Hindus are urging for crematoria in United Kingdom to adapt to the needs of growing Hindu community.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, speaking in Nevada on Wednesday 8 May, said that in view of increasing diversity in UK populations, crematoria should be “sensitive and responsive” to the needs of all mourning families, including Hindus, at the difficult hour of their lives.
Zed, who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, urged James Brokenshire and Melanie Dawes; secretary of state and permanent secretary respectively in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to seriously look into the structure of crematoria facilities in the country so that the religious minorities also felt included.
He also suggested that capacity of the crematoria needed to be increased to accommodate traditionally larger numbers of mourners at Hindu funerals; as existing crematoria halls were mostly small, thus many times forcing the mourners outside without cover in all weather.
He added that crematoria should provide adequate training to their staff in various (including Hindu) faith traditions and rituals around funeral services so that they were more “understanding and aware and respectful of cultural sensitivities”.
Zed said: “More crematoria should be built so that bereaved families should not have to travel long distances or wait for days to cremate their loved ones. Cost of crematorium services also needed to be lowered and funeral service slots should be longer to adequately cover the last rites, prayers and other rituals.
“Crematoria should display relevant iconography to go with Hindu funerals and be able to provide Hindu prayer books and relevant devotional music.”
He added: “As many Hindus would desire the cremation using open funeral pyres instead of cremators, crematoria should seriously consider offering this provision on their campuses by adding such structure.”
Zed also urged creation of dedicated areas for scattering cremated remains in various rivers and lakes of UK; which included installing a platform, raising an open roofed structure like gazebo and building a link road; so that grieving families and friends could gather and perform the last rituals.