Malana’s age-long social distancing secret

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Malana, a small village located in district Kullu of Himachal Pradesh is known for plenty of reasons. When the world witnessed a new term of “social distancing”, it was nothing new to Malana. It is one of the oldest democracies of the world and even today it runs own democratic system as when no one in the country had talked about the extension of lockdown, Malana already declared it and extended the lockdown, prohibiting entry to the village. 

Malana is a “touch-me-not” village, where villagers are quite friendly with the outsiders and tourists but strongly against the act of touching them or their belongings. They have been strictly practising social distancing from ages. They call themselves as descendants of Alexander-The Great and their ritual of purity and pollution governs their faith in it. They believe some soldiers from Alexander’s army rested in this village after defeating Porus and therefore, they are now the descendants of Alexander. 

In Malana, it is strictly prohibited for outsiders to touch them, their walls, their houses or any other belongings as they call themselves ‘the most superior race in the world’. The outsiders are advised to follow the rules of the village as disobeying leads to a strict fine. Furthermore, it leads to the sacrificial ceremony of a lamb in order to purify the object that turned impure by the outsider’s touch. Also, the outsiders are not allowed to enter village temples. The shopkeepers don’t take money in hand and rather they ask the buyer to keep the cash on the counter so that there’s no possibility of physical touch and if a person anyhow gets touched by an outsider then they immediately take bath and perform purity rituals. Hence, the locals practice social distancing as they believe it as a key to pure and quality life.

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