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Updated: April 22, 2013 00:40 IST

Shutterbug captures the lifeless

Asif Yar Khan
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After retirement from the railway police, sixty-five-year-old Hussain Khan takes pictures of the dead at the OGH mortuary

Who is not game for clicking pictures of events and tourists spots? But taking snaps of the dead is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Decomposed and mutilated bodies offer a revolting sight; but for Hussain Khan, clicking such pictures is part of his profession. The 65-year-old, a retired police head constable, has been doing it for the last many years at the Osmania General Hospital mortuary.

It all started after Mr. Hussain retired from the Government Railway Police (GRP) in 2005. As per rules, the police keep a photograph of victims of unnatural deaths in its record. And it is here that Mr. Hussain’s services were required.

“I was used to seeing and handling bodies of train accident victims so I did not find the job difficult. I was entrusted with the job of conducting ‘panchanama’ and shifting the bodies to the mortuary,” he says.

The 65-year-old now takes photographs of all bodies, including unknown ones, and preserves them.

“If anyone comes in search of missing persons, I show them [pictures of] the bodies. Many people have identified their relatives through the photographs,” he says.

His service is free for unknown bodies, though he collects some money from the relatives of those identified.

“I spend a considerable amount in getting the photographs developed at a local studio. But at the end of the day, I do manage to make some money. The relatives of the dead offer money recognising my service,” he says. For the sexagenarian Mr. Hussain, however, the job has now become something of a social service.


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