Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ostracised even in death

I came across an article in the Hindustan Times yesterday that made realise something I had chosen to ignore. The bitter truth of the existence of uneducated, backward masses in our country and their sheer ignorance to listen to reason.

Asha Devi waited beside the body of her husband for two days but the villagers of Khaira in Bihar’s Dharbhanga district shunned her house. Neighbours murmured that if they stepped inside the house, they would contract a killer virus. The reason: Asha’s husband Surendra Kumar had been HIV positive.

The widow had to drag her husband’s body all on her own to the backyard of her house and cremate it with twigs and leaves she had collected.

This is the reality of a state where NGOs and government agencies spend hundreds of crores every year to spread AIDS awareness.The government’s slogan of ‘Fear HIV, not the HIV patient’ does not seem to have reached this tiny hamlet.

A few years ago, another family was boycotted at Hathuri village in Muzaffarpur district after four members died of AIDS. The villagers treated the family as a pariah until the government intervened.

All this goes on to show awareness alone won’t help. Attitudes must change too.

17 comments:

anuj said...

ya thts quite true .. we indians still arent ready to get over certain things . Its pretty sad tht we dont want to learn & create a better cooperative society .

AIDS is still a fear .. not of d disease but of d individual suffering frn it . nice topic tht u drew attention to.

TripleSix said...

i love the sketch...

n the thought is even more provokin..

good u blogged it..

desperado said...

hey nice point u brought up here
still a long way to go before we change the mindset in our country..not only abt AIDS...but many such issues

>|' ; '| said...

cowards

Mirage said...

@anuj: We prefer being blidfolded when ot comes to discussing these issues. So many HIV positive patients are still being discriminated against, simply because ppl dont want to change their mindset abt it.

@nika: Thnx

@dhruv: You're right, and all of this should be brought out and discussed openly.

@poison: And selfish too

desperado said...

n gud tht u took a step in tht direction

TripleSix said...

@poison
i like tht pic...

MS said...

attitudes r hard to change,specially the ones which r rooted in ppl's believes.

Keshi said...

goshh thats so sad!

however changing attitudes of the 'uneducated' is a far cry...cos most of these ppl r adults and r hard to change now..but yeah education will help...awareness and education...


Keshi.

Ajay said...

Hey . that is so shocking. ive worked with red cross for raising awareness abt HIV. I know it is really dificult to break up a mindset that has been there for decades. But what we do is to keep trying and trying and to hope that such things don't happen any more

Mirage said...

@dhruv: :)

@MS: Yes, but maybe instead of changing them, we can mould them to make them understand the difference between whats rational and whts irrational.

@Keshi: Exactly. In fact, awareness is even more important than awareness. Coz even some educated people make the same mistakes.

@Ajay: Its good that u've been doing ur share of helping out. But it is still a drop in the ocean... more and more people, esp the youth, must come forward and take the initiative. And change hope into certainty.

Rohit Talwar said...

I read it too. I like your take on it.

Mirage said...

@rohit: Thnx... :)

Abhishek Upadhyay said...

Thats height of cruelty.I am wondering about the lady...how she would have felt. Her husband is dead and no one is there to help her, no one to console her. The entire village should be ostracised for this cruelty and stupid behaviour.Any ways this not unexpected in a country where the illiterate population is far more compared to the literate ones.

Hope things change in india.

Regards
Abhishek

DewdropDream said...

Hi there,
you sure are prompt in replying.. thanks.. but i suggest u do your pg in delhi, the institutes there seem really good, and plus, people form delhi ususally find it hard to adjust in bbay.. and vice versa.. but hey, you're always welcome.

And on the post, there's enough said and hollered about illiteracy and all... but i think we need to re-think more thna just education and literacy to solve such stuff.
p.s: you seem pretty dedicated to newsy stuff... that's at least the second comment on a news report i read here.. i say you'd do well as a journo

Jithu said...

While such things happen in India, the media which can do a lot in this regard is running after silly issues for short lived publicity. All these points out the need for a strong social upliftment process in rural India without which India wont develop into a developed nation.

Smartalec said...

hiya megz;)! been a while i guess! how're u?
anyway it's a sad state of affairs! and it's a pity that the newspapers push these stories into the limelight just to increase their readership base and make it a publicity gimmick by sensationalizing the stuff! they should rather create awareness and try to eradicate widespread misconceptions. and bingo! you've nailed the problem! just being educated is not gonna help... people have to work hard when in comes to changing their attitude!