Surat: Abdul Rehman Malbari, who has been an undertaker for unclaimed bodies for most of his 62 years, has, during the course of the coronavirus pandemic, stepped up in an even more remarkable fashion.
From the Gujarat cyclone in 1998 to the Surat floods of 2006, the Bhuj earthquake of 2001 and the Mumbai and Kedarnath floods in 2005 and 2013, Abdul has always been on the spot, doing all he can to give the many victims the final send-off they deserve.
Whether it means burying them or cremating according to different religious rituals, or even dispersing their ashes, Abdul has left no stone unturned in performing all of these rites for people whom no one else comes forward for.
More recently, since Covid-19 has hit the country, he has taken on even more responsibilities and has become one of the undertakers helping out the Surat administration with the final rites of those who died due to the virus. The Surat Municipal Corporation has entrusted his organisation, Ekta Trust, with the cremation and burial of the bodies of Covid victims.
Since March, Abdul has disposed of more than 1,200 bodies of Covid patients, of whom around 800 were Hindu. Although he has been taking every precaution possible, he still contracted the virus towards the end of March, but returned to work as soon as he recovered.
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