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01 Mar 2024, Edition - 3153, Friday

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US magazine features Kovai’s only female undertaker

Covai Post Network


Making a dent into male bastion is 30-year-old Vairamani has been burying bodies at the Corporation burial ground at Chokkampudur in the city, from the age of seven. Her father, Karuppasamy, was an undertaker too. She has now appeared on the cover story of the California-based Tamil magazine ‘Thendral.’

Worth mentioning is the fact that in addition to burying unclaimed bodies brought by the service organizations, Vairamani doesn’t charge any money from poor families. Sadly, neither the state, nor the district administration has noticed her service. But things are now changing with the Corporation authorities and the area councillor of Chokkampudur taking steps to get her due recognition.

Covai Post met her outside her tiny hut near Chokkampudur burial ground and crematorium. She was clearly unhappy with the fact that the State has not recognized her service.

Vairamani first hit the headlines when she was identified by Eera Nenjam’s Managing Trustee, P. Mahendiran, when she was helping her aged father dig pits at the burial ground. With tears in her eyes, she said that she took up her father’s job because this was the only field where there was no competition at all. But she is determined to make it a career since she has been doing this right from the age of seven. “I have seen my father dig ten feet deep pits and placing the body inside and covering the pits with earth,” she said. Her father never demanded money from the relatives and accepted whatever they gave. Vairamani has been following the same principle.

When the American magazine ‘Thendral’ featured her in their cover story, Vairamani was thrilled. Arun Swaminathan from the magazine met her through Mahendiran to do a story on her. “I was thrilled that my service was being recognized in America, but ironically people in my own state failed to take note,” she said, with a smile.

“I never charge anything for unclaimed bodies or from poor families,” she said, and added that it gave her a sense of satisfaction. Not highly educated herself, Vairamani is hell-bent on ensuring that her daughters and son go to college and is looking for philanthropists to sponsor their education.

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