MAHOTTARI, Oct 7: In an unprecedented event of its kind, a Maithali woman in Dhanusha has lit the funeral pyre of her husband by discarding an age-old Hindu tradition and establishing a new precedent in a patriarchal society.
Gulebiya Devi, 65, of Laxminiwas of Mithila Municipality – 8 fulfilled her husband's last wish and lit his funeral pyre while also entering into the 13-day ritual of mourning known as Kriya, which follows the cremation of the dead body.
Gulebiya Devi lit the funeral pyre of her husband, Dhaneshwor Mahato, who died at 70 years of age. They have two sons, three daughters and grandchildren. Gulebiya Devi also practiced the 'Sradha Sanskara' for liberation and easy passage to heaven for her dead husband's soul.
Dhaneshwor had been suffering from asthma for the last 15 years and before taking his last breath, he made a public appeal before his wife to perform his last rites, which is a right explicitly reserved for the eldest son in a Hindu community.
"Of my two sons, Ram Babu, the eldest is in Qatar for migrant work while Birendra, the youngest, is in Malaysia," Gulebiya said.
Gulebiya said she was compelled to take the step as her two sons were not allowed to take leave by their companies.
Local teacher, Jageshwor Mahato, said that Gulebiya Devi was given the right to perform the last rites and lit the funeral pyre after an extensive discussion in the community. RSS