LUCKNOW: Former state government employee and a resident of the Old City, Pandit Ram Shankar performed a shraadh ceremony on Friday that was ‘different’. Shankar performed the ceremony for the ‘departed soul’ of Akhil Dubey, a Lucknow-based pharma executive. But here’s the catch. Dubey, alive and kicking, was part of the ceremony. As for why he felt the need for performing the ‘shraadh’ — Dubey was commemorating his ‘death’ as a common man, on the same day, exactly one year ago.
Here’s what prompted such extreme action. After tying the knot on November 2008, Dubey alleges that he discovered that his wife was already married and also had a child. Shocked on making the discovery, he attempted to “resolve” the issue but met with little success.
“Two months later, when I moved divorce proceedings against her, she slapped a case of dowry harassment against me under section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code,” says Dubey. Under this section, on April 9, 2009, an FIR was registered against Dubey. “That day marked my death as a common man. In the eyes of the world, I became branded as a criminal,” adds Dubey.
And to commemorate his ‘criminal status’ one year on, the ‘shraadh’ ceremony respectfully remembered Dubey for the ‘decent and common man’ that he used to be.
As for the sanctity of such religious rites, Shankar defends the act saying the Indian scriptures allow a living person to perform his ‘shraadh’. “The ‘Garud Puran’ allows people to do their own ‘pind daan’ while they are alive. Especially those who do not have children and cannot perform the rites after their death. Similarly, the ceremonies for the 10th and 13th day can also be performed in advance,” says Pandit Ram Shankar.
The unique event was organised by a Lucknow-based NGO, Pati Parivar Kalyan Samiti (PPKS), a group of “afflicted” husbands who have been protesting the misuse of section 498 A of the IPC by women.
According to this section of the IPC, if the husband or his relative subjects a woman to cruelty, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and is also liable to pay a fine. The offence is cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable. Interestingly, the protest against the misuse of the law by women has been gaining ground across the country. Seeking to be absolved from the status of ‘criminals’ and to voice their protest, over 2,000 members of PPKS Lucknow, routinely, bail out other aggrieved husbands and also instruct them on how to get out of the procedural tangles involved in the issue.
Source: The Times of India