Odisha: Ramesh Patua, a BJD MLA from Rengali carried the body of an 80-year-old woman at Amnapali under Kolabira block to the cremation ground and gave her a dignified funeral when nobody in the entire village came forward to help her brother-in-law in performing her last rites. The 80-year-old woman was called Ghudken by locals and his brother-in-law is known as Ghudka. They used to stay together in a thatched house in the village under Sodamal gram panchayat and made a living through begging.
Nobody around knew their actual names and gave them the respective name because of the musical instrument (Ghudka) they always carried while begging.
When the woman died of her old age, nobody in the village came forward for help. They maintained their distance from the fear of being neglected by the society if they did. That’s when the legislator offered to help, he was in the area at that time and got to know about the incident.
He was then accompanied by his son, nephew and friend, who then together carried the woman to the cremation ground. They conducted her last rites according to the Vedic rituals and she received a dignified funeral.
Patua mentioned that he knew Ghutken from his native village as she was begging in Laida area in Sambalpur district and he got to know about this incident from personnel of Laida police outpost under Katarbaga police station in Sambalpur.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, he said, “I requested the villagers to carry the body to the graveyard but nobody came forward fearing they would be ostracized by their respective Jaati Samaj (body of a caste) if they touched the beggar’s body. I then decided to conduct the funeral myself. I feel this is an act of humanity and serving people is above all for me.”
It doesn’t matter which religion, caste or creed you belong to when you want to help someone in need. Maybe what you do doesn’t take a lot of efforts but maybe what the other person is receiving is all they need. The legislator took himself responsible for someone he knew from his past, he lent a shoulder so Ghudken could get a dignified funeral, he came forward when nobody did. He did the right thing, he did what everybody else in the village should have in the first place. And now when someone has put forth this act of humanity, in future if a similar incident happens, we believe that more people will come forward to help. This is all it takes to spread the goodness, a start is all you need.