In a poignant departure from the norm, the mortal remains of former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy were laid to rest on Wednesday without the customary state honors usually accorded to former CMs. Chandy, who passed away on Tuesday, had expressed a heartfelt wish for a common man’s burial, a wish that his family wholeheartedly respected and fulfilled.
The decision to honor his wish was made public by Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, who revealed that before his demise, Chandy had shared his desire with his family to be laid to rest without any elaborate state ceremonies. Chandy’s family, in a touching tribute to their beloved patriarch, ensured that his last rites were performed according to Christian rituals in his parish church in Puthuppally, Kottayam.
The state honours that are customarily bestowed upon former Chief Ministers include a gun salute and various other ceremonial customs. However, Chandy’s final journey was marked by simplicity and adherence to his wish for a humble burial.
“He wished for a common man’s burial for him. His family is fulfilling that wish,” said Ramesh Chennithala while speaking with PTI, highlighting the deep respect and love the family had for the departed leader.
Oommen Chandy, a prominent figure in Kerala’s political landscape, served as Chief Minister for several terms, leaving a lasting impact on the state’s governance and development. He was known for his dedication to public service and his ability to connect with people from all walks of life.
The decision to eschew the usual state honours was met with admiration and praise from the public, who saw it as a gesture of humility and a reflection of Chandy’s down-to-earth nature. Throughout his political career, he had always prioritized the welfare of the common people, and his final wish echoed this sentiment.
The burial ceremony, held at his parish church, was attended by a multitude of mourners, including political leaders, party workers, and members of the public. Many expressed their fond memories of Chandy and the impact he had on their lives. The absence of elaborate state ceremonies did not diminish the significance of the occasion, as the people came together to pay their respects and bid farewell to a beloved leader.
As news of Chandy’s wish spread, it sparked discussions about the importance of honoring the last wishes of individuals, regardless of their stature or position in society. It also served as a reminder of the values and principles that Oommen Chandy upheld throughout his life – simplicity, compassion, and a genuine concern for the common man.
The special tomb where Chandy’s mortal remains were laid to rest will serve as a lasting tribute to his memory. People from all walks of life are expected to visit the site to pay their respects to the former Chief Minister and remember the legacy he left behind.
In a time when grand gestures and ostentatious displays of power often dominate the political landscape, Oommen Chandy’s final wish and its fulfillment have struck a chord with many. It serves as a reminder that, at its core, public service is about serving the people with sincerity and empathy.
As the state bids farewell to one of its most cherished leaders, Oommen Chandy’s vision for a common man’s burial will undoubtedly be etched in the hearts of the people. His life and his final wish will continue to inspire both present and future generations of leaders to prioritize the needs of the common man and to stay true to their values, even in the face of grandeur and power.