When a person dies, he leaves behind everything including his mortal remains. Many leave a will on how their property is to be distributed. Some pledge their organs, even their entire body, for research. With the advance in medical science, it is possible to save a life, to give sight to the needy, etc. It is here that we should understand the responsibility of the survivors of the departed person to act swiftly to fulfil his/her wishes.

Recently, we had a situation in which the family members of Sunil Gangopadhyay, former president of the Sahitya Akademi, decided to cremate his body against his wish to donate it. It is no doubt a personal matter of the family. But the question that remains unanswered is: what is the sanctity of a person’s wish? The departed is helpless here.

S.Y. Ramakrishnan,


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