Couple married for 58 years lay on same funeral pyre

They were haunted by separation anxiety, but even in death they stayed together

Dinesh Prasad Verma, 78, and his wife Urmila Devi, 77

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Dinesh Prasad Verma, 78, and his wife Urmila Devi, 77.

Patna:  They had but one wish— never to be apart. 

They were married for 58 years. And then lay on the same funeral pyre.
Dinesh Prasad Verma, 78, retired as the office superintendent of the Patna Medical College and Hospital. His wife Urmila Devi, 77, retired as school headmistress of a girls’ school, in Ranchi. 

The couple led a blissful married life over 58 years. Separation anxiety always tormented them. A couple of days ago, Urmila Devi suddenly fell ill and was admitted to a private hospital for treatment but her recovery was slow. 

She died on Sunday night. The very next day, her body was taken to a local cremation ground for the last rites. Under Hindu culture, it’s the husband who cremates his wife. Her husband got his head tonsured, put on white clothes and started observing cremation rituals before he lit the funeral pyre.

He completed the cremation rituals. And then the trauma of separation took its toll. He collapsed on the grounds. He was rushed to a local hospital but doctors pronounced him “brought dead”.

Large crowds gathered in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand on Monday, with people wanting to see the couple. Husband and wife were cremated in the same funeral pyre.

“I am both shocked and happy. I am shocked that I have lost my parents but happy that they stayed together even in death,” their son Rupesh Kumar told the Gulf News by phone.

Rupesh said his father had asked his mother to be well soon, saying he won’t be able to survive if anything happens to her. She responded by saying she wanted to be cremated by his hands. “As such, they kept their promise made to each other,” he said, with tears rolling down his cheeks. 

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