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Debal Deb

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Member Since: Jul, 2006

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My Life after Death of Honeybees
By Debal Deb
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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I was hospitalized on the 1st Jan 2011 after being stung by over 1000 honeybees. Now I have fully recovered from the trauma, and am back to work in full swing - holding farmers' workshops, teaching, giving seminars, conducting field surveys in West Bengal, Odisha and Meghalaya, and writing.
Source: http://www.cintdis.org/news/75-beesattack

After a decade of my endeavor to protect a plethora of native plants and animals, including honeybees and honey buzzards in and around Basudha, I never imagined that I, for one, would one day become a “victim” of the Power of Biodiversity!
The New Year gave me a great lesson in the non-judgmental value of biodiversity.

On the bright, sunny, “Happy” New Year morning, while working in Basudha farm field, I was overwhelmed by a swarm of honeybees. I tried to use my knowledge of tricks to evade bees’ attacks – standing still for a while, running into a dense vegetation, rolling on the ground – all in vain. The beautiful striped winged creatures, locally called the “tiger bees” (Apis dorsata) blanketed my both arms and head, and generously injected their stock of apitoxin into my blood. Soon I was much intoxicated, and my friends were busy removing at least 1100 stings from my body. I was asking myself if I truly lamented the altruistic death of about 1100 honeybees, of a species that is becoming increasingly threatened in the
country.

It appears that a honey buzzard (one of the two pairs that nested in an adjacent grove), had ravaged a beehive a short while ago. Being chased by the angry bees, the bird flew above my head, deftly swiping its odors over me. The honeybees mistook me as their enemy, while the bird escaped, as usual, into safety.
I was in anaphylaxis, and the life-saving hydrocortisone was not available in any chemists shop within 40 km reach, so I was admitted to Bankura Sammilani Hospital, where I received good medical care, witnessed the infernal condition of the hospital toilets, and wallowed in well-wishes from known and unknown friends.


I learned from my escorts that I had lost consciousness for hours and was about to have a cardiac arrest on my way to the hospital. The timely treatment gave me back my life. On the 3rd January, I came to see two old patients sharing a bed next to me, so I decided to evacuate my bed to accommodate one of them. The doctors and nurses saw I was okay by then, so permitted my release, but there was no bond for me to sign out, because bee-stung patients can only “abscond” in the police report! So many things to awe and wonder at the law!

And so many friends to recognize! I received at least 10 calls from unknown persons, inquiring about my medication and recovery. This I count as my gift of this New Year.
My deepest gratitude and best wishes to all of you for this New Year, which has already been marred by the unhappy signs of rampaging injustices and sufferings.


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