The World’s Biggest Albino Family

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All eight members of the Pullan family from Delhi suffer from a rare genetic disorder called albinism which, as its name suggests, is characterized by the complete or partial absence of melanin pigment in the skin and hair. Because of this condition, Rosetauri Pullan, his wife Mani along with their three daughters Renu, Deepa and Pooja and three sons Shankar, Ramkishan and Vijay all have fair skin, white hair and light colored eyes despite being Indian.

Their ghostliness is not just an aesthetic problem. It actually comes with certain undesirable medical problems. Their pale white skin makes it impossible for them to stay in the sun for too long. The lack of pigment in their eyes have left them short-sighted and Shankar was even forced to attended a school for the blind. “All we know is that we can’t see properly, and we can’t sit under the sun for long, but we live the best we can,” the family explains. Unfortunately sunburns and short-slightness are not their only concerns. There are only 17,000 people in the world who suffer from albinism and those who are unfortunate to live in less developed countries, like the Pullans, are harshly discriminated against.

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Indian Baby Suffers from Rare Spontaneous Combustion Condition

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Rahul, a three-month-old baby from Villupuram, India, is believed to suffer from a rare condition known as Spontaneous Human Combustion, which causes his body to burn without any external source of ignition. Only 200 similar cases have been reported around the world in the last 300 years.

Just nine days after he was born, Rahul was found burning by his mother, Rajeswari, who scampered to douse the flames. “People thought I set him on fire deliberately,” she told reporters, but since then her baby to suffer three more similar accidents. Instead of supporting the family, the community ostracized them, and Rahul’s father says they have lost everything as a result. Luckily, the district collector called the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital after hearing their story, and the baby was admitted last Thursday, and is being treated for severe burn injuries. His parents said they visited other hospitals before, but no one could tell them what causes his body to burst into flames for no apparent reason. Dr. R. Narayana Babu, head of pediatrics at KMC says “It has been scientifically documented that concentrated combustion air excreted from the body could result in such episodes. In elderly persons, heavy drinking could lead to the body excreting alcohol-like substance which could get ignited.” Due to an unknown mechanism, these substances are escaping the body without breaking down to non-combustible forms.

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Grieving Widower Builds Taj Mahal Replica in Memory of His Late Wife

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Faizul Hasan Kadari, a retired post-master from India, has put his entire life savings into building a replica of the world famous Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife who died in 2011.

The original Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his wife Mumtaz in 1631, and is regarded as one of the world’s greatest monuments to love and grief. But who would have thought Shah Jahan’s gesture would ever be replicated, and by a retired postal worker, of all people? Faizul Hasan Kadari might not have had the riches of the old emperor, but the promise made to his dying wife Tajammuli Begum was enough to fuel his ambition and build his own version of the Taj Mahal. He took a team of local workers to the walled city of Agra to see the original masterpiece and asked them to build a smaller replica, without all the intricate carvings and decorations, which would have been impossible to imitate anyway. To fund his project, Kadari sold his land, his wife’s jewels and used up all the savings from his pension.

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World’s Longest Mustache Measures over Four Meters

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Ram Singh Chauhan started growing his mustache in 1970, and hasn’t cut it since. Today it measures over 4.30 meters, and the proud Indian man from Rajasthan holds the Guinness record for World’s Longest Mustache.

The 58-year old says one of the secrets to impressive facial hair growth is starting early. ”As you grow old your hormones grow weak, so the speed slows down,” Ram says, but even now he still adds a few centimeters to his mustache every year. He stopped shaving his mustache back in 1970, after being inspired by a fellow mustache enthusiast from Rajasthan, resuming to trimming the split ends every once in a while. In the early years Chauhan and his wife Asha used to fight over his abnormally long facial hair, because he used to take a long time to wash and groom it, and people stared at them every time they went out. But as soon as her husband started getting recognition for his efforts, she began to respect his commitment, and says she now considers the mustache part of the family and shares his pride in it. Thanks to his long mustache, Ram Singh Chauhan appeared in big movies like 1983′s ”Octopussy”, starring Roger Moore, as well as numerous Bollywood productions. He has also traveled around the world, to show off his amazing whiskers.

