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Ex-sarpanch ensures proper send-off for the dead in Tramba
Rajkot: “No fear, no reservation, no hesitation.” This has become Muljibhai Khunt’s credo as he oversees last rites and cremations in Rajkot’s Tramba village.
At a time when family members are not keen on conducting the last rites of their loved ones for fear of contracting COVID-19, the former sarpanch of the village—who has been managing the local crematorium for 20 years—has taken it upon himself to ensure that the dead get a proper send-off.
“Since family members are afraid of even touching the bodies, I decided to make sure all the proper rites are performed as per Hindu tradition.
I’ve never had to cremate so many bodies in such a short span of time,” he said. So far, he has cremated the 40 bodies of COVID-19 patients on the log fires in his village.
Muljibhai also sources the wood for the pyres himself.
“People let me know about trees that are blocking their farms or lying by the roadside. I get them cut and brought to the crematorium, where we cut them further into the required size,” he said.
Notably, according to Hindu tradition, bodies are never cremated late at night. However, with COVID-19, families cannot keep the bodies overnight. So, Muljibhai makes himself available for funerals and cremations at all hours of the night, as the need arises.
“One night, I got a call at 2 am, about someone’s death. I reached the crematorium for final rituals and cremation,” the former sarpanch said.
He adds that by ensuring proper funerals, not only is he serving society, he is also sharing in the mourners’ sorrow over losing a loved one.