Lucknow: Notwithstandingstiff opposition from some village elders, three sisters in UttarPradesh performed the funeral of their grandfather in contrast to theHindu tradition of only men performing the last rites.
RinkuYadav, 27, a post-graduate from Gorakhpur University, alongwith heryounger sisters Reema and Anju - both in their early 20s - performedthe last rites of their 70-year-old grandfather Veer Bahadur in theBhagalpur village of Deoria district, some 300 km from Lucknow.
''Itcame as a shock for us when we saw the girls lighting the pyre at theKalicharan ghat along the banks of Saryu river,'' Pawan Mishra, aresident of the Bhagalpur village, said.
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'Theaged residents of the village were against their decision... Theywarned the girls not to go against the Hindu tradition, otherwise theywould invite the wrath of the villagers. However, they (sisters) didnot pay any heed and performed the last rites,' added Mishra.
According to locals, Bahadur died on Sunday morning and his last rites were performed later in the day as per vedic traditions.
Inthe absence of any male member in the family, the three sisters decidedto perform the funeral rites of their grandfather. The sisters losttheir father in 2005 in an accident and were living with their motherand grandparents.
Soon after the death of their father, Bahadurhad developed strained relations with his two younger brothers -Jangbahadur and Phulena. Later, both of them, who reside in a nearbyvillage, stopped visiting their brother's place and did not even comeafter his death.
Localresidents said when the senior villagers learnt about the decisiontaken by the three sisters, they insisted that they plead withBahadur's brothers to perform the last rites.
However, thesisters refused and, after taking consent of their mother andgrandmother, the three performed their last rites of their grandfather.
InIndia, men traditionally carry the dead in a funeral procession forcremation or to the burial ground and perform the last rites. In apractice, now widely seen as discriminatory, Hindu women are forbiddento perform the last rites.