INDIA. Delhi. 1960. Jain Bird Rescue Hospital. © Marilyn Silverstone / Magnum Photos
Adjoining the Jain Temple, across from the Red Fort, there is a large airy cage which is used as a hospital for birds. Every sunday morning at 9 am birds who are healthy enough to take care of themselves are released from the hospital. All kinds of birds are brought to the Jain hospital, but following Jain beliefs in the “evil of killing”, carnivorous birds (such as wormeating cocks) are treated only as outpatients. Shiv NATH (known as “doctor sahib”) has been treating birds since he was a boy, although he has had no formal training as a doctor. He has created his own ointments and medicines, and keeps up with modern medical journals. Birds are even sent to him from abroad, although their owners know that these birds will not be returned, but will be released once they are cured.