Wednesday, 23. July 2014
14. 05. 14. - 16:00
A man hospitalised after he was bitten by a dog in India returned home to find his bed was in the street and he had been banned from speaking to any neighbours.
Village elders in India's central Madhya Pradesh state declared Bheru Singh Baghel an outcast, and even banned him from entering his home at all.
Baghel, a resident of Khandala village in the city of Alirajpur, was bitten by the dog on 29 March.
Superstitious neighbours branded him unclean after the accident. He belongs to the Bhilalas community of Alirajpur which believes anyone bitten by a dog or a snake should not enter his or anyone else’s house for 45 days. Each time they break this tradition, seven days are added to the 45-day period.
They believe that a man bitten by a dog or a snake has suffered God’s ire, and hence he should stay away from clean people.
And Baghel agrees with the punishment. He said: "I believe God and my ancestors were angry with me. That is why a dog bit me. A dog bite is a bad omen for us and hence I am not allowed to enter my house for 45 days. I get my food in a hut outside the house and I am not allowed to attend any function in the community."
That has also meant time off work for the man, who works as a conductor for a private bus company.
"Sometimes, when it rains, he has to spend nights where cattle are kept. It is our tradition and we have to follow it," said Baghel’s mother Besti Bai.
Baghel’s suffering will end on Tuesday and a ceremony will be organised for his homecoming.
Rahul Banerjee, who works amongst the Bhilalas to help protect their rights said: "In ancient times, there were no medicines. So, the idea of keeping a person away from home after a dog bite must have been to gauge the symptoms of rabies. The practice is followed today as well."
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