"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

Categories: Asia | Children | Health and Medicine | World

Unfortunately, disability sometimes becomes a tool for earning money. "Rat children" from Pakistan suffer from microcephaly. This is a disease in which the head and brain are much smaller than the average size. Rumor has it that the skulls of these people were deformed in early childhood, in order to later make them beggars. Most of these unfortunate children live at the temple and beg from pilgrims. Read on, where did the terrible tradition of making babies disabled come from.

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

There is still an ancient cruel tradition in Pakistan. Iron helmets are put on babies' heads to stop the growth of the skull. Over time, children with disfigured heads and narrow faces resemble rodents. When children grow up, they are forced to beg on the streets.

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

The unfortunate are called "rat children" or "chua". There is a superstition in Pakistan: if you refuse them alms, you will be pursued by failure.

The creepy tradition has been going on for many centuries. They say that criminal gangs kidnap babies, disfigure them, and then send them to beg.

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

It turns out that this barbaric custom has deep roots. Unhappy children are also called "Shah Daula's rats". Shah Daula was a 17th-century Muslim saint. He claimed to have the power to heal female infertility. But the women had to donate their firstborn to the temple so that their next children would not become disabled.

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

Local legend says that the first children after the Shah's prayer were born with microcephaly. Shah Daula took them under his care and sent them to beg. Later, a temple was built in honor of this saint in Varedia, Gujarat. Since then, people have been coming here to pray for the gift of children.

For centuries, poor parents have been leaving babies with deformed skulls here. They live at the temple on the alms of pilgrims. "Chua" wear green capes and ask for money from passers-by.

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

In the 1960s, the Government of Pakistan banned citizens from leaving newborn babies in the Shah Daula Temple. But soon the cruel tradition resumed. Criminals began to make money on "rat children", sending them to the streets to beg. People continue to give them money, fearing that their own children will become disabled if they refuse alms to disabled people.

"Rats of Shah Daula": children from Pakistan with deformed skulls and a hard fate

Nadia has been living at the temple since infancy. She doesn't know who her parents are or where they are. They say that the girl was sold to the so-called "beggar mafia", which uses disabled children as a source of income.

The temple of Shah Daula is called the "abode of fertility". Infertile spouses continue to come here in the hope that prayer will help them conceive a child. The holy place became a home for rejected and crippled children, who turned into a tool for earning money for criminals.

Unfortunately, people with disabilities often become victims of scoundrels. An American woman has been abducting and holding disabled people captive for 10 years, appropriating their benefits.

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