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India’s ‘Mother of Orphans’ Has Raised Over 1,400 Abandoned Children

The story of Sindhutai Sapkal is one of incredible determination in the face of adversity, rebirth and love of children who nobody else wanted. The 68-year-old has raised over 1,400 orphans, offering them not just food and shelter, but also the love of a real family. Her amazing work has earned her over 750 awards, and the nickname “Mother of Orphans”.

Sapkal runs four orphanages in her home town of Prune, India’s Maharashtra state – two for girls and two for boys – with the help of her biological daughter, Mamta, and her eldest adopted children, some of whom have become lawyers, doctors and professors. The children under her care were found trying to fend for themselves in railway station, abandoned in dustbins, or even dragged by stray dogs in the streets. New ones are brought to her orphanages all the time, and as long as they are eligible for adoption, she never turns them away. But unlike state-run orphanages, the Mother of Orphans doesn’t give her children up for adoption with other families, and doesn’t turn them away when they turn 18.

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The Annual Cow Dung Cake Battle of Kairuppala

Every year, the people of Kairuppala, a village in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, engage in an epic cow dung cake battle that often leaves dozens injured. They believe the tradition brings them good health and prosperity.

Legend has it that Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva, and the Goddess Bhadrakhali fell in love and decided to marry. In order to tease his beloved, Veerabhadra Swamy declared that he did not want to marry anymore, which enraged Bhadrakhali and her clansmen, who decided to teach the deceitful groom a lesson by beating him with cow dung cakes. The other side retaliated, but the goofy battle ended in compromise and the much awaited celestial wedding. Today, the devotees of Kairuppala village celebrate their union by reenacting their mythical battle using the same unconventional weapons.

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Indian Bar Owner Turns Entrance into a Maze to Bypass New Law

A bar owner in Kerala, India, has come up with an innovative way to bypass a recent Supreme Court rule that banned the sale and serving of liquor within 500 meters of national and state highways.

On April 1st, India’s Supreme Court issued an order that bars, pubs and liquor shops across the country should be at least 500m away from state and national highways. The new rule hit business owners hard, and many of them have had to shut down their operations in the last two weeks. But one resourceful bar owner in Kerala appears to have come up with an effective, albeit unconventional, way of bypassing the requirement – by turning the entrance to his venue into a long, winding maze.

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The “Dog Lady of Delhi” Looks After Over 400 Strays

Pratima Devi, a 65-year-old ragpicker from New Delhi, India, has dedicated the last three decades of her life to caring for stray dogs. Rummaging through trash and running a small tea stall barely allows her to support herself, but she’ll gladly skip a meal or two to feed the hundreds of dogs she looks after on a daily basis.

The “Dog Lady of Delhi”, ad Pratima has come to be known in India, never had an easy life. Born into a poor family, she got married to a man 10 years her senior when she was only 7 years old, and had her first child at age 14. Her marriage was not a happy one, as her husband would often come home drunk and beat her, and both she and her mother suffered at the hand of her in-laws. Her husband didn’t have a job, so she had to work all day and take care of the house to make sure they had food on the table.

When he was 5 years old, the oldest of her three children went to New Delhi to work, and when living with her abusive husband became too much to bare, Pratima followed him to start a new life. There, she started working as a domestic helper in the house of a popular model-turned-actor, and later set up her own tea stall, in the Saket neighborhood of Delhi. It was here that she met her best friends, stray dogs.

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8-Year-Old “Mowgli Girl” Found Living with Monkeys in Indian Jungle

An 8-year-old child has been dubbed “Mowgli Girl” after she was found living with monkeys in the jungle of India’s Uttar Pradesh state. The girl is believed to have been separated from society for a long time, as she can neither speak or understand any language, and gets scared at the sight of other people.

In Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, Mowgli was brought up by a pack of wolves, but it the case of this real-life, feminine version of the jungle boy, it was monkeys who provided the care and protection that ensured her survival. Two months ago, Suresh Yadav, a sub-inspector with the Uttar Pradesh police department, was patrolling the Motipur range of Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, in the jungle of Bahraich, when he spotted a young girl surrounded by monkeys.

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Fire Paan – The Hottest Street Snack to Ever Come Out of India

Paan has been a part of Indian cuisine since Vedic times, and today, many varieties are served at street stalls all across the Asian country. But with competition as fierce as it is, paan vendors are constantly working on new types of paan, the most impressive of which is definitely fire paan – a flaming hot snack that is literally set on fire.

