A casket-maker distressed by his soaring income
KABUL (Pajhwok): A coffin seller in Kabul says his income has risen as result of growing demand for funerary boxes for victims of suicide attacks and explosions in the city, but he never feels happy.
Abdul Shakoor, 60, inherited the casket-making job from his father. “I was a very small kid, but I don’t know what my age was when my father made coffins. I would curiously watch his work.”
He would often pester his father with innocent queries about the use of the wooden boxes. “Why are bodies wrapped in white shrouds and placed in coffins before burial?” he e would question his dad.
A father of four daughters, the elder man ekes out a living by making coffins. He said 40 years ago, the Afghans were living in peace and prosperity. There was no war or violence. “Four decades ago, only one customer would come in the entire day, but now we sell four to five coffins daily.”
Shakoor, heaving a deep sigh, acknowledged: “Our income increases when suicide bombing and explosions happen. It’s a sort of revenue associated with death. On a daily basis, I see grieving people cry and talk about the dead. This makes me think about the hereafter,” he commented.
In the past, he recalled, coffins were made in the Shahr-i-Kohna neighbourhood of Kabul. But now they are sold in many parts of the city due to high number of fatalities.
Nangyalai, a resident of the Qala-i-Zaman Khan locality of Kabul, was purchasing a coffin for his brother who was killed in a roadside bombing on the Kabul-Maidan Shahr highway. A leg of his brother was blown off and his body bleeding. Doctors recommended him to put his brother’s body in a coffin. Tearful as he was, Nangyalai said his brother had two little children and his family was in poor economic condition.
Maulvi Shams Rahman Frotan, a religious scholar, called death an undeniable reality. “There is no issue with the use of coffins in the Sharia law. A corpse transferred from one place to another should be put in the coffin.”
If a person dies a natural death, then it is better to bury him without a coffin, according to Frotan, who explained a casket was generally meant to hide the injuries or bruises suffered by the person placed in it.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.