|Name||Sapana Rokka Magar|
|Birth Date||10 February 2002|
|Birth Place||Myagdi , Nepal|
|Father||Jit Prasad Roka Magar|
|Mother||Nanu Roka Magar|
|Achievement||BBC top 100 women 2020|
EARLY LIFE: THE PAINFUL PAST
Sapana Roka Magar was born in a middle-class farming family in the Myagdi district. She passed the SLC (School Leaving Certificate) from Mahendra Ratna Secondary School in 2073. Then, She moved to Beni at the age of 14 to pursue her higher studies. She is said to have been a good student during her childhood but during her high school studies, she fell in love with a guy and married him against her parent’s will. The relationship broke down after a few months and she got separated. She had no courage to return back home. She found it easier to live in the streets than to go back home.
She lived in the streets for three months. Life was hard for Sapana, she had no one to lean on and nowhere to go. She had nothing to eat and slept empty stomach for several days. She finally mustered the courage to call her brother in law and told him everything. His brother in law called her home and she went home. Ashamed and regretful, Sapana was warmly accepted by her family but she became the talk of the village. The villager used to make fun of her and talked behind her back about how she had embarrassed her family.
Sapana completed her +2 and was initially planning to study in Japan. She thought leaving the village was the best option for her and her family. She came to Kathmandu and dropped the idea of going abroad. She stayed as a refuge in the home of her friend with whom she had initially planned to leave for Japan. Her father Binaya Jung Basnet acquainted her with the homeless management and rehabilitation center, an organization that cremates unclaimed bodies.
Initially, Binaya Basnet was skeptical about a teenage girl doing this kind of stuff but had to agree to the stubbornness of Sapana. The first unattended body she cremated was that of a girl her age. That girl’s lifeless body reminded her of herself. She remembered those tough days in the streets she tried to take her life and wondered had she died who would have cremated her body. She felt she found her life purpose and started working as a crematorium worker.
MAKING TO THE BBC INFLUENTIAL WOMEN LIST
In the list of 100 Women of 2020, BBC included Sapana Roka Magar as one of the inspiring and influential women from around the world.
Roka Magar works with the Homeless Management and Rehabilitation Center, an organization that cremates unclaimed bodies. With the pandemic of Covid-19 affecting homeless people in Nepal’s cities and the number of dead at cremation sites increasing, Roka Magar’s work has become vital. Without her, many of the bodies would be in hospital morgues, be abandoned on the streets, and deprived of dignified funerals.
If the body remains unclaimed for 35 days, the organization takes it to a crematorium and performs Daagbatti, a traditional final rite in the Hindu religion that is supposed to be done by the male member of the deceased person’s family. Traditionally, women are not allowed on cremation grounds, Roka Magar does a job that people usually do not accept.
Sapana Rokka Magar filed a misconduct complaint against Binaya Jung Basnet for threatening her to publish the nude photos on his Youtube channel. Sapana Magar and Binaya Basnet had worked together for the cremation of unclaimed bodies. She stayed with him in Kathmandu but she returned back home in November 2020 leaving Basnet after having bitterness between them.
LESSER KNOWN FACTS ABOUT SAPANA ROKKA MAGAR
- She married a guy in her high school against the will of her parents.
- She was homeless and slept in the streets for three months.
- She tried to commit suicide several times.
- She regarded Binaya Basnet as a godfather who helped her to find a new purpose in her life.