Meet Vanaja, who helps the dead RIP

She was one of the recipients of the Kittur Rani Chennamma award on Friday.

Published: 09th March 2019 02:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2019 05:15 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: “I never felt this is an odd job for a woman to do. I am doing this job just like any other to earn my livelihood,’’ says 69-year- old Vanaja, who makes arrangements for cremation at a graveyard in Bedinagudde of Udupi district.  

She was one of the recipients of the Kittur Rani Chennamma award on Friday. Vanaja used to sell fruits while her husband Poova Poojari was working in a graveyard. He passed away in 1993 when Vanaja was 43.With three children, she did not have any other option but to take up her husband’s job. People, however, criticised her decision. “All I wanted was to take care of my children and family,’’ she says.
Vanaja now works between 7 am and 7 pm.  

The village committee that maintains the graveyard pays her Rs 300 per month. Relatives of the dead give her a little money. Ask her how she feels to be working in a field dominated by men, she replies, “I do not get scared. I just feel bad when young children die or people die in accidents.”


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