Abu Dhabi social worker, who repatriated hundreds of bodies, dies at 47

M.M. Nasar Kanhangad, who suffered from an advanced stage of cancer, passed away in his home state of Kerala


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sun 14 Nov 2021, 5:31 PM

Abu Dhabi resident and social worker M.M. Nasar Kanhangad, who helped with repatriation of hundreds of bodies, has passed away in his home state of Kerala in India.

The 47-year-old socially active expat died of cancer. He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Abu Dhabi City. However, three months back, the father of four kids, returned home for advanced care.

“This comes as a shock. It is unexpected and untimely. He was suffering from an ulcer for a while. It turned into cancer. He used to help people in distress and may have never really cared about his own health. And by the time he did, I think, it was too late. We had to actually compel him to seek treatment,” said Abdusalam T.K., general secretary, Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi.

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Nasar came to the UAE in 1993 and assisted with transportation of mortal remains to India. In 2018, he was officially tasked by the Indian Embassy to follow-up repatriation cases with the local authorities in Abu Dhabi. Nasar was also a former relief secretary at the Indian Islamic Centre.

Nasar, in an earlier interview to Khaleej Times, had said: “If I can't help those in need, then how can I consider myself a human being? For expats, the worst travel back home is returning as a dead body. There is no greater agony for a family than the wait for their loved one who is no more. I try my best to ease their pain.”

Abdusalam added that Nasar suffered from an advanced stage of cancer and was home in Kanhangad for the past few weeks.

“Nasar worked with different associations, companies and individuals to offer them support for repatriation and other social works. With his workload and commitment to the society, he had sent his family back to Kerala. However, he was planning to bring them back and spend time with them. He had also taken a flat near the Indian Islamic Centre. It was then that he had to leave for better medical care. Alas, he won’t be coming back.”

Abdusalam pointed out that Nasar never showed any bias when rendering help and his dedication to serve others is incomparable.

“Nasar left us with good memories. His social commitment cannot be compared. I remember once there was no one to accompany a body, so he flew to Mumbai and delivered it to the family.”

Nasar once said: “As long as I am alive, I want to help others. I have seen all kinds of deaths. After a body reaches home, their family members call me the next day. They say ‘son you will always be in our prayers’. That is my strength and reward.”

Several associations will be holding prayer meets today and in coming days.

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