Found at nearly every street corner in India, paan regularly consists of a mixture of spices, mukhwas, dried fruits, and sugar wrapped inside a betel leaf. According to Ayurvedic medicine, paan can cure a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds and headaches, but it is also used a breath freshener and a virility booster. Fire paan is basically a regular paan that just happens to be on fire when it goes into your mouth.

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Man Named Saddam Hussain Struggles to Find Work in India

Saddam Hussain, a marine engineer from Jamshedpur, India, claims that having the same name as the notorious former dictator of Iraq has made it impossible for him to secure a job in the field he has trained so hard in.

When Saddam’s grandfather chose his name, 25 years ago, he had no idea that it would one day become a huge burden. After all, the name is very popular among Indian Muslims, but due to his career choice it is proving an insurmountable hurdle.

Two years after graduating from Tamil Nadu’s Noorul Islam University as a marine engineer, Saddam Hussain is still struggling to find work, despite ranking second in his batch of 2014. All of his former colleagues have secured jobs with companies around the world, but he keeps getting rejected. He has showed up for interviews with multinational shipping companies some 40-odd times, but they all ended in rejection.

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Indian Men Divorce Their Wives via WhatsApp by Typing a Single Word Three Times

Two Muslim women in India have recently filed complaints against their husbands – who happen to be brothers – for divorcing them via WhatsApp.

The “triple talaq” is a controversial clause in Sharia Law that allows husbands to instantly divorce their wives by uttering the word “talaq” three times. This allows men to throw their wives out of the house for literally any reason, without fearing any legal repercussions. The practice is frowned upon by the vast majority of Muslims and banned in most of the Islamic world, but not in India. Here, triple talaq is still frequently used, keeping women in a perpetual state of fear that their husbands could “give them talaq” if they say or do anything that displeases them.

Ironically, more an more Indian Muslims are using modern technology to make the archaic triple talaq divorce even more effective. Data shows that a growing number of men are now sending the words to their wives via email or messaging apps, which is perfectly legit. ‘How can that be legal?’ you ask, well, according to the law, the woman doesn’t even have to be present when the words are spoken, she need not even be aware. If the guy says them, it’s done!

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Indian Textbook Encourages Kids to Kill Cats as an Experiment

The authors of a Class IV textbook in India recently came under fire, after it was revealed that in a lesson on the importance of breathing they were literally encouraging the kids to do an experiment involving suffocating a cat.

It sounds hard to believe that a school textbook for environmental studies could teach children as young as 9 years old to kill an animal as an experiment, but it’s sadly true. Twitter user Lola Kuttiamma shared photos of the book passages concerning the absurd experiment, and people understandably were outraged about it. “Living things breathe”, the textbook explains. “No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes. “You can do an experiment. 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 in the box with no holes has died.”

Wow, is that educational or what? And they’re not even suggesting using adult cats, but cute little kittens. Not that grown cats would have made it any more acceptable, but kittens just make it sound even crueler. And if you thought things couldn’t possibly get worse, you were wrong. The textbook, entitled “Our Green World: Environment Studies”, also features a couple of pictograms, with one kitten alive and well in the box with holes in it, and the other, well, dead.

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Indian Engineer Spends the Last Five Years Collecting over 50 Kilograms of Nails from City Road

Benedict Jebakumar is a man on a mission. Ever since 2012 he has dedicated his free time to sweeping Bangalore’s Outer Ring Road of metal nails deliberately put there by nearby tire puncture shops to boost their profits. In the last five years, the Indian engineer claims to have collected over 50 kilograms of metal nails from the road.

It all started when Benedict Jebakumar realized that he would often have to deal with a punctured car tire when taking the Outer Ring Road from his home in Banashankari to his office, or vice-versa. He didn’t think much of it at first, but then he noticed the many tire repair shops lining the roads, most of which were often busy fixing the tires of seemingly unlucky motorists. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that whenever he got a flat tire it would always be because of metal nails conveniently located close to one of these puncture repair shops. He went to the local authorities to report his findings and ask them to take action, but they didn’t seem to eager to help. That’s when he decided it was up to him to keep the roads clean for himself and other drivers.

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Indian Woman Returns Home 40 Years After Being Laid to Rest

Two Indian sisters recently got the shock of their lives after their 82-year-old mother showed up at their doorstep 40 years after they had laid her body to rest on the Ganges river, following a cobra bite.

