Process of Consigning to Doongerwadi , Mumbai , from Overseas

Baname Khuda.

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:

  1.  Most important-Tarikats (spiritual disciplines) to be followed.. Please contact your family in Mumbai.
  2.  Contact  your panthak and family mobed  in Mumbai,in case you are not sure about 4 day obsequies.
  3. Arrangements to be made immediately upon death.
  4. 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.
  5. Arrangements  to be made prior arrival of the ruvaan at Mumbai.
  6. 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.

3. Documents

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:meherdel@vsnl.net.   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: ilg@vsnl.net

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

2 comments

  • It is good to getall the information of how to bring a dead body for dokhmeshani
    to take place in Mumbai.

    However has any thought being given to the process by which the body is embalmed. The process involves the removal of all the organs of the body and only the outer body would be consigned to the Dokhma.

    1. Has there been any study which will determine whether the scavenger birds would make a meal of this carcass?.

    2. Would any of our High Priests confirm that the process carried out meets with the spiritual requirements of our religion?

    3. Why this obsession with dokhmeshani?
    The family of the deceased has first to cope up with the loss of a dear departed, the cost of transferring the mortal remains is higher than the cost of an individual travelling, and the various stages at which handouts are required to be given, would the costs justify the spend?

    With all the noble intentions conveyed by all the persons willing to help, when the time comes to take a call the best of them find little time or energy to be of any help.

    Someone somewhere needs to be paid for the glory that is theirs.

    MMPatel

  • There is no mention of the cost of transporting the dead. It is enormous and not possible for everyone. The harassment to clear the remains in India is troubling at a time like this. Doing the last rites soon wherever, is a better option than transportation.

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