Mangaluru: “George who had left Mangaluru in 1950 has now ‘returned’. He is now here with my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather,” said an emotional Michael Fernandes, laying the ashes of his late brother and Union Minister, George Fernandes in the wooden casket at the Bejai cemetery.
A portion of George's ashes were brought to his birthplace, Mangaluru, by him on the wishes of his relatives and close associates. The cemetery is next to the school where George studied for a year and within a mile from the house where he spent his childhood.
The urn carrying the ashes was brought to the burial ground after a prayer ceremony of about 15 minutes and was placed in the wooden casket amidst hymns and prayers. George's paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother too are buried in the same cemetery.
Politicians, including Mangaluru Mayor, K Bhaskar, MLA, Vedavyas Kamath, corporators, Shashidhar Shetty, Lancelot Pinto and family and friends, paid tribute to him.
“George had attended the funeral of our brother, Lawrence in Bengaluru in 2005. George had told those present at the time about his desire to be cremated and then buried there too. So we will take a portion of his ashes and bury them in the cemetery in Bengaluru where our parents too are buried,” Mr Michael Fernandes said.
The burial in Bengaluru is likely to take place after about a month and- a-half, after the return of his other brothers, who are abroad at present. The time will be used to repair the tomb of George's parents.
“One-third of the ashes were buried in Delhi and I have brought one-third here. The third portion has been divided into two. One portion has been given to the Tibetans, who were associated with George and the other portion has been taken to Bihar by his trade union and political associates, who will bury it in Muzaffarpur and Nalanda- the constituencies that George represented,” he added.
While the Mangaluru City Corporation has moved a resolution to name the Bejai New Road, where his ancestral house once existed, after George Fernandes, Mr Michael Fernandes has suggested it name a major road after him.
“That is a small road and at present there is no house of ours there. People may criticise naming a small road after George. It would be better if the government names an important road, leading to a railway station or the like after George as he is known for his contribution of the Konkan Railway,” he said.
Going down memory lane, he recalled that when the five brothers were in school, they were called the Pandavas. Their sixth brother was born much later.