Lal Bihari

Lal Bihari (or Lal Bihari Mritak, born 1961) is a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, India who was officially dead between 1976 and 1994. He founded Mritak Sangh or the Association of the Dead in Uttar Pradesh, India. He fought Indian government bureaucracy for 18 years to prove that he is alive.

When Lal Bihari tried to apply for a bank loan in 1976, he found out that he was officially dead: his uncle had bribed a government official to register him as dead, so that he would get the ownership of Bihari’s land.

Bihari discovered at least 100 other people in a similar situation, being officially dead. He formed Mritak Sangh in the Azamgarh district. He and many other members were in danger of being killed by those who had appropriated their property. Nowadays the association has over 20,000 members all over India. By 2004 they had managed to declare four of their members alive.

Over the years Bihari tried to attract attention to his situation by various means. He organized his own funeral and demanded widow’s compensation for his wife. In 1980 he added the word “mritak” (“dead”) to his name and signed his letters “late Lal Bihari”. He stood for election against Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 and lost, to prove that he is alive. In 1994 he managed to have his official death annulled after a long legal struggle.

In 2004 he ran for a seat in the parliament of Lal Ganj.

Bihari continues to support other people in similar situations. In 2004 he sponsored fellow Mritak Sangh member Shivdutt Yadav when he contested election against Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Film-maker Satish Kaushik will be making a movie about his life, death, and life. Bihari was awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Award in 2003 for his considerable “posthumous” activities.

(from wikipedia, link here)

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