Two funeral pyres lit up on the sand bank of a small rivulet in the backdrop of a setting sun today near Pathri village in Simlapal in Bankura. One was that of Adwaita Nandi,the 27-year-old Army jawan from this village who was killed in a terrorist attack in Srinagar on Monday. The other his 22-year-old wife Piu,who set herself on fire on Tuesday after hearing of her husbands death.
There was not a single dry eye as the entire village numbering close to 900 and a large contingent of Army personnel thronged the river bank to pay their last respects to the couple. The double tragedy has left the villagers in a shock.
Preparations for the cremation began early this morning with the villagers erecting the pyres. Wooden logs,kerosene and ghee were kept ready even as the body of Adwaita Nandi,the slain Punjab regiment jawan,was flown to Kolkata in an Indian Airlines flight early this morning.
The body was first taken to the Eastern Command Hospital where senior Army officials and jawans paid a gun salute. Adwaita Nandis body was later flown to his native village via Panagarh air force base.
In distant Bankura,lay the body of Piu Nandi in a hospital morgue. The family had requested the hospital authorities to keep the body so that both could be cremated together. It is a double tragedy not only for the family members but also for entire Pathri – a village that has a long tradition of sending young men to the Indian Army and other security forces.
Early this morning,Shibsundar Dey,a teacher at the Pathri primary school,who had also taught Adwaita,arranged an assembly of all his pupils numbering about 130 who marched through the village in a silent procession carrying the national flag.
In an ironical twist,Adwaitas younger brother,Aseem Nandi,was inducted into the Army on Monday,the day his elder brother died after the terrorist attack. Their father,Sushil Nandi,said Aseem is expected to join the family on a short leave tomorrow.
Adwaita belonged to one of the poorest of poor families in this remote rural backyard of Bengal. He lost his mother when he was 12 and was brought up by his aunt. I used to work as a sharecropper. After my elder son was inducted in the Army,we saw good days. He started building a house for us.I was looking forward to a secure future with both of my sons. But,alas,my sons body reached me today, said Sushil Nandi in a voice choked with tears.