Young Indian Beggar Has Several Bank Accounts, Gives Loans to Local Traders

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He may not look it, but this young Indian beggar is actually richer than most of the nation’s middle class. Pappu Kumar has managed to make a small fortune during eight years of begging on the streets of Patna, in the state of Bihar. He reportedly has 500,000 rupees ($7,500) stashed away in four bank accounts, and property worth 1.25 crore rupees ($185,000). He even lends money to local businessmen on the side and earns money from the interest charged. But the 33-year-old still doesn’t want to quit begging.

Pappu was not exactly destined for the life of a beggar – he went to high school and even had plans to study engineering in college, but sadly, he suffered an accident that left him partially paralyzed. His father passed away soon after, and he was disowned by the rest of his family. Pappu was then left with no choice but to beg for his survival.

“I passed my intermediate examination with 57 percent marks and a major contributor to this was my mathematics subject where I obtained 72 marks, which was the maximum of all subjects,” he told local media. “My dream was to pursue an engineering course. I was even trying for this, but, in the meantime, I met with a serious accident leaving me paralyzed. I had no option but to turn to begging to eke out my living as my family disowned me after the incident.”

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Indian Man Spends 40 Days Digging a Well after His Wife Is Denied Access to Drinking Water

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Determined to provide his family with drinking water after they were refused access to a local well, this Indian man spent 40 days digging up a 15-ft well in his hometown of Kalambeshwar village, in the state of Maharashtra. Under normal circumstances it would have taken four or five people to complete such a task, but Bapurao Tajne managed to do it all by himself.

Tajne, a daily-wage laborer, is a member of the village’s Dalit community, which has long since been discriminated against by people from ‘upper’ castes. In this case, Tajne’s wife Sangita went to draw water from a well in the village, but was insulted by the owner of the well and asked to stay away from it. Incensed by the incident that took place in the midst of the severe water crisis Maharashtra, Tajne decided to dig Sangita her very own well, so she would never have to suffer this kind of humiliation.

Using tools that he bought from the nearby Malegaon city, Tajne started digging and kept at it for six hours a day – four hours before his regular job and two hours after. Given that three existing wells had already gone dry in the village, it seemed like a foolhardy initiative, and the other villagers discouraged him and even made fun of his stubbornness. No one stepped forward to help him and even his wife stayed away for fear of being ridiculed. But Bapurao didn’t give up – he kept on digging until, on the 40th day, he finally struck water.

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India’s ‘Child Bride Saver’ Has Stopped Over 900 Child Weddings in the Last 4 Years

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At just 29 years of age, Kriti Bharti has managed to single-handedly stop over 900 child marriages in India’s northern state of Rajasthan. She has also annulled 29 marriages  conducted between underage boys and girls, and has worked towards the rehabilitation of over 6,000 children and 5,500 women.

“My work means so much to me,” said Kriti, who carries out her work through her charity organisation Saarthi Trust. “I dedicate my life to helping these defenseless children from their families who force them into the most barbaric circumstances because of tradition.”

Although child marriages have been deemed illegal a long time ago, statistics show that over 40 percent of the world’s underage unions take place in India. The practice is especially rampant in Rajasthan, where Kriti does everything she can to rescue young girls and give them a better chance at life. “After you stop a child marriage, the girl child is treated like a social outcast,” she explained. “It becomes important to rehabilitate her and help her become part of the society again.”

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Indian Barber Cuts Hair Holding the Scissors in His Mouth

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Ansar Ahmad, a young barber from Varanasi, has become somewhat of a national celebrity after a video of him cutting hair with the scissors in his mouth recently went viral online.

From barbers using samurai swords and hot metal tongs to cut hair, to others practicing their trade blindfolded or sitting on their heads, we’ve featured some pretty bizarre hair-styling talents on Oddity Central, but Ansar Ahmad’s skills are new, even to us. The Varanasi-based barber holds the scissors in his mouth to cut hair, and does such a good job that customers line up his shop to get what some describe as “the perfect haircut”.

Ansar has been cutting hair since childhood and first mastered the art the old fashioned way, using his hands. But an accident 15 years ago pushed him to come up with an alternative way of practicing his trade. He soon discovered his mouth was just as able as his hands, when it came to cutting hair. “As I couldn’t work with one hand, I used to face a lot of problem that time. It took me three years to learn the art. Now, I can easily cut hair holding scissors in my mouth,” he told ANI News.

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Manipur’s All-Women Market – Over 4000 Shopkeepers and Not One Man Among Them

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Literally translating to ‘Mother’s Market’, Ima Keithel is Asia’s largest all-women market, where all the stalls are run exclusively by women. Located in the heart of Imphal, in the Indian state of Manipur, the 500-year-old vibrant bazaar has 4,000-odd local women trading with thousands of customers each day. The market also serves as a meeting ground for discussions on important social and political issues of the state.

