BHUBANESWAR: With the kin of Odisha train tragedy victims still waiting for identification of 81 bodies and the government planning for mass cremation, the locals of Bahanaga are organising a mass mundan (tonsuring) programme and Dasaha (10th day) rituals to pay tribute to the victims.
The three-day programme will begin on Sunday, the 10th day after the tragic crash, and end on Tuesday with the culmination of a mammoth Gayatri Yajna for peace, prosperity and purification. Elaborate preparations are on at Bahanaga high school grounds. The school premises had become a temporary morgue after the mishap.
The locals, who had turned the first responders to the disaster and engaged wholeheartedly in rescue and relief operations, said they felt the tragedy was their own. More than 200 people, young and old, have come forward for ‘mundan’ (shaving heads) that is practiced as one of the most important Hindu rituals in case of death of a near and dear one. The mundan ritual will begin from 10 am and continue till all are tonsured. A mass prayer has been organised in the evening.
Monday onwards, an Astaprahar Nama Yajna (24 hour Hare Krushna chanting) will be organised along with Biswa Shanti Maha Yajna (havan for world peace). “A Sarva Dharma Prarthana Sabha (mass prayer of different religions) and chanting of veda from 10 am onwards have been planned. We hope the programme will help bring comfort to the affected families and the community,” said Jayakrushna Sarangi, a member of the organising committee.
Members of Gayatri families from four districts have already arrived for ‘mantra japa’ which will be held at a shed near the accident spot. The organisers have planned a huge Kalash Yatra on the third day while the Biswa Shanti Gayatri Maha Yajna will also continue. The programme will end after 5,008 deepa daan (offering of diyas) by international organisations Ritambhara and Satsang Amrut Dhara. Continued on P9
Locals to pay homage to train mishap victims today
While the locals have constituted a Bahanaga-Soro Anchalika Mancha forum to organise the programme, Balasore Samajika Sanghathan, a socio-cultural organisation, is making arrangements for Yajna and other spiritual offerings.
Convenor of the Anchalika Mancha, Sarat Kumar Raj said tonsuring of heads is an important death ritual people practice for their family members and relatives. “The first responders of the accident will shave their heads. We have also made arrangements for Brahman Bhojan and prasad sevan for everyone on Monday and Tuesday. An estimated `20 lakh will be spent for the programme. People are contributing voluntarily for the programme,” he added.