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A Muslim man’s struggle to fulfil dead Hindu wife’s ‘wish’

August 09, 2018 06:18 AM

COURSTEY AUG 9

A Muslim man’s struggle to fulfil dead Hindu wife’s ‘wish’
Avijit.Ghosh@timesgroup.com

New Delhi:

She was a Hindu, he a Muslim. He studied Persian at Calcutta University and she did her masters in Bengali. They fell in love and got married in 1998 under the Special Marriage Act. Neither gave up his or her faith.


Last week, Nivedita Ghatak Rahman died of multi-organ failure. She was cremated at Nigam Bodh Ghat the same day. But the family couldn’t perform her shraddha ceremony after a temple society cancelled their booking. However, help arrived late on Wednesday when a socio-cultural organisation offered to host the ceremony.

“We had booked a slot at Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir Society on August 6 and paid Rs 1,300 for the ceremony which was to be held on August 12. But an hour later, I received a phone call from the office. The gentleman on the other side asked my name repeatedly. Then he said the rituals could not be performed. I asked for the reason but he just said in Bengali, “Aapni bujhe nin (You can well understand),” Kolkata-based Md. Imtiazur Rahman told TOI.


Md. Imtiazur Rahman, daughter Ihini Ambreen & sister-in-law Krittika

Can’t change religious rules: Temple officials

The caller also asked me to collect the money I had deposited. I refused saying that I had made the deposit for my wife’s shraddha and they can keep it,” Imtiazur said. The booking was made in the name of his daughter, Ihini Ambreen, shows the receipt. Imtiazur works as assistant commissioner, directorate of commercial taxes, West Bengal. Nivedita taught Bengali and Sanskrit in a Kolkata school.

Explaining why the ceremony could not be carried out, Ashitava Bhowmik, president, CR Park Kali Mandir Society, said, “We are custodians of the temple and elected every two years. We cannot change Hindu religious rules. However, I will investigate the matter and find out the reason behind the cancellation.”

Krittika, Nivedita’s sister who donated her liver to be transplanted into Nivedita at a multi-specialty hospital in the capital a fortnight ago, said that in contrast to the objection raised by the temple authorities, the cremation at Nigam Bodh was carried out without a hitch.

“Apart from me, everybody present was from my brother-in-law’s family. Those who carried out the last rites were Muslims. No one asked us any questions,” said Krittika, an archaeologist.

For Imtiazur, religion is a personal matter. “My wife was a practising Hindu and I wanted to do everything as she would have wanted,” he said. “They always respected each other’s religion,” added Krittika.

“My mother was 46. She was too young to have a last wish. But considering the life she had lived, we felt she would have liked to be cremated,” said her daughter, Ihini Ambreen, a Class XII student. The first name was given by her mother and the second by her father. She doesn’t use a surname.

Imtiazur and his family live in Kolkata. They had rented a flat in Delhi about two months ago for Nivedita’s treatment. Now, they have extended their stay since Krittika is still under medical care. “They called us late in the evening offering to host the ceremony. The details will be finalised on Thursday,” said Krittika

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