Burial of the Dead

The Light (Pakistan), 1st January 1923 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 3)

Dattapara [Chittagong, present-day Bangladesh]
10th November 1922

Dear Maulvi Sahib,

Would you be good enough to publish the following lines in the next issue of The Light?

In the Light of 16th September, you wrote

“Islam orders the burial of the dead and it is the best method.”

In my view, it is quite the contrary, as it is a scientific truth that the gas arises from the grave, impures the air, and thereby contri­butes to the outbreak of various epidemic diseases; but it is not with the case of burning.

Hence it is clear that the Hindu practice of burning is better than that of burial, which you practise.

Please throw light on the query.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours fraternally,
Chowdhury Raj Birendra Narayan

Response from the Editor of ‘The Light’:

I beg leave to differ from you.

In burning the dead the particles of the body fly in the air and make it impure. But in burial the body is laid down deep in the grave and the earth consumes everything.

Further, don’t you see that to put the body of a dear one in burning fire is very trying for refined sentiments? It is simply horrible, whereas a grave is only a resting place for the dead. It does not seem cruel to repose the body there. Besides, we can visit the tombs of our past friends, strew them with flowers, and thus keep their memory green.

The Light