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Varanasi Bahu-Beti Defy Social Taboo & Taunts, Perform Last Rites of Mother Themselves!

Santora Devi passed away on Sunday, 22nd July, and Pushpavati was determined to fulfil her 20-year-old wish to be carried to the ghat by her daughter- and donating her eyes.

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At times, emotions can help break strong barriers that were formed over hundreds of years. For example, it is common knowledge that traditionally, women have been kept away from performing the last rites of their loved ones. In fact, in many families, women mourn the loss at home while the men go to the cremation ground to perform the last rites of the deceased person.

However, Pushpavati Patel, a resident of Varanasi, defied these very age-old norms by performing the last rites of her mother. She did this for a very simple reason—to honour her mother’s last wish.

Pushpavati’s father passed away twenty years ago.

It was then that her mother, Santora Devi, said that her only daughter would perform her last rites when the time came.

Source: Cremation Institute.

She even directed her family to donate her eyes, after her passing.

Santora Devi passed away on Sunday, 22nd July, and Pushpavati was determined to fulfil her 20-year-old wish. However, she faced a lot of resistance from neighbours and relatives, who said that it wasn’t a woman’s place to carry the body of the deceased to the ghats or take part in the last rites.

Pushpavati would hear none of it. Backed by her two brothers, Babulal and Tribhuvan, she went ahead with her decision.

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Watching their sister-in-law fight for her mother’s wishes, the wives of Babulal and Tribhuvan, too, joined her in carrying their mother-in-law’s body to the cremation ground.

Representative image of a cremation ghat in Varanasi. Source: Maureen Barlin.

Speaking to Aaj Tak, Pushpavati said that she was merely respecting her mother’s last wishes, and her brothers added that they were proud of their sister for standing her ground.


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The family have also ensured that Santora Devi’s other wish was taken care of, and have donated her eyes.

One can safely say that Santora Devi and her 20-year-old resolution was instrumental in breaking barriers for the women in her family and giving the gift of vision to a needy person.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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