In Shani Shingnapur, the way people live, there is a sense of brotherhood. There is no dispute amongst people. There are no murders or crimes there. None of the homes have doors, locks or keys. Everybody lives together there, with their hearts connected.
Shani Shingnapur is a village within Maharashtra, an Indian state with one of the highest crime rates in the country. But the community of about three thousand people in this village worship a Hindu God, Lord Shani. And they believe Lord Shani will protect them from all harm. Nowhere in the world, in India, or Maharashtra, is there a place this special.
A place, where jewellery worth lakhs of rupees is kept in the open. A place, where the bank closes down but is not locked. A place, where the smartest of thieves are scared to go. Is this believable in the times we live in? In a country where the crime rates break records every year. In that country lies a place where there has been no theft or burglary. Money, jewellery and other valuable items are kept in houses which, let alone locks, do not even have any doors.
For the last 400-500 years there has been no theft as per official police records. And the villagers have a staunch faith that there will be no theft in this village, and that faith has so far held its ground. Whether this system works or stops, it all depends on the people.
Even when people have to close shop, they just shut it with a wooden plank. If they leave their house, its only closed with a curtain. Relying on these wooden planks and curtains, and their devotion to Lord Shani, people may close their shop for days on, and they would have no doubt that their things would not be stolen.
It is interesting to see how this village got its name, Shani Shingnapur. It is said that about five hundred years ago, there was heavy rainfall here. And in that rain, a huge rock came floating with the floods. This rock was the idol of Lord Shani. As all strange things unfold, Lord Shani appeared in the dreams of one of the villagers and told him to establish a temple in his name, and that he wants to stay and protect this village forever. It wasn’t long before the villagers built this temple with the rock as the idol of worship. And from this day on, there have been no locked houses or doors in the village. The one thing of note is that this story is five hundred years old and people till date believe in it.
Villagers here believe that if you are a true pious devotee of Lord Shani, you may build a house anywhere, not put a door on it, and Lord Shani will definitely protect you. Their privileged situation is because of this God. Even today, the current generation has the same devotion to Lord Shani as their ancestors did. But how long will this devotion last? Only time will tell.
Written By: Devashish
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