Meet Padma Shri Awardee 'Chacha Sharif', Who Has Cremated 25000 Unclaimed Bodies

In Faizabad, each day, Mohammed Sharif can be seen picking up abandoned corpses, digging a grave or lighting the fire at the cremation grounds to give a dignified funeral to the dead.

India   |   26 Jan 2020 11:32 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-01-27T12:41:49+05:30
Meet Padma Shri Awardee

Image Credits: The Times Of India

In Faizabad, each day, Mohammed Sharif can be seen picking up abandoned corpses, digging a grave or lighting the fire at the cremation grounds to give a dignified funeral to the dead.

The 82-year-old bicycle mechanic is one of the Padma Shri awardees who will be honoured for his selfless service. Popularly known as 'Chacha Sharif', he has been performing last rites of unclaimed bodies for the past 27 years, in and around Faizabad. He has cremated/buried over 25,000 dead bodies so far. He never discriminates the dead on the basis of religion and performs last rites according to the person's religious practices.

Sharif's son was murdered, and his body was found decomposed in a sack on the railway track 28-years-ago. The incident deeply moved Sharif. He then decided to perform last rites of unclaimed bodies in his district, irrespective of their religion.

"It all began after my eldest son Mohd Raes Khan's death in February 1992. My 25-year-old son had gone to Sultanpur work as a chemist but went missing for a month. He was later found murdered with his body dumped in a sack. His unclaimed body lying off the road was devoured by stray animals," the Times of India quoted Sharif as saying.

Sharif regularly visits the local police station, hospitals near to him, railway stations and mortuaries. He makes it a point to make rounds of burial grounds and cremation sites every day. If in 72 hours, a body is not claimed, it is handed over to him.

"Maine yeh soch liya hai ki Faizabad mein mere liye na koi Hindu hai na koi Musalan, sab hai insaan (For me there are is Hindu or Muslim in Faizabad. Everybody is just a human being)," Sharif said. He not only cremated and buried bodies of Muslims and Hindus but has also performed the last rites of Sikhs and Christians.

Sharif has faced financial difficulties many times but continued to manage with donations. He lives in poverty with his wife and other son and is barely able to provide for the essentials. But when it comes to spending a major chunk of his earning for the cremation service, he never hesitates.

Sharif also appeared in the TV show 'Satyamev Jayate', hosted by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for his selfless service.

Also Read: 'Langar Baba' Jagdish Lal Ahuja Gets Padma Shri

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