Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Vikram Brahmane, 55, gets up at 5 am and gets ready by 6 am. He doesn’t forget to plug in mobile phone to charging point before going to bed, so that his mobile phone is on throughout the day.
Brahmane, who along with his family lives in a small house in Ambedkar Nagar in Bhopal, has been following this routine, religiously, for six years. Reason: He doesn’t want anybody to face difficulties he faced six years ago.
In 2015, Brahmane's father died. He ran from pillar to post to get a hearse to take his father’s body to crematorium. But, he failed to get one.
On the same day, he decided to purchase a hearse called Mukti Vahan and help people. After completing all due rituals, Brahmane discussed his plan with his family members. He left his job from Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation where he worked as driver on contract basis.
He sold jewelleries of his wife and daughter and purchased a vehicle. “By selling jewelleries of my wife and daughter, I earned Rs 1.5 lakh. I purchased a second-hand vehicle to run it as Mukti Vahan. When people from my community (Dalit) came to know about my effort, they came forward to help me,” Brahmane told Free Press.
He said an organisation named Lord Buddha Dharma Manav Kalyan Committee helped him with Rs 1.5 lakh. “The committee is run by women who work as housemaids. With their help, I got my vehicle modified as Mukti Vahan,” Brahmane said.
Besides, he works as a part time driver to earn livelihood. “When I don’t get calls to ferry bodies to crematorium, I work as part time driver. I have my old contacts who approach me to go to the market, to their relatives’ places etc. They pay me, which helps me to run my house. My wife and mother sell brooms. They also earn, which helps to run house smoothly and also bear the cost of vehicle maintenance,” he said.
‘Help people to perform last rite’
The second Covid wave was horrifying. “Though, I don’t remember the exact number, I suppose I must have ferried 200 bodies to the crematorium during this period. At times, I had to help family members to perform last rites as there used to be only one or two persons from the family of deceased. Believing that God has chosen me to do this pious work, I did my best to help people,” he said, adding that he always carried the risk of contracting Covid.
Brahmane said people of his community extended help for the social cause. “People of my community help me get fuel for the vehicle. At times, family members of deceased families donate fuel. This is how I manage. By God’s grace, I never faced any problem while reaching out to people to help them,” he said.
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