Thursday, September 30, 2004

On sale: skulls, jaws and bones

On sale: skulls, jaws and bones
Body Parts Available At Bangalore’s Graveyards
Take a look at the other side of IT City. Everything is for sale here, even the dead are not spared. Visit any graveyard, and you can buy anything from skulls to bones to teeth to limbs. Best bargains, best discounts, best choices. The Times Team comprising Bansy Kalappa, Ashwin Raj and Hemali Chhapia went on this grave mission and bought a skull, teeth and a thigh bone.

Bangalore: Want a skull? Just pay Rs 150. How about a corpse? Will cost you Rs 300 upwards. Welcome to Bangalore’s big bazar: The Human Market. This team of reporters went on a shopping spree buying teeth, skull and thigh bones from graveyards,in Rajajinagar’s Harishchandra Ghat, Mysore Road, Wilson Garden and Kalpalli. The selling is brisk, with grave attenders
willing to sell just about any part — no questions asked. Mention your request, and the attender ventures into the burial area to dig out your ‘order’. But who are their regular customers? “Medical students and some others,’’ say the attenders. But students say they borrow it from their seniors or buy from medical stores. One student, however, said: “I know of a few people who go in for the cheapest deal and buy bones and other things, required from the burial grounds.’’ But medical college principals beg to differ. They say they don’t expect their students to get corpses or human parts. But sales do go on. On Mysore Road, for instance, a bunch of teenagers take the order and haggle over the price while a kid rushes into the graves and digs out what you want. But then the demand for a few parts is more than others. Ask for a set of jaws, and you will have to come back the next day. Economics works here too. A pair of lower and upper jaw is priced at Rs 150. Further, with discounts being offered, the sellers ask if you need any more and whether you will come back. “Full body ethiduthivi;
Shukrawara banni.’’ (We will have the body ready; come back on Friday.) When asked how to ferry the whole body on a scooter, the grave attenders suggested: “Sir, naave pack mad koduthive.’’ (We will pack it up for you in gunny sacks.) “Jana autol
thogond hogthare.’’ (People regularly come here and take them in autorickshaws.) The irony is that at each burial ground we went, on the one hand we saw people mourning their lost ones, and on the other hand, graves were being dug and trade was flourishing. When contacted, both Police commissioner S. Mariswamy and mayor P.R. Ramesh came out with stock replies: “We’ll look into the matter.’’

Rate Card

l Dead body: Rs 300 upwards
l Skull with mandibles intact: Rs 150
l Tooth: Rs 10
l Thigh (femural) bone: Rs 20
l Feet bones: Rs 20
l Pair of upper and lower jaws: Rs 150


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