Floods douse funeral pyres across North India

Holy Smoke! They’re turning rooftops into funeral pyres in the Holy City of Benaras. They’re setting funeral pyres alight in the bye-lanes of Allahabad, while in Bihar they’re crying for dry firewood to cremate their dear departed. The Monsoon floods that are ravaging the cities, have added to the tears of an already dispossessed people…

India’s holy city of Varanasi has been forced to halt cremations along the banks of the sacred river Ganges as deadly floods from monsoon rains hit parts of the country, according to a news agency. As a matter of fact, people throughout the flood hit areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are finding it very difficult to bid farewell to  their dead.

Funeral Fires burn on rooftops in Benaras (AFP)
Funeral Fires burn on rooftops in Benaras (AFP)

Floods have inundated the ghats or platforms on the edge of the Ganges in Varanasi, forcing families to cremate loved ones on the terrace roofs of nearby houses, Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Shailendra Pandey said.

“As the ghats are not available for cremation, the roofs of havelis (old mansions) and other old houses along the ghats are being used for cremation, but with great difficulty,” Mr Pandey said. This is a macabre practice indeed, not to mention the potential danger it poses to the old mansions.

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Varanasi, traditionally Benaras  is India’s most sacred Hindu city where thousands flock to cremate relatives in the hope of attaining nirvana, before scattering the ashes in the Ganges. The ‘cremation load’ upon this city is tremendous.

Another  Hindu holy city,  Allahabad, also in Uttar Pradesh, faces a similar problem. Here the funeral pyres were being lit in nearby congested alleys, an official  said.

In Bihar, the woes of those who have lost loved ones to the floods and also from natural causes, have increased. In the flood affected areas, wood for the funeral pyres are hard to come by.

[Prepared by Newsnet Intern Debratta Choudhury from Media sources]

One thought on “Floods douse funeral pyres across North India

  • August 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    It really burns me up to read about the people who have to suffer this way. Added to the trauma of loss and grieving, it must be awful not to be able to give a dignified send off to their loved ones.

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