The market’s origin dates back centuries, to a time when Manipur was ruled by kings. During this time, a tradition called ‘Lallup’ was followed, requiring male members of the local Meitei community to serve the king whenever summoned. So the women of the household would take the responsibility of farming and commerce. This instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in them, which has been passed all the way down to the present generation of female traders. Interestingly, to this day, only married women are permitted to trade at the market.

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Krishna’s Butter Ball – A Precariously Perched 250-Ton Boulder Defying the Laws of Physics

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For over 1,300 years, this large rock has been confounding the locals of Mahabalipuram, a beach town near Chennai, in Southern India. The mysterious landmark is perched on hill at a 45-degree angle, balancing off an extremely small surface area without slipping or even budging an inch. Men and even elephants have tried moving it from its precarious position , but every attempt so far has failed.

The locals call it ‘Vaanirai Kal’ (Stone of the Sky God), but the rock is more popularly known as ‘Krishna’s Butter Ball’, referencing Lord Krishna’s favorite food, butter, fallen from the heavens. The gravity-defying rock, measuring 20 ft high and five meters in diameter, is estimated to weigh over 250 tons, which makes it heavier than the monolithic stones of Machu Picchu, or Ollantaytambo. Despite its massive size and weight, Krishna’s Butter Ball is firmly anchored on a four-foot base along the slope of a small hill located on the outskirts of Mahabalipuram. It looks like it might slip any moment and come crashing down the hill, but it has stayed that way for several centuries now.

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Restaurant Owner Installs Outdoor Fridge for the Homeless to Pick Up Free Food From

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Minu Pauline, a restaurant owner from Kochi, in southern India, recently made news headlines not for her culinary expertise but her awe-inspiring generosity. She maintains a fully stocked, unlocked refrigerator outside her restaurant, filled with free fresh meals for the homeless.

Minu, whose popular food joint Pappadavada has been operating since 2013, was struck by the sight of homeless people digging for food from the garbage bins behind her kitchen. “I have often seen the homeless and the hungry, especially the aged, rummage through garbage scouring for food,” she told The Hindu. “They are looking for some leftovers or stale food to quell their hunger, and it disturbs me.”

So when she opened a second branch in another part of the city last week, she also installed a fridge outside and named it ‘Nanma Maram’ (the tree of goodness). The fridge is always stocked with about 50 packets of freshly cooked food from the restaurant, for people to reach for when they are hungry. “I was asked, ‘What if someone, not necessarily needy, took the food?’” she said. “My answer was, ‘I’ll just put my faith in the goodness of the folks.’”

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Roadside Education – Indian Factory Worker Opens Street School to Teach Slum Kids

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For the past 15 years, factory owner Kamal Parmar has been running an after-school program for slum kids in Ahmedabad, India, helping them with basic skills like reading and writing and even preparing for their school tests. 

Parmar’s story begins one afternoon 15 years ago. He was standing outside his metal fabrication workshop, near the slums of the Bhudarpura neighborhood, when he met a few kids returning home from the local municipal school. They were ecstatic about the end of their exams, which they claimed to have aced, so he decided to stop them and ask them a few questions. That’s when he made a shocking discovery – the students, even the older ones, did not know how to read.

“I took their exam paper and asked a few questions to some of them,” he says in a 2014 documentary titled Footpath School. “But none of them knew any answers. I thought to ask a few others. I asked them to read, but they did not even know how to read. Surprised, I asked them what did they write in their exams. All they knew was identifying the alphabet. And that left me thinking that something should be done for these children. And that is how, 15 to 17 years back I started this school.”

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How India’s “Menstruation Man” Changed the Lives of Millions of Women

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Meet Arunachalam Muruganantham, an award-winning social entrepreneur from Coimbatore, India, better known as the nation’s ‘Menstruation Man’. Deeply disturbed by the unhygienic menstruation practices among women in rural India, Muruganantham took it upon himself to find a solution to the problem. After several years of hard work, he invented a machine that women can use to produce their own sanitary napkins, at less than a third of the cost of commercial ones.

Born in 1962 to handloom weavers in Coimbatore, Muruganantham was forced to drop out of school at age 14 to provide for his family after his father’s death. For years he lived in poverty, working a number of jobs – machine tool operator, farm laborer, welder, and sales agent – just to make ends meet. But things were about to change soon after his marriage to a woman named Shanthi, in 1998. He discovered that his wife used filthy rags during her menstrual cycle because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary pads, and this troubled him greatly.

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Indian Army Applicants Take Exam in Underwear to Prevent Cheating

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In an extreme attempt to  prevent cheating during a written exam, Indian Army in the state of Bihar has asked over 1,000 applicants to strip to their underwear and take the test outdoors.

Images published by Indian media show the naked men in an open field trying to complete the test by holding the sheets of paper on their thighs or on the ground, under the watchful eyes of uniformed supervisors. “We were frisked and then ushered into an enclosure. Then the army officers asked us to remove all clothes except our underwear,” said 21-year-old Harishambhu Kumar. “I felt awkward, but the army people told us it was to check cheating, so I got used to it.”

