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Amazing Human Being Has Laid Over 550 Unclaimed Bodies to Rest in the Last 60 Years

Mithalal Sindhi, from the Indian city of Ahmedabad, is not a rich man, by any means. He has been living on the streets for the last six decades, earning a modest living by selling Bajra (pearl millet) from his pedal rickshaw. Most of what he makes, Mithalal spends on performing the last rites for unclaimed dead bodies that no one else takes responsibility for. He is without a doubt one of the most kindhearted people we have ever written about.

During the partition of the British Indian Empire, 15-year-old Mithalal moved from Pakistan to Bombay, with his family. He did a number of odd jobs to make ends meet and survive in the big city, but in 1957, he moved to Ahmedabad where he started a small fruit selling business using what little savings he had. It was during this time that he met Nyaldas Sindhi, a vegetable vendor, with whom he became very close friends. They would eat lunch together and even sleep next to each other on the footpath, at night. Their friendship came to an abrupt ending in just two years, after Mithalal tried waking his friend one morning, but he didn’t respond.

Devastated by Nyaldas’ death, the young fruit vendor realized his friend had no close families or relatives to take care of the last rites. Mithalal asked the Mukhya (Leader of Vegetable Market) for help, but he refused, telling him it was not his concern. No one was willing to take responsibility for his friend, so he stepped up and had his body cremated near Callico Mill. It was this experience that made him realize that there were so many people dying every day in Ahmedabad that had no one to perform their last rites. He decided he was going to be the person to do it.

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Photo: Humans of Ahmedabad

Regardless of their religion, whenever someone dies and no one claim responsibility, Mithalal Sindhi is always there to lay them to rest. “It could be of a Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Christian. But for me there is only one religion and that is humanity. I don’t believe in any other religion,” the kindhearted man told Humans of Ahmedabad. “Whenever a dead body is recovered, the first thing I do is always look for a sign or symbol that indicates dead person’s religion. After I get to know about their religion, I perform the rites accordingly. If the dead person is Hindu, I take him to VS Crematorium, if it’s a Muslim, I take him to Jamalpur and If it’s Christian then I bury them at graveyard. I pull out my pedal rickshaw and take them to crematorium.”

He always tries to find any kind of information about the deceased’s family, but he says that many times, even if he manages to track them down, they claim not to know them and refuse to pay for their last rites. “For society, it might just be an unclaimed dead body, but for me if it’s an aged woman, than she is like my mother, if it’s a young boy then he is like my son, if it’s a middle aged women, then she is like my younger sister. I couldn’t perform the last rites of my own father but I don’t feel sad about it. For me all those who died are my family in some way or the other,” Mithalal says.

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Photo: Ahmedabad Mirror

It costs Mithalal around 1,500 Indian rupees ($23) to perform the last rites for a person, which he pays from what little he makes selling bajra from his pedal rickshaw, near Ellis Bridge. So far, he has bid farewell to over 550 unclaimed bodies, and doesn’t stop on performing this free service until he takes his last breath. It has become his life’s mission and he finds it incredibly fulfilling.

That’s because Sindhi has never cared much for material possessions. He gave up his inheritance, and continued living and sleeping on the streets, instead moving in with his four children, who own their own house and run a roadside fast-food restaurant. The footpath has been his home for the last 60 years, and more importantly, it’s the place people know they will find him whenever an unclaimed body turns up.

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Photo: The Logical Indian

“I am 83 years old, have been living on the footpath for the last 60 years and believe me I am satisfied with what life has given to me. I have been sent on earth by God to perform this beautiful activity. This city remembers me whenever an unclaimed dead body is found and I am happy about it,” Mithalal concluded.