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Bengal man performs shradh of former prime minister Vajpayee

Pulakesh Patra printed cards to invite his neighbours and friends to his house and organised lunch for them.

kolkata Updated: Aug 27, 2018 10:34 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
Vajpayee,Bengal,Bankura
Pulakesh Patra performing the shradh ceremony at his house in Bankura district on Sunday.(HT Photo)

Pulakesh Patra, 40, a devotee of former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, performed shradh of the late leader on Sunday in the Bengal district of Bankura with full Hindu rituals including shaving of his head.

Patra performed the ceremony in Gobindanagar, a remote village about 197 km from Kolkata.

Read: Was Vajpayee’s death declared late to avoid disruption in PM’s speech? Asks Shiv Sena

Vajpayee breathed his last on August 16 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.

In keeping with custom, Patra also printed an invitation card and distributed it among his neighbours and friends, asking them to be present on the occasion. He also organised a small lunch that consisted of radhaballvi (puri stuffed with ground dal), paneer curry, potato curry, pickles, fried rice, papad, card and sweets.

In the invitation card he described the late prime minister as “revered and like my father”.

Though Patra thought of performing the shradh soon after he heard the news of Vajpayee’s demise, he had a doubt. His father Nagendra Krishna Patra, who is in his seventies, is alive.

“I took permission from him. He did not object being well aware of my respect for the departed soul,” Patra said on Sunday while performing the rituals.

Read: Somnath, Karunanidhi and Vajpayee: the three who took on Congress

“I did not shave for the past 10 days and also walked barefoot between August 16 and Sunday. On Saturday (August 25), I performed the mandatory mundan. I have never met Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But as a BJP worker, his life has always inspired me,” said Patra.

Locals were initially surprised to learn about Patra’s decision.

“The Patras are associated with BJP for a long time. This village has several BJP supporters and the party won the elections in the panchayat elections,” said Rahul Karmakar, a neighbour.

Read: The Taste with Vir Sanghvi: Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM by day, grandad by night

However, even after the shradh rituals, Patra is not fully satisfied. “I will not be able to perform the pindadan rituals in Gaya, since my own father is still alive,” he said.

First Published: Aug 27, 2018 10:34 IST