Setting an example, the legislator turned pallbearer for a poverty-stricken constituent who had died and who only had a physically-challenged cousin to call family.
Elected representatives are often castigated for forgetting about their constituents, only to return five years later for re-election.
Not Rupjyoti Kurmi, the Congress legislator from Mariani constituency in Assam’s Jorhat district.
Earlier this week, Kurmi stepped in to fulfil the responsibility of not only arranging the funeral of a man but also stepped in as one of his pallbearers, according to The Hindu.
When Dilip Dey passed away in Mariani, a small town which is 320 km away from Guwahati, the only remaining member of his family left to conduct the last rites was a physically challenged cousin. Besides the lack of money to conduct a decent funeral, there weren’t enough people to carry Dey’s body to the local crematorium.
That’s when Rupom Gogoi, a local trader who lived in the neighbourhood, reached out to Kurmi and informed him of Dey’s plight.
“He (Kurmi) lost no time in helping prepare the chita (stretcher-like bamboo structure on which a body is taken to the crematorium) and carry the body for cremation,” Gogoi told The Hindu.
“He was too poor and lonely to have a decent funeral. As a human being and responsible for the people I represent, it was the least I could do for him,” Kurmi told the publication.
It was back in 2006, when Kurmi was first elected from Mariani, a seat earlier represented by his mother and the first woman adviasi graduate in Assam, Rupam Kurmi.
Today, 40-year-old Kurmi is a three-time MLA from Mariani, and this isn’t the first time he has been the news for his humanitarian endeavours.
In July 2017 during the raging floods in Assam, photos of him hoisting a 50 kg bag of rice on his back and delivering it to a flood relief camp near the Kaziranga National Park made the news.
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“I am no different from others. I may be an MLA, but I am also a human being. I enjoy being among people and working for them,” he told The New Indian Express when asked about why he undertook such a task.
In fact, The Hindu reported that less than a day after Dey’s cremation, the MLA filled in as a pallbearer for the funeral of an auto-rickshaw driver’s mother, upon the driver’s request.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)