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Meet Raj Mohan Nair – The Super-Human Immune to Electrecution

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A tenth of an amp is enough to kill an ordinary human being, but Raj Mohan Nair is anything but ordinary. This human conductor is able to withstand several amps of electricity passing through his body without suffering any bodily harm.

Electricity Mohan or Electro-Man, as Raj has come to be known all around the world has an amazing super-power. Just a small a mount of electricity can be fatal to most humans, but this man can conduct several amps and survive unscathed. There’s nothing super-human about his looks, but connected to an electrical power source, Raj Mohan Nair can do extraordinary things. He doesn’t shoot lightning bolts from his hands or anything, but he can power up a light bulb or an electric blender by grabbing two live wires and allowing massive amounts of current to pass through his body. He might not seem like a superhero worthy of his own comic book, but it’s a lot more than the rest of us mortals can withstand. If these wires touched any other human’s body, the electricity would cause their organs to fail and stop their heart, but not Mohan’s. With one wire in his mouth for better conductivity and the other anywhere else on his body, Mohan lets the electrical current run through him and into whatever other device he’s trying to power on.

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On the Wings of a Prayer – India’s Unique Airplane Temple Fuels Devotees’ Traveling Dreams

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It’s not unusual at Indian temples for devotees to make huge offerings of money and food, in exchange for their prayers to answered. But the case of this particular Sikh temple in Punjab is quite strange, even for Indian standards. The narrow, dusty alleyway leading up to the Sant Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara in Punjab’s Doaba region, near the city of Jalandhar, is lined with a host of shops selling toy aircrafts of various sizes and colors. Although they sell like hot cakes, they are not meant to be travel souvenirs, but offerings to the temple. At the Sant Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara, devotees make toy plane offerings in the hopes that their dreams of traveling abroad and starting a new life will come true.

It’s hard to say how the trend started. But the offering of the toy plane is quite befitting, since the thing most people pray for at this temple is to settle down in another country. According to one local shopkeeper, “Surely it must have been someone’s wish to go abroad coming true that must have started it all. It’s now become a tradition. For us it’s business.” So the sight of scores of devotees flocking at the century-old gurudwara gates, holding colorful toy planes might be a strange one to you but quite normal to the locals. They line up patiently, waiting for their turn to access the inner sanctum on the first floor, where several decorative model planes are placed in neat rows. The devotees place their rainbow-colored offerings in the demarcated enclosure, paying their obeisance to the Gurus of the Sikh tradition and to Baba Nihal Singh, a simple farmer of the nearby Doaba region after whom the gurudwara was named. After the offering is made, they then proceed to ask for their wish to be granted – to be sent abroad as soon as possible.

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India’s Dangerous Human-Powered Ferris Wheels

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How do you keep the fun going at fairs in a country affected by frequent power cuts and blackouts? Simple, just hire a bunch of workers to dangle from the bars of manual ferris wheels to keep it in motion.

India’s human-powered ferris wheels recently made headlines in Western media after a video of one such contraption at a fun fair in New Delhi went viral on YouTube and various news sharing sites, but the truth is the phenomenon is very common in Asian countries where electricity is unreliable. Some fairs use generators or even car batteries to power ferris wheels, but the simplest and most cost-effective way to keep people entertained is to hire a couple of daredevils to climb a manual ferris wheel and dangle from its metal bars to keep it spinning. The simple installations are made up of a simple metal frame and a few open-air cages, and without a power source they look like non-functional decorations when not in use. But as soon as people climb in the cages and the fearless wallahs start working their magic, you get pretty much the same feeling as you would from a modern ferris wheel.

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Indian City Introduces Cardboard Traffic Policemen

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They work seven days a week regardless of weather condition, never go on breaks, don’t take bribes and best of all, they require no pay. They are – wait for it – Bangalore’s new lifelike cardboard traffic policemen, and they’re watching you!

India’s tech-city of Bangalore has been facing serious difficulties dealing with traffic violations. Despite low car ownership, the rate of row fatalities has risen sharply in this city of 8.5 million people to at least two road-related deaths per day, in 2012. Some sources say Bangalore needs at least 6,000 traffic policemen to keep things under control, but it currently has a personnel of 3,000. Instead of supplementing their ranks, local authorities have come up with an ingenious idea to make drivers behave at the wheel that doesn’t require significant expenditures - life-size cardboard cutouts of traffic policemen strategically placed on the city’s busiest roads. Only three of them have been deployed so far, but results have been so encouraging that 10 more khaki-wearing fake cops will soon be rolled out to improve Bangalore’s chaotic traffic.

