Picture for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Pixabay

While Hindus around the world are paying tributes to their ancestors through rituals and prayers during the ongoing fortnight of Pitri Paksha, a man in Sagar district from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has been performing similar ceremonies for his childhood friend Syed Wahid Ali, who died three years ago in a road accident.

Pitr Paksha is a period of 16 lunar days in the Hindu calendar when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors, especially through food offerings. Pitr Paksha 2020 is marked from 1 September till 17 September.

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“Syed Wahid Ali has been my best friend since childhood. He was an advocate who practised law in Gopalganj area of Sagar district. He died three years back in a road accident. Just like I perform tarpan (religious ceremony) of my ancestors in the Pitr Paksha fortnight, I performed tarpan for my late best friend, praying that his soul be in peace and we are born as friends again,” Pandit Ram Naresh Dubey, a resident of Chaturbhata village in Surkhi area of Sagar district was quoted as saying.

Tarpan is a Hindu religious ceremony performed facing south, remembering one’s ancestors by their names with offerings of water, milk and black sesame seeds.

Dubey’s act is being called an example of friendship that goes beyond religion.

Every day, Dubey performs special prayers and rituals before the pictures of his ancestors and Ali, according to Indian media reports.

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“My father died in November 2017. Three years later, his friend Ram Naresh Dubey, not only keeps visiting but has performed special prayers in my father’s memory. This is one of the best examples of the secular fabric of our country and the Ganga Jamuni culture,” said Syed’s son Wajid Ali.

The priest who performed the tarpan ritual for Dubey was quoted as saying: “I’ve never seen such a deep bond of friendship, which even death has failed to break.”