In the temple of Karni mata at Deshnoke ( Rajasthan state), rats are venerated because they are believed to be the incarnations of people belonging to the same caste Karni mata belonged to, the “charan”. ( Karni mata was a local hindu saint who lived in the 15° century. Because she accomplished many miracles, she has been deified. She is believed to be an incarnation herself of Shakti, the cosmic energy.) In their next life, rats will be incarnated again as “charan”. Then, hundreds of rodents live in this small temple where people come to worship the goddess…and feed them.
But India has many faces. In the northern state of Bihar as well as in southern Nepal, untouchables belonging to the “musahar” group eat them since long. In 2008, a state minister of Bihar, one of the poorest Indian states, declared it would be a good idea to eat rats to solve the food crisis in this region as well as in the world. However, rats are low considered in India ( except by “charan” and “musahar” !), they inspire disgust. But the minister is not short of ideas. He said by breeding rats in farms and cooking delicious recipes in hotels and restaurants, people will get acquainted with this meat that is however rich in proteins.