Church denies funeral to Priyanka Chopra Grandmother as she married a Hindu

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra’s 94-year old maternal grandmother, Madhu Jyotsana Akhauri, who was a freedom fighter, social activist and former legislator, passed away in Mumbai on 3 June. Born Mary John in St John’s Attamangalam parish in Kumarakom, near Kottayam, Kerala, she had always expressed a desire to be buried at the same church. However, the Jacobite church refused to bury her as she had married a Hindu. 

“She had broken ties with the church post her marriage to a Hindu, and she lived as a Hindu. One is automatically disowned by the church under such circumstances. She could have re-joined the church while alive. But once a person is dead, we cannot accept the body for burial ,” said a spokesperson from the church, as per this report.

Madhu Jyotsana Akhauri had gone to Bihar as nurse and later married Dr Akhouri. Besides Priyanka’s mother Madhu Chopra, she is survived by two other daughters and a son. The entire family consisting of Priyanka Chopra, her mother, Madhu Ashok Chopra, brother Sidharth, and others had come to Kottayam to attend her funeral.

Itransigence of the Church

If all religions lead to the same God and teach the same universal values of peace, love & brotherhood, why did the Kerala church show such intransigence to the last wish of an elderly woman, just because she committed the ‘crime of marrying a Hindu’?

Let’s imagine for argument’s sake that Priyanka’s grandmother was born a Hindu and then married a Christian and converted to Christianity. If her dying wish had been to be cremated like a Hindu like her parents, would any mainstream Hindu religious body have objected? And if there had been some objection, wouldn’t that have invited condemnation from all quarters?  But in this case, we have seen barely a murmur from either the outspoken Bollywood community, who gladly waded into the ‘intolerance’ debate with foot in mouth comments, or our media elites and civil society jholawallahs who are ever ready to bash Hindu society for being backward, superstitious, and intolerant?

Taking the above hypothetical argument forward, would any Christian or Muslim family have agreed to a request by one of their own to be cremated as a Hindu?

Honest answers to the above questions will show the hard reality about ‘secularism’ that prevails in Bharat today – ‘Sarv Dharm Sambhav’ (all spiritual paths are the same) is just a one-way street where Hindus are taught to mindlessly chant the mantra of mutual respect and tolerance, while the aggressively proselytizing Abrahamic creeds refuse to dilute their exclusivist dogma one little bit. What can be a bigger superstition than to think that belief in Jesus or Allah alone can save our souls, and not our good deeds, i.e karma?