March 29, 2009

Hindus in Britain want permission for open fire pyres

Hindu elder in legal bid so he can be cremated on open-fire pyre

 Open Fire Pyre

A devout Hindu grandfather made a heartfelt plea yesterday to be allowed to be cremated 'with dignity' on an open-air funeral pyre when he dies.

Davender Ghai, 70, believes that the ancient Hindu tradition of open-air cremation is essential to the liberation of his soul after death.


The Newcastle City Council says no, it contravenes the 1902 Cremation Act.

Standarized cremation says Ghai is a 'mechanized humiliation of dignity'" and the council's cremation facilities were a "waste disposal process devoid of spiritual significance."

By contrast, he compared the liberation of the soul in consecrated fire to a sacramental rebirth, 'like the mythical phoenix arising from the flames anew'.

He added: 'Being bundled into a box and incinerated in a furnace is not my idea of dignity, much less performance of an ancient sacrament.

Ghai is appealing for judicial review with the support of a number of Hindu organizations.

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 29, 2009 8:59 AM | Permalink