Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Nowadays, women do many things that were taboo in the past, but even today, they are rarely seen performing last rites in crematoriums. But Indore's Bhagyashree Kharkhadiya (32) has blazed a new trail.
She cremates unclaimed dead bodies with full religious rituals. Bhagyashree said she mainly performs the last rites of the elderly destitute and those who have been murdered or died in accidents.
Generally, the cremation ceremony is performed by males, and there is a tradition that females should stay out of the crematorium. But, Bhagyashree collects information about these unclaimed dead bodies from the police and hospitals and performs their last rites.
She said even the pandemic did not stop her. She continued performing her last rites even though she was also pregnant. “I was not deterred by either the pandemic or my pregnancy, even though it is said that women should never go to the crematorium while pregnant,” she said.
Her dedication can be gauged from the fact that she left her son’s birthday party preparations to cremate two unclaimed bodies! “I got a call from the police that there are two unclaimed male bodies that had to be buried. So my husband and I went to the Kachche Muktidham and buried them. Both the bodies were around a week old and highly decomposed.
One of the deceased was between 25 to 30 years old, while the other was between 50 to 55 years old. Fluids were oozing out of them, and the stench was unbearable. But, with the help of employees at the Muktidham we managed to bury them.
Bhagyashree said she is inspired by the work done by the late Amarjeet Singh Sudan, a social worker who helped people in various ways. “If we help people, we should walk the extra mile and be with them till their end. So when I help any destitute by rehabilitating them, I also take responsibility for their cremation.
Many social organisations and individuals help me in my work, and my family also supports me totally,” she said. Pankaj Dwidevi, TI Pardeshipura, said Bhagyashree is doing a great job. “We have contacted her on several occasions to cremate\bury unclaimed bodies,” Dwivedi said.
With inputs from Nidhi Devliya