A village in Kerala gathered to pay tribute to a stray dog named Beepathu

On Sunday, people of Koppam, a village in Pattambi gathered together to remember their favorite dog Beepathu. People from all walks of life and age, sung, spoke, played theatre, watched movies and ate food, paying homage to the dog who was abandoned, once, as it was a female dog.
Naduvattom Shaji Oorali, who coordinated the entire get-together reveals that Beepathu walked into the lives of the villagers even before they realized it. “She has left a vacuum in all of us. It has been almost twelve years since she came to us. Initially, she was like a nuisance for us and that’s how the name fell. My youngest son, thinking Beepathu, a bad word, started calling her the name and we started calling her the same name with love, in a way to correct him as well,” he says.


Beepathu died after being attacked by a few other stray dogs. “She used to sleep in our bedroom. Sometimes, we have wondered if it has a human’s brain. She became very friendly with the children too when we conducted camps in the cultural space, Gramini, next to my home,” he says, adding that Beepathu was even part of a play they did. “ She used to come during the rehearsal when a specific scene happens. She did it even on the final show. It really amazed us,” he says.

Explaining why a tribute was organized even during the pandemic time, Shaji says he was moved by people’s love for Beepathu when she died. “She used to live in our house and when she died, we were out of station. When we returned in the night at around 11 pm, people were searching for her and they found her in a bush nearby. While cremating her, people were very emotional. I realized that she is a public influencer and everybody was in real pain. I thought it is important that we consider everything in the universe and respect their space and life,” he says adding that he never thought that so many would walk in for the event.


The programme began with unveiling a sculpture of Beepathu made by artist Biji Kongorpilly. “It was followed by a children’s performance of Thakazhi’s play Vellapokkam. People shared their memories about Beepathu. We also had discussions on the need to consider the lives of other living beings as we felt it is relevant to talk at a time we saw a dog tied to a moving car being brutally dragged on the road. Team Oorali showcased a performance and we concluded the event with the screening of a Hachiko movie which is based on a Japanese dog,” he says.

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