LUCKNOW: It costs nothing to be humane. At least, so was proved by Faizabad District Magistrate Anil Kumar Pathak who rescued an abandoned, destitute old woman and arranged for her treatment under his personal supervision for a month. When she lost the battle of life, he performed the last rites.
Around a month and a half ago, while DM Pathak was returning from Rudauli area of his district late in the evening, he spotted a 70-year-old woman lying injured on the side of the National Highway near Godwa village.
He stopped his car and took the woman to the district hospital. The woman was cautious and unable to say anything about her home and relatives. Pathak got her admitted to the hospital, where she was treated under the supervision of orthopedic surgeon Dr Gangaram Gautam.
She was treated for a number of fractures. She was beaten up but refused to narrate her woes. The old woman was suffering from a fractured jaw too, and appropriate treatment facilities were not available in Faizabad district hospital.
Consequently, the DM contacted doctors at King George's Medical University in Lucknow and called Dr Hariram on personal request to Faizabad and got the old lady treated. After showing a few initial signs of recovery, she succumbed to injuries on Tuesday.
After waiting for a few hours for her relatives, if any, DM Pathak himself led her funeral procession and cremated her himself. He gave the 'mukhagni' to the woman and performed all the rituals at the famous Guptar Ghat along Saryu river as per the Vedic traditions.
Two days after her cremation, the DM himself immersed her ashes in Saryu on Thursday and took the vow to perform her 'shraddh' like a son.
"I consider it my duty. She was not in her senses and was abandoned. She had no one to perform her last rites. It gives me immense satisfaction that I could become a medium to facilitate her a peaceful last journey and perform her rites," said the DM.
"I don't know in what circumstances she was lying wounded on the roadside. Even in one month of her treatment, no one turned up to claim her nor a report of missing of any old woman was filed in any police station in the district," he claimed.
This is not the first time Pathak has walked an extra mile to help the old and destitute. In the month of January, this year, he had adopted a widow, again a destitute Ramapati, who was over 100 years of age.
"I have adopted her and I am taking care of her as my mother, I have ordered a house under Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna in her village, old age pension, BPL ration card and a doctor from nearest community health centre visits her daily for her regular health checkups," said Pathak.
Being an administrative officer, Faizabad DM Pathak is also a poet and has composed a book of poetry dedicated to his mother and father, who are no more.