The Graveyard Inside My Home


The Graveyard Inside My Home

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza


he ivory-white Taj Mahal has protected Mumtaz Mahal’s grave from torrential rains for centuries. But one night, three years ago, heavy rains laid bare the contents of a grave in a village not very far from the marble monument and scared an 11-year-old girl senseless. The grave was inside her house and the girl’s name, Mumtaz.

Pokar is a village in Uttar Pradesh that lies 32 kilometres from the Taj Mahal. The houses are pucca, made of brick and concrete. At this time of the year, standing mustard crops add colour to the outskirts of the village and eucalyptus trees are the only greenery of note. In this yellow village, Muslims have been burying the dead in their homes and within the compounds of their dwellings for over 90 years.