Humanity and compassion coming from a man in a police uniform is very rare. Yet there are some who are in a different league out to prove the critics wrong.

Assistant Sub Inspector Rakesh Rasila of Chandigarh Police is one such man who has been caring not only for the living but also for the dead—both human and animals. He has continued with this practice for the last more than two decades. Besides providing general care to the poor and the needy, his contributions have come in the form of record blood donations and providing shrouds and funerals to unclaimed dead bodies of humans as well as animals.

Rasila is out to prove that love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries and without them humanity cannot survive. Over the last two decades he has donated blood 126 times. This includes seven donations alone in the year 2000. Apart from this, he has provided a dignified humane cremation to around 500 unclaimed dead bodies. He donates his blood to thalassemic children and unknown needy patients in the city hospitals.

In a very warm voice with a smile on his face he says, “It was the call of my soul.”

The beginnings of his humane endeavour go back to early nineties when this constable sought permission from his superiors for a posting at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), one of the coutry's biggest public sector health facilities in Chandigarh. He wanted a deputation at the hospital police post because his wife was detected with a brain tumour and he had to make frequent trips to the facility.

While at the hospital, his job involved keeping a track of medico legal cases which included victims of hit and run instances that were brought and just left there to test their luck.

“Usually such unknown patients with head injuries had fits and had their limbs tied to the bedposts. Their hygiene was another issue as the staff had too many patients. Many times they would soil their clothes. It was a call from inside that drove me to attend to such people,” he says.

Soon he also took up the task of transporting the unclaimed dead bodies from the PGIMER to the government hospital two kilometres away for post mortems. “I had purchased a Jeep for the purpose as people used to charge up to Rs 100 to transport these bodies which proved very expensive those days. I also approached the local NGO that was entrusted the task of the funeral of such bodies. I told them that I would pay for the shrouds of these people and would light their pyres to give them a decent farewell from this world.”

It was during this while that his wife had a miraculous recovery and the couple had two children, something the doctors at the PGIMER had ruled out.

“There were days when the doctors told me that they had very little hope of her recovery. “God has his own ways of bringing happiness in your life. My son was born on Christmas in 1996 and the daughter followed on Holi two years later,” he says.

Continuing with his task has not been easy for this good samaritan. “Once it was my daughter’s birthday and there was an unclaimed dead body to be attended to. I just had Rs 300 in my pocket. I just apologized to my daughter for not being able to gift her anything and went ahead for the cremation. In those days it took Rs 600 to Rs 700 for the funeral and many times I even borrowed this amount,” he recalls.”

For him the satisfaction and peace that comes with such deeds is unmatchable. There have been numerous cases where doctors have warned him of infections from the decomposed and rotten bodies but nothing could stop this man.

He went a step ahead and even started providing a burial to dead animals and birds. He has his mobile number written at prominent points in public places like hospitals, bus terminals and courts asking the people to call him if they see a dead animal waiting for disposal.

“I always carry implements for digging, a packet of salt and a small shroud in my vehicle,” he says.

His service to humanity has been recognized in the form of an entry in the Limca Book of Records. Several prominent Bollywood personalities have expressed their desire to make a documentary on him or highlight his contribution in various television shows.

Untouched by all this, he continues to quench his thirst of serving the humanity. He quotes Mother Teresa,”If we have no peace, we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Rasila is now posted with the traffic wing. Despite his busy schedule, he never lets go any opportunity to attend to his mission. He continues to answer the call of the dead.