Price of the dead

Life, in these perilous times, might not appear as precious as it is supposed to be. But death, it seems, bequeaths to the lifeless bodies a distinct edge over the living. Take, for instance, people killed during various incidents of meaningless violence across the country. The state without much ado not only exalted their surreptitious sacrifices by declaring them martyrs, but also provided their families with generous compensation. In that light, the unclaimed cadavers brought to Aryaghat seem to be devoid of that pricey privilege. While most of these dead bodies are cremated at the expense of PADT, some of the cadavers are sold to medical colleges.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has fixed the price of dead bodies at Rs 7,500. However, as these bodies must be kept at freezing temperatures for 28 days

before bringing them to medical use, the cost of the cadavers almost trebles as they change hands.

Similarly, the lure of lucre tempts many to give the dead to the highest bidder. Medical students, for scarcity of dead bodies, have to make do with a

few cadavers for years on end, for anatomical study and medical experimentation. If the process of handing over unclaimed cadavers to medical colleges

is made easier, students would indeed be spared

the strain of having to run scissors over the same body for umpteen times.