Every few months when I sit down to write the introduction to an upcoming issue of Departures in Critical Qualitative Research (DCQR), the world seems to be further engulfed in trauma and loss, now further amplified owing to the ongoing pandemic. As I write in the United States in mid-May 2021, Delhi, my erstwhile home, is being ravaged by a third wave of COVID-19 infections. Every morning my father calls from Delhi to report who among our family members have died. This week two elderly uncles succumbed to the virus. The scenes across India are grim. Funeral pyres burn day and night. Makeshift burial grounds have sprung up. With the virus so spread, strangers are burying or cremating the dead, disallowing the body its last ritual stage in this life. Funereal rituals, sometimes simple but often elaborate, serve an important sociocultural-psychological function by providing a temporal and spatial...

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