Narsinghpur, Madhya Pradesh: In the tiny backyard of a small house, a cow is tied up. So are the 65-year-old head of the family that lives here and his son.
Churaman Kaurav, 65, and his younger son were diagnosed over a decade ago as mentally ill. Looking after them, financially and physically, falls upon Churaman’s older son, Dinesh Kaurav. He says he earns Rs. 3,000 a month – vastly inadequate to support the family of seven, especially when a third of his salary is spent on medicines. Drained financially and emotionally, he says he had no choice but to keep his father and brother in chains. They are moved sometimes from a bedroom to a backyard, then brought back inside.
“If I unchain my father and brother, they may hurt themselves or others. I had gone to the Collector with their photos hoping for some help. But the administration did not do anything about it,” says Dinesh.
He insists that he has tried in the past to have his father and brother treated at government hospitals in Jabalpur and Gwalior. But funds ran out, and it was hard to hold down a job while making regular visits to doctors.
“The family had come to us for help and as they could not pay for medical treatment so we included them in the BPL list,” says Rajesh Shah, a local tax collector, explaining that the categorization entitles the family to subsidies.
The nearest hospital where Dinesh can have his father and brother treated is 300 km away in Nagpur. The distance seems insurmountable.
An NGO, named Sewa Dham, based in Ujjain in the state, says it will send a team on Wednesday to visit the family and help relocate the patients to its ashram.