Jain Family Holds Cremation for Victim of Mumbai Bombings

July 14, 2006

Source: The Times


On July 14, 2006 The Times reported, "As the monsoon battered against the windscreen of the Ambassador saloon, Hitesh Kumar recited the Namaskara Sutra, the universal prayer of the Jain religion. 'We have to cremate our dead as soon as possible,' he says quietly as he sits in the front seat, sheltering outside Goregaon temple where he had earlier watched his brother’s cremation... Lalit Kumar, one of at least two dozen diamond brokers thought to have died in the blasts, was travelling home from Churchgate station . When his corpse was finally released his brother’s first task was to clean the body before re-clothing him and covering his body with a traditional kafan. Lalit’s body was then taken to the local crematorium, where ghee, camphor and sandalwood powder was sprinkled all over his corpse. As the eldest son it was Hitesh’s job to perform the last rites along with a lay Jain priest known as a Shravak. Hitesh’s final task was to light his brothers pyre. 'What remains of his body now will be collected by us later,' he said. 'We cannot immerse his ashes in rivers as Hindus do as they can pollute the water. Instead we dig a hole in the earth to place the remains, after that we sprinkle salt all over, so that it dissolves easily. As Jains we believe that the dead soul will be reborn immediately but it doesn’t offer me much consolation. My mother has a stronger faith though.'"