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World’s Cheapest Smartphone – Indian Company Launches $3.67 Handheld

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Indian company Ringing Bells is making waves in the tech industry with its latest product, the ridiculously cheap ‘Freedom 251’ smartphone priced at an unbelievable 251 rupees ($3.67).

Despite the phone’s low price, the company is promising a host of swanky features like 8GB storage, 8MP and 3.2MP primary and secondary cameras, pattern lock with face detection, 5-inch touch screen, 1080p video support, bluetooth, and of course, 3G support. “We will be the first Indian company to offer an incredible smartphone at a highly affordable price,” the Ringing Bells website states, adding that the phone will work on a “no-frills” platform that’s a “minimalistic and lightweight take on the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system.”

According to a Ringing Bells spokesperson, the company believes that the phone – strongly resembling Apple’s iPhone 4 – will “bring a revolution” in the industry. While the initial promise was to price the phone under 500 rupees ($7.3), the actual cost was revealed at the launch event last Wednesday, creating a global stir. The high profile event conducted in Delhi was attended by members of the Indian Parliament and other state level leaders. The website went live for pre-orders the next day, but with 600,000 hits per second their website crashed within a few hours and they were forced to close bookings. The company later revealed that they received 37 million orders on Day 1 and 24.7 million on Day 2. They are now promising to deliver the devices to all their customers within four months.

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Indian Police to Use Slingshots and Chilli Balls as Crowd Control Weapons

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In a bid to better control unruly crowds that gather during protests, police in northern India have decided to replace their modern arsenal with rudimentary weapons like slingshots and chili powder balls. The decision was made after they realised that these “non-lethal” options might prove to be more effective than water cannons or tear gas.

“It is much better than firing plastic bullets that can cause bad injuries,” said Anil Kumar Rao, the Inspector General of Police in the state of Haryana’s Hisar district. “It will be used only in emergency cases so that we can manage minimum collateral damage.”

Police officers are currently being trained in the use of these “specially designed” locally made slingshots, learning to fire plastic balls filled with chili powder as accurately as possible. And if chili doesn’t prove effective enough, they plan to switch to marbles.

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Indian Girl Has Ants Crawling Out of Her Ears Every Day

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12-year-old Shreya Darji, from the state of Gujarat in western India, is suffering from a bizarre case of ants. Giant ants crawl out of her ears every single day, much to the bafflement of her parents and doctors. They have no idea where the ants are coming from or how to make them stop.

The problem started in August last year, when Shreya complained of ear pain and her parents noticed ants coming out of both her ears. They rushed her to the hospital where doctors conducted scans and found a large number of insects living in her drum canal. They’ve removed hundreds so far, but to no avail – the ants just keep multiplying at a faster rate.

Dr. Jawahar Talsania, a leading Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon in Gujarat, tried suffocating the ants with ear drops, but they’ve continued to breed anyway. He also used a camera inside the ear to check for an egg chamber, but didn’t find anything. A video filmed using an endoscopic camera shows him removing dead ants from Shreya’s ear.

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India’s Love Commandos – The Vigilantes Protecting Young Couples Against Prejudice

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Marrying for love is still taboo in many parts of India, especially outside the boundaries of caste or religion. But there are people who do sympathize with young couples, like the Love Commandos, a four-man activist organisation based in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. Their mission is to help couples elope and start a new life together, safely away from the wrath of their families.

“The main function of the Love Commandos is to allow people to do this in safety and in accordance with the laws of India, and to prevent honor killings happening to young couples,” Belgian author Hans Theys wrote in the introduction to photographer Max Pinckers book Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty on India’s Love Commandos, a project that won him first prize in the Photographic Museum of Humanity competition in 2014.

And that’s exactly what the Love Commandos are all about. They encourage lovers to reach out to them via a telephone helpline, or their website, for any kind of assistance – including accommodation in safe rooms and shelters across India. They’ve even sent out rescue teams to protect newly-weds running away from enraged relatives. The group boasts of having helped over 40,000 couples in nearly six years of existence. Of course, they couldn’t have done it without the help of hundreds of volunteers and priests who agreed to organize and perform the clandestine marriage ceremonies and getaways.

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Meet India’s Moonwalking Traffic Cop

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Kunwar Ranjeet Singh, a self-confessed Michael Jackson fan, is also India’s most fascinating traffic cop. Drawing inspiration from his idol, he ‘moonwalks’ his way through his daily duties in one of the busiest intersections of the city of Indore, in central India.

The ‘dancing cop of Indore’ has actually come up with several routines to help manage traffic on the often chaotic streets, and the moonwalk is one of them. “Instead of walking back I do the moonwalk which sometimes amuses commuters,” he said. “That, in a way, encourages people to follow traffic rules.”

Singh apparently wanted to be a dancer, but chose to become a traffic cop after he lost two close friends to road accidents. He’s been controlling Indore’s traffic for the past six years now, and he’s found a way to incorporate his love of dancing into the job. He believes it’s is a great way to remain stress-free in the midst of chaos, and to really make a difference. “One should leave an impact in whatever he or she does and I bring the same while I am signalling people on the roads,” he said.

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