Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hindus win right to open-air cremation


The Telegraph reports that Davender Ghai has won the right to be cremated in accordance with his religious beliefs, that is upon an open-air pyre in order that his atman (spirit) might be released into the afterlife of perpetual samsara (reincarnation).

Cranmer knows a thing or two about open-air cremations: he thought the macabre public appetite for watching people burn slowly had long passed.

His Grace reported on this increasing trend years ago. And he noted the original challenge made by Mr Ghai back in 2008.

Newcastle City Council had denied him his request, but the Appeal Court has ruled that he may be slowly roasted upon a pile of wood instead of blasted to charcoal in a gas furnace.

This is not, of course, only a matter for Mr Ghai. But the ruling now sets a precedent which will permit over a million Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists to be cremated on an open-air pyre.

The Ministry of Justice had opposed the case, arguing that the law stipulated that cremations must be within a building which in this case meant a structure bounded by walls with a roof.

But passing judgement, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said: "Contrary to what everyone seems to have assumed, and I am not saying it is anyone's fault, it seems to us that Mr Ghai's religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated once he dies can be accommodated within current cremation legislation."

'The appeal judges said that the aims of the Cremation Act were to ensure that cremations were subject to uniform rules throughout the country and carried out in buildings which were appropriately equipped and away from homes or roads.

'The judges accepted that Mr Ghai was willing to be cremated within existing rules with his funeral pyre "enclosed in a structure" and ruled that the Ministry of Justice definition of a building was too narrow.

'All Mr Ghai wanted was a traditional fire and for the sun to be able to fall on his body and this could be carried out in a purpose-built crematorium within the law, they ruled.'

A spokesman for Newcastle City Council said that whilst the Appeal Court’s ruling sided with Mr Ghai, it had not considered the 'difficulties which may be thrown up by planning and public health legislation should an application be submitted'.

Cranmer has pointed this out before, but the cost of a cremation is around £2000, while the cost of funeral pyre is a snip at £500.

It is highly likely that there may be one or two (thousand) death-bed conversions to Indic spirituality over the coming years, if only to ease the financial burden of dying.

After all, surely it is unacceptable religious discrimination if it be more expensive for Christians and Jews to dispose of their loved ones?

57 Comments:

Anonymous I Albion said...

Your Grace
I am now going to apply to have a lovely blaze at the bottom of our garden,when my time comes,all the family there a barbecue at the other end.. lovely. I knew they would get permission

10 February 2010 at 17:23  
Anonymous len said...

Its what happens to your Spirit here on earth that counts, when dead its too late.The doctrine of reincarnation gives the illusion of many chances to get things right but the bible says we die once and face judgment. "It is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment."

10 February 2010 at 17:43  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

So, how long before we find shrouded dead bodies floating down the sacred river Thames? (No; I don't mean the victims of murder or accident: I am talking about the disposal of bodies by methods used in some other countries, according to the rites and practices common there.)

One thing leads to another, you know.

10 February 2010 at 17:54  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Cranmer knows a thing or two about open-air cremations: he thought the macabre public appetite for watching people slowly burn had long passed.

Very droll, Cranny.

But by the look of the hair and beard in Mr Ghai's photograph, I should think he'd go up quite quickly.

10 February 2010 at 18:00  
Anonymous Lord Lavendon said...

Anabaptist, I bet the blogger English Viking will be happy, as didn't the vikings burn themselves in their ships when they died?

10 February 2010 at 18:03  
Blogger Chris H said...

Now that the legal difficutlies have been overcome he now faces the much more resistant British weather.

'All Mr Ghai wanted was a traditional fire and for the sun to be able to fall on his body..'

Could be a long wait.

10 February 2010 at 18:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the cost side,500 versus 2000.

Will it not cost a considerable amount to get his corpse out to the middle of nowhere, which is where this cremation is permitted?

We Scots want to know the real costs before mass death bed conversions start.

10 February 2010 at 18:09  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Anabaptist,

His Grace wishes he had thought of that most excellent quip and incorporated it into his post.

You made him laugh.

