A man in Bihar named Chandan Kumar who has offered serial ‘pindadans’ (a Hindu ritual seeking salvation for the dead) has now offered prayers for Akhlaq who was lynched by a murderous mob on 28 September in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri area over rumours that he ate beef.
Chandan Kumar Singh, 39, a businessman-turned-social worker, inherited performing ‘pindadans’ from his father Suresh Narayan who used to do the same till his death in 2013.
He offered prayers for the hundreds of Muslims killed in the September 24 Makkah stampede during the Haj pilgrimage this year.
He also offered prayers for the over 100, mostly children, massacred in a terrorist attack on an army school in Pakistan’s Peshawar city on December 16 last year.
A professor of Economics at the Gaya-based Mirza Ghalib College termed Chandan Singh’s action “a rare example of promoting communal harmony and strengthening peace in society”.
Chandan said, “I have performed ‘pindadan’ for those killed in the stampede in Makkah in Saudi Arabia, for the children killed in Peshawar by terrorists and the victim of Dadri’s lynching to send a message of harmony and peace,”.
Last year, Chandan Singh performed ‘pindadan’ for hundreds of people killed in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, a typhoon in the Philippines, cyclone Phailin in India, the engineering students who drowned in the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh, the 45 children burnt alive in their school bus in Mehboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh and the hundreds of children who died due to encephalitis in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Chandan Singh also offered pindan for American journalist James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were killed by IS terrorists in Iraq.
He also did so for veteran actress Zohra Sehgal, writer Khushwant Singh, Bollywood actor Pran, besides others.
Chandan Singh recalled that before his father died, he promised he would continue his unique practice by paying from his own pocket.
“Thousands of Hindu devotees visit Gaya during the fortnight-long ‘pitrapaksha’ mela to perform ‘pindadan’ for one’s relatives. But in 2001, my father started to perform it for those who were neither relatives nor friends,” he said.
Chandan Singh said his father performed the ritual for Indian-origin US national Kalpana Chawla who died when space shuttle Columbia burnt up on re-entry, for shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan, artist M.F. Hussain, Mother Teresa, pop star Michael Jackson, US astronaut Neil Armstrong and the victims of the 9/11 terror attack.
This year more than 300,000 Hindu devotees have come to Gaya town to perform ‘pindadan’, an official said.