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Hindu Wins Traditional Funeral Pyre Legal Battle In England

A devout Hindu, Davender Ghai, aged 71, had asked for an open-air cremation when he dies but it was denied by Newcastle city council in Britain. Davender Ghai had argued then that denying him an open-air ritual ‘will enslave his soul in endless earthly entrapment.’ This legal debate in England had taken place in March 2009. Now through an appeal in Court of Appeal, Davender Ghai won the right to be cremated on a traditional funeral pyre. Mr Ghai agreed that he was willing to be cremated within existing rules with his funeral pyre ‘enclosed in a structure.’

Dailymail.UK reports

Davender Ghai was refused permission for the ceremony by Newcastle City Council and lost a challenge to that decision at the High Court in London in May last year.

But today the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, who headed a panel of three appeal judges, over turned those rulings.

He said: … 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 judges accepted that Mr Ghai was willing to be cremated within existing rules with his funeral pyre ‘enclosed in a structure’.

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.

Lord Neuberger said the court had been shown pictures of premises used to cremate Hindus which are ‘buildings’ with the Cremation Act.

Hindu Blog’s view

Physical body is only a temporary abode for the Supreme Soul. The notion of individual soul residing in human body is ignorance and this is what Upanishads are constantly trying to remind us. All animate and inanimate is the Supreme Truth – which we refer as God or Brahman. When the veil of ego and ignorance is lifted we will see this Supreme Soul in all living and non-living. This is Moksha and this has to be attained in this world itself not after death.