The cemetery keeper

1 montage + 2 audio

V.S Alagan, the Hindu keeper of a Catholic cemetery, shares his knowledge of the graves of different faiths. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam and Menika van der Poorten.


Join the discussion: 5 comments

  • magerata says:

    Great work as always, THX

  • Nancy Fernando says:

    I enjoyed this story very much. I feel the story is just too short.

  • cezarneaga (Cezar Neaga) says:

    A cemetery keeper in Sri Lanka freaks out black magic practitioners :)

  • Kannan Arunasalam says:

    When Alagan began working at the cemetery long ago, workers came and went in rapid succession, none staying on for a long time. Everyone was scared to work there, including Alagan at first. His initial fears were understandable. He talked about coming across dead bodies when digging other graves, strange noises and animals roaming at night, and the stench from corpses. Alagan, however, persevered and remained there since 1980. He talked about a surreal incident involving some youths trying their hand at some “black magic”. To send them off, he had rolled an old skull towards them. They had run, waving their arms in the air, scared out of their wits. After our interview Alagan’s son took me on a tour of the cemetery, racing ahead, then pulling back for me to catch up, as I photographed the tombstones. It was a large cemetery, flanked by a Muslim graveyard and a Buddhist one to the right. Alagan’s knowledge of graves was impressive. He listed off the measurements and customs not only of Christian graves that he mainly dug and cared for, but of all faiths and beliefs. Alagan was born a Hindu, but worked digging mainly Christian graves. He wanted to convert to Christianity and turned to his mentor the local priest for guidance. But the priest had dissuaded him. Perhaps in Alagan’s next life he would return a Christian.

  • (@iam_project) (@iam_project) says:

    Meet V.S. Alagan, the Hindu keeper of a Catholic cemetery #lka elders project


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