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“I would not like to die in this beautiful world….”, a translation of a Bengali poem by Rabindra Nath Tagore which shows the uttermost desire of people of avoiding deaths.
It’s a basic characteristic of human beings rather of all the living creatures. But a group of people in this ancient historic silk city of Bhagalpur recently in a letter to Yam Raj, a Hindu deity who executes death warrants as believed, have requested to defer such death warrants for time beings.
The excuse is very simple; helpless residents here have highlighted the abject condition at local Barari cremation Ghat and the subsequently on the prevailing chaotic situation which is the result of failure of concerned governmental machineries.
“The situation remains chaotic at Babari Ghat, the funeral ground located the river bank of Ganga. There is no proper arrangement for conducting the last rights of the deceased. Even after death, the deceased could not have the opportunity to get a proper respect during the rituals for last rites. Above all the family members become harass to conduct the cremation of their near and dear at Barari Ghat. So please spare us until the situation would improve, we would not like to harass our family members after our deaths here…..” , the open letter mentions.
Sanjay Pandey, a charted account by profession and a resident here, expressed his utter concerned over such inhuman treatments for the family members of a deceased. “That’s why Munshi Premchand’s famous Hindi novel Godaan is still relevant today, just remember how the writer depicted the poor condition of a person who lost his near and dear and was asked to fulfill the social customs,” Pandey said.
Kamal Jaisawal, a retired officer of Bihar government and a noted social worker who along with many noted persons wrote the open letter to Yam Raj, is also scheduled to give it to district magistrate, Bhagalpur. “We are trying to highlight the abject condition of the cremation ground in this city where crores of rupees have been spent for renovation like works under Smart City project,” pointed out Binay Kumar Sinha, a social activist here.
According to him there is no basic civic facility at the burning Ghat here where people from distant places like some parts of Jharkhand also came for conducting cremation of their near and dear. In the letter, it was alleged that the family members who participate the funeral of the dead person, subjected to humiliate and also tortured in the hands of some people who have been assigned at the burning Ghat for conducting the last rites of a person.
Despite the fact that Bhagalpur Municipal corporation (BMC) recently reestablished the electric furnace which earlier was destroyed due to land erosion caused by flooded river Ganga, the situation yet not improved. “ Some four persons who have been assigned by the BMC to operate and look after the electric furnace at Barai Ghat are ill-skilled persons and even don’t know about managements for making it people friendly. Ironically, since August 2020 the persons were not paid a single pie by BMC, the latter alleged.
Interestingly, the letter gives the costs of Rs 25 thousand to 30 thousand incurred for conducting a funeral of a dead person. “This rates are not fixed by the government rather it is fixed by the persons concerned who operate at Barari Ghat. The cost some time is more than Rs 30 thousand when the funeral is conducted on an open-air pyre,” alleged Jaisawal.
“The poor persons who could not afford such a huge amount for conducting the last rites of their near and dear, have no option rather to flow it in river Ganga. Such huge practices of flowing dead bodies in Ganga has given a potent threat to the river pollution,” pointed out Binay Kumar, a resident of Barari locality at Bhagalpur.
Echoing Binay, Jaisawal alleged that mostly poor people who could not afford such huge amount, have not only face humiliations but the act in which the dead bodies get its funeral are very shocking and also violation of the rule of law. “ In India, the rights of the dead have been derived from Article 21, the constitution of India…… Therefor in such cases, the Supreme court of India recognized that right to life, to fair treatment and dignity, extended not only to a living person but also to their bodies after death,” Jaisawal sited the verdict of Supreme Court of India.
“We are scheduled to call on the district magistrate and would hand over him this public petition for taking appropriate situation,” Jaisawal disclosed his next strategy.