A woman priest who serves at a temple inside a major hospital in the Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh has been offering shrouds for unclaimed dead bodies for the last 35 years.
The 75-year-old priest, Krishna Amma, is famous as Maai among the locals. She takes care of a small temple at the Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS). Inside the temple, in a cramped house, Krishna was living with her husband Mangilal, who is the priest there.
Around 35 years ago, policemen who were taking an unclaimed beheaded body for cremation after an autopsy had asked the priest to offer a piece of cloth to cover the corpse.
Since that day, the couple took it as their duty and service to offer shrouds for unclaimed bodies.
After the death of priest Mangilal, Krishna continued the service.
The elderly woman also engages in serving cows, offering food to the poor and other welfare works.
Asked about the reason behind her service, the old woman said that living persons are treated with respect and the dead also warrant similar treatment. Several staff members of the hospital visit the temple for bowing down before the almighty and also seek blessings of the old woman daily.
(Inputs Pankaj Gupte)