Varanasi’s ‘Dom Raja’ Jagdish Chaudhary passed away on Tuesday. Chowdhary, who occupied the ritually significant position of ‘Dom Raja’ (king of cremators), was one of the proposers of Modi’s candidature from the constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed deep sorrow over the death of Varanasi’s ‘Dom Raja’ Jagdish Chaudhary and said he represented the eternal traditions of the holy city. In a tweet in Hindi, the prime minister said Chaudhary was intrinsic to the culture of Kashi, another name of the city, and that he worked for social harmony all his life.
वाराणसी के डोम राजा जगदीश चौधरी जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुख पहुंचा है। वे काशी की संस्कृति में रचे-बसे थे और वहां की सनातन परंपरा के संवाहक रहे। उन्होंने जीवनपर्यंत सामाजिक समरसता के लिए काम किया। ईश्वर उनकी आत्मा को शांति प्रदान करे और परिजनों को इस पीड़ा को सहने की शक्ति दे।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 25, 2020
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also condoled the death of Dom Raja.
सामाजिक समरसता की भावना के प्रतीक पुरुष, काशीवासी डोमराजा श्री जगदीश चौधरी जी का निधन अत्यंत दुःखद है।
श्री जगदीश चौधरी जी का कैलाशगमन सम्पूर्ण भारतीय समाज की एक बड़ी क्षति है।
बाबा विश्वनाथ से प्रार्थना है कि आपको अपने परमधाम में स्थान प्रदान करें।
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) August 25, 2020
On April 26 last year, Dom Raja accompanied Narendra Modi to the Varanasi Collectorate to sign on the PM’s nomination papers for re-election from Varanasi parliamentary constituency. While speaking to The Indian Express, Chaudhary had said he is not associated with any political party and was surprised when “somebody” — he won’t say who — approached him and asked if he would be a proposer for Modi. He recounted that one of the first things he did was buying a pair of trousers and get a shirt tailored for the day.
Jagdish Chaudhary shared his ancestral house down a narrow lane leading from Vanarasi ghats, with 40 family members, an ox, and a cow. Doms have been responsible for lighting pyres for generations at the Manikarnika and Harishachandra Ghats in Varanasi. More than a thousand of them live around these parts, with Chaudhary the ‘chief cremator’, as “the inheritor of the legacy of mythological king Kaaloo Dom”.
As Dom Raja, Chaudhary also resolved any disputes arising at the ghats as well as decided the roster of other Doms for lighting the pyres.
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