People overcome fear of virus; start collecting urns with ashes
From July, people have started visiting crematoriums while also collecting urns containing ashes of deceased who died due to Covid-19 or non-Covid reasonsUpdated: Sep 27, 2020, 16:55 IST
Initially the fear of Sars-Cov-2 virus which cases the Covid-19 infection had gripped people’s minds so much that they did not even want to collect urns with ashes from crematoriums. However, with pandemic entering into the seventh month and awareness programmes by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have helped people overcome the fear of the spread of the virus and they have started collecting urns which have ashes of the deceased.
According to Hindu rituals, ashes have to be immersed post-cremation. “We did a mass awareness drive and explained to people that after the body is cremated at a temperature of 650 to 750 degree Celsius, the virus does not exist. People took time to understand, but now people collect urn with ashes without any fear,” said Arun Jangam, body disposal officer, PMC.
During March and April, the situation was so grim that people did not visit crematorium for last rites as a result of which PMC staff had to carry out cremation along with post-death rites. Inability to perform after-death rituals for departed loved ones due to curbs compounded the pain of many families during the Covid pandemic as urns containing ashes piled up in crematoriums across the city.
From July, people have started visiting crematoriums while also collecting urns containing ashes of deceased who died due to Covid-19 or non-Covid reasons.
Along with the fear of the virus, rumours regarding the effects of the virus made things worse for people.
“Explaining to people when they are already grieving made things hard for us. Few agreed in one-time explanation while others needed it repeatedly,” added Jangam.
In the cases where the complete family is suffering from a virus, the urns with ashes are kept in the lockers with the name label.
“After cremation, we keep track of urns with ashes, and after it is delivered to relatives, an entry is made in the register,” added Jangam.
“We are praised by the society for the work which we are doing,” added Jangam.
Ashish Patil, whose grandmother died due to virus collected ashes after 14 days since the family of four was home quarantined.
“It was safely kept in a locker and after my quarantine period was over, I collected it. In hard times PMC is doing a good job,” added Patil.