Thank you.

10 February 2010 at 18:14  
Anonymous IanVisits said...

There does seem to be a slight irony in that the law which means a presumably outdoor area, but bounded by the most flimsy of structures is considered to be "indoors" for the purpose of the indoor smoking laws - has been used to enable cremations, which will result in quite a considerable amount of smoke being emitted.

10 February 2010 at 18:29  
Anonymous not a machine said...

You have forgoteen to add the labour partys non denial of a £20,000 death tax , it is unfortuante that I will not be able to economise on my death , one can only imagine how the debt will be collected .

perhaps the form will be as follows .

"we are please that comrade .......... has terminated , we have checked all our databases on the assetts left by comrade ............ and will be making a direct debit for the total sum , from the easiest cash source in line with goverment efficiency savings .
Our representative from the dept of racketeering will phone and knock on your door each day until you cough up and sell the necessary assetts .

10 February 2010 at 18:32  
Anonymous Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, the socialist taxes you even in death.

10 February 2010 at 18:35  
Blogger Theresa said...

Oh well,

Suppose it's a bit more stylish than the crematorium with all the palaver with curtains closing and 'My Way' playing on the loudspeaker.
Light up the fire and let the flame burn..

10 February 2010 at 18:41  
Anonymous Osama bin Laden said...

Our religion allows us to cremate people both inside and outside buildings, and also in vehicles and aircraft.

Allah is indeed Akhbar

10 February 2010 at 18:44  
Anonymous Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, I would like to give Osama bin Laden @ 18.44 a good horse whipping,before he stands on trial for mass murder.

10 February 2010 at 18:50  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Lord Lavendon:
Anabaptist, I bet the blogger English Viking will be happy, as didn't the vikings burn themselves in their ships when they died?

Actually, Lordy, not wishing to be pedantic, I think other people probably did it for them. Being dead at the time, these Vikings might have had a little difficulty lighting the matches.

10 February 2010 at 18:52  
Blogger Brad Evans said...

MMMMMMMmmmmmmmm.....Roasted Hindu!

10 February 2010 at 18:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't understand why crematoria are covered by stringent environmental regulations, yet this man gets to flout them all by having his remains burned in an uncontrolled manner.

10 February 2010 at 19:24  
Blogger John R said...

I would advise Mr Ghai not to get too carried away (pun intended) just yet as the cremation still has to be in a building (albeit with an open roof) for which Newcastle City Council will have to provide planning permission and which must also meet all relevant Safety Elf regulations.

I wish him a long and healthy life - he'll need it before he sees this building built.

10 February 2010 at 20:35  
Anonymous Lord Lavendon said...

Anabaptist, it is Lord Lavendon. Not Lordy, not Lavetory or whatever other insults people wish to throw at me. In future please address me by my proper title. And refrain from making stupid points. Especially given that I have been complementary about you in the past. But then you are a teacher.

Insult returned.

10 February 2010 at 20:46  
Anonymous Jewish Bag Lady said...

Oh dear, Anabaptist has gone and upset Lord Lavendon. (Only close friends are allowed to call him a nickname). Hell hath no fury and all that.....

10 February 2010 at 20:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Anabaptist is quite smug. He always corrects the Archbishop for the tinest of spelling errors. So just do not take any notice of him. When the athesists were swarming on this blog out of the regular readership, it was only D.Singh and Lavendon defended this site and Christianity to the hilt. And Anabaptist was hiding in some hole afraid to confess his faith. It has been noticed........

10 February 2010 at 20:53  
Anonymous Zara Steiner said...

"Actually, Lordy, not wishing to be pedantic, I think other people probably did it for them. Being dead at the time, these Vikings might have had a little difficulty lighting the matches."

This guy shows himself up saying things like this, if the man cannot write anything worth writing, why say it at all? Very pompus and pedantic.

10 February 2010 at 21:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will they have to buy carbon credits?

10 February 2010 at 21:33  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Marvellous!

The ethnic nonsense trumps the global warming nonsense!
You couldn't make it up!

