We come across people who go out of their way to help people in life. But, Mohammad Sharafat Hussain has been going of his way to help people, even in their death.
For the past 20 years, Hussain has been helping the people of Mumbai, including the Mumbai Police and the municipal authorities to recover dead bodies from drains and wells. In fact, so dedicated he is to this job that he has also, over time, become the man for the job, when authorities need bodies retrieved.
From entering narrow gutters deftly, to jumping into canals, Kallu, as Hussain is popular known as, has been to the filthiest and dreariest of places in his lifetime, in search of bodies.
Over the years, Kallu is said to have retrieved over 200 bodies from Mumbai's Mithi River.
The officers from the fire brigade cannot go into the muck because they wear shoes. I just wear a towel and somehow crawl over to the spot. And if it is in the middle of the river then it's more challenging because over there neither any rope can reach nor my boat. So it does get difficult sometimes.
But wading into the muck isn't the only problem he faces. Kallu describes the other hazards of doing this job:
I often get hurt with broken glass pieces. So after the work gets done sometimes I take injections but sometimes I don't. When there's pain I feel that I might have tetanus. And if there's no pain I don't take an injection.
Even though Kallu knows the risks involved in this hazardous job, he believes he is safe because God is constantly watching over him.
However, after an incident where Kallu helped to recover a bus conductor's body in Kurla, he began to be offered more such jobs, which he happily took on to earn some money.
As someone who spends a lot of time with the dead and decaying, one would thing, Kallu might believe or even wonder about what comes after. But, it's not the ghosts and spirits that he fears. But, Kallu says he is only afraid of people who are alive. He says:
I have heard sayings that there are ghosts and spirits. But I have never seen any. I am scared of people who are alive, the ones who stand behind with a knife. What is there to be afraid of the dead?
Kallu or Mohammad Hussain, he may go by different names; but, the man's mission is one - to give every dead body a deserving funeral. Truly, something noble and humane, yet so rare to find in most human beings.
You can watch Mohammad Hussain's complete story, here.