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Breaking The Ritual: Girls Shoulder Father’s Body, Light Funeral Pyre In Odisha’s Malkangiri

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19 July 2019

Panchanan Dash

Malkangiri: In interior parts of India, a girl’s birth still spreads gloom in the village. Adults and elderly people yearn for a son who can carry the family name forward and daughters are considered to be a liability. But an incident in Malkangiri has proved that girls are no less than boys.

Breaking the ritual and the rigid rules set by society, two daughters shouldered their father’s body for last rites in Kumutiguda village of the tribal-dominated district on Thursday.

Reportedly, the deceased Sushant Patnaik had taken ill a few days back and was admitted to the District Headquarter Hospital for treatment. When his condition worsened, he was shifted to Koraput hospital. Having been blessed with three daughters- Sasmita, Smita and Sangeeta, he had expressed that he wanted his girls to perform all rituals in case the inevitable happened.

Sadly, he was right. Soon after he was rushed to Koraput Hospital, he died while undergoing treatment. His older daughter employed in Berhampur reached home on hearing the news and without any hesitation, she stepped up to perform all rites. Not only did the two older daughters shoulder their father’s body but they also lit the funeral pyre.

While there was a hush of resent, surprisingly no one showed disapproval. There were tears in everyone’s eyes as the girls took charge and laid their father to rest. In a simple yet bold move, the girls taught the locals that daughters are no less than sons.