Shocking incident, Rahul Yelange, who was successfully climbed Mount Everest in May 2012, was boycotted by elders of his own Budruk village in Raigadh district of Maharashtra.
The problem started last March when the newlyweds decided to go back to their village to start dairy farming and train youngsters interested in rock climbing. “Initially, the womenfolk used to taunt my wife for not wearing the sari but sporting jeans. They used to question why Pournima does not wear a mangalsutra or the bindi. We were also not invited to village temple functions. All this was strange for both of us,” Yelange, who stays in a tiny hamlet, Yelangewadi, recalled.
When the couple started dairy farming on their ancestral property, the villagers did not allow them to fetch water from the village tap for the buffaloes.
So, the Everest conqueror has to trek uphill for nearly 20 minutes daily to fill water from a reservoir for his cattle.
“The breaking point came around two months ago when around 38 families wrote to the gram panchayat that they should not be held responsible if my buffalo shed catches fire. To safeguard my dairy farming, I also wrote a letter to Poladpur police station stating that I was concerned and disturbed by the letter written to the panchayat,” said Yelange. He added, “Apart from Mt Everest, I have scaled 16 more peaks as a mountaineer. However, I find it much more difficult to deal with the people of my own village. Why should we be isolated only because we are an educated and modern couple trying to go back to our roots and our interests?”
Reportedly, since Rahul and Pournima had a registered court marriage in Pune in January, 2014, before moving back to the village, some locals mistook it for an inter-caste marriage and so did not approve it. “Only after I came back to my village did I come to know of things like social boycott. I also know of another family that has been unofficially boycotted for more than 10 years now over some superstitious reason. All these social problems can only be resolved through education and scientific temperament,” said Yelange.
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