Home TRENDING The Happy Tale of Kunool Electric Crematorium

The Happy Tale of Kunool Electric Crematorium

(KC Kalkura)
A senior friend of mine, two times MLA of Adoni in the seventies Halvi Satyanaraya Rao used to grab the slightest opportunity to seek funds for the development of crematorium/ burial ground.
Learned in Sanskrit, Telugu,  Kannada, and English, every time we met he had a new quote from the scriptures/literature.
Once a district collector asked him: “Why are you so particular about the dead?”
Pat came the reply: “My dear boy, all your predecessors,  ICS, had gone there. You too have to go there. Unfortunately, we don’t realize it when we are alive. None told the hardships he had experienced there. But the living suffers the misery.  We talk so much about the need to upgrade the services.  But the moment one comes out forgets it; again reminded only during another last journey. I do not want my pallbearers to curse me.”
One of his favorite quotes was:
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave
(Famous Elegy of Thomas Gray).
Many individuals and organizations, including the Municipal Corporation, have taken initiatives to improve the conditions of the Hindu crematorium/ burial ground in Kurnool, located at the confluence of the Rivers Hundri and Tungabhadra at the South Eastern Corner of Kurnool City.
As a symbol of communal harmony, Harischandra Ghat of the Hindus and the Khabarsthan (burial ground)of the Muslims are on either side of the Shami tree, (Botanical name: Prosopis cineraria. Common names in English: Indian Mesquite, White Kutch, Screw-bean) which is worshipped on Vijayadasami and its leaves exchanged as a symbol of eternal Fraternity.
The tradition of worshipping the Shami tree goes back to the Mahabharata.
Pandavas, after losing the Laceplay (జివ్వ)with Kauravas, as per the preconditions spent 12 years in exile and were in the Court of Virata in the 13th year in ‘incognito’.
When the demonic Keechaka was slain, Duryodhana was sure that it could have been possible only by Bhima. He laid a seize of Viratanagari on the brighter 9th day of the month of
Ashwayuja according to the Lunar Calendar. Arjuna in the guise of Bruhannala acted as the charioteer of Uttara Kumara, the son of Virata.  He takes back Gandeeva Bow and arrow, his weapon hid by hanging in the Shami tree, near the Crematorium in the form of a dead body. Virata’s army won the war, fought the next day. Yet Kouravas raised fresh disputes. Krishna’s negotiation failed.
Mahabharata war was fought; Pandavas won it. These events are well known.
As a symbol of victory by the Army of Virata, the Ayudha Pooja (Worshiping the weapons, vehicles, tools, and machines) is performed on Navami, the 9th day of the brighter half of Aswayuja Masa (September-October), and Vijayadasami is Celebrated on a succeeding day.
Reverting to the subject matter, a well-maintained crematorium, with optimum facilities is an imperative need of any society.
If the dead are not given his own selected place outside the City/ Town/Village,  the relatives as per the wishes of the dead, better opt to donate the body to a Medical College as the mortal remains have to be disposed of within a short period of 24 hours. Like a marriage, death doesn’t give you enough time to plan the venue and date for the final rites. Time is limited to hours.
Many efforts to improve the conditions in the Kurnool Crematorium did not yield the desired results. One Chandrasekhara Reddy, a former employee of the Electricity Department, established an organization SADGURU DATTA KRUPALAYAM (SDK) and launched the renovation work of the existing crematorium in 2003 in the sprawling 8 acres land.
He first undertook the construction of the cremation platforms. Then one by one, a resting gallery, a well planned and maintained garden, bathrooms,  etc were arranged. A number of philanthropists, including NRIs, have contributed liberally for the noble cause.
Volunteers, high and low, poor and the rich,  men and women rendered free services. It was formally inaugurated on  April 3,2011.
Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy and T.G.Venktesh, respectively Union Minister for Railways and A.P.Minister for Minor Irrigation and many other dignitaries, officials, and non-officials participated in the gala.
An Ambulance named Vaikuntha Ratham picks up the mortal remains from the doorstep of the diseased.
There are facilities for performing rituals and cremation as per traditions. The special feature of the service is all free and for all, including the firewood.
The bereaved family has to bear the expenses of the ritual service offered by the priest. On behalf of the SDK monthly mass rituals are performed, on the 14th day of the darker half of the lunar month (మాస శివరాత్రి).
As there is some dissent from the public, COVID victims’ bodies were not allowed to be cremated. Now that the COVID protocols have been relaxed, bodies are being handed over to the relatives.
To overcome the bottleneck,  Kurnool Municipal Corporation (KMC) at the instance of the local MLA, Hafiz Khan, on 30-7-2020 has installed an Electric cum LPG based ultra-modern Crematorium at an estimated cost of Rs.60,00,000.
To avoid doubts and controversy, at present all bodies are cremated only in an electric crematorium. This arrangement will continue until the COVID crisis is controlled. Now the COVID victims have honorable disposal, free of cost.
KMC bears the Electricity charges and the SDK takes care of the maintenance and operation.  Electric Crematoriums are available in some Dist  Head quarters cities like Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Guntur and some important cities Vijayawada,  Rajamahendravaram, and Tirupati.
Perhaps Kurnool is the only city where the service is free and a person can breathe his last without worrying about his final resting ground.  Kudos to Chandrasekhara Reddy.
Anyway, Halvi Satyanarayana’s soul must be dancing in revelry in heaven.
Reddy’s tireless, enduring service reminds of Bharthruhari: “The wicked, apprehensive of the probable hindrances do not venture. The second category starts and get disgusted with the obstacles and give it up. The brave and the courageous cross all hurdles, overcome the insurmountable and achieve the objective.
Chandrasekhara Reddy belongs to the clan of  courageous people.

ఆరంభింపరు నీచ మానవులు

“ఆరంభింపరు నీచ మానవులు విఘ్నాయాస సంత్రస్తులై
యారంభించి పరిత్యజించుదురు విఘ్నాయత్తులై మధ్యముల్
ధీరుల్ విఘనిహన్య మానులగుచు ధ్రుత్యున్నతొత్సాహులై
ప్రారబ్ధార్ధము లుజ్జగింపరు సుమీ ప్రజ్ఞానిధలల్ గావునన్” 
భర్తృహరి సుభాషితం, తెలుగించినవాడు, ఏనుగు లక్ష్మణ కవి.
(ఏదైనా పని మొదలు పెట్టినపుడు ఎన్ని అడ్డంకులు ఎదురయినా వెరువక తుదికంటా లక్ష్యం కోసం శ్రమించడమే కార్య సాధకుడి నైజం. అలాంటివారు ఉత్తములు. ఎప్పుడో ఎదురయ్యే అడ్డంకులను తలచుకుని ఏ పనీ చేపట్టనివారు అధములు. ఏదో చెయ్యాలన్న తపనతో మొదలు పెట్టినప్పటికీ మధ్యలో ఆటంకాలు ఎదురవగానే వదిలేసేవారు మధ్యములు.)
KC Kalkura
(KC Kalkura is an advocate from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh)