Abdul Rehman Malbari gives Gangajal to the deceased in with accordance with Hindu last rites | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul Rehman Malbari gives Gangajal to the deceased in with accordance with Hindu last rites | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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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.

ThePrint’s National Photo Editor Praveen Jain brings you his story in pictures.

Abdul Malbari often waits until well beyond midnight in case there is someone who needs to be cremated or buried | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul Malbari often waits until well beyond midnight before he goes home in case there is someone who needs to be cremated or buried | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul preparing to perform the last rites for a Covid victim | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul prepares to perform the last rites for a Covid victim | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul leaves for the crematorium in an ambulance, carrying PPE kits | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
When Abdul leaves for the crematorium, he carries PPE kits with him to wear during the final rites | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the crematorium in Surat, Abdul dons a PPE suit before performing any funeral rites. He himself tested positive for Covid in March | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the crematorium in Surat, Abdul dons a PPE suit before performing any funeral rites. He himself tested positive for Covid in March | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul Malbari has around 40 people working with him to ensure unclaimed bodies are disposed of with respect and dignity | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul Malbari has around 40 people working with him to ensure unclaimed bodies are disposed of with respect and dignity | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the crematorium, Abdul makes sure the body of the Covid victim is covered with a yellow cloth on which is written an ode to Lord Ram | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the crematorium, Abdul makes sure the body of a Covid victim is covered with a yellow cloth on which Lord Ram is printed | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
All the paraphernalia needed for a cremation is used, including coconuts and camphor | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
All the paraphernalia needed for a Hindu cremation is used, including coconuts and camphor | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul ensures each rite and ritual is performed with dignity and that the deceased are paid every last respect | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Abdul ensures each rite and ritual is performed dutifully and that the deceased are paid every last respect | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the moment, Abdul has around 20 pots of ashes to be disposed of | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the moment, Abdul has around 20 pots of ashes to be disposed of | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Since the pandemic struck India, Abdul Malbari has cremated and buried hundreds of victims of the virus. He is known as Laawaaris laashon ka dost Abdul Malbari (Abdul Malbari, friend of unclaimed bodies) in Surat | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Since the pandemic struck India, Abdul Malbari has cremated and buried hundreds of victims of the virus. He is known as the ‘laawaaris laashon ka dost’ (friend of unclaimed bodies) in Surat | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

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4 Comments Share Your Views

4 COMMENTS

  1. great job by the gentleman as well as the journalist who picked this up. perhaps it is an indicator of the state of indian reader that we have hundreds discussing sushnat singh rajput but very few lauding this humanitarian.

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