Dead Bodies in The Ganges

While publicising my article, We are Indians, I came across a link from China. It showed numerous photos of the dirty India. While many such articles’ locus is exclusively showing the worst parts of our society, this one had one major appalling theme- dead bodies floating in The Ganges.


Most of the pictures were taken in Varanasi, an overpopulated city where the ghats near the holy river are popular among Hindus for cremation. The Ganges (Ganga), as it is believed salvages your soul from all the sins that you may have committed. Thus, a dead body’s ashes are dispersed into the river.

When India, especially around the Gangetic plains, suffered from the cholera outbreak in the early 19th century, several unburnt bodies were thrown directly in the river. The river as proven to have exceptional bactericidal properties was thought as the best method for disposing off the diseased. The disease spread more due to this!

We all have seen old Bollywood movies where it is painstakingly shown that the misfortunes of the poor do not even allow them to have a proper funeral. The dismaying fact turns out to be true even today. People who cannot pay for enough wood for cremation often throw the half-burnt corpses into the Holy River. Moreover there is the superstition that holy men, pregnant women, people with leprosy/chicken pox, people who had been bitten by snakes, people who had committed suicide, the poor, and children under five are not to be cremated but should be floated free to decompose in the water. The government has tried to set up electric crematoriums and sends trained snapping turtles to eat the flesh from the corpses, but seeing the pictures, it is all to no avail.

Raam Teri Ganga Maili Ho gayi!

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