It Happens Only In India
IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA
In this day and age, there are very few things all Indians can agree on, but one of them is this: India is a strange land. Maybe, some claim, our ancient sages invented the zero only so we could measure how much sense the world around us would make thousands of years later. From a diverse range of oddness that perhaps only our melting pot of a country can provide, from lawbreakers and lawmakers, seminars and simians, we've found subjects for a series of stories that happen only in India: some funny, some horrifying, and several that manage to be both.
Beware, these pink Rs 2,000 notes would have passed off as real, but closer inspection revealed they were issued by the 'Bhartiya Manoranjan Bank' and 'Children Bank of India'. This stopped being funny after a few ATMs in Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh dispensed the play notes. Turns out, they are easily available at toy stores. So much for demonetization putting a stop to counterfeit currency.
Imagine this: a chain-snatcher's wedding, his brethren, India's top muggers and thieves, as guests, with 20 policemen merely keeping watch on the festivities. The news of Toufiq Shah's wedding in Ambivali, Thane, spread like wildfire. The police were left to defend their dubious decision of not arresting Shah right then (but the next day). Of course, they seemed to ignore the fact that his bride was underage-she's 15.
This one's straight out of a Bollywood movie-a serial car thief drives off in an Audi to woo his beau. The cops eventually caught up with the klepto-romantic in Hyderabad. S. Venkata Ramana has 23 pending cases against him across six states and has stolen 40 cars in the past. At the time of his arrest, he was posing as a doctor. Apparently, he would con individuals and use the money to bet at horse races-a hobby that allowed him to hobnob with potential victims.
Bonnie and Clyde would approve of this Bengaluru-based couple. They were running late to catch a flight to Kochi and asked a relative to make a hoax call, about a bomb, to the Kempegowda International Airport. They were trying to ensure they reached in time for their engagement. In a twist of fate, the duo were caught after a senior police officer from Kochi, aboard the flight, asked his team to lend a hand. The couple were questioned, given permission to attend their engagement, but asked to appear before the police after it was over. They have, of course, been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, pending further investigation.
OUT OF SYLLABUS
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cows and other livestock release methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, directly responsible for global warming. However, Rajasthan's education minister, Vasudev Devnani, vehemently disagrees. He left everyone speechless at an event by highlighting the "scientific significance" of the cow, which, he claimed, is the only animal that inhales and exhales oxygen. Going near the animal, he adds, can also cure a cough and a cold.
Source: The Indian Express
Swati Deshpande, principal of Government Polytechnic Mumbai, has invented a (bogus) theory for why women suffer from polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD). Listen to her, because we simply couldn't do justice to these pearls of wisdom: "When they [women] dress like men, they start thinking or behaving like them. There is a gender role reversal in their head. Due to this, the natural urge to reproduce diminishes right from a young age and therefore they suffer from problems like PCODs." Those who know the facts were left befuddled!
Here's some more 'scientifically proven' asinine advice-on how to produce a male child. The Malayalam daily Mangalam advocates procreating only on the first, third, fifth and seventh days of the week, when the sperm is supposed to be at its "strongest". Eat mutton, dry grapes and salty food, make sure you face the west while sleeping and fix your face to the left side. Most importantly, never skip breakfast. We don't want to guess the origins of this theory-let 'believers' be condemned to testing it step by step.
When in power, you can change history at will. The Rajasthan government plans to rewrite textbooks to make Maharana Pratap win the Battle of Haldighati against Emperor Akbar. So far, history students knew that "the battle failed to break the stalemate between Akbar and Rana Pratap, with the latter retreating into the hills of southern Mewar". But the state education minister struck once again. Vasudev Devnani announced he would no longer put up with "distorted history" from the next academic year. Historian Irfan Habib refused to dignify this with a comment.
Source: The Indian Express
Experiments and empirical evidence can help children learn better, but this class IV textbook is a chilling reminder of how not to go too far. Our Green World: Environmental Studies states, "Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without the holes has died." The point of asking small children to kill a kitten is apparently to help them differentiate between living and non-living things. There are graphic illustrations to go with this grisly text.
Source: The New Indian Express
Our ministers and bureaucrats never fail to disappoint when it comes to misogyny: Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, the Andhra Pradesh assembly speaker, recently compared women to cars and attributed their safety to being parked at home. "When it is taken to a bazaar or to the road, accidents are likely to happen. When the car is speeding, it is more likely for accidents to take place," he is reported to have told a press conference ahead of the National Women's Parliament in Amaravati. The gross sexism continued: "When women were housewives, they were safe from all kind of atrocities, except discrimination. Today, they are studying, working and also are doing business. They are exposed to the society ... If they do not leave home, it doesn't happen."
