Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017

A hero who comes to the rescue of the dead

Heroes are often made out to be those who save lives, but here is one who comes to the rescue of the dead and their families. Ashraf Thamarassery, a UAE-based businessman, is credited with helping the final journey of the dead to their home countries.

The 41-year-old, a native of Kerala, was in Bengaluru to participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an event which saw him being conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Award in the past.

“It was 2002 when I saw the struggle of a family I knew when the father passed away,” he said, recalling how his tryst with the dead began. As he learnt of the money involved in transporting bodies to their home countries, the lengthy procedures, and the large amount of paperwork, he decided to dedicate a significant amount of his time to helping those in similar situations.

Until December 2016, Mr. Ashraf is said to have helped transport 3,886 bodies to 38 countries. Transportation to India is one of the most expensive, he said. This is because Indian airlines charge per kilogram of weight of the body, which often ends up becoming a huge financial burden on the grieving families.

“What if it is a poor worker here? Their families will have to contact around 16 departments and pay hefty airline charge,” he said, advocating for government intervention on this.

Though often perceived as morbid, his family is completely in support of what he is doing, Mr. Ashraf said, making it clear that he will continue to remain a call away for those who want his help at one of the most difficult times of their lives.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 11:33:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/A-hero-who-comes-to-the-rescue-of-the-dead/article17010344.ece

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