FaithWorld

Hindu wins battle for funeral pyre in Britain

By Reuters Staff
February 10, 2010
Davender Ghai outside of Britain's High Court in London, 18 Jan 2010/Toby Melville

Davender Ghai outside of Britain's High Court in London, 18 Jan 2010/Toby Melville

A devout Hindu declared himself “overjoyed” on Wednesday after winning a court fight to be allowed to be cremated in Britain on an open-air funeral pyre.

Spiritual healer Davender Ghai, 71, was granted his last wish by the Court of Appeal which ruled the controversial ceremony could be carried out without a change in the law, which prohibits the burning of human remains anywhere outside a crematorium.

But the judges ruled in his favour only after Ghai agreed that the pyre would be surrounded by walls and a roof with an opening, the Press Association domestic news agency reported.

Ghai believes that a pyre is essential to “a good death” and for the release of his spirit into the afterlife.  He wants a permit for an open-air cremation site in a remote part of Northumberland in northern England.

Davender Ghai near a traditional Hindu funeral pyre in Northumberland, northeast England, 12 July 2006/Phil Noble

Davender Ghai near a traditional Hindu funeral pyre in Northumberland, northeast England, 12 July 2006/Phil Noble

Read Stefano Ambrogi’s full story here.

With Europeans discussing restrictions on certain traditions such as the wearing of Muslim face veils, do you think this Hindu tradition is acceptable in a western society?

Does it stop short of some red line that the Muslim veil crosses? Does it make a difference that a Hindu is seeking respect for a religious tradition rather than a Muslim?

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/