On the rite path
Saturday, November 20, 2010
By Kaptan MaliAntim Samskar Seva specialises in performing the funeral rituals of different religions
In Mumbai’s fast-paced life hardly anyone has the time to even think about others. And then, there are a few like Dr. Ramnik Parekh, who devote their money and time for the dead, to provide them a respectful last rite. Very few in the city know about the procedures for last rites of all the religions. For such people, the Antim Samskar Seva – founded by Dr. Parekh – has the answers.
Dr. Parekh has devoted several years of his life studying the different types of last rite rituals of different religions after that he set up his organisation. Antim Samskar Seva has an air-conditioned hearse equipped with all the essentials required for any last rite with four staff members, who are just a call away. They claim to reach the spot in an hour’s time. In the cities, very few people know how to make a ‘bier’ (wooden stretcher) on which the dead body is taken to the crematorium. Also, there are very few shops where the materials required for it are available.
The organisation provides two types of services, one from hospital to home and second from home to crematorium. In two years since its inception, the Antim Samskar Seva has provided their services to over 350 families from different communities of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhists, etc. Nowadays, they get an average of one to two such requests per day.
Dr. Parikh explained, “In foreign countries, the dead bodies are given a respectful farewell and they are taken to the crematorium in a well-decorated Mercedes or a Rolls Royce. Crematoriums there are a place of peace and greenery with a planned set up, but in India the situation is totally opposite. I want the same type of respect for the dead here too and my Antim Samskar Seva is just an effort in this direction.”
The doctor added that a simple last rite in Hindus requires at least 24 articles. “After the death of a family member, when the entire family mourns, they have the responsibility of performing the last rites too. In such a scenario, all the preparations happen in a scattered manner. Here’s where our team provides them with expert, humble service without depending on the deceased’s family for as little as a match box.”
He further revealed, “We execute the whole process quietly and discreetly and also ensure that the ashes are recovered and handed over to the family. We also help the family members to donate the organs of the dead on their request as well as complete the formalities to obtain the official death certificate from the BMC.”
In 1982, Dr. Parikh’s father met with an accident and was admitted to J.J. Hospital, where he died. His father’s body was then put in a hearse provided by the hospital van, which had blood stains and was filthy. While transporting his father’s body to Pedder Road, the hearse van developed some mechanical problems. Later, his father’s body was taken in another hearse. After witnessing the disrespect to his father’s body, Dr. Parikh decided that, in the future, he will do something in this regard. It led to the formation of the Antim Samskar Seva in 2008.
Antim Samskar Seva consists of…
- A coordinator (social worker), two helpers and a driver in uniforms
- Seating facility for a few mourners
- Bottled water with disposable cups
- Spiritual recitations or chanting of religious shlokas in the background (on demand of the family)
- All the requisites like earthen pot, bier/ stretcher (ready to use), flowers/garlands, salt, ghee, etc.
(Antim Samskar Seva can be contacted on 9223355500/ 9223355511. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)