Mother of 5 dies alone in Bihar, grandson lights funeral pyre
All of Nirmala Devi’s children and their families were stuck in parts of India and abroad, and her funeral pyre was lit by one of her grandsons in Bihar’s capital Patna.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 10:05 IST
In life, Nirmala Devi was often surrounded by her five children but when she died on Sunday morning, none of them was beside her amid the nationwide lockdown.
With all her children and their families stuck in parts of India and abroad, her funeral pyre was lit by one of her grandsons in Bihar’s capital Patna.
“My mother had been ill for quite some time and she was cared for by a nurse. I had planned to visit her before March 24, when the lockdown was enforced. Due to the lockdown in Thailand from March 15 to April 30 and cancellation of international flights from March 22, I and my wife were unable to move,” Rana Pratap Singh, Devi’s youngest son, said.
The garment manufacturer in Thailand’s Pattaya has two older brothers in Mumbai and two sisters, who live in Chennai and Ranchi.
Her condition deteriorated due to multiple health problems in the last month, he said.
Singh said his siblings, who used to take turns to visit his mother all through the year, were also stuck at their respective places and unable to attend the funeral when they got the news of her death.
Both Mumbai and Munger are worst hit by the Covid-19.
Singh said he was lucky to have his son in Patna, a Class 12 student, who could light his mother’s funeral pyre. “Aditya had planned to visit Thailand after the final exams of Class 11. However, due to the lockdown, he could not,” he said.
The Thailand-based businessman said Aditya took the help of his maternal grandfather to make arrangements for the funeral, while rest of the family members were shown the ritual through a video call.
Aditya’s grandfather, Nawal Kishore Singh, said it was difficult to console Aditya, who was all alone.
“But I managed to convince him to perform his grandmother’s last rites. The boy had seen the death of a family member for the first time in his life,” the 75-year-old retired Bihar government officer said.
With the support of just four people, Devi’s body was cremated at Bansghat crematorium on Sunday. With no end in sight for the lockdown, Aditya has decided to perform the 13-day ‘shraddha’, as per the Vedic rituals.
“In the morning, the boy attends online classes. In the second half, he performs the Vedic rituals,” said Singh.