They ensure dignity in death for unclaimed bodies

February 3rd, 2009 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 3 (IANS) In this day and age when people have little time or inclination to reach out to others, two academician friends in this city are rendering services to the dead by cremating unclaimed bodies.Vivek Tangri and Pankaj Bhadauria, both in their early 30s, have cremated as many as 310 unclaimed bodies in the last two years.

Tangri and Bhadauria, who jointly run a private management and technology college in Lucknow, have set up an organisation named ‘Sangathan Ki Oar’.

“It all started around two years ago. An incident moved both of us, following which we decided to perform the cremation,” Tangri told IANS.

“We were attending a funeral procession of the father of a college friend. When we reached the cremation ground, we saw a poor woman who had brought her husband’s body on a rickshaw.

“With folded hands, she was pleading with the priests to let her perform the last rites herself as she did not have money to pay for the service.”

“After being turned away by the priests, the woman approached us and begged for the money,” recollected Tangri. He along with Bhadauria gave around Rs.2,000 to the woman.

The incident left a deep impression on the minds of the two friends. “It moved us in the core of our hearts and prompted us to think for those who die in anonymity and do not have anyone to conduct their cremation,” said Bhadauria.

That’s when the duo thought of setting up the organisation.

“It was not easy. We had to run from pillar to post, convincing the police and district authorities to allow us to cremate unclaimed bodies,” said Bhadauria.

After two months of making the rounds of government offices, they finally got permission.

Tangri and Bhadauria run their organisation with an 11-member team and remain in touch with the police for performing the last rites of unclaimed bodies.

“In most cases, we perform the last rites of those killed on the road, in train accidents or other mishaps. The bodies are handed to us after autopsy and completion of other formalities,” said Tangri.

The two have also witnessed several cases of family members, especially those from a poor background, leaving the deceased in hospital for fear of cremation expenses, added Tangri.

Tangri and Bhadauria run their organization from funds generated by friends.

They are also environment conscious, and now opt for the electric crematorium instead of the traditional Hindu funeral which consumes a lot of wood and emits smoke.

(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at

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