Mumbai: Green crematorium has takers across religions

Updated: May 12, 2019, 07:39 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

More Christians, Muslims and Parsis are opting out of traditional funerals after Eco Moksha opened in 2016

Parsi priests seen performing the last rites at Eco Moksha in Santacruz
Parsi priests seen performing the last rites at Eco Moksha in Santacruz

Over two years after Santa Cruz West got its first green crematorium, Eco Moksha, it is gradually finding acceptance across faiths with Christians, Muslims and even Parsis opting for the new-age method to bid farewell to their loved ones.

The crematorium uses piped natural gas instead of traditional wood for the final rites. "As of now, we have cremated a total of 1,758 bodies, out of which 34 were Catholics, four Parsis and three Muslims. The last rituals and prayers are done with full honour by the respective priests and as per the wishes of the bereaved families," said Viral
Trivedi, caretaker of the crematorium.

Also Read: Mumbai to get a first-of-its-kind green crematorium

Nagin Shah, secretary of Senior Citizens' Santa Cruz Association that first initiated the plan for the charitable crematorium, said that the idea behind Eco Moksha was to reach out to everyone, without barriers of cast, creed and religion. "Now, it is obvious that we are on the right path," said Shah.

Sarena D'souza, who decided to cremate her mother at Eco Moksha, when she passed away last October, said that though they do not have anything against the traditional burial, the family felt the best way to say goodbye was to keep it as eco-friendly as possible. "People at the crematorium went out of their way to help us," she said.

Also Read: Donations pour in for Mumbai's first green crematorium

Another Mumbai-based Catholic, Ramona Alwa, who opted for Eco Moksha for two of her family members, including her father, said that as an environmentalist, she was not comfortable with the concept of wooden coffins. "On both the occasions, we had a priest who performed the last rites by reading verses from the Holy Bible and giving his final blessings," she said.

Iqbal, whose Parsi family members Ratan and Dhunijshan Mehta were also cremated here, said the entire experience was a pleasant one. Apart from opening the crematorium to people of all faiths, the association also cremates bodies of roadside dwellers, who are brought in by the nuns from the Missionaries of Charity in Santacruz.

Next project

The crematorium has started to collect flowers used to cover the deceased. "It is used to make vermicompost," said Bharat Shah, president of the organisation. Shawls along with other linen on the body are sterilised and distributed to street-dwellers. "So far, 500 shawls have been distributed and we have a current stock of 200, which will be distributed soon. Unlike all other resting places, we have no reservations in accepting everyone," Shah added.

Also Read: Mumbai: Green crematorium at Santacruz to open by month-end

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