On Wednesday, a tribal man in eastern India had no other option but to carry the body of his deceased wife back to their village 37 miles away. She died in the hospital of tuberculosis on Tuesday night.
Dana Majhi, a resident of Odisha, walked out of a Kalahandi district hospital with his 12-year-old daughter and his deceased wife, Amang, aged 42, over his shoulder.
Amang passed away in a government-sanctioned hospital which did not provide the family with a mortuary vehicle to take her back to their village of Melghara. Instead, Majhi wrapped his wife’s body tightly in cloth to protect her for the long journey ahead.
BBC reported that Majhi said, “I kept pleading with the hospital staff to provide a vehicle to carry my wife’s body, but to no avail. Since I am a poor man and could not hire a private vehicle, I had no choice but to carry her body on my shoulder.”
A senior medical official at the hospital, identified as B. Brahma, explained the situation slightly differently, however. “The woman was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday and died the same night. Her husband took away her body without informing any hospital staff,” the official said.
Regardless of Majhi’s reasons for carrying his wife back to Melghara over his shoulder, he walked a long distance of 12 meters (about 7 miles) until passersby intervened and an ambulance came along and drove the couple and their daughter the rest of the way home.
The government began a scheme this past February which offers transportation of deceased back to their homes for families who cannot afford transport otherwise. Accordingly, on Thursday, an investigation was launched into whether Majhi’s claims that his wife was refused a mortuary van are true or not.
Amang was cremated in her village on Wednesday night.
Banner photo credit: @debendraprusty