Freedom to Fly


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With a view of Red Fort and Jama Masjid, the Charity Bird Hospital lies in the heart of Chandni Chowk. This hospital in the capital city of Delhi is the only one of its kind in India. It provides medical aid to diseased birds. All aid is given free of cost. The hospital runs mainly on donations.

The Charity Bird Hospital is situated inside a Jain temple. It was started in 1929 and has been treating birds successfully for the last 80 years. There are a large variety of birds that come to the Hospital such as – parrots, crows, peacocks, lovebirds, fantails and even rabbits and squirrels. The bird treated most often is the pigeon, with over 100 patients staying in the hospital at any given time. From having a single room back in 1929, today the Bird Hospital has a separate building with three floors dedicated to the care of birds.

The Hospital has two kinds of patients. The birds that are injured and brought in by people are the Outdoor Patients. The OPD (Outpatient Department) remains open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. everyday. The other type of patients is the Indoor Patients. These generally stay in the hospital itself. The birds considered as Indoor Patients are injured but not pets. So the hospital takes responsibility of them full time. They are given treatment at all times. Some need daily attention and those are treated from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The hospital has several veterinarian doctors on staff. Dr Yogeshwar Dutt Gaur, a bird veterinarian at the hospital, says, “Lord Mahavira’s spirit of hard work and non-violence drives him towards the noble duty of caring for birds.”

The Hospital gets 150 cases on an average that require medical attention in a day. So in a year almost 50,000 birds are taken care of. In case of emergencies, it is important to know that the Bird Hospital remains open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Given that Delhi has a very diverse bird population, such an initiative is not only great, but is also required.

The main diseases that a bird gets afflicted with are – paralysis, wounds, diarrhea, eye injuries and so on. And it takes a bird about a week to recover fully. Walking into the hospital, one can see rows of cages where sick birds are given temporary refuge. The cages are small, but have everything a bird could need specifically, food and water. And since the birds are too weak to fly, the cage is a suitable home for them. The next level contains larger rooms where birds are given space to fly. These contain birds that have been treated but are still recovering their strength. Finally, the roof top is where the fully recovered birds are set free.

The Bird Hospital is a part of the famous Jain temple in Chandni Chowk. So all the funding for the hospital comes from donations. These are made by people from all castes and religions. Donations are given in cash as well as kind (in the case where medicines are given). Also, it is important to know that Jainism does not permit non vegetarianism. In this regard Gaur continues, “It is for this reason, that birds that eat meat are not given residence in the hospital. It would be impossible to feed them without hurting Jain sentiments. In case of an emergency, an eagle or a vulture is kept for a maximum period of twenty four hours.”

The Charity Bird Hospital is a great story in humanity. It allows a bird to claim its rightful place in the sky.

– Kriti Gupta

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~ by kritigupta on September 24, 2009.

One Response to “Freedom to Fly”

  1. I like the first image a lot Kriti. The text seems to be fine too. Try exploring the bird market in old Delhi – as a parallel to this story.

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