating bodies is not something people often do voluntarily or happily. "I do this for my satisfaction. I consider it noble, and since my family has been supportive, I never stopped the work," he says. At least 120 bodies in Udala subdivision have received help from Naik until now.
Naik is inspired by his uncle Sanatana who also used to offer free burial service. "He often told me that it is our 'dharma' to respect the dead and give them a decent burial," Naik Said. Now, as per his uncle's wish, Naik is continuing the legacy as not many people in the village would be willing to do this service."
He feels that he earns God's blessings by doing the last rites of unclaimed bodies. "Each time I help bury an unclaimed body, I feel it is my duty to complete the rites. So whenever I get to know that someone in the village has died or needs help for funeral works, I leave every work and reach the place to help. I feel content in being part of the mourning process," says Naik.
His wife, Sarojini Naik, is proud of what her husband has been doing. Besides his family, Naik is also respected among his fellowmen across the panchayat for his selfless service since childhood.
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