Letters To The Editor

Re: Dokhmenashini Plea Rejected

When the Gujarati High Court has dismissed the community plea to allow Dokhmenashini, it is probable that the Bombay High Court will follow suit. There’s no doubt that the life and safety of citizens is more important than religious sentiments. But it’s painful to watch our dearest ones proceeding on their last journey from the unhygienic, shabby public crematoriums and cremated against our religious tenets.

We, as a community, give more importance to the good of others than our own and abide by the laws. Our head priest of Udwada – Dasturji Khurshed Dastur, gave a practical suggestion to establish a temporary place for burial at Doongarwadi, only for the unfortunate victims of Covid, as Dokhmenashini is not allowed for those who succumb to Coronavirus. This did not go well with some who called him anti-religious. Though we give preference to Dokhmenashini, there are no religious restrictions against burial. At many places, especially where dokhmas don’t exist, our dead are laid to rest in private Aramgaha, with traditional Zoroastrian rites and rituals.

The lack of vultures casts a doubt upon the effectiveness of the Dokhmenashini system, but the use of Doongarwadi is restricted only for Dokhmenashini. As we have vast land at our disposal, and some Dokhmas are also vacant, space shouldn’t be a problem. As the bodies are packed in plastic bags, and to be buried without tempering, Nahan, Sachkar etc, cannot be performed. Obituary prayers and post death ceremonies are performed by the family priests. We can offer flowers and pray at the site where they are buried.

If we insist for Dokhmenashini, the dead bodies are to be taken inside the Dokhmas. Are there any provisions there for the disposal of the mortal remains of the dead? Are we allowed to open bags and expose the dead bodies to Khurshidnigarishni believed to dispose the human cadavers? Will the rays of the sun penetrate through the plastic bag and disintegrate the flesh and organs? Rotting bodies in bags may pose a graver threat of some other deadly virus. Can we assure them, that the disease affected cadavers are totally disposed? If they want to verify the situation, are we ready to allow them to enter the Dokhmas? It seems we are creating more problems rather than a solution.

The only option is to arrange for the burial for the unfortunate victims of Coronavirus at Doongarwadi, to give them a dignified farewell from a peaceful environment of Doongarwadi or leave them to their fate, hovering at filthy public crematoriums to be cremated against their wishes and the tenets of our religion.

Piroja Homi Jokhi 

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