Tending the Funeral Pyres of Nepal

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Gyan Prasad Acharya has tended funeral pyres at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu for 30 years. Since a massive earthquake devastated Nepal, the Ghats, traditional spaces reserved for cremating the dead, at Pashupatinath Temple have been overwhelmed. The Ghats have gone from seeing 30 bodies cremated a day to hundreds. Every open space along the river has been taken up by survivors trying to bid their loved ones a final farewell.

Script

  1. soundbite (Nepali)
    Gyan Prasad Acharya: 00:01 - 00:19 : My name is Gyan Prasad Acharya. I have been doing this work for the past 30 years. On the day of the earthquake I was working in the Arya Ghat. All of a sudden, to save myself, I jumped in the river and crossed to the other side, but the earthquake was still continuing in short intervals.
  2. soundbite (Nepali)
    Gyan Prasad Acharya: 00:19 - 00:29 : The next day, and the day after that a lot of dead bodies were brought in. A lot of those that came were buried in the rubble. I cannot say how many, because there was no time to count.
  3. soundbite (Nepali)
    Gyan Prasad Acharya: 00:29 - 00:44 : Since there was no space on the funeral pyre we had to cremate on the other side of the river. You can see the place behind me. We cremated all the bodies we couldn't fit on the funeral pyres on the other side. And even now victims of the earthquake are coming for cremation.
  4. soundbite (Nepali)
    Gyan Prasad Acharya: 00:44 - 00:58 : Right now, my house has been destroyed and my condition is devastating. For the next two or three months we are thinking we'll have to adjust to living under the tarpaulin. And even though I'm in a lot of grief, I havent stopped my work.
  5. soundbite (Nepali)
    Gyan Prasad Acharya: 00:58 - 01:12 : I'll continue working, and I'll work as much as I can. This government is a thief. When the foreigners said they wanted to come and build houses, they (the government) said no. They're a thieves, they're gangsters. They're not for the people here.
  6. soundbite (Nepali)
    Gyan Prasad Acharya: 01:14 - 01:27 : Good or bad, you have to eat, you have to survive. Even living in that same field, doing this very work, I'm surviving and doing my work and feeding my family. Thats it.