Home Security In Rural India

If you are like me, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “home security” is a system that involves technology to keep your home safe with security alarms, motion sensitive lighting, hidden cameras, etc.

In India, at least in the part of India where our house is, home security means hiring a guard to come walk around your home banging his wooden stick on the wall as he sings or prays (couldn’t tell which) until late night hours. 

I am not sure how the subject came about when Josh was having a conversation with our neighbor, but they came to an agreement that we would pay our neighbor’s guard some extra monthly money to also guard our house.

Josh and our neighbor having a chat. Can you see both of them?
Josh and our neighbor having a chat. Can you see both of them?

Oh, now I remember. Our neighbor told Josh a story about some dacoits breaking into someone’s home in our neighborhood, and it was bloody. Yeah, kinda scary.  So we went ahead to seek security for our house.

Dacoity is a term used for “banditry” in Hindi and Urdu.

Our landlord installed a brick fence at the front of the front yard which can easily be surpassed but it’s nice to have, and after that you encounter the small porch door which can be easily opened, and finally, our front door which is unlocked during the daytime but protected by a folding security gate like the ones used for old elevators which we lock with a lock and key at night.

Folding gate of an old elevator source
Lock and key. Photo by Maciej

Old-fashioned locks and keys are still used widely in India. In fact, even the doors inside our house are locked that way, there is no “push button to lock”.

Our porch guard.
Our porch guard.

And then at night, the singing night watchman comes late and bangs his stick around the exterior walls of the house. We never understood the purpose of the stick-banging.

We would go to sleep really late in India, at least past 2am because Josh’s clients were all in the US, so the late night banging even though a bit annoying and weird, didn’t bother us as much as it would if it happened while we were asleep.

So there you go. Another big difference between our Western and Eastern lives.

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6 thoughts on “Home Security In Rural India

  1. The night watchman was not praying, at least not out loud. He was probably saying something to the effect of “be alert” or some equivalent in the local language. The stick banging was to alert would-be burglars to run away instead of confronting him accidentally with disastrous consequence to him since he’d likely get beaten up.

    1. I just wasn’t sure because the words had a melody like a song.
      Thanks for your info. Question: why do the burglars stay away if they hear the stick if they know they can beat him up? I guess they rather not fight anyone even if they can win? But they’ll beat up anyone they find in the house anyway…

      1. Yes, they draw out the words almost like a song.

        About your question: I think it is psychological because of the surprise element. Most burglars prefer to steal without anyone getting to know about it. Kind of like sneaking in, stealing and then slipping away while people are fast asleep. It is just cleaner and much less hassle than having to deal with beating up people, making noise and possibly attracting too much attention.

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