Kapil Dev offers to bring back Indian immigrant's ashes from Australia

Posted By: Samyuktha

Melbourne, July 3 (ANI): Former Indian Test cricketer Kapil Dev has offered to go to Australia to bring back the ashes of an Indian immigrant who died in that country 63 years ago.

Dev is said to have been emotionally touched by the story of Pooran Singh who moved to Australia 111 years ago, but died wanting his ashes scattered in India's River Ganges.

Singh was cremated in June 1947 with his only relatives in India being notified of his death by telegram. With no one able to claim his remains in Australia and send them home to his family, Singh's ashes were held in limbo at a funeral home for over 63 years and counting.

"I was really really touched by the story," news.com.au quoted Dev as telling SBS Radio's Punjabi program on Thursday.

He's now offering to travel to Australia to pick up the remains himself and return them to India.

"I'm delighted to do that," he said.

Dev said he hopes the man's descendants can be tracked down too.

"If we can do that, you just feel happy and you feel proud if somebody's last wish can be fulfilled," he said.

Singh took the long boat ride to Australia at the age of 30 in 1899.

He then worked as a hawker for 47 years, selling goods in rural Australia from the back of his horse-drawn cart.

Upon his death in Warrnambool, west of Melbourne, in country Victoria, the funeral home respected his wish to be cremated.

Guyetts Funerals shipped his body by train to Melbourne's southeastern suburbs to the only crematorium in the entire state.

The Guyett family then held his remains in storage for the next six decades - the last three behind a commemorative plaque on a memorial wall to honour the man and his story.

Alice Guyett-Wood, who now runs the funeral home for her family, says Singh had made his River Ganges request himself and it was passed down to each generation that runs the funeral business.

"I don't know if anyone else has kept ashes as long as we have," she told SBS Radio.

Her family's decision to keep the ashes until his final wish could be granted was an easy one, she said.

Now that Dev has stepped in and offered to help, she's thrilled that the final chapter on the man's life can finally be written. (ANI)

Story first published: Saturday, July 3, 2010, 11:24 [IST]
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