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Dev Raj , Hindustan Times
Gaya, September 20, 2013
Months after their tortured deaths, a ritualistic ‘closure’ has finally visited the December 16 Delhi gang-rape victim and Sarabjit Singh, the Indian prisoner who was murdered in a Pakistan jail. A do-gooder in Bihar’s Gaya town has performed rituals in their memory that devout Hindu devotees believe bring peace to the souls of the deceased.

Devotees perform Pind Daan rituals on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad. The rituals are performed to bring peace and salvation to the souls of the deceased. (AP Photo)

Suresh Narayan, 70, who has made it his life’s mission to bring deliverance to the soul of whosoever he believes cannot manage on his/her own, did the ‘needful’ on Thursday.

On the opening day of the annual ‘pitrapaksh’ fair in Bihar on Thursday, Narayan painstakingly went through every step attending their ‘pinddan’ ritual at its traditional place, the bank of the Falgu river in Gaya.

Lakhs of Hindus from all over the world visit this very spot at this time of the year, to pay obeisance to their ancestors. They do so in the belief it will enable them to attain ‘moksha’, the release from the cycle of birth and death.

The unique thing about Narayan is the fact that he has been doing this for the past 12 years for people he has never met or seen: martyrs, victims of violence and disaster, and notables who die since the conclusion of the last ‘pitrapaksh season’.

"I offered ‘pind’ for the release of the souls of the gang-rape victim and Sarabjeet. This was necessary as under the Hindus belief system, the souls of those having untimely, violent deaths are left with tortured souls," Narayan explained.

Others on his ‘Pind Daan’ list this year list are armymen Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj Singh, killed by Pakistani soldiers, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, ghazal singer Shamshad Begum, victims of the Uttarakhand floods and Hyderabad serial blasts and children who died after consuming the pesticide-laced mid-day meal at a Chapra (north Bihar) school.

Narayan has further expanded his list to include the victims of hurricane Sandy and serial bomb blasts during the Boston Marathon in the US, as well as, those who died in the earthquakes of Iran, Pakistan and China.

"Doing this brings peace to me, as well”, he explained.

Narayan’s next call: performing the ritual on September 28 for the victims of the riots in western Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district.

“I perform Pind Daan for all, irrespective of the religion of the dead person”, he added.