You go to a street hawker one afternoon, wanting to binge on some desi snacks, order – say some samosas – the seller brings them on hot, wraps them in an old newspaper, ties it with a thread and gives it to you. The next thing you do is go back home, unwrap the samosas and savor it minus all calorie guilt.
Vivek Vyas and Vimal Popat from Rajkot went on a similar food hopping spree one afternoon, but something wasn’t just right. Their eyes went on a photograph of a deceased whose obituary was printed on the newspaper, absorbing the oil leaking from their lunch.
They realized they were served their food on an obituary page.
“This was an insult to the departed souls”, Vivek says.
They could have crumbled the newspaper after finishing their lunch and threw it in a dustbin and got involved in their respective jobs – Vivek worked in the sales department while Vimal worked on HRM, concept development, sales/marketing in a firm. They didn’t.
Conceptualized in 2010 and executed in 2011, Vivek and Vimal began Shradhanjali.com, India’s first online ‘memorial’ portal where friends and families can dedicate a page to the deceased, along with all the required information – about his/her personal & professional life, photographs, videos, family tree, etc. Moreover, people from across the world can pour in their condolence on the deceased’s profile page.
“Newspapers have an outreach to lakhs of people every day, however, it’s shelf life is very limited and you never know who might use it for what purpose. A digital space preserves information for years and years”, says Vivek who believes that digital profiles of deceased can be passed on from one generation to another who can learn about the struggles, achievements and history of their ancestors.
One needs to pay a one-time fee of INR 5000 to be able to create a profile which not only stores information but also sends reminders on birth and death anniversaries. The life span of a profile is 30 years.The founders refuse to flood the website with advertisements to maintain the decorum.
“We are here to show our respect for those who are dead and gone from our life. Filling the website with advertisements just doesn’t go with it”, they point.
An obituary in a regional daily can cost one anything around INR 200 per sqcm.
The start-up is bootstrapped, however is looking to raise funds eventually.
“We do not want to earn from advertisements hence we have tied up with a few agencies to market our service to diverse audience”, Vivek says.
In a country with a population of 1.27 billion which sees a death rate of 7.4/1000 people, the venture has an unimaginable market with no competition in Indian market till now.
A story by Shruti Chaturvedi.
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