In a shocking incident that took place in the North Indian state of Rajasthan, a woman who was overcome by grief at the death of her father, jumped into his funeral pyre. The woman’s father, 73-year-old Damodar Sharda, passed away due to COVID-19 complications at a government hospital in Barmer city and was taken to be cremated. His daughter, Chandrakala, 34, insisted on going to the crematorium as well, something that is uncommon in Hindu customs. Her family relented. At the site, Chandrakala jumped on the funeral pyre after it was lit. She has sustained life-threatening injuries and is currently being treated.
“The family members took them to the cremation ground. His 33-year-old unmarried daughter Chandrakala suddenly jumped into the pyre in which she suffered 70% burns,” Superintendent of Police Anand Sharma told The Times of India. She was one of Sharda’s three daughters. The other daughters also wanted to attend the final rites, said Sharma, as it was their father’s wish as well. As per the corona protocol, Sharda’s body was handed over to the family for final rites. The last rites are usually performed by the son. But since Sharda did not have a son, the youngest daughter insisted that they go to the cremation ground and perform the rites themselves.
A relative of the family, Badri Prasad Sharda, 59, told the Indian Express that it was during the final part of the ritual called “namaskar” that Chandrakala jumped into the pyre. She was pulled away from the fire by the other relatives who were present at the ritual. Bheru Singh, who is associated with the Shamshaan Ghat Vikas Samiti, said that her sister Pinky rushed to save her. Station House Officer (SHO) Prakash said, “She was taken to a hospital in Barmer with over 60 percent burns. The hospital then referred her to Jodhpur.”
Chandrakala was first taken to a government hospital where she was given preliminary treatment. She was then referred to a hospital in the city of Jodhpur where she is in a critical state. Sharda’s wife had passed away a while back as well. Badri Prasad explained that Sharda was differently-abled and ran a petrol pump before his demise. This petrol station is embroiled in a legal case in the High Court. Only one of his daughters was married while the others are unmarried and used to support him. The country is currently in the midst of a raging spike in COVID-19 cases.
The COVID-19 situation in India has been going from bad to worse as the country is going through the second wave of the virus. The country has been reporting record high cases almost on a daily basis and currently has over 21,491,000 cases with more than 234,000 deaths (at the time of publishing). There has been a severe shortage of hospital beds as well as oxygen supply. The healthcare system has been struggling to keep up as countries have been sending emergency aid to India, reported The Washington Post.