Process of Consigning to Doongerwadi , Mumbai , from Overseas
Why Dokhmenashini ?
Importance of Dokhmenashini:Please refer to recording by Dr.Chiniwalla on Dokhmenashini at BPP website, linked through Zoroastrians.net
Returning the deceased for his/her last rites requires proper pre planning and teamwork.
The project needs to be broken up in smaller parts and each part needs to be executed with precision. It is not difficult if properly planned and coordinated. Total costs thus far have been less/compatible to burialexpenses, if one person / family member is accompanying the corpse.
This full brief is based on various personal experiences on consigning toMumbai from California, USA, only, and is predicated on proper planning and back up support in Mumbai. Hopefully with this initiative, volunteers from other countries, will share their process as requirements of each county/ state/province/country differ. It also assumes death due to natural causes only, without contagious disease.Before deciding to consign to Doongerwadi please refer to official website of BPP at www.bombayparsipanchayat.com/doongerwadi.html to ensure procedure/eligibility etc. at Doongerwadi.
The various parts of the project are:
- Most important-Tarikats (spiritual disciplines) to be followed.. Please contact your family in Mumbai.
- Contact your panthak and family mobed in Mumbai,in case you are not sure about 4 day obsequies.
- Arrangements to be made immediately upon death.
- Documents to prepare for a) Arrival in India and Doongerewadi b) Indian embassy c) Transportation. Clearly all these documents have to comply with US Federal and state regulations.
- Arrangements to be made prior arrival of the ruvaan at Mumbai.
- Clearing the body in Mumbai and transporting to Doongerwadi the same day.
1. Pre planning :
A) Identify an experienced and established mortuary . It is a great support system to advice on latest requirements , documents procedures, shipment and travel rates, and relevant website of Indian Embassy(keeps changing) .
B )Bein touch with your family members in Mumbai and start 4 days obsequies (except Geh Sarna ) immediately upon last breath, with your family panthak in Mumbai. In addition, you may also carry out the same obsequies(except Geh Sarna) at place of death, if you have an access to a mobed.
C) Plan on someone to personally hand carry required documents (listed below) to be notarized by Indian embassy in US.A proper contact needs tobe establishedto save time. With advanced planning this can be done in a day.
D)It is important to bear in mind that corpses to India can be cleared only if embalmed . This consists of removing blood from the body and injecting formaldehyde in its place to delay rigor mortis (decomposition).Embalming adds to transshipment weight. An elegant, light coffin is necessary to limit costs. White coffins are available.
2. Arrangements upon death :
A) Light a diva at deceased’s head and have someone pray Ashem Vohu continuously
B) Arrange for the body to be transported to morgue immediately
C) Start four day obsequies see 1 B)
D)Ask morgue to prepare body for air shipment to Mumbai .Embalm the body as soon as possible
E) If possible, wash the body with Taro with help of family/humdeens.
F) Prepare relevant documents.
G) Alert family members in Mumbai see 4 below. Also alert volunteer team detailed in 4, 5 .
I) Always double check with Doongerwadi and volunteers in 4,about all documents required prior shipping the body from overseas. Make sure all original sets for India and place of departure are prepared.
Death certificate (cause of death-natural cause ),embalming certificate , a certificate stating that death was not due to any contagious disease, flight schedule on airline letter head. All documents need to be notarized by Indian embassy.Prepare seven copies of each document ,including two originals. In addition a no objection certificate will have to be obtained or arrival Mumbai,.see 5) Clearing the body.
4. Arrangements prior to arrival In Mumbai :
A) Inform family members who should coordinate with flight details to have Doongerwadi Hearse ready upon arrival,notifying bungli etc. All Doongerwadi details, phone numbers are available on BPP website, or they can be made available through volunteers below.
B) Mr. Mehernosh Fitter has kindly volunteered to help in this process. His experience , connections can be very helpful for swift, seamless clearance . If you need to contact him he can be reached at Mumbai ( Tel 2412 2999, Cell; 98201 57534, Fax; 2416 2886) email:firstname.lastname@example.org. He has received consigned bodies at Sahar airport in the past and helped clear them with family members.
C) Ms. Kashmira Rao has kindly consented to volunteer to help out with the coordinating process(at Doongerwadi only). She can be reached at Mumbai cell 91- 9833199985 e-mail: email@example.com
5 Clearing the body :
Since volunteers have kindly consented to take care of this detail please advise family members to contact and thoroughly plan the procedure with them .It involves clearing the body with customs and health department, making statements at Sahar airport police station who may ask to open the coffin and site the corpse, making a panchnama and obtaining a no objection certificate. Police,Customs , Health Doongerwadi all need copies of relevant documents.It must be stressed to family members that planning saves a lot of time to consign to Doongerwadi .
The whole process with proper planning and coordination takes about six days from US .
Kindly note that the whole process is to facilitate the last rights of the deceased and the very important GehSarna Ceremony which can only to be carried out in a Dokhma and nowhere else .
In US, Ms. Silloo Mehta has helped and guided several families in these procedures. She can be reached at: 949-551-5252
Courtesy : Sam Billimoria, Mehernosh Fitter, Kashmira Rao