If you think you’re living in a modern India, then here is a news to prove you wrong instantly. Clinging to pointless orthodoxy and namesake traditions, this is how the community panchayat in Bundi, Rajasthan made a family suffer and the reason is enough to make our blood boil with rage.
Durgashankar Tailor, 58 was a resident of Barli Bundi Rager colony. He passed away on Saturday night after prolonged illness. He was a proud father of four daughters and had no sons. His last wish was that her daughters provide shoulder to his Bier after his death. On Sunday afternoon his daughters went against the warning issued to them by community panchayat to stay away from funeral related activities, carried their father’s Bier on their shoulders and performed his last rites. Their courage is commendable, isn’t it? But they were rewarded with opposition from entire society for going against the ‘rules’ set for women.
The community panchayat locked the community complex so the daughters and their relatives had to take bath at their homes, Meena, the eldest of all daughters expresses with grief. The neighbors didn’t supply them food as per social custom and going against the rituals, they had to cook food at their home, says Kalawati, Tailor’s daughter who’s in BA final year now.
“The community leaders first told us not to participate in the last rites, which we refused to agree to. After we finished our father’s last rites, they directed us and our wailing mother to prostrate before them and seek forgiveness for our act. We refused to do that as we had done nothing wrong,” 25-year-old Meena, who is married, is a housewife and took part in the funerals said to TOI.
The Panchayat, on the other hand blatantly denies having locked community complex and rather alleges that the family had never asked for the keys.
Tikam Chand, the maternal Uncle of the girls says that the panchayat didn’t lend ears to their pleas even after they apologized. Only a few educated and cooperative people of the society attended the funeral.
The head of the Panchayat, Chandulal Chanderiya says, “I was away from the city and am not aware of the details. The decision of the four girls is an encouraging step. There are some persons in the community from outside Bundi who are spreading the misconception”.
Less than a month ago, Regar community in Haripura village of the same district had prohibited a 5 YO girl from entering the house for she had accidentally broken a bird’s egg!
Losing a parent is already a huge pain to deal with. A panchayat, a community is expected to show some wit or at least humanity by being a little compassionate to them. Can any of these ‘guardians of culture’ satisfy our quest if we ask why exactly daughters can’t take part actively in their parents’ last rites? A father’s last wish is always to be valued more than illogical rules the society has set for women. We extend our deep condolences to the bereaved and congratulate them for the extraordinary strength and courage the girls have shown.