Jammu, 08 May: Hindus, or the larger chunk of them, believe strongly in the concept of afterlife and the deeds, good or bad, done in this life. Hindus also have many rituals that date back to before the emergence of most religions of the world and though there may have been adjustments made according to period and time, by and large, these rituals and customs have remained the same. Life is celebrated and death is the doorway to a probable next life or the more coveted, Moksha.
This is not to bring the reader’s attention to a religious sermon because most readers can choose to follow the leaders in such matters. This is also not to blame the previous government’s allocation of close to 1.75 crores to facelift the Shastri Nagar Cremation Ground because what is the point.
Shastri Nagar cremation ground has been in a pathetic state for over a year and after repeated appeals from both the residents in Shastri Nagar as well eminent people from across the city, erstwhile Ministerfor for Housing, Horticulture, and Culture, Youth Services and Sports, Mr. Raman Bhalla had formally announced the assignment of INR 1.75 Crores to restore the health of this cremation ground.
From the time of that announcement, seven months have come to a pass and the Cremation ground looks worse than ever. Let us go picture by picture to elaborate on this issue that everyone has been complaining about but has not done anything about.
1. Dysfunctional Water Coolers: The name painted on this water dispenser shows that this item is a donation made by someone to the cremation ground for general public use. In the image right below it is another water cooler and such donations are commonplace in religious places. What is appalling is, leave the cleanliness of these water-coolers aside, these water-coolers do not even work and the summers have started shining in all their glory already. Imagine being at the funeral in hot sun with a dry throat.
No Water in Taps: If the problem of drinking water was not enough, the taps in the premises do not allow a drop of water to anyone looking to clean themselves after the cremation rituals. The taps stand choked for water supply and as can be seen in these images, people probably do not even walk upto them to wash themselves.
Non-operating Male and Female Bathrooms: Primary among Mr. Bhalla’s speech was the modernization of the bathroom facility at the Shastri Nagar Cremation Ground. Bathing after cremation is done is an important ritual. In the olden times people used to bathe in the rivers or streams flowing by the Smashan Ghat and as time passed by and with cities getting choked for space, bathrooms were built for people to complete the customs after the cremation.
The male bathroom is completely inoperational and the female bathroom is in a sorry state. Leave alone modernization, these facilities have remained dysfunctional much to people’s chagrin. What is even more surprising is that those in the administration are already aware of these problems but they are seemingly waiting for the public to create a furore before they are directed by some minister to complete the work in ‘Stipulated Timeframe’.
Cleanliness: What cleanliness? The following images speak volumes about the severe neglect faced by the Shamshan Ghat. The Wall at one side was broken completely so as to bring in the construction material in the past. The construction work stands stalled at the moment, and the wall was never rebuilt. It just stands covered with a piece of cloth allowing entry to stray animals.
The construction wastes lie around all over the place and the authorities of the Gandhi Nagar Residents Welfare Association does not seem to be paying any attention. It is just as if the maintenance of the Cremation ground is not their responsibility.