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A village in Madhya Pradesh ostracised a man for 45 days and banned him from entering his house and attending all the social ceremonies in the community. And the reason - a dog bit him.
Bheru Singh Baghel, a resident of Khandala village in Alirajpur, about 220 km west of Indore, was bitten by a dog on March 29.
Soon after the incident, he visited the district hospital to get himself treated. When he returned, he found his cot placed outside his house.
To his surprise, villagers warned him not to enter his own house. Not just that, he was prohibited from entering any house in the village.
Here is why.
Baghel belongs to the Bhilalas community of Alirajpur who believe that anyone bitten by a dog or a snake should not enter his or anyone else’s house for 45 days. Each time he/she breaks this tradition, seven days are added to the 45-day period.
Bhilalas usually live in Alirajpur and are mostly farmers.
They believe that a man bitten by a dog or a snake has suffered God’s ire and hence he should stay away from the community for 45 days.
“I believe God and my ancestors were angry with me. That is why a dog bit me. 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,” said Baghel, who works as a conductor for a private bus company in Udaygarh.
However, on May 5, he committed a "sin" by entering his house to get water and was seen by his mother. And, seven more days were added to the 45-day period.
“Sometimes, when it rains, he has to spend nights where cattle are kept. It is our tradition and we have to follow it,” said Bheru’s mother Besti Bai.
Bheru’s suffering will end on Tuesday and a ceremony will be organised for his home coming.
Rahul Banerjee, who works amongst the Bhilalas for 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.”