When 70-year-old Keerthi Srinivas passed away on Tuesday evening, Yakub Bi, a Muslim woman who ran the old age home he had been living in, immediately located his family.
Srinivas' son Shravan came to see his father's body in Warangal and was even present during the cremation. But the tailor's son who had converted to Christianity was unwilling to perform the last rites of his father as per Hindu customs.
But Yakub Bi was not willing to let Srinivas be cremated without performing the rites.
She runs the old-age home with her husband Mohammad Ali and looks after more than 70 seniors citizens, most of them abandoned like Srinivas.
Yakub Bi then decided to perform the last rites herself. Carrying an earthen pot on her shoulder, Yakub Bi walked around the funeral pyre. She then lighted the pyre even as his son watched on.
Mohammed Ali says, "Two years ago when I was passing through the old bus depot in Warangal, I saw Srinivas. He was in a bad state and was semi- paralysed. So I decided to bring him to our old age home. He passed away on Tuesday evening. We were surprised when a son denied to perform his father's last rites". Since Ali was travelling, Yakub Bi had to perform the rites.
In 2007, when Mohammad Ali alias Chotu had visited Amritsar, he saw an old age home named 'Khalsa' run by rickshaw pullers.
The visit inspired him to start an old age home in his hometown Warangal.
"We started with two rooms in a small piece of land, now we have a big dormitory which can accommodate around 100 people and we have named it 'Sahrudaya' old age home".