India’s Living Dead

What would it be like if everyone believed you were dead? Lal Bihari knows exactly what that feels like. When he was 22-years-old, the Indian farmer was told by his local government office that he was dead and no protestations that he was standing before them would persuade the bureaucrats otherwise – after all, his death certificate was there as proof. Whether the victim of a scam or a clerical error, the end result for Bihari was to lose his business and all the land he was hoping to inherit. It took him more than two decades to reinstate himself among the living during which time he tried everything from going on hunger strike to kidnapping someone in the hopes that the police would be forced to concede that a dead man could not be arrested. Today, more than a quarter of a century later, Bihari runs the Association for the Living Dead of India through which he says he has helped thousands of people who have fallen victim to the same thing. He tells his extraordinary story to Chloe Hadjimatheou for Crossing Continents.

Production Team in India: Ajit Sarathi; Kinjal Pandya; Piyush Nagpal and Praveen Mudholkar
Editor: Bridget Harney