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Monday, 23 March 2009

Burning question

We tend to be a bit squeamish about death. Some cultures see it as a rite of passage, and perhaps feel less scared of the Reaper.

Perhaps we ought to have a healthier attitude to death here in the West, and be able to cope with it better than we do.

Be that as it may, this week, the UK’s High Court will hear a case in which a Hindu is claiming the right to cremate a body in the open air. He was denied this in 2006 by his local council, Newcastle, but is now mounting a legal challenge.

One assumes the body he hoped to consign to the conflagration has now been dealt with in some other way, but I guess he wants to establish a principle.

Open-air funeral pyres have been illegal in the UK since 1930, and a (London) Times leading article says this should remain the case.

Whatever the views of other cultures, this is Britain, with British culture, and we’re just not used to that type of thing. So I go along with the Times leader writer.

Not to mention Mrs Bloggs’s washing, hanging out on the line and getting spotted as the lighter bits of dear old charred Mr Gupta are scattered to the four winds.

1 comment:

Diesel B said...

The key sentence in the Times piece would seem to be "No one's rights are infringed by the universal application of a particular law." This is Great Britain and we have our own values and culture and history thank you very much - those that settle here have to accept that they must fit in alongside our culture and values, not trample arrogantly all over them.

Hindus needn't feel hard done by. We don't allow polygamy by certain Christian and Muslim sects, nor do we allow Zoroastrians to place their dead on the tops of towers to be pecked at by birds. In addition to health concerns, our culture, rightly or wrongly, is these days very squeamish about death and that sensibility should be respected by immigrants. Likewise, when we visit or choose to live in their countries, we should modify our dress codes and behaviour (e.g. drinking alcohol in public) out of respect for them.