I look forward to the smoke from hundreds of funeral pyres in back-yards drifting around Newcastle like a scene from Apocalypse Now.

Talk about these liberal/socialists being hoist with their own petard - or should it be canard.

10 February 2010 at 22:01  
Anonymous Grumpy Old English Teacher said...

'Atheist', not athesist or athiest;

'Complimentary' when you are praising something; 'complementary' when you fit together like ying and yang;

'tiniest', not tinest (you are small, you don't have an ear disorder;

'assets' not assetts.

Bring back the cane...

10 February 2010 at 22:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the second-hand smoke?

10 February 2010 at 22:50  
Blogger English Viking said...

Lord Lavendon,

Most of my predecessors were buried in boats, or if important enough a person had died, in a ship. It would not be unusual to have a funeral pyre on dry land, although I think the Hollywood depiction of the fallen Chief floating over the fjord in blazing hulk is a bit of a myth. It has been done, but only very occasionally, mostly due to the value of ship and the amount of time needed to make one.

The best part of Viking funerals was the ritual drinking sessions that usually lasted 7 days. It was the height of ignorance not to get lagging drunk.

If the fallen was an important man, it would not be unusual to bury his servants with him, after sexually abusing them and killing them first, obviously.

I can assure you, I take no pleasure in seeing yet another little chip hacked of the Christian identity and culture of Great Britain, with the advent of the barbaric practice of open air incinerations soon to be witnessed on these shores. Burial was good enough for Christ. It'll do me.

PS I am not a blogger, but you never know your luck.

10 February 2010 at 23:14  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Regrettably at my age I have had to attend several cremations recently and am far from impressed by the arrangements and procedures at the crematoria.
So if I am to be cremated, I do rather fancy the Hindu arrangements, they seem far more civilised.

The only problem seems to be the Hindu practice of suttee, where the widow joins her husband on the funeral pyre.

10 February 2010 at 23:21  
Anonymous Dyslexic lapsed Catholic said...

Why would someone put a window on a funeral pyre?

11 February 2010 at 00:09  
Anonymous GTGTWG said...

I hope he doesn't stand too near a naked flame with that hair. He coud go up sooner than anticipated.

11 February 2010 at 06:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Britain. Next we will have the Parsees leaving bodies outside to be eaten by vultures, in maybe Red Kites.

We already subsidise Muslim burials -and not many people know that....

http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/Muslim-burial-cost-rise-decision-deferred-Derby-City-Council/article-242750-detail/article.html

11 February 2010 at 07:14  
Blogger saralamb27 said...

On a matter of fact, Cranmer fails to distinguish between the cost of a cremation and the total cost of a funeral. Whilst there are huge regional variations, the cost of the actual cremation is close to £500 (increased substantially in recent years to cope with environmental laws) with the total cost of the entire funeral being closer to £2000.

11 February 2010 at 07:18  
Blogger Paul said...

As the pyre has to be in an 'enclosed structure' I fail to see how it can be considered an 'open air' cremation.

Furthermore, enclosed means just that, it has to have a roof.

I'm sure an architect can figure out a design that might satisfy both this gentleman and the law but whether it will be his lifetime is doubtful.

11 February 2010 at 08:06  
Anonymous len said...

funeral pyres, I wouldn`t be seen dead on one.

11 February 2010 at 08:39  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

We will need special work permits for the expected influx of agouri who will live amongst the bones,generally naked and painted with strange devices,they will surely add to the "vibrant"culture that has been imported to "enrich" the dismally boring English who do not seem to have one.

11 February 2010 at 09:10  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Whether you agree with the decision or not, it seems that Newcastle City Council will try to have their own way regardless of the court ruling
"A spokesman for Newcastle City Council said that whilst the Appeal Court’s ruling sided with Mr Ghai, it had not considered the 'difficulties which may be thrown up by planning and public health legislation should an application be submitted'."
In other words they will now try to use planning laws to prevent it.

11 February 2010 at 09:45  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Just over 100 years ago, the French humourist, Alphonse Allais proposed the 'Necromobile' a car propelled by the energy generated from a burning body.

