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Researcher & Activist

Date & Time

Mon, 26 Jul 2021

Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

As COVID-19 raged through Bangalore, the city’s crematoria and burial grounds were overwhelmed with the dead and their grieving kin. The hard labour of processing corpses as well as collective grief fell on Bangalore’s crematorium and cemetery workers. Overwhelmingly Dalit, city funerary workers are generationally condemned to labour under a social stigma that is designed to deprive them of dignity, regular wages, social security, advancement opportunities, and adequate housing.

In this episode of BIC Talks, anthropologist Shreyas Sreenath interviews researcher and activist Swathi Seshadri. Swathi recently co-authored a report released by the All India Central Council for Trade Unions (AICCTU) detailing labor conditions at Bangalore’s crematoria and cemeteries. They discuss the significance of funerary work in holding together the fabric of our social, psychic, and spiritual lives, both in times of stability and crisis. They also speak about the various ways in which caste prejudice routinely degrades communities pushed into toiling with our dead.

The full report can be accessed here.

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Swathi Seshadri

Researcher & Activist

Swathi Seshadri is a researcher and activist based in Bengaluru.

Shreyas Sreenath


Shreyas Sreenath teaches anthropology at Bowdoin College, U.S.A.