It all started on a summer day in 1976, when 42-year-old Vilasa, a woman from Bidhoo village, India’s Kanpur district, went out into the fields to collect fodder for the family animals, as she had done countless time before. Only this time, she unknowingly got to close to a black cobra snake, and got bit. Upon returning home, her family immediately took her to a traditional healer, but his methods failed to alleviate the effects of the venom, and Vilasa soon lost consciousness.

Thinking she had died, her family wrapped the woman’s body in cloth, placed it on a wooden float and released into the sacred Ganges river, hoping it would bring her to life. Open-air cremation is practiced by millions of Indian Hindus, with the ashes of their loved-ones then scattered in holy bodies of water, but in the case of snake bites, some believe that the sacred river can wash away the poison from the body and bring the person back to life. It wasn’t something Vilasa’s family actually expected, though.

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Stray Dog Accompanies Indian Pilgrim on Epic 600 Km Walk

Naveen, a 38-year-old a Sabarimala pilgrim claims he has found a friend for life in Malu, a stray dog who accompanied him on a 600-km walk from the Mookambika temple in Kollur,to the Sabarimala shrine in Pathanamthitta, India. Apart from keeping him company, the dog also protected his belongings and even woke him up when he overslept.

It was on the second day of his pilgrimage that Naveen met Malu. He had become worried about the stray dogs that would approach him, especially in the morning hours, shooing them away so they wouldn’t attempt to attack them, but he quickly realized that Malu was different. “It was after nearly 80 kilometers or so, that I noticed her. She walked towards me from the opposite direction and stopped when she reached right in front of me, the young Pilgrim recalls. “I did try shooing her off many times, but she would just not go.”

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Meet the Kindhearted Businessman Who Throws Grand Weddings for Fatherless Indian Brides

In India, it is expected that the bride’s family organize and especially pay for the wedding, so when a young woman’s father (the main bread earner) dies, she can almost certainly forget about having a wedding, especially if she comes from a poor family. Most often than not, widowed mothers simply don’t have the means to marry their daughters. That’s where Indian real-estate tycoon Mahesh Savani comes in.

Ever since 2008, Mr. Savani has organized weddings for over 700 fatherless brides, not only paying for the event itself, but also giving each one of his new “daughters” a substantial dowry  (gold, jewelry, furniture, home appliances, etc.) worth around 400,000 rupees ($5,900). At each wedding, the successful businessman also steps up to play the role of their father and perform their ‘kanyadaan’ – the traditional ritual of giving away the bride. From that moment on, the girls become his daughters.

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The Dog Father – Indian Man Takes Care of 735 Dogs That Nobody Else Wants

45-year-old Rakesh Shukla is a talented software engineer and CEO of a successful tech company, but among India’s animal lovers he is known as “The Dog Father”, an exceptional man who founded the country’s most advanced dog rescue center and who personally takes care of 735 abandoned pooches that nobody else wants.

10 years ago, Rakesh and his wife founded The Writers Block, a technical communication outsourcing company which today works with some of the biggest names in the tech industry – Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.. The Bangalore-based company quickly became successful, and over the next few years the software engineer got to travel the world, buy expensive cars and lead the fancy lifestyle he always thought he wanted. But he still didn’t feel happy and fulfilled. It wasn’t until 2009, when Kavya, a beautiful Golden Retriever, came into his life that he truly felt that his life had meaning.

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Wealthy Businessman Donates 90 Houses to the Poor to Celebrate Daughter’s Wedding

Ajay Munot, a rich businessman in Maharashtra, India, has recently built and donated 90 houses to the poor, instead of spending the money on a lavish wedding for his daughter.

Munot had been planning to spend Rs 70-80 lakh ($115,000) on his daughter Shreya’s wedding, but after consulting with a local politician, he decided there was a better way to spend all that money. Apparently, the grains and cloth trader realized that investing in a one day event, including booking hotel rooms for all the guests was unnecessary, especially with all the poor people in need of real help. So he asked Prakash Bamb, a family friend and member of the Legislative Assembly for advice on how best to spend that money.

They both agreed that providing slum dwellers of their town with their own houses was the best idea. Munot began constructing 108 houses on two acres of land, with the goal of completing them by the day of his daughter’s wedding. He only managed to finish 90 of them by the big day, and the bride and groom, who were very supportive of the businessman’s initiative, were the ones who handed the keys to the carefully selected beneficiaries.

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