Burying and Cremating Compassionately

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Burial Ground in India.

People mourning, wailing, beating their chest.

What use is a dead body, one may think? But it is useful for a poor woman who can live on the pension/for a young widow who wants to see her husband one last time/for a bereaved family who want to glimpse and save the memories.

Imagine a world where your wake-up call is mourning, crying, wailing and wishing for the power to make the immovable body lying in front you alive.

What if I told you it was real? Yes, a foundation called Satya Harischandra Foundation in Hyderabad, Telangana, searches for unclaimed bodies, circulate their details and arrange for cremation every day for people who cannot afford it. When I first heard of them, I was taken aback by their selfless service. They have buried more than 15000 bodies and they do the same work with the same compassion every day.

Compassion is not an emotion felt but they live it every minute of their daily lives. For me they define and are containers of compassion. They feel the pain of the bereaved. Their eyes turn red when they perform the last rites. Their back must be aching when they perform the rituals. But it also heals itself when they rest on their backs every night thinking of the families they helped and the amount of work that is still left.

Wikipedia says, the etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.” More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. Like members of SHF feel.

Over the past few years, I had the opportunity to participate along with my friends at Ignite Hyderabad and SoCh, in initiatives where compassion walked around live and also interacted.


Satya Harischandra Foundation is one of them.

This post is part of the #1000Speak movement going on. Thank you Bhavana for your tweets. It rekindled the amount of respect I have for this foundation and Sekhar bhaiiya who introduced me to them.

[Today, Feb 20, 2015 across the world #1000Speak for Compassion. This post is one of those voices. Please find other posts here: or on twitter with hashtag #1000Speak . You can also learn more about his project on this youtube video]


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