Friday, July 24, 2009

The Crematorium

Shaheen would like to be cremated.

She is a distant relative of mine, and like most of my wider family, supports the Awami League with blind devotion (that is to say, she is an Awami Leaguer.)

One evening, when we had gone visiting a very sick relative, she was unfortunately there. The subject turned to burial – she maneuvered the conversation towards that topic. Naturally, like any good Awami Leaguer, she disapproves of burial, the only reason being that it is practiced in Islam. Everything about Islam is anathema to Shaheen, whereas everything about Hinduism is glorious.

One of these glorious aspects is cremation; she deplored the fact that she could not be cremated in Bangladesh. I wondered why she didn't just sneak across the border before death and had herself burnt and floated down the river. (Or she could go down to Japan, where she would be toast even before you could say 'rigor mortis'.)

Now, her husband works for a conglomerate and earns a pot of money. If she migrates to India, her husband would lose his status and a significant part of his income, Muslims being more discriminated against in India than dalits, according to academic studies.

Shaheen wouldn't like to live in India, mind you: she loves money too much for that. She would like to sit on this side of the fence and sigh, casting wistful glances at the other side. Ah! If only the money on this side hadn't been so good! If only they didn't live in a mansion with a second home to get away to for the weekends and from that terrible Muslim ritual, Eid! If only they lived in poverty and could make it to the other side, pretending to be Hindus, and take up jobs as coolies. It's all the fault of that man, Jinnah!

If it hadn't been for him, she would have been cremated.

1 comment:

Shadman said...

Perhaps such people should be burned. It will bring down the cost of burial in Bangladesh for real Muslims. Why should we increase the demand for burial ground artificially for apostates when they're perfectly content to be burnt up? We should reduce the "aggregate demand" for burial by allowing apostates to be burnt. However to make it environmentally friendly and them useful for a change...they should be burnt in a Fisher Tropsch chamber and their bodies turned into oil. May be it can even reduce our demand for imported oil from those horrible muslim arabs. Oh what an enlightned liberation that will be. Just a modest proposal :-)