Hardev & Tashy: The Punjabi undertakers

There are also times when the deceased’s own family members aren’t willing to wash the body, so these sewadars step up and do the deed themselves. - SNSM's SIMPLY INCREDIBLE series

| Malaysia | 14 May 2017 | Asia Samachar |

“So far not even one DEAD has complained, So I guess we must be doing an OK job.” – Thaswinder Singh

Behind these charming smiles lie a load of humor, wittiness, and mischief, dig a little deeper and you will find gems in our community. Hardev and Tashy are both well-established professionals in their respective fields who volunteer their free time doing what most of us would distance ourselves from.

So why do they do it? The answer is simple. “It’s a Sewa that very few want to do, but one that we will all eventually need, Best part there are no politics involved”

It sounds simple – drive a hearse from point A to point B – but it does not just end there. These sewadars do what others will not or cannot do, from cleaning the bodies of the deceased, preparing the bodies for cremation, to making funeral arrangements based on the needs of the deceased’s families.

“It can get really unpleasant sometimes. There was once when the was blood oozing out from the mouth and ears of the deceased. The entire coffin was filled with blood.” There are also times when the deceased’s own family members aren’t willing to wash the body, so these sewadars step up and do the deed themselves.

On the matter of funeral rituals, they responded “It is important to educate ourselves on what we are doing, some rituals are obsolete nor are they part of Sikhi. When in doubt always refer to the Gurdwara for guidance.” They added “This is definitely not an easy thing to do, but it gets easier each time. We also humbly request and appeal for more sewadars to come forward to help out with this sewa.”

But it is not an all gloomy and unpleasant trade, there are perks to the job as well. Apart from being able to switch the hearse siren on to beat traffic, free passes at toll gates and confusing already confused ritualistic individuals, the sincere gratitude from family members keeps them going.

We don’t want to forget the sewadars not highlighted in this write-up, namely Gurwinder, Harpal and Amarjeet. These sewadars – or as we would like to call them ‘Silent Heroes’ have probably attended more funerals than other festivities in the past few years. We salute and applaud their selfless sewa, performed day in day out.

Source: Adapted from the SIMPLY INCREDIBLE MALAYSIAN SIKHS series at at SNSM – Sikh Youth Malaysia Facebook page. SNSM is short for Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia.


[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]


Sikh Youth Convention: Pulapol, SNSM forum to create leaders who serve (Asia Samachar, 15 March 2017)

Let us strive for unity and love, says SNSM chief Dr Jasbir Singh (Asia Samachar, 3 March 2017)

Dr Jasbir Singh elected unanimously as SNSM Jathedar (Asia Samachar, 14 Aug 2016)

SNSM has to return to Sikhi parchaar, says Dr Jasbir Singh (Asia Samachar, 13 Aug 2016)