Doorless India village sure thieves won’t be knocking

Written by | January 6, 2015 | 0

Ahmednagar, Shani Shingnapur: Members of the Gade family proudly show off a stash of Indian rupees kept in an unlocked tin barrel in their bedroom, despite their home not having a front door.

In Shani Shingnapur village in western India, residents see little need for such security, thanks to their belief in special protection from Shani.

As farmers trundle the roads in bullock carts piled high with sugarcane, they pass rows of homes bearing empty door frames — a village tradition that goes back for generations.

“Years ago, Shani came in the dreams of devotees and told them you don’t need to put any doors on your homes,” housewife Jayashree Gade told AFP.

“He said: ‘I will protect you’. That’s why we don’t have any doors.”

According to legend, an iron and stone slab washed up in a nearby river during a flood more than 300 years ago, and began oozing blood when cattle herders poked it with a stick.

In a vision to a villager later that night, the slab was revealed to be an idol of Shani, and today it stands in an open square adorned with garlands of flowers.

Shani, who is believed to be manifested in the planet Saturn, is considered so mighty that his shrine cannot be kept under a shelter — and he will not let thieves in the village of open homes go unpunished.

“The power of Shani is such that if someone steals, he will keep walking all night and think he has left the village, but when the sun comes up he will still be there,” said mill worker Balasaheb Borude.

Some villagers said they put loose panels against their door frames at night, but only to keep out wild animals.

Similarly, the local branch of state-owned UCO Bank prides itself on its “lockless” status. Although money is kept in a strongroom, the front of the building has just a glass door with no lock, to avert stray dogs.

“We have no trouble,” said bank official Nagender Sehrawat, gesturing to the queue of customers when asked if they were happy with the arrangement.

Today the centre of the village, which lies in Maharashtra state, has the feel of bustling small town, with stalls lining the dusty main road selling souvenirs and flowers to religious tourists.

Filed in: National

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