Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday lit the pyre to bid a tearful adieu to his mother, Rajmata Mohinder Kaur, amid teeming crowds that had converged at Shahi Smadhan for the royal matriarch’s cremation.
The Smadhan – the family’s ancestor cremation ground – appeared to be deluged with tears as the mortal remains of Rajmata were consigned to the flames. Captain Amarinder was joined by brother Malwinder Singh and son Raninder Singh in lighting the pyre.
Besides the immediate family, Captain Amarinder’s brothers-in-law, former Union Minister Kanwar Natwar Singh and Major Kanwaljit Singh Dhillon, were also present at the funeral, along with their sons. Captain Amarinder’s grandsons Nirvan Singh, Angad Singh and Yaduinder Singh also joined in performing the last rites.
Political, religious and administrative leaders were joined by ordinary citizens from all walks of life for the cremation, which was marked by heart-wrenching scenes. Similar scenes were witnessed in the morning at Moti Bagh palace, where people had started gathering since the break of dawn to catch a last glimpse (antim darshan) of their beloved Rajmata.
Among those who paid their last respects to Rajmata were Punjab Governor VP Sing Badnore, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupiner Singh Hooda, besides Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha Rana KP Singh, Deputy Speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh, Aruna Chaudhary, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Member Parliament Santokh Chaudhary, former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, besides Advisor to CM BIS Chahal. Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) President Paramjit Singh Sarna and Harvinder Singh Sarna also paid homage to the departed soul, along with top civil and police officials of Punjab. All the dignitaries shared their grief with Captain Amarinder and his wife Maharani Preneet Kaur in this hour of grief.
Cutting across the party lines, several prominent political leaders, including AAP MP from Patiala Dharamvir Gandhi, President Apna Punjab Party Sucha Singh Chotepur, President Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann, Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa, SAD MLA N K Sharma and Trinamool Congress Punjab unit leader Jagmeet Singh Brar shared their condolences with the bereaved family and paid floral tributes to the departed soul.
Earlier, Rajmata’s funeral procession, which started from Moti Bagh palace, went through the streets of Patiala, where huge crowds had gathered to pay their respects to Rajmata. The chief minister, along with his brother Malwinder Singh, son Raninder Singh and his grandsons Nirvan Singh, Angad Singh and Yaduinder Singh, accompanied the mortal remains of Rajmata in a flower decked funeral van. At the Shahi Smadhan, an emotional Captain Amarinder, joined by his brother and other family members and relatives, shouldered the bier to the cremation site.
The Antim Yatra of Rajmata started from Moti Bagh Palace at 1.20 pm and reached Shahi Smadhan after passing through Thikriwala Chowk, Fountain Chowk, Sheranwala Gate, Twakali Mor, Dharampura Bazar, Anar Dana Chowk, Adalat Bazar, Qila Chowk, Gur Mandi and Dal Daliya Chowk, amidst cries of `Rajmata Amar Rahe, Rajmata Amar Rahe’.