Kundan Sahu (62) believes that she must have committed sins in her previous life because of which she is getting this punishment. A 5th stage filariasis patient, Sahu believes that if she worships the Lord with full heart, she might get rid of the disease. But little does she know that she needed to prevent mosquitoes to prevent this disease from happening.
I know I was born with God’s curse on me, that is why my leg swelled and I was not able to walk properly. It is not just the deformity, but I get acute attacks and high fever at night which prevents me from sleeping peacefully,” she says.
Asked about the belief related to the disease, she says that “of course no one will tell me on my face that is it as bad as untouchability, but I feel the vibe of discrimination.”
A few kilometers from my village, a festival called ‘dandh naach’ (a dance on the bed of burning coal) witnesses huge inflow of patients suffering from filariasis. The victims believe the festival is a key to get rid of the disease by appeasing the Almighty.
She was affected by the disease after she was married and came to know about it only after she became pregnant.
I noticed the symptoms (leg swelling) only after my pregnancy. It was a very difficult period as it used to pain a lot and then I started becoming very weak,” she says.
It is not a widespread practice among the community to see doctors, so for 10 years Sahu “managed to survive.”
There are a lot of women like Sahu, who waited years for the disease to disappear – but that never happened.