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Performing Last Rites For Varanasi's Unclaimed Dead | 101 Heartland

Meet the 60 year old man who cremates the unclaimed dead bodies found in the holy city. 

For those in Varanasi who have no one, Jaggu is a saviour. He spends his nights going around the city, in search of unclaimed dead bodies. Loading the corpse into his cycle rickshaw, Jaggu takes the body to a hospital for the post mortem, and once it is done, he ensures the body is cremated. Sometimes, the bodies he finds are those of the recently deceased. At other times, the bodies have been lying unclaimed for several days. 

In order to cope with the smell of death, Jaggu drinks alcohol as a coping mechanism. Having not had the chance to light his own father's funeral pyre, Jaggu wants to make sure no one else passes on without the proper funeral rites.

In the day, Jaggu rides a cycle rickshaw carrying children to school. Since he has no home, Jaggu sleeps on the streets, in his cycle rickshaw. 

101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of Bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.