Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014



This summer's runaway blockbuster movie is 'The Dawn of the the Planet of the Apes.'  It has grossed a staggering $543.5 million worldwide since its May release. The outrageous plot pits humans vs other primates in a bloody battle for control of the earth. Sound too far-fetched? Not to residents of New Delhi! See, India's sprawling capital has been commandeered by a real-life army of ravenous rhesus macaque monkeys. They've taken over hospitals, hotels and are currently invading the Houses of Parliament.

Don't believe us? Ask one of India's newly elected Senior Ministers. They cannot move into their new quarters in the Luyten District, as they are occupied by rogue monkeys. Ask Sonia Gandhi. Angry macaques tore the satellite dish off her roof. Even new Prime Minister Modi's five-bungalow residence complex is under siege. But nowhere in Delhi is the bedlam worse than at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Here, the clever monkeys have recently learned how to operate the newly installed automatic doors. They snatch food and terrorize medical staff every day.

Why don't Delhi residents just call an exterminator? It's not that easy. This is India! In addition to cows, rhesus monkeys have a sacred place in Hinduism. In ancient times, the monkey-god Hanuman aided Lord Rama in their epic war against the evil king Ravana. Since then, harming shooting or culling the rhesus monkey is solidly against the scriptures. Many Hindus actually worship them. In fact, patients at the above-mentioned hospital keep worsening the situation by feeding the invading monkeys. They believe the rhesus will bless them and speed their recovery.

The solution? An army of Monkey-Wallahs. (Monkey Men) These brave souls are paid to scare the hordes of simian invaders away. Some dress in costume, others in black robes. The secret, however, is their ability to impersonate the cry of the natural enemy of the rhesus: the aggressive langur monkey. Here's how they do it: "A loud 'Ah-ah-ah' is our first call," explained Mahendra Goswami. "Then a shrill 'Uh-uh-uh.' Finally, the attack call: Uah Uah!'" Earning $115 a month, Goswami is part of 40-man elite force, funded by the municipal government, to chase away the rhesus.

Unfortunately, we here at the DUNER BLOG see the Monkey-Wallah as a very short-term solution to the problem. See, the rhesus monkeys all return the following day. This is a much larger problem. All across Asia, nations grapple with the question: How to implement ancient scripture into a modern life. For example, in the Koran, Mohammad washes his hands with camel urine to clean them. While we know better today, some still feel this is the proper way to sanitize their hands, given its holy rationale. Sadly, until education and religion can co-exist better, New Delhi will just monkey-around with this daunting problem!  

No comments:

Post a Comment