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Of 13,two left to light the pyres

Shinder Singh’s world comes crashing down

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Moga | Published: May 8, 2012 12:08 am

Shinder Singh’s world comes crashing down

Till just about a day ago,Shinder Singh,a teacher,had a joint family of 13 members. Late on Sunday night,his whole world came crashing down as 11 of his family members died in a road accident near Moga,which claimed another seven lives.

Shinder lost both his parents,wife,two children,two brothers,a sister-in-law,two nieces and one nephew. The only two persons who now make the family are Shinder and his eldest brother’s son,Balwinder Singh. They were the only two who had not accompanied the family to Dera Nanaksar near Jagraon to pay obeisance at a Gurdwara.

“Till yesterday we were a huge joint family of 13 persons. The house was full of sounds and noises and now only two of us have been left behind. How can be God so cruel to us? How will we live now,” Shinder asks as he regains consciousness before fainting again.

Such is the condition of Shinder that he could not even give a statement to the police. The task of detailing the names and ages of the family members who died just a few kilometers away from their home was left for his nephew,Balwinder Singh.

Shinder’s relatives and friends have tried in vain to force him to partake food or even water. A shell-shocked Shinder,hasn’t had anything ever since he heard about the accident and slumps to ground holding on a pillar at the Gurdwara where the entire village has gathered to stand by him in the hour of grief.

Another brother of Shinder,Gurmeet Singh,who lives separately with his family,says,Shinder did not accompany the family to the Gurdwara as he had to go to school on Monday. “Same was the case with my nephew. Little did we know that our world will change in a day and instead of attending to our daily chores,we will be lighting the pyres of our own loved ones,” Gurmeet says.

“My youngest nephew was just one-and-a-half years old. He did not deserve to die,” he sobs.

The family dealt in trade of livestock and was well off with a large section of it living under the same roof. It was a Tata Canter,which they had purchased recently,in which the family was travelling. “We had purchased the canter to transport cattle and other heavy items. My father wanted to thank God for giving us this truck and that is why he along with others had gone to Nanaksar. We never thought that this very vehicle will result in the deaths of our own family members ,” adds Gurmeet.

No one lights the hearth in 2 villages

A pall of gloom descended on Moga district as bodies of the 18 victims of the accident were cremated on Monday in Daulatpura Neewan village and Daulatpura Ucha village.

No family in the two villages,situated some 8 kms from Moga,lit the kitchen fire as the residents stood by the families of Pala Singh (Daulatpur Neevan) and Jagroop Singh (Daulatpur Ucha) in their hour of grief.

It is a Gurdwara,which is feeding the relatives and the families of the deceased along with the residents of the village.

Manjit Kaur,a villager,said that while the elders of the village were told about the accident on Sunday night,the others got to the news on Monday morning. “Since then every one from the two villages gathered at the homes of Pala Singh and Jagroop Singh. It is just too big a tragedy to be defined.”

Surinder Kumar,a resident of Daulatpur Neeva,who was killed in the crash has left behind his wife Puja and infant daughter Shivani. Married just two years ago,Puja is expecting a second child and is in her eight month of pregnancy. “How will she support her family? Surinder worked as a salesman at a readymade garments’ shop and was the only earning member in the family. The villagers do not have words to console Puja,” said Balwinder Kaur,a neighbour of the family.

Manjit Singh,who lost his elder brother and his entire family,is simply inconsolable and so is their mother,Mukhtiar Kaur. “I had given birth to two sons. God can not be so cruel as to take away one of them,” Mukhtiar wails.

Manjit,who like his deceased brother,is a carpenter,says,“We are followers of Dera Nanaksar and keep going there whenever we get a opportunity. This time my brother and his family went. Little did we know that we were seeing them for the last time. We had recently built two houses and kept a common passage in between but now the same house stares at me as if seeking the whereabouts about its owner.”

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