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Medic saves woman from drowning in the Ganges

Year 1879

Read by Dr. Rosalind Maycock – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Baboo Kristo Chunder Chuckerbutty, Medical Man.

Stanhope Gold Medal 1879.

On the 15th February, 1878, the body of a native woman was being taken to Ghat on the Ganges for cremation, but, showing symptoms of returning animation, the natives threw her into the river, being under the impression that she was possessed with an evil spirit.

Mr. Chuckerbutty, hearing the cry of “Bhutt-Bhutt” (goblin), ran to the spot, and not being able to obtain assistance from a concourse of affrighted natives, promptly plunged into the water and swam out to the assistance of the woman.

The place was a dangerous whirlpool twenty-five feet deep. In effecting the rescue, Mr. Chuckerbutty ran very great personal risk, not only from the well known eddies of the Hooghly, but from becoming entangled in his cloth and having his hand violently clutched by the drowning woman.

In addition to showing great physical courage, the salvor had the moral strength to risk the native opinion, which might have reduced him to the position of outcast from his friends, or compelled him to renew his caste by a severe penance. It is considered that the loss of caste must follow the act of touching what might have been a corpse.

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