Hear Rishiraj Singh, Kerala's excise commissioner. He announced, much to the amusement of Twitter trolls, that a case could be filed against a man if he happened to stare at a woman for longer than 14 seconds.
Then, union minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi advised an early curfew in girls' hostels to keep those "hormonal outbursts" in check. She told NDTV, "When you are 16 or 17 you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn. It really is for your own safety."
As if all the regressive anti-women sentiments and embargoes were not enough, Banaras Hindu University took things up a notch. Now, female students aren't allowed to eat non-vege-tarian food in the girls' hostel, receive phone calls post 9 p.m., have access to free Wi-Fi or the internet in their rooms, and participate in protests and political debates. Their male counterparts, of course, will not be subjected to these special rules. Looks like we have slipped back a few decades.
Source: business-standard.com; zeenews.india.com; ndtv.com; nationalheraldindia.com
His lavish lifestyle is the stuff of legends. After bulletproof bathrooms, mahayagnas and luxury buses, the Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has now offered gold jewellery worth Rs 5 crore to the temple in Tirupati. This included a gold garland called 'Shaligram Haram', studded with fossilized shells, and 'Makhara Kantabharanam', a multi-layered necklace. Both weigh about 19 kg. The high court in Hyderabad has issued a notice to the government after angry activists filed a writ petition contending that the offerings, made at the expense of the Common Good Fund of Commissioner of Endowments Department, were unconstitutional.
How long does it take to prosecute a pani puri vendor for mixing toilet cleaner into the pani? In India, eight years. In 2009, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation filed a case against Chetan Nanji Marvadi for mixing the noxious substance into the dish to make it more pungent. He was finally found guilty in February this year and sentenced to six months in jail.
Source: Ahmedabad Mirror
The two bored langurs ignored onlookers and busied themselves swatting flies. They had been recruited to watch over the electronic voting machines stored in a well-guarded factory in Mohiuddinpur, near Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, just before the polls. Apparently, the machines faced a very real threat of monkey attacks, and langurs, it seems, are an effective deterrent. This was just a temporary stint for the primates. They were soon back to the more important job of climbing trees, post the counting process.
Submitted by: Lesley D. Biswas,
Kolkata; Source: The Times of India
How not to behave with your boss, especially if you are looking for a raise: A ticket collector allegedly bit off a senior officer's nose at Katni Junction, in the Jabalpur division of West Central Railway, Madhya Pradesh. Apparently, the officer, chief ticket inspector Manoj Sharma, had reprimanded the TC, Narayan Meena, in the past. He obviously hadn't forgotten the slight. Meena was arrested and booked for voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
Source: The New Indian Express
Prohibition in Bihar has controlled crime (abductions, murders and dacoity have dipped substantially), and pushed up sale of cars and tractors by 30 per cent, and milk and milk products by a whopping 11 per cent. An interesting fallout has been an increase in the purchase of hosiery and ready-made garments-by 44 per cent. We are not quite sure why, but are genuinely eager to find out.
Source: The Times of India
A bouquet of flowers landed on the Ministry of External Affairs' former spokesperson and current high commissioner of India to Canada, Vikas Swarup's doorstep. Instead of the routine congratulatory message, it bore the more sombre, 'May your soul rest in peace'. Swarup's wife was not amused. Turns out the florist had made a boo-boo. As The Indian Express wrote, when Swarup called the florist, the man apologized and said (what we can only hope was a joke), "Sir, just think that a bouquet has gone to somebody (who has passed away) [sic] today with the note 'Congratulations for your next posting'."
Submitted by: Shiv K. Varma, New Delhi; Source: The Indian Express
What is to be done when the chief minister's aircraft stalls on the runaway, and the vice president's craft is due to land any time? Well, in Rourkela, you push it out of the way. In December 2016, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's plane, which had developed a technical snag, was pushed off the runway by the local police like a grounded vehicle. That's thinking on your feet, desi style.
Source: India Today
Not wanting to spend Valentine's Day alone, Shakul Gupta of Gurugram announced a scheme on his Facebook page. His lucky dates would get a ride in his Audi A4, receive a new iPhone 7, dine with him at a swanky hotel and enjoy "memorable moments". The post (now deleted) received over 15,000 likes and was shared 500 times. The over 2,000 app-lications delayed his plans, though. He picked the five 'best' girls and fulfilled his promise on 16 February. He even posted a picture with his dates and the total bill after some friends were dubious.
Source: The Indian Express
-Illustrations text and concept by Samit Basu