Burial a tough call, cremation better option for Hindus

Finding a few feet of land to bury the bodies has become a challenge.

Finding a few feet of land to bury the bodies has become a challenge. | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Amid grief, families already mourning the loss of their their member are forced to scout for space to bury the body as burial grounds in Hyderabad are running out of space.

A few castes in Hindu religion follow the custom of burying bodies, unlike others who cremate the dead. However, since the past few years, regardless of caste, Hindus who want to conduct funerals in the city have to cremate the dead; others have to look for alternative options.

If any family is very particular about burial of the dead, caretakers of burial grounds are suggesting them to take the body to their native village if they have agricultural fields. Else, they can choose to bury the dead in the same grave where their ancestors were buried.

Caretakers of small and large burial grounds say that it has been over a decade that finding a few feet of land to bury the bodies has become a challenge.

Besides, encroachment of some grounds is also adding to the issue. “If their ancestors are not buried in the same space, we try to convince people to cremate the body or to take the body to their village. Some people leave soon after knowing there is no space,” said Dasari Srinivas, president of Telangana Begari Sangham.

K Vijay Kumar, caretaker of a burial ground near Ramnagar, said that people unrelated to the person buried in the grave are not allowed to use the same space. He pointed at some of the newly laid tombstones placed after burying a person in an old grave. However, some of the tombstones laid more than six decades ago remain untouched to this day.

Caretaker of Amberpet burial ground — which is one of the largest in the city — Srinivas too said that they ran out of space many years ago. “Apart from people whose family members’ graves are here, others are told that there is no space. If they still want to conduct funerals, they have to chose cremation,” said Mr. Srinivas, sitting a distance away from a series of platforms arranged to burn the bodies. High ceilings of iron sheets cover the platforms.

While bodies of people belonging to Hindu religion are allowed in the burial grounds earmarked for them, some exceptions are made if a non-Hindu family is distressed over not finding space. In such situations, a few caretakers ask for ‘no objection’ letter. A few more ask basic rituals, like carrying the body over the shoulder, to be followed.

Caretaker of another burial ground near Dilsukhnagar, who did not want to be quoted, said that they conducted cremation of a dead person from another religion. “They came to us since they did not find space anywhere else,’ said the caretaker.

Depending on burial ground, cost for cremating a body might range from ₹ 4,500 to ₹ 6,500 which includes wood, fuel and other resources. Burial costs between ₹ 6,000 to ₹ 15,000 including labour charges.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 10:14:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/burial-a-tough-call-cremation-better-option-for-hindus/article30323615.ece