JAGATSINGHPUR: For poor villagers of Jagatsinghpur and Angul, Chinmayee Das is a ray of hope in these uncertain times. Not only does the 35-year-old transgender give a dignified funeral to Covid victims but also goes out to ensure that the poor and hapless get at least two meals a day.
Born in Posal village under Tirtol block of Jagatsinghpur district, she is now based in Jarapada at Angul running a ladies corner shop there. She divides her time between Jagatsinghpur and Angul.
Having dedicated herself to the cause of helpless families affected by the pandemic, she has shared her mobile number on social media so that people can contact her for any help or cremation of bodies.
In the second wave, she has so far ensured cremation of 25 Covid victims in both the districts. While in Angul, she conducts the cremations herself, in Jagatsinghpur, she gets her community members and social workers to do so.
“I have to take care of my old parents at home and also earn my living from my shop at Angul. Hence, I keep travelling between the two districts whenever I get opportunity”, said Born as a boy, Chinmayee studied up to Class 10 in Jagatsinghpur but was forced to leave her native after being ridiculed by her relatives, neighbours and friends for her feminine nature.
After doing odd jobs in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, she saved enough money to open a ladies corner at Jarapada.
In 2012, she registered her identity as third gender by the virtue of a court affidavit.
It was during the first wave of Covid-19 when Chinmayee came across many affected families in her village and Jarapada who needed help for survival.
She began by sending dry ration to the affected families in both the places and providing food and water to animals at Jarapada during the lockdown.
“In the second wave, a lot many people died and even their family members could not come out to cremate them because they were either in home isolation or did not want to fearing infection. So I decided to take on the responsibility,” said Chinmayee.
Her noble gesture earned her accolades from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. On June 4, Chief Minister called the social worker to thank her for the selfless service.
“The Chief Minister’s kind words were encouraging. I felt very happy that the State has acknowledged my efforts”, she said.
Back home, Chinmayee’s parents and relatives who once shunned her, are now proud of her work.