Gudbhela: In testimony to eroding humanity, 70 years old Bali Selma, a resident Ghuna village under Gudbhela block in Bolangir district, was denied dignity in his death. First, he was ostracised for his daughter having married in another caste. And when he died, the villagers chose to distance themselves away from Bali’s family.
Two days after his death, it was none else than his daughter who performed the final rites of his father. Though the incident occurred Thursday, it has come to the fore recently.
Bali’s only daughter Pramila and Suder Majhi, a man belonging to a different caste, were in love. A few years ago they got married.
After their marriage, fellow villagers ostracised Bali’s family. Bowing to the pressure and fearing prolonged ostracisation for years, Bali had to perform the final rites of his daughter even as she is alive.
After marriage, Suder and Pramila started living at M Rampur in Kalahandi district. Two years later, they were blessed with a son. But the joy of having a son did not last long. A few days later, Suder died, leaving Pramila and her son all alone.
Being a father, Bali could no longer limit himself to the restrictions imposed upon him by fellow villagers and brought Pramila and her son back to his house. Bali was again ostracised. Finding no other way out, Bali started living with his daughter and grandson in a hut at his farmland on the village end.
The old man had been ill for two months and breathed his last Tuesday. Even though he had his relatives and friends in the village nobody turned up fearing ostracisation.
The body was lying in the hut till Wednesday. Some villagers belonging to other castes took pity on Pramila and gave her some pieces of wood for cremating the body. But none came forward even to touch it. Given no other choice, Pramila gathered courage and decided to perform her father’s last rites all by herself.
She put the body on a cot and dragged the cot to 50metres away from their hut and performed the last rites by setting fire on the pyre. Her five years son was all along with her.