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For 300 years, every dog had its day in Punjab

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KHANPUR (PATIALA): Unknown to most outside Patiala, a diktat by Alaa Singh (1695-1765) is cast in stone by villagers, and is followed till this
day and dogs get to eat before worshippers at the temple — all three meals of the day.

Following tradition, head priest Anand Giri comes out thrice to the temple gate each day and, before food is served to villagers, starts howling like a dog to call the canines to the table. Within minutes a bunch of dogs gather and are, with due respect reserved for them, offered the best that the langar (community kitchen) has on its menu. “Its an old tradition and I always bark out to all the dogs here before start of a langar,’’ he said.

Fellow villager Khushdeep Singh added, “We never treat dogs the way others do. In fact, we never even raise a finger when our children are attacked or crops destroyed.’’ But good run that started for dogs here 300 hundred years ago, may just be completing its course.

The younger generation, though still unable to rebel against what they see as a weird ritual, are both dismissive and embarassed.

“You know,’’ said Gursevak Singh, a student, “it’s okay to treat dogs well, but to worship them and make them eat before us is ridiculous. Though we have got used to it because almost everyone here behaves that way, it becomes awkward when we have visitors come over to our place. To hear the priest howling like that is just too much.’’
 

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And the practise started when the King saw the dog standing after eating kg of opium.... He was impressed by the dog....
 

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