Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

What could be more heart-wrenching and distressing than watching a nine-year-old child begging to perform the after-death rituals of his father who died of cancer? Yes, such a heartbreaking incident in Barangpur village under Soro block of Odisha’s Balasore will fill anyone’s eyes with tears.

According to sources, Umesh Jena (33) migrated to another state to earn a livelihood and feed his family by working as a labourer. However, while earning bread and butter, he got diagnosed with cancer. He came back to his native place after his health condition showed no signs of improvement. 

He underwent treatment and spent all his savings, but all in vain. After suffering from his illness, Umesh breathed his last at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. 

Behind he left his wife and two minor sons. The three were survived by Umesh and after his death, they landed in a helpless situation. 

The family of the deceased doesn’t even have enough money to conduct the after-death rituals. Left with no other option, Umesh’s 9-year-old son Chandrakanta Jena is knocking on every door and begging for some alms so that he can conduct the after-death rituals of his father. 

 “My father was reeling with prolonged illness since two years. He was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away a few days back. I am collecting funds to conduct his after-death rituals,” said Chandrakanta.

“He (Umesh) has left behind two sons with me. Due to financial constraints, I am unable to conduct his after-death rituals,” said Umesh’s wife Subhalaxmi Jena.

While villagers have been extending help to the young boy, Adarsh Yuva Parishad, a social service organisation, is helping him to gather the required fund. 

Umesh JenaUmesh Jena

“The fund collected will help the family in conducting the after-death rituals. The remaining amount will be used to open a shop for the wife of the deceased so that she will be able to raise her sons,” said Basanta Kumar Rout, a member of Adarsh Yuva Parishad.

Meanwhile, locals have demanded the administration to offer financial aid to the distressed and helpless family.

Reported by Niranjan Behera (Soro)