India And Its Cremation Tradition

Cremation is a method that has long been used for many centuries in India when disposing the bodies of the loved ones that has passed away. The problem is that the annual number of deceased Hindus reaches 8.5 million and the use of funeral pyres is already taking on a toll on the health of the environment. Every year, more than 50 million trees are cut down and the air is absorbing carbon dioxide reaching up to eight million tones. This is alarming considering that India is plagued with problem of air pollution. With this method, adult cremation urns are used to store the ashes of the deceased.

Back in the 1960s, the government of India is already aware of the impact cremation has to the environment. This is the main reason why they turned to a more practical approach which will only cost the bereaved family $10. The amount is not even half the cost in comparison to traditional cremation.

The issue with the latest method is that there is no need to use wood. This material is essential to perform the traditional rituals. Another downside in using the gas chamber is that the families have nothing to do while the process is on-going and they can only sit and wait until the burning is completed.

Despite the efforts of the government to subsidized methods that are alternatively good for the environment, there is no denying that the public is still attached to their traditional way of cremation.

According to a sociologist specializing in funerary rituals, Dr. Ravi Singh, it is essential to realize that the traditional cremation aims to help the families think that the decease is a part of the ritual and they are sacrificing their humanly bodies during the cremation. Therefore, for this process, wood plays a very important role. Fire is a symbol that is considered to have a level of grace during the process.

He added that this is also the major reason why Indians are so reluctant to adopt the new cremation because they have been accustomed to using the death rituals ever since. Though improvements in adult cremation urns can be seen, it will take many years before the modern ways can be fully accepted.