A Silent Voice of the “Morgue” Workers.
Death is the not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. But, what happens after death and if it’s unnatural where the person died because of an accident, murder or be it suicide? The answer is the bodies of the departed soul are taken to the morgue house for examination but it doesn’t seem easy as the sweepers of morgue have a very hard life as most of them are not made permanent employees plus they have their daily tasks like cleaning the bodies to handing over the bodies to the concerned person. Sometimes they also have to lie about their profession so that they could get a house on rent as most of the times they are denied the house by the landlords because of their job profile. These workers just have a feel good factor as they make money from the families of the deceased for their work.
These workers have no holidays but after so much dedication their work is not awarded as these employees haven’t been designated as permanent employees yet. A 45 year old worker, who has been working here since he was 21 but has never been appointed as a permanent employee. He says, “I am one of the oldest employees amongst all. Till date I have seen many dead bodies if I count I can say more than a lakh. I have cleaned them, washed them and also charged the families for the things I do. People give money too but one thing which I am still disappointed is they ( Medical and Hospital authorities) don’t make me their permanent staff.” “I will be benefited if I am being made a permanent employee as I will get a little more money from now which will makes my life easier as I have a family to feed,” he expresses .
The bodies which are being sent for the post-mortem sometimes are brought in a very pathetic condition but these workers have no option they have to do it anyway. “You have to prepare for the worst bodies to come some may be burnt, some killed in an accident where their heads are being crushed like a watermelon or some may be like in a blood bath. But it is our job where we can’t back out and we have to do it. We have to bath them change the clothes that is one of the reasons why people see us intoxicated,” says,( 32) another worker at the Morgue.
“Because a normal person can’t work in this job profile he has to be intoxicated. This is also affecting our health as intoxication is not good but we are left with no option. But, I think the drink or smoke is less harmful then the cleaning process with the bodies as now we suffer from diseases like skin, tuberculosis and many more diseases which we haven’t heard the name only,”he added.
Their problems don’t end here. They even have a hard time finding places to stay as most of the landlords don’t give them their houses on rent for their profession. “Whenever we look for houses on rent landlords have a line up of excuses of not letting us get the house because for our profession. They don’t want anybody who works in a morgue dealing with the dead bodies that is their view point,”Parvez (38), staff at the Morgue “But they don’t know when we people might be of some use to them someday. So we lie, we say we are staff members from Medicals. Sometimes if they come to know we are asked to vacate as soon as possible this is how we live,” .
But this people have one reason to cheer for that is they bargain over their bodies when they hand over the body to the concerned people of departed soul. “Many a times people themselves know what we do so they give us some money for tea if they belong to a middle class family 500-600 is given, if the person belongs to a higher class then a lot may be 1000-2000 . But the fact is sometimes if the person can’t afford any money we still somehow manage a 300 from them because we know what we the nasty stuff. But we feel bad to take but we are destined too,” says (40) a worker at the Morgue.
Their life may be full of hardships but these are the people doing the most impossible work in the world.