Pakistan's Hindu community suffers double grief as funeral costs shoot up
The Hindu community of Pakistan is suffering double grief as the cost of cremation continues to rise considerably in the country.
The recent hike in Hindu funeral rites at Karachi's only cremation ground only adds to the misery in the lives of the poor and downtrodden scheduled caste Hindus who are chiefly associated with the sanitary services in the city, reports The News.
"As if losing a loved one is not painful enough. We don't even get enough to eat in a day. When the tragedy struck, I had to beg for the amount from a friend, and I am still paying him back four months later," said Sanjay Parmar, a Hindu who cremated his aunt a few months ago.
The caretaker of the cremation ground admitted that he has to deal with families every other day who cannot afford to even pay for the wood.
"It's routine. People get angry when we say that the price of wood has gone up. They don't understand and end up shouting at us," said Murad Buksh Baloch.
The 200-year-old cremation ground recently increased the rent of the pyres from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500 owing to a financial crunch as the ground has no source of funding save for donations.
Dr. Virjlal, the treasurer of the cremation ground said that the ground is being run solely through charity given by "well-to-do Hindus". He claimed that the management of the ground never turns away any funeral as a matter of policy.
"We understand the emotional stress of the situation; if anybody is unable to pay immediately, we talk to the elders of that caste/community and allow the rites to take place on deferred payment," he said.
Dr Amarnath Motumal, the president of the Hindu Panchayat in Sindh, lamented that the government is not doing enough for the upkeep of the ground, let alone paying for the funeral of those who cannot afford to pay.
"The ground is more that 200 years old. It's a historical site. We are doing everything within our limited capacity for the place. The government should come forward and help those who cannot pay," he said.