Sarova chair, kin cremated

Alvin Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

The chairman of the Sarova  Hotels Mohinder Singh Vohra, his wife Swaran Kaur Vohra, their daughter Reena Kaur Vohra and daughter-in-law Atu Vohra were cremated yesterday in a tearful ceremony at the Kariokor Crematorium in Nairobi.

The four died on Sunday when their car veered off the road at Salama on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

Only the driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Saveer Vohra, who is a grandson of the Sarova Hotels chair, survived.

Young Vohra was yesterday among mourners who watched pensively as his grandfather and other three family members underwent the final Hindu funeral rites.

In line with the customs of the community, Vohra was tasked with the responsibility of setting fire on the funeral pyre. At 12:10am, the pyre was lit as silence descended on the room.

But even as the smoke from the pyre billowed, forcing most of the mourners to retreat away, Vohra stayed put, as he watched his loved ones’ bodies slowly reduced to ashes.

“In our custom, only a member of the departed one is allowed to light the pyre,” one of the mourners, who did not wish to be identified, told People Daily. Most of the mourners wept openly as the pyre burned furiously.

The sadness was accentuated by the fact less than a year ago, some of the mourners were at the same creamatorium to witness the last rites of J.S Vohra, the elder Vohra son, who died in a road accident in Amboseli in November.

Earlier, prayers were held at the Sikh temple in Pangani where politicians and business people joined family and friends to pay their last respects to the departed giant of the hotel industry and his family.

Nairobi Women’s Rep Esther Passaris, who joined the family, said the Vohra family had been instrumental in the growth of the tourism industry in Kenya.

“My heart goes to the family. The Vohra family has contributed immensely to our tourism sector,” she said.

Passaris also called for an urgent solution to the increasing road accidents, saying they  are claiming the lives of many productive people.

Former nominated MP Sornia Birda asked the government to adopt a road safety report that she tabled in Parliament in 2014. Embakasi MP Irshadali Sumra said Vohra had helped create many jobs for Kenyan youth.

Before meeting their death, the family had attended the memorial service of J.S. Vohra at the Makindu Sikh Temple. The family had also visited a children’s home where they made donations.

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