Chinmayee Das, a 35-year-old transgender, is a ray of hope to the Covid victims in Jagatsinghpur and Angul of Odisha. This social activistdoes not only ensurea dignified funeral forCovid victimswhom their relativeshardly approach due to the fear of deadly infectionbut also goes out to provide at least two meals a day to the poor and hapless of her district in these uncertain times. This social activist from Odisha travels between Angul district and Jagatsinghpur district of Odishadaily to distribute dry ration to the people of both districts since the first wave of the pandemic. Apart from helping pandemic-affected people, she also provides food and water to the animals in Angul.
Born as Gagan Bihari Das in the Poshei village ofJagatsinghpur, she completed herClass X from her own village. She left her village after being ridiculed for being effeminate by her friends and relatives. She has done various odd jobs in the cities like Puri, Cuttackand Bhubaneswar. Gradually, with the money saved, she managed to open a ladies’ corner in the Angul district. In 2012, Chinmayeegot herself registered as the third gender. Though she runs this shop in Angul district, she is also connected with Jagatsinghpur as she was born there and makes sure to give her time to both places.
Sudeep Pradhan, a resident of Angul, said Chinmayee is an ardent animal lover. She has made all the arrangements to provide water to wild animals of nearby forests during the summer season, Pradhan added. He also said Chinmayee has tried hard and contributed her bit towards a liquor-free society by launching a campaign against hooch trade in the locality.
During the first wave of the pandemic, Chinmayee started distributing food to the poverty-stricken village people but at the onset of the second wave, she realized that most of the people are not able to cremate the bodies of their near and dear ones owing to their home isolation or fear of the disease. To find a solution for that, she shared her phone number over social media, so that people may easily reach her for help. While she was mainly involved in the cremation of bodies in Angul, her community members and other social workers help in cremating bodies in Jagatsinghpur. To date, she has cremated more than 25 coronavirus victims.
Once scorned and neglected in society, Chinmayi is now proved to be the only ray of hope for all Covid-19 patients and relatives. She not only performed just cremation but also provided medical care to all types of patients who come to the district. Whether it’s collecting oxygen cylinders, arranging an ambulance, or standing in queue to check on a Covid-19 patient’s health, Chinmayi was always present there for all things.
“Extending a helping hand to those at risk during this Covid-19 pandemic is real service. I myself am disciplined and taking all the precautionary measures and engaging myself in the service of the people,” said Chinmayi.
According to the inhabitants of Jagatsinghpur and Angul, Chinmayee is more than an ASHA and Anganwadi worker as she left no stone unturned to create awareness on Covid 19 among people. To add to that, she is always ready to help patients and their families who are struggling to come to terms with the deadly virus.
To recognize her noble work, Chinmayee has been recently applauded by the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik for her selfless service.