Last rites for Fernandes to be decided after son’s arrival

New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pays tribute to Former Defence Minister George Fernandes, who died at the age of 88 after prolonged illness, in New Delhi on Jan 29, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Jan 29: A decision on the day and time for conducting the last rites for George Fenandes, the former Defence Minister who died here on Tuesday, will be taken soon, his wife Leila Kabir said.

In a statement, she said Fernandes died peacefully at his home in the early hours of Tuesday and his body was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for embalming.

“We plan to conduct his last rites soon after our son, Sean Fernandes, arrives in India. The body is kept at our house S-114 Panchsheel Park for friends and associates to pay their last respects,” Leila said.

As soon as Sean arrives from the US, the family will finalize the timing of the last rites, she said.

“I and my son are grateful to every one who has come/messaged us to share our grief,” Leila added.

Shiv Sena leader to make biopic on George 

Fresh from the success of the highly-acclaimed film “Thackeray”, senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut now plans to make a biopic on veteran trade union leader and politician George Fernandes who passed away in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Despite their strong ideological differences, the Sena founder-patriarch Bal Thackeray and Fernandes enjoyed a great personal rapport, especially since the latter spoke fluent Marathi, among 10 languages he had mastered.

In fact, in the “Thackeray” film, a scene is depicted where Fernandes, played by Prakash Belawadi, visits Sena supremo Thackeray, essayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a Pune jail.

“Now I will make a biographical film on George Fernandes. It would focus mostly on the period from the mid-1950s in Mumbai to the Emergency, and the crucial role he played in coalition-era politics,” Raut told mediapersons on Tuesday.

Besides “Thackeray”, Fernandes had inspired the characters of a union leader D’Cost in Arun Sadhu’s noted Marathi novel, “Mumbai Dinank”, and in the film “Simhasan” directed by Jabbar Patel.

Besides their close personal rapport, Fernandes, Thackeray and former Prime Minister the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared another passion — to convert the country’s first aircraft carrier, Vikrant (formerly, “INS Vikrant”), into a permanent floating maritime museum for future generations.

The now-deceased trio had made frantic efforts during the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in this direction, with Thackeray pushing Vajpayee-Fernandes to take up the project.

However, it could not be executed due to various constraints, mainly financial, and finally the magnificent warship was sold as scrap and broken down to metal pieces in 2014, for recycling purposes.

The sole living memory is a small memorial sculpture created from its metal pieces sourced from a ship-breaking yard in central Mumbai, which was designed by sculptor Arzan Khambatta, and erected at a traffic island near the Naval Dockyard in south Mumbai in January 2016.