Photograph above: Three street dogs protecting a new-born baby abandoned in Kolkata on the evening of 23rd May, 1996. Below is an excerpt of a news report filed by Pinaki Mujumdar on the 25th May, 1996 edition of a Bengali daily, named ‘Aajkaal’ which carried the above hear-rendering photograph by Tapan Mukherjee.
This story was carried on the front page of this newspaper and did end up demonstrating the responsible ‘humane’ action of these three street dogs towards a human baby.
This is one of the best examples of sensitive journalism that was accompanied by sharp news sense.
A bright new born baby girl by the side of the dustbin. Sitting around her are three street mongrels. The same unchanging picture throughout the night. This unbelievable and inconceivable incident is not a scene from a screenplay. Nor is it the background to a story causing a sensation throughout the world. It is real-as unalloyedly real as light and air, life and death.This incident stretched at Hartokibagan Lane under Burtolla Police Station from the night of 23rd May, 1996 to 24th May, 1996 morning. Not just that, the three dogs followed like responsible guardians when some people of the locality rescued the new born baby girl and took her to the Burtolla Police Station. They had, unnoticed by all arrived at the door of the Officer-in-charge at Burtolla Police Station I.K Hossain as people were busy watching the baby, who had been put on the officer’s table, move her hands and feet. This scene did not elude the eyes of the policemen and the curious people present at the police station.
This report states that it was only around 2 pm on 24th May, 1996 , when the baby was put in a car to be taken to a f home for foundlings did these three street dogs walk back to their old neighbourhood, walkng slowly….
(Courtesy: Savage Humans and Stray Dogs, a book by Hiranmay Karlekar, Sage Publications 2008)