The streets of Delhi are overrun with menacing monkeys, and they’re violent drunks.
As developments have encroached on the rhesus macaque’s natural habitat, they have creeped into civilization, filling the already overcrowded Indian city center.
Many Indians consider the monkeys in the streets to be the reincarnation of the Hindu God Hanuman, the mighty ape who is worshiped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion. Locals will give the street monkeys treats and gifts, which encourages the monkeys to hang out in public areas and enter private residences.
It’s not all monkey games, though. The monkeys have been known to steal from fruit vendors and get drunk off of stolen whiskey. The monkeys have become a menace, terrorizing people in the streets.
A senior official in Delhi died in 2007 after suffering severe wounds resulting from a monkey attack. Deputy Mayor SS Bajwa was reading a newspaper on a terrace in his home when he was brutally attacked by the monkeys.
The Delhi municipality has taken extreme efforts to curb such monkey-related violence, even going so far as to attempt to capture all the monkeys and bring them to shelters. But the monkeys breed too quickly and the government won’t sterilize them.
“This problem will never be solved as long as Hindus feed monkeys regularly. We’ve issued many ads asking people not to feed monkeys in public places.” R.M. Shukla, the city’s chief wildlife warden said in 2012. Two years later, the city may have found a solution, absurd as it may be.
In a final act of desperation, the Delhi Municipality has hired 40 men to impersonate the call of the macaque’s larger enemies, the grey langur monkey. The men — known as monkey-wallahs — are from the Medari caste, a group known for the caring and training of monkeys for entertainment.