Gaya activist performs Pind-daan for Gauri Lankesh

Gaya activist performs Pind-daan for Gauri Lankesh

Social activist Chandan Singh performing Pind-daan for Gauri Lankesh and others, during Pitrapaksha Mela in Gaya. PHOTO: MOHAN PRASAD

As the fortnight-long Pitrapaksha Mela will come to an end on October 8, social activist Chandan Singh has performed Pind-daan for the journalist from Karnataka, Gauri Lankesh.

Pind-daan is the sacred Hindu ritual in which people offer oblations in the memory of the departed ones during the religious event. Gauri was killed in September 2017.

Chandan also performed Pind-daan for Airforce officer and one of the heroes of 1965 war, late Marshal Arjun Singh, and collective pind-daan for those killed in mob lynching throughout the country. Besides, he performed the rituals for around 1700 sweepers who lost their lives while cleaning sewers in India.

The social activist, who travels from the State Capital to Gaya every year to perform Pind-daan and ‘Shraadh’, has been maintaining the trend, started by his late father Suresh Narayan. A veteran journalist, Suresh used to perform Pind-daan for dead strangers from across the world since 2001. However, due to his prolonged illness, he passed away in 2014. But before breathing his last, he assigned Chandan the task to do collective Pind-daan during Pitrapaksha Mela for unknown persons who were no more.

“Since Gauri Lankesh and my father belonged to the same fraternity – journalism – I deemed it fit to perform the rituals for her. Besides, collective pind-daan was also performed for the 60 children who died in Gorakhpur hospital. Normally, I don’t perform Pind for politicians but this year I made an exception while doing so for late Atal Bihari Vajapyee. All the rituals were performed by Swami Venkatesh of Ramanuj Matth,” Chandan told Deccan Herald.

Also known as ‘festival of souls’, Pitrapaksha Mela is held in the month of September. The event has its religious, mythological and historical significance. According to an estimate, about eight lakh pilgrims from across the country visit the place during that period. The pilgrims belonging to the Sanatan Hindu religion come to this holy town every year not only from all over India but even from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh to offer Pind during the auspicious period so that their ancestors get ‘moksha’.

In the fortnight-long mela, scores of pilgrims this year offered Pind at different areas in Gaya including Vishnupad temple, Falgu river, Rukmini Kund, Surya Kund and Sita Kund.