A Muslim community from Malda in West Bengal carried out the last rites of a Hindu man who died on Monday. The cremation that took place on Tuesday saw many Muslim youths helping the family with money and pallbearers to perform the deceased Biswajit Rajak's cremation.
35-year-old Biswajit, who was a day labourer, was suffering from chronic liver cancer for over two years. He was not able to undergo proper treatment for the same due to his financial circumstances. When his own brother refused to help, it was his neighbours who aided him financially so he could go to Kolkata for his treatment. Unfortunately, it was too late by the time he sought help. The hospital in Kolkata advised him to go to Mumbai for proper treatment but he could not afford that.
According to India Today, a member of the village panchayat, Mohammed Iyasin, said,
We had collected money from people in the village and sent Biswajit to Kolkata for treatment. But doctors there asked us to take him to Mumbai. We didn't get time to collect money for that.
Biswajit was again brought back to his village after a week in the hospital in Kolkata. Soon after coming back, he passed away on Monday. He is survived by his parents, wife, and three daughters.
Since there was no young boy in the deceased's family to carry the body to the crematorium, the group of Muslim youths stepped up and carried the body to the crematorium, which is at a distance of three kilometres. All the Hindu rituals were performed from consigning the ashes to a nearby river to taking a dip in the river following the cremation.
According to Hindustan Times, Biswajit's father Nagen Rajak said,
I had neither the money nor the manpower to take my son to the crematorium. I don’t know what would have happened if the villagers didn’t come forward for the last rites of my son.
Haji Abdul Khalek, who took the lead in arranging for Biswajit's last rites, told Hindustan Times,
No religion preaches hatred towards others. Biswajit was like our brother. Allah wouldn’t have forgiven us if we looked the other way thinking that the family follows some other religion.
According to Indian Express, Biswajit's wife Sarita said,
All my Muslim brothers came forward and they were the ones who took the body to the Ganga. People from the Hindu community also joined in. I have lost my husband and my father-in-law is very ill. I have always felt the warmth of the Muslim community here. They have stood by us not as Muslims, but as humans. It’s because of them that my husband’s soul will rest in peace.
In times when you see so many fighting over religion, stories like these stand out and prove that communal harmony still exists.