Press Club of India, Indian Tehalka News
By coming out in the open about her disappointment over her failure to fulfil the last wish of her grandma Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri on account of the hostile attitude of the local parish, actor Priyanka Chopra appears to have triggered a controversy.
The actor’s grandmother passed away on June 3 and her last wish was to be buried at the cemetery of her home parish Aattamangalam Church, along with her dear and near ones, in her ancestral village Kumarakom. However, as reported earlier, when the body was brought to Kottayam from Mumbai on June 5, it had to be buried at the cemetery of another parish at Ponkunnam, more than 30 miles from her ancestral village, on account of the opposition from the parish authorities.
The body was taken to a relative’s house at Paruthumpara, near here, for the last phase of the prayers and from there to Ponkunnam. Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri was born to the Kavalapara family and her maiden name was Mary John. A nurse, she had migrated to Bihar where she married Dr. Akhouri. She then changed her name to Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri. The couple were active during the freedom struggle and later in social work. They were Members of the Legislative Council in Bihar. Actor Priyanka Chopra is the daughter of Madhu Chopra, Akhouri’s daughter.
The parish authorities maintained that the lady was married outside the religion and had no touch with the parish for a long period and denied the right to burial at the cemetery. However, her relatives said she was a practising Christian and had in fact received Holy Eucharist from the parish priest at Aattamangalam Church, which denied her the right to be buried at its cemetery.
They also said the head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church and more than one bishop had given sanction for her funeral at the church cemetery. However, the church committee did not budge. On Friday, Bishop Thomas Mor Themotheos, Bishop of Kottayam diocese of the Jacobite Church, said it was he who arranged the funeral at St. Thomas Jacobite Church, Ponkunnam.
“She was a social worker and had done much good for the needy,” he said. “Marrying outside the religion is not a reason to deny this act of mercy to anyone,” he added.
“Denying her funeral rights was inhuman and unchristian,” the Metropolitan told the media. Both the parishes belong to the Jacobite Church.