- Call it a faith or superstition? – People from places even today throng the site in huge amounts to get rid of the dog poison.
Lucknow is called the capital of the Nawabs. Lucknow has got all such heritage in inheritance along with its Ganga-Jamuni culture, which has become an identity throughout the world.
There are many weird beliefs about the city that are still popular and followed today but which is hardly known by the youngsters. These beliefs surely have an interesting history which one would of course like to know.
You must have heard the name of the Kukrail bridge located at Faizabad Road, which was quite famous two decades ago, when Rabies was not treated at all and patients suffering from dog bites (rabies) used to get treated here.
And the fire of these beliefs about the Kukrail Nala are still blooming today and been followed by the poorest section of the society.
Traditions Continue even Today
There are many beliefs related to the Kukrail Nala, some might be knowing about it while others not, because the history behind it has blurred with the changing times.
Call it a faith or a superstition but people from different parts of the country came to Lucknow for taking bath in this filthy riffle and the cause behind it was that they were all bitten by the dogs.
The practice of bathing in this filthy Kukrail Nala is not prevalent from today but its been ages since it has been followed.
An Empire of Dirt and Illegal Encroachment
Let me tell you that the Kukrila Nala comes from Asti village ahead of Baqshi Ka Talab which is about 20 to 30 km from Lucknow, and meets in Gomti Nagar’s Baikunth Barrage. In the present times the latter is quite dirty as hundreds of colonies have developed in the surrounding areas such as Indira Nagar, due to which the Kukrail Nala has become a victim of waste water dumping point.
On both sides of this riffle there is a lot of barren land which has become a victim of illegal possession. Along with this, now the shores of this dirty riffle has given shelter to many slums too.
Interesting Story behind the Kukrail Nala and its beliefs
Once there lived a nomad in the Asti village ahead of the Baqshi Ka Talab, and owned a beloved pet dog. As the nomad was suffering from poverty he had nothing but his beloved dog.
So, for lending money he went to a Money lender of those times and asked for the latter, but, as nothing is free he was asked to pledge something important.
But he had nothing but his beloved dog left, which he pledged to the Money lender in exchange of money assuring him to come and get his dog back.
Shortly after this incident, one night a theft took place in the Money Lender’s house and the thieves hid all the valuable things in a pond outside the village as they had stolen a lot of things and it was uneasy to take all along.
Little did they knew that a theft has happened in the night. Well then the morning happened and everyone got dumbstruck as they found that many valuable things were missing from the house.
Soon did the dog who was mortgaged by the nomad began barking loudly and started pointing towards the pond to grab everyone’s attention. As the dog realized that everyone was following him towards the pond he suddenly jumped into it and the things got recovered.
With precious things being recovered from the pond the moneylender was very happy with the dog’s sense of self-esteem and his loyalty after which the Money Lender freed the dog.
As soon as the dog got freed he marched his steps to his master’s residence and co-incidentally the master too was on his way to get the dog back.
Both being on their way found each other whereas on the one hand where the dog was very happy to see his master after a long time, it wasn’t any same with his master. Little did the nomad knew about the theft incident happened at the Money Lender’s house. On seeing the dog in the way he thought that the dog has ran away from the Money Lender’s house and dipped his respect for which he got so much angry that he killed the dog.
When the nomad came to know the reality he was deeply repentant and buried the dog inside the pond where the thieves had hidden the stolen valuable things.
It is believed that the Nomad died near the Kukrail Nala situated on the Faizabad Road in the memory of dog’s death. In the Year 1938 there used to be a graveyard and a Mazar next to the Kukrail Bridge which today has no names and it is since then the tradition of bathing in the Kukrail Nala on being bitten by the dog has been followed.
Rituals and Traditions being followed since generations
84 years old Nurjahan hailing from Sheikhpur Kasaila, Indira Nagar is a renowned sorcerer and is popular for getting people rid of the dog poison. Let me tell you that one cannot get rid of the dog poison just by bathing in the water of Kukrail Nala, instead a series of rituals are followed in order to get rid of the dog poison for which Noorjahan and many of her generations have been known for performing the rituals.
Noorjahan is believed to be a sorcerer and people believe that she can easily contact with a higher consciousness which is not in the experience of common people.
She told that about 70 years ago, the treatment for rabies was very expensive and painful. “It used to be a thousand times painful treatment for rabies in the days of yore, than it is today”, she said.
She further told that, people in those times used to be very poor and did not even had enough money to have their daily bread and butter which i see as a major reason people thronged the Kukrail Nala, and not only this but people also used to be very afraid of those big injections as it was extremely painful to bare the pain of 14 injections directly into the stomach. The injections used to be very dangerous as they caused stomach aches and swelling of stomach.
On inquiring more about the Kukrala Nala, Noorjahan turned the pages of her blurred memory and said that there was a time when this stream was considered holy and was more like a river than it has become a filthy drain today.
“Such clear was the water of the Kukrail Nala that even the coins lying in the water could be seen clear and people used to consume its water and used it for their everyday activities,” said Noorjahaan.
She said that earlier the Kukrail Nala used to be very clean and tidy, and people suffering from dog poison thronged in huge amounts at the site on every Sundays and Tuesdays.
She told that person suffering from dog poison had to follow a custom that was he/she had to make Seven Pills of Barley out of which half had to be consumed and half to be thrown from over the head in the Kukrail Nala after revolving once where standing.
But as the times have changed, so do have the customs and traditions. Now people do all rituals and customs except the bathing concept.
Public must break the superstitious chains
Dr. Neelam Singh, Secretary-General of the Social Welfare Organization ‘Vatsalya’ says that three decades ago, medical resources for rabies were very low. Because of this, people used to treat dog bites with superstitious beliefs at that time. It is blind faith. Treatment of rabies is now quite easy.
Earlier injections were shot into the stomach and were very expensive but today the procedure is very simple and cheap. Now instead of in the stomach the injection is injected into the hand. And not only this, now the rabies injection is available at very minimal cost or even at no cost in the government hospitals, she told.
If such superstitious customs prevail even today, then people must be made aware of the latter, she added.
Dirty water, deadly for Human Body
Mr. V.P. Srivastav the President of a renowned environment organization ‘C-Carbon’, says that if someone bathes in a dirty water how come will he/she be healthy?
“If such superstitious beliefs still prevail in the society then public should be aware that it is not right for the health and the body”, he said. He further said that such practices should strictly be banned from the society. Several reports are coming that say the the environment has become very polluted and the level of dirt in rivers and other water bodies is increasing day by day.