Amethi: Newly-elected MP of this district of Uttar Pradesh Smriti Irani offered a shoulder to cry on to the 21-year-old son of murdered Surendra Singh. The son of the former village pradhan in Amethi, Abhay Pratap Singh was seen by the side of Irani throughout the funeral.
Earlier, bringing Abhay out of their village house, Irani put a hand on his head and said, “Swear to me that you will not do anything stupid. While you have lost your father, I have lost my brother.”
Readers may recall that yesterday, Abhay was expectedly in a depressed state.
Irani endears to villagers
The onlookers were moved by the gesture even as Irani became one of the pallbearers to the cremation ground. On the other side, carrying his father’s body was Abhay. When he couldn’t bear the load any more, other BJP leaders and activists took his place up to the smashan ghat.
A section of the media has reported wrongly, albeit in an adulatory tenor, that Irani broke the men-only tradition. While conventionally among Hindus, men alone carry a corpse to the cremation ground and perform the last rites, Hinduism does not forbid women from doing so. In Vishnu Purana and Garuda Purana, when Narada asks the Lord who all can be smashana yatris, God names the eldest son of the deceased followed by any other son in the absence of the eldest, followed by a nephew or a male next of kin or a male friend, but does not rule out women.
Irani accompanied thousands of others in the funeral procession that traversed a distance of 300 m up to the cremation ground. On the way, many in the crowd pleaded with the MP to return, but she didn’t. As is permitted in Hindu custom, she and other pallbearers put the corpse on the ground not more than five times up to the pyre.
‘I am your son today onwards’
Returning to the house of her aide, Smriti Irani rested her head on the lap of Surendra Singh’s mother and said, “From today onwards, I am your son.”
The MP touched the feet of Narendra, her aide’s elder brother, and embraced the late worker’s wife. She blessed late Surendra’s married daughters Puja and Pratima and said, “Your father’s sister will be by your side forever.”
Relationship with Amethi established
Earlier, when Irani had reached the house of Surendra Singh, emotions were running high in both Baraulia and Amarbojha villages. They were speaking the language of revenge.
On arrival, a mourning Irani caught a glimpse of her departed aide and then bowed at the feet of Surendra’s body. Her participation in the funeral seems to have left a lasting impression in the minds of the people of Amethi.