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Trivikrama Mahadeva: The mortician of the orphaned corpses in Bengaluru   – Mrit News

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Ever heard of a man who buried unclaimed bodies? After finding out about his own mother’s death from another person who used to bury unidentified bodies, Trivikrama Mahadeva spent his entire life burying bodies of victims of suicides and accidents. The mortician of unidentified bodies in Bengaluru died on July 14 after fighting lung cancer for a long time.  

Born on September 29, 1962, in a village near Nanjangud in Mysuru district, Mahadeva came to Bengaluru in 1971, seeking treatment for his ailing mother. As treatments failed, his mother passed away, but Mahadeva did not find out about it until Krishnappa, who was burying unclaimed bodies back then, told him about it a week later. Thus, in 1972, Mahadeva started his selfless service that lasted for a span of over fifty years. 

While all the unidentified bodies used to be sent to the Victoria Government Hospital, after forensic investigation and certification from the police, they would then be handed over to Mahadeva for their last rites. “In the 1990s, one burial would cost around ₹100 where half of the amount would be spent at the burial ground and another small amount would be lost in buying food for his horse, on which he travelled. The rest ₹20 was his income and due to this, Mahadeva was constantly under financial issues which led to his inability to give a better life to his family,” his son Praveen recalls. 

Trivikrama Mahadeva used to stand in the place of the deceased’s relatives, take the bodies of orphans who died owing to various reasons like accidents and suicides after the post-mortem examination and perform the last rites. The police and doctors called Mahadeva the ‘Trivikrama of orphaned corpses’. Earlier, dead bodies were transported on horse carts and then they were taken to the graveyard in an autorickshaw. After that Mahadev was given a Maruti Omni for the ease of transportation by IAS officer Madan Gopal. 

He was also chosen to transport the body of Shivarasan, one of the persons who planned the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Shivarasan died by suicide in a house in Konanakunte on the outskirts of the city in 1991. The police had chosen Mahadeva to bury Shivarasan’s body.  

Awards and recognition

Recognising his work, Mahadeva was awarded the Chief Minister’s Gold Medal in 1999, Kempegowda Award in 2004 and Godfrey Phillips Shaurya Award in 2006 for Social Act of Courage. In 2008, then Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa conferred the Namma Bengaluru Award upon him. In 2014, former president Abdul Kalam also honoured him with an island pillar and ₹2 lakhs cash award from the Godfrey Limited Trust, on his 50th birthday.  

Apart from his social work, Mahadeva also had a brief stint in the movies. While he acted in the movie Kaiwara Thathaiya, he also acted in the film Samaskaravantha, based on his life.

He has two sons Praveen and Kiran Kumar and two daughters Sonu and Arpita with his wife Pushpa.  Currently, Mahadeva’s sons are continuing the cremation of the orphaned bodies. Speaking about this, Praveen said, “Father was not feeling well for a month. At the hospital, he was more worried about the orphaned corpses. Anna (brother) and I are doing the cremation of the orphaned bodies together. If we continue our father’s work, his soul will find peace.” The sons are running a trust in Trivikrama Mahadeva’s name.  


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