Do you think this invention's time has come?

11 February 2010 at 10:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived abroad as a child. My best friend lived opposite an open air crematorium - 'frying tonight' would be our childish refrain.

Human flesh roasting is a awful smell - (ever burn't a hair - like that but x 100).

I would imagine that if this was to become a regular occurrence at specific sites, planning permission would have to be applied for. I can't think that the locals would be very happy.

It would certianly make an interesting discussion at a planning committee!

11 February 2010 at 10:09  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Actually, Anonymouse, I was in Lanzarote, so the whole thing passed me by.

I was very sorry to have missed my oprotunity when I read it on my return. You should establish the facts before rushing to judgement.

And believe me, I don't correct Cranny on every little point.

And, Lordy Lavvy, it wasn't an insult; it was a joke. Sorry you seem to have a sense of humour deficiency.

11 February 2010 at 11:55  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

I think it was the wrong decision. If this person wants to be burnt on a pyre, then maybe he should think of sending his body to India or such places where the 'culture' lends itself to this form of disposal. Once again, the laws are being eroded in favour of the immigrants.

11 February 2010 at 12:17  
Anonymous Lord Lavendon said...

Anabaptist, there you go again. Please do not refer to me as Lordy Lavvy. As I have always been polite to you, I would request a like minded response. Do unto others etc.

11 February 2010 at 12:27  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

The executors of the will of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) did not have to contend with Geordie councillors.

And what about the Jedi Knights? Are taxes to be raised to send their bodies in space ships and then launched in capsules into deep space? Or will councillors take the option of firing them out of cannons?

I demand answers from Geordie councillors.

11 February 2010 at 12:33  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"yet this man gets to flout them all by having his remains burned in an uncontrolled manner."

I don't think it will be that uncontrolled. It isn't like he is going to be running about the place on flames now is it.

11 February 2010 at 12:38  
Anonymous Ginro said...

You've said it now TheGlovner, lol. They'll be demanding their human right to perform suttee next.

11 February 2010 at 17:29  
Anonymous GTGTWG said...

Well...I find the idea of human flesh burning in the air gross to be honest, and has anyone thought about children? How to explain it? Some children it won't worry but there are sensitive kids that could be psychologically damaged by being told that the smell in the air is human flesh!

12 February 2010 at 05:18  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Oh what about the children, think of the children.

For gods sake (if you will pardon the use of religious sayings). It isn't like they are going to go along and burn him in the school playground at lunch time so they can roast their marshmallows over his flaming corpse.

What about all the children being psychologically damaged by being told that someone is watching everything they do and if they fail to make him happy they will burn for all eternity in hell being poked by demons with three pronged forks. Makes the bogeyman seem like a thourghly enjoyable person really.

However if this was a christian rite and you were being denied it you would be up in arms about how the laws of this great christian nation are being used against its christian people, foaming at the mouth about how godless atheist sociallist nazi comunist islamic friendly scum stop you doing what you want.

Two side to every story. Unless it's a bible story then everything else is just a lie.

Hypocritical pish.

12 February 2010 at 13:21  
Anonymous len said...

The gospel according to glovner.
unbalanced, unreasonable,illogical a god made in the image of man ,a god created by mr glovner.
Perhaps you will(or already have got) a god( small g) of your own choosing?

12 February 2010 at 14:05  
Anonymous len said...

I don`t believe in your god mr glovner, I don`t believe in Dawkins god either.

I never hear you or Dawkins rant on about satan, is he just a fairy tail to you atheists?.It is strange that someone who doesn`t believe in God spends so much time ranting on about Him.
Your`e getting boring with your childish denial of reality!

