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Guest column: A time to grieve, not for feasting

With life being too hectic now, nobody has the time to carry on mourning for days or weeks, so bhog or kriya takes place in three to five days or at the most after a week, as everyone has to revert to their busy schedules.

punjab Updated: Jul 28, 2018 22:48 IST
WG CDR DPS Bajwa (retd)
Death,mourning,bhog
It is high time that good sense prevails and the sane people in society shun feasting after prayer meetings for departed souls.(ISTOCK/Getty Images )

Death is inevitable and unbearable because we lose someone near and dear to us. After death there are many rituals dictated mostly by religious traditions. A mourning period follows the cremation during which all friends and relatives come to share the grief of the family of the deceased. In the past, this mourning period used to culminate on tehrveen ( thirteenth day ) or satraveen (seventeenth day) with the bhog (feast) or kriya (ceremony) held to wind up all ceremonies.

With life being too hectic now, nobody has the time to carry on mourning for days or weeks, so bhog or kriya takes place in three to five days or at the most after a week, as everyone has to revert to their busy schedules. Of course it is a different thing that the next of kin of the deceased take time to get over their grief.

There is also a ritual in some communities where people express gratitude for a departed soul passing away at a ripe old age of 90 or 100, calling it wadda (grown up or elderly) karna. A feast is organised to celebrate the life of the deceased with guests at the bhog ceremony served sweets such as jalebis. Over the years some wrong practices have crept in. Some relatives travel a long distance to reach the venue of the bhog or kriya, usually by noon and need to be served a cup of tea with light snacks. However, there is also a tradition of serving a langar (community lunch) after such ceremonies. Traditionally this langar used to be cooked in gurdwaras and served to people sitting on the floor. Now, the caterers have taken over and people go to the venue wearing shoes and sit on chairs as if they’re attending a wedding. Then they’re served a lavish meal with four or five dishes and rice with tandoori paranthas or naans. This is followed by two or three types of desserts.

Except for the fact that non vegetarian dishes are not served, this lunch is no less than a wedding feast.

This makes one wonder why, when people have gathered to condole a death and grieve, is a sumptuous meal served, almost making a farce of a sombre occasion?

Wouldn’t a langar then be a misnomer?

It is high time that good sense prevails and the sane people in society shun this feasting after the prayer meeting for the departed soul and observe it like the pious occasion it is.

(The writer can be contacted at wcdpsbajwa@gmail.com)

First Published: Jul 28, 2018 22:48 IST