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WE normally associate the word social service with a strong emphasis on the positive aspects of life like education, health, etc. But here's an organisation that begs to differ. Volunteers of Dharmishta Mitran, who can best be described as undertakers, focus on one goal and that is providing a dignified death to all human beings. What prompted them to start this unique service you wonder ? "It is our way of saluting the human race," comes the prompt reply.

Formed by a group of welfare- minded people belonging to Chedda Nagar, Munjal Nagar, Pestom Sagar and Garodia Nagar townships of Chembur and Ghatkopar, this association has a team of 20 active volunteers who have been rendering assistance to bereaved families. "We deal with the post-death matters that includes informing relatives, arranging for priests and taking care of the funeral procedures. We also help out with the police/ hospital procedures for claiming the body and in obtaining the death certificate," informed V G Parmeshwaran (Muthu Mani), chairman of the association.

Ask about fees and he explains, "Our services are free but the expenses for the priest and cemetery have to be borne by the bereaved family members".

Mitran has been providing its service to members of the Hindu community over two decades and has established an excellent rapport with the police stations and hospitals in the neighbourhood.

The volunteers of Dharmishta Mitran are a dedicated lot and strongly believe that like all things, death too should be given a due place. According to them Hindus do not have the concept of professional undertakers. People seldom lend a helping hand during times of grief. They have witnessed several cases where the breadwinner expires and the women of the family, weighed down by shock, sorrow and worry remain helpless. This is when Dharmishta Mitran steps in, providing the much needed help to the mourning family members.

To avail of their service, all one has to do is to dial and the volunteers rush to those waiting to cremate their dead. Registered under the Companies Act Dharmishta Mitran is also involved in the upliftment of weaker sections of the Society. They offer help monetary or otherwise in areas of health, education and marriage.

Those willing to enlist themselves as volunteers or offer any kind of assistance can contact : Muthu Mani on 5286589 / 5282224.

Courtesy : Chembur Ghatkopar Plus
Date : 30th March 2002.


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