12 February 2010 at 14:11  
Anonymous len said...

Yahushua said, 'I Am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.'" (John 14:6) "I and the Father are One." (John 10:30) "Yahushua said to them, 'Before Abraham was born, I Am.'" (John 8:58)
Consistent with Yahuweh's Old Covenant revelation through His prophet named Salvation, the Renewed Covenant confirms that we must know and trust Yahweh to be saved: "For God so loved the world that He gave His unique and only Son, that whoever relies upon him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world but so the world should be saved through Him. He who trusts Him is not judged." (John 3:16-18)
The choice for most is between eternal life and death - not between life and eternal death. Those who rely on Yahuweh's redemptive provision are not judged. By being born from above in His Set-Apart Spirit, they are anointed in His Garment of Light, becoming innocent and guiltless - perfect in God's eyes. Those who are born from above become one with God; their soul and His Spirit are forever joined in the holiest of marriages. (This is the subject of the Song of Songs.) As such, we live forever in His presence. This is eternal life.

12 February 2010 at 14:55  
Anonymous len said...

Those who do not know or rely upon Yahuweh/Yahushua have no Savior and no Spirit. Their fate is to be destroyed. At the Great White Throne Judgment their souls will be gathered from Sheol/Hades, judged, and then terminated. Their souls will simply cease to exist. It is as if they were never born - which in the spiritual realm is absolutely true. The only eternal torment is for Satan, his demons, and those souls possessed by their spirit or acting as their allies leading other astray. They go to the Abyss - a lightless eternity of separation.
(Yada Yahweh)

12 February 2010 at 14:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh gee, guys, lighten up or should I say light up? The kids will think it's CSI Miami Live, the adults will think it's the smell from Burger King, Elf and Safety will look on it as keeping them in work and a nice cash cow, the Hindis will look on it as religion, and the non Hindis will look on it as another reason to feel superior to those funny foreigners. Win, win..

12 February 2010 at 22:29  
Blogger srizals said...

Cease to exist? Just like atheist then. Death came and they cease to exist too. But it won't be that scientific would it? Nothing ever ceases to exist. They just transform. Any scientist in here?

13 February 2010 at 12:40  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"I don`t believe in your god mr glovner, I don`t believe in Dawkins god either."

You would have a hard time doing so since neither of us believe in a god of any kind, the only requirement of being an atheist. It's good that you can deny other gods so easily though maybe the following quote would be of use to you:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

-Stephen Roberts

"I never hear you or Dawkins rant on about satan, is he just a fairy tail to you atheists?.It is strange that someone who doesn`t believe in God spends so much time ranting on about Him."

In short, yes you are correct he is a fairy tale, like goblins ghosts, trolls, shiva, unicorns, loki, asgard, hobbits, wizards etc etc etc. But you are being purposely obtuse I think. When I say I don't believe in any gods I mean all gods. I don't (as you are trying to make out) pick on your delusion over others I lump ever single one of them in the same ridiculous category. As will other atheists (Dawkins included). So before you come out with some nonsense about how I wouldn't dare say this about islam, I think that nonsense is just as stupid to believe in too.

"Your`e getting boring with your childish denial of reality!"

And you have always been childish with your defense of the indefensible, now go back to sticking your fingers in your ears tightly closing your eyes and screaming at the top of your lungs how you are right everything that disagrees with you is wrong and you don't need any proof. If you say it is reality enough times maybe it just will be one day, without having to conform to the requirements laid on absolutely every other facet of the universe to prove itself as a reality.

14 February 2010 at 12:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

Perhaps, as my/our government sees fit to allow all manner of primitive religious beliefs to prevail in this, our once sacred Isle, I might offer my own services; and be buried face-down/arse-up, near an open-air cremation site? Then, any and all may safely park their bicycles before joining the funerial throng!

14 February 2010 at 15:56  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"primitive religious beliefs"

So that would be every single one of them then?

15 February 2010 at 09:38  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dearest Glovener : oh contraire!

Surely you have misunderstood the entire point/evolution of the Church of England??? 'Bumbling compromise' is the very apotheosis of any truly civilised society?

One really must learn to appreciate the essential subtleties withal.

15 February 2010 at 17:08  
Anonymous len said...

M Glovner,
Why are atheists so preoccupied with the God they don`t believe in?

"I don`t believe in somebody so they cannot exist."

This is science, this is logic.
You cannot be serious!

16 February 2010 at 20:29  

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