Locals come to helpless widow’s help
One must not lose faith in humanity, Mahatama Gandhi, the leader of India's non-violent independence movement against British rule, once said. And events that transpired at Kushtia's Mirpur municipality in the early hours of yesterday bring to mind that saying.
On Saturday evening, Kalpona Karmaker had lost her husband, Prafulla Karmakar, to Covid-19 at Kushtia General Hospital.
The 60-year-old widow wanted to take the dead body to their home in the municipality's Purba Para, but her two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, who are also infected with the coronavirus, forbade her.
Out of option, Kalpona took the body in an ambulance to the Mirpur Municipal Crematorium at midnight.
The ambulance left after dropping off Kalpona and the dead body by the gate of the crematorium, after which the night became crueller for her.
The crematorium gate was shut and the heavens opened up all of a sudden.
To prevent her beloved husband's body from getting drenched in the pouring rain, she dragged the body by herself to the nearby Gopalpur Government Primary School, where she took shelter the whole night as thunder and rain provided the soundtrack.
At last, in the morning, she was able to perform the last rites of her husband -- thanks to the help of local Muslims.
"I somehow came to know that the woman was waiting with the body at the school balcony," Lincoln Biswas, Mirpur Upazila Nirbahi Officer, told The Daily Star yesterday.
He straightaway called the municipal mayor and local councillor and requested measures to cremate the body.
Zahidul Islam, local ward councillor, rushed to the spot and without further delay arranged for the cremation of the body with the help of local Muslims.
"The victim's family members could not come as they all had Covid-19. And their other relatives did not come for fear of getting infected," Islam told The Daily Star.
Contacted, the victim's eldest son Ananda Karmakar said they could not go to the crematorium as they were infected with Covid-19.