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The Indian Coin Divers of Yamuna River

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It sometimes amazes me how humans are able to find a source of livelihood in almost any type of environment, in accordance with their surroundings. Case-in-point, the coin divers of the Yamuna River, in Delhi, India’s capital city. This unique group of men works around the year, braving the bone-chilling cold waters even during winters, to dive into the river and retrieve coins from the bottom. The same coins that are thrown into the waters by passengers of boats crossing the river, as an offering to the River Goddess. Wondering what such an offbeat job pays? Well, sometimes as little as 100-200 rupees (US $ 2 to 3) a day, and sometimes as much as a diamond ring.

22-year-old Sartaj Ahmed has been in the profession of coin-diving for the past 6 years. The brave young man says he started diving when he was just a boy, but it was only when he turned 18 that he began hunting for coins. “Some days I get 100-200 rupees but on lucky days, I can find small trinkets. I have even found a gold ring once.” 34-year-old Sajad Ahmed has been at it for 20 long years. He says it gets harder and harder each other, but they really do not have any other choice. 21-year-old Amit Kumar, who’s been doing this for 10 years, says, “We dive into the river and collect coins, brass, copper, sometimes even silver and gold.” Diving for coins is the only source of his daily income. “What can be done, I have to do something for my living. We live here so we keep diving here.”  Vicky, another young diver, says, “I dive and normally take home money for my daily expenses.” Raju says that he prefers coin diving because he doesn’t like working for a boss.

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Indian Sculptor Makes Creepy Bust of Favorite Politician from His Own Blood

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An Indian man known only as Hussaini has recently unveiled a shocking work of art – a bust of J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu state, made from 11 litres of frozen human blood, donated by him and 32 of his students.

Apparently, nothing shows admiration for a person like making a creepy sculpture of them from human blood. At least that’s what Hussaini, a sculptor and archery teacher from Chennai, must have thought when he got the idea to create a bust of Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha out of his own frozen blood, for her 65th birthday. The noted artist wanted to thank the politician for being the “most sports loving CM of India” and for her support to his archery association, and since he had a few liters of his own blood stored for special occasions, he decided to put it to good use. You see, Hussaini has had his blood drawn at three-month intervals, over the last eight years, waiting for an opportunity to use it as a medium for his sculpture. But he only had 6.5 liters of blood, and this special project required 11. Luckily, his 32 archery students were more than willing to donate the extra 4.5 liters needed to complete the project.

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Golden Baba – Indian Holy Man Tells Followers to Live Frugally But Drapes Himself in Gold

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His real name is Bittu Bhagat, but his fascination with gold earned him the nickname “Golden Baba”. Claiming to be a living saint, this Indian holy man tells his followers to live in poverty, while he covers himself in gold clothes and accessories worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Golden Baba has apparently been in the sights of Indian tax officials for some time, but he also attracted the attention of the press when he made an appearance at the sacred Kumbh Mela pilgrimage with two young European beauties hanging on his arms and wearing dozens of solid gold accessories around his neck and on his hands. He looked more like a middle-aged playboy than a holy man preaching about the rewards of a simple life free of worldly possessions. But reports claim Bittu Bhagat tells his disciples they mush shun their material wealth, even their clothes, if they want to follow him, and investigators say he only accepts donations in solid gold. Formerly a simple tailor, this Golden Baba now allegedly has a fortune of several millions of dollars and travels around in a fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes, Bentleys and BMWs.

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Education Anywhere – Underprivileged Indian Children Attend Outdoor School under a Bridge

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40-year-old Rajesh Kumar Sharma, from New Delhi, started a makeshift school under a metro bridge, where he teaches children from the city’s slums too poor to attend regular schools. He believes education is the most important weapon for India’s youth, and if they don’t have it, they are doomed for life.

