Discarded by family, cured leprosy patients in their 60s marry in Odisha
Dasa Marandi (63) and Padmabati (65) both afflicted with leprosy were under treatment in a government-sponsored leprosy treatment centre at Bampada under Remuna Block in Balasore district
A man and a woman in their 60s, who were cured of leprosy, decided to stay together as life partners and married as their respective families abandoned them years ago.
Dasa Marandi (63) and Padmabati (65) both afflicted with leprosy were under treatment in a government-sponsored leprosy treatment centre at Bampada under Remuna Block in Balasore district.
Both recovered from the disease. Dasa Marandi stayed for four years and Padmabati for about 10 years in the leprosy treatment centre. They found themselves abandoned by their respective family members since they were diagnosed with the disease.
The families did not accept them even after doctors declared them fully cured.
"The disease, once considered to be a taboo in the orthodox rural society, still continues to haunt the mindset of people and many are unable to cope up with the changed situations", says Niranjan Parida, a lawyer and social activist from Balasore.
Dasa Marandi, who was under treatment for four years was admitted to the male ward, as his family members deserted him since the detection of the disease, says a villager in Sartha under Sadar Block.
Similar was the situation in Padmabati's case. She had to remain alone in the treatment centre for 10 years as her husband died and other family members left her alone though she claims that she has a small house in her village in Oupada block in Balasore district.
Both deserted by their near and dear, preferred to remain together for the rest of their life. As per their wishes, inmates and staff of the leprosy treatment centre had arranged a marriage ceremony as per Hindu marriage rituals, said Dasa Marandi.
He said, "We were close for years and first I proposed to her to remain together and she agreed." They would stay in a rehabilitation centre near the leprosy treatment centre.
The chief district medical officer and additional district medical officer of Balasore congratulated the newlywed senior couple along with staff and other inmates of the leprosy treatment centre who arranged the ceremony in the temple on Friday.
A simple feast was also arranged followed by the marriage ceremony and all costs were borne by the staff of the centre, said a staff member Durga Mani Upadhya.
Dr Mrutyunjay Mishra, Additional District Medical Officer, Balasore said, "Both are fully cured and can lead a happy and normal life like others."
Published: 15 Oct 2023, 1:57 PM