Mr. Sharma is not a real teacher. He runs a general store in the city, but for two hours a day he leaves his brother in charge of the business and rushes to his improvised outdoor school, under one of Delhi’s metro bridges. If it wasn’t for Rajesh and the dozens of children who go here daily, you would never guess this is a place for education. There are no walls or desks, just the bridge acting as a protecting roof in case of rain, and three squares painted black and used as blackboards. The teacher doesn’t only provide his knowledge for free, but also all the reading and writing materials, and the rugs his students sit on during classes. The kids, aged 4 to 12, learn math and basic reading and writing, in preparation for future admission into Government schools. In fact, out of the 140 children he started the school with a little over a year ago, 70 are already attending public schools. ”They still come here everyday. I manage to keep them ahead of the school curriculum,” Sharma told India Express.

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Gold-Obsessed Man Shows Off Solid Gold Shirt, Takes Pimping to a Whole New Level

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Datta Phuge, a chit fund businessman from Pimpri, India, refers to himself as “The Gold Man of Pimpri” and in order to live up to this image, he has recently commissioned a 22-karat gold shirt weighing 3.2 kilograms that’s bound to make some Western rappers green with envy.

According to India Today, gold-obsessed businessmen and politicians are nothing new in India. Not long ago, a man by the name of Ramesh Wanjale was spotted wearing 2 kilos of gold, then NCP functionary Samrat Moze wore 8.5 kilograms of gold in the form of jewelry and ornaments, but chit fund Datta Phuge found a way to one-up them both. He had a team of 15 goldsmiths working 18 hours a day for over 15 days in order to finish a 3.5 kg woven gold shirt. ”The gold shirt has been one of my dreams,” Mr Phuge told Indian newspaper the Pune Mirror“It will be an embellishment to my reputation as the ‘Gold man of Pimpri’”, Phuge said. His extravagant garment consists of 14,000 gold flowerrings, interwoven with one lakh spangles. It was assembled on a fabric base of imported white velvet, and comes with six Swarovski crystal buttons and an intricate belt, also made of gold.

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Indian Believers Roll in Food Scraps of Higher Caste to Cure Their Illnesses

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A century old ritual in India dictates that those considered low-caste Hindus must roll in the remains of food eaten by members of a higher caste. But it’s not the ritual itself that’s strange. The strange part is that while social activists are actually seeking to outlaw the practice, the ‘low-caste’ Hindus don’t want to stop rolling in the leftovers.

The ritual, called Madey Snana (Spit Bath) is specific to the state of Karnataka, during an annual event at the famous 4000-year-old Kukke Subramanya temple in the coastal district of Mangalore. It is also followed at the Sri Krishna temple in Udupi town. As a part of the century-old Snana, Dalits (members of a lower caste) roll over leftover food eaten by Brahmins (the upper caste) every year, in the belief that all their troubles will disappear and ailments will be cured. It is practiced every year on the festival of Champa Shasti or Subramanya Shasti. Last year alone, 25,000 people rolled over the ‘spit’ of the Brahmins. This happened even as the district administration watched helplessly after their attempts to ban the practice failed.

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The Gulabi Gang – India’s Pink-Wearing Female Vigilantes

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The women of Bundelkhand, in Uttar Pradesh, India, do not need superheroes to come to their rescue. They depend on a group of their own clan – The Gulabi Gang – during times of distress. The gang members are vigilantes who go above and beyond the duties of a local neighborhood crime watch. Their chosen uniform – a strikingly pink sari. Their weapon of choice – the Lathi, a traditional Indian fighting stick. Gender – female only.

In fact, the Gulabi Gang (Gulabi: the color of pink rose), consists of over 10,000 women. And they are a blessing in disguise for many in the overpopulated Bundelkhand region, where people wage daily wars against a corrupt law-enforcement system, infertile lands and the oppressive system of caste hierarchy. But what Bundelkhand is most infamous for is banditry. Disputes are frequently settled by manner of bullets. The Bandit Queen of India, Phoolan Devi, once carried out her operations in the very same region. She would lead her bandits and robbers to seek a vicious retribution, violently attacking the upper-caste villagers. It is in this harsh atmosphere, where life is nothing short of brutal, that the Gulabi Gang has been carrying out its operations for the past two years.

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