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The Man-Monkey Conflict in India - Absurd but True!

Updated on April 30, 2014
Humans and monkeys struggle for space in the Indian capital - Delhi.
Humans and monkeys struggle for space in the Indian capital - Delhi.

The New Age of Old World Monkeys

I'm from a beautiful country called India which has some wonderful and incredible stories associated with it. Indian culture and heritage is extraordinary and you can never cease to be amazed by the uniqueness of it all. In this country, people worship many Hindu gods and goddesses.

Ramayana and Mahabarata - the two classical Hindu epics - depicts most animals such as bulls and cows as holy creatures. Ramayana contains a very notable character in it - Hanuman (The Monkey God) who is considered as Lord Rama's helper in the epic Hindu tale.

Because of this very reason, monkeys are considered as sacred creatures in most parts of the country. They are allowed to roam around freely, do whatever they want, and also eat whatever their little heart desires.

Even though this coexitence of man and monkey remained peaceful for some time, matters got less than comfortable when these monkeys bred in large numbers.

Keep on reading to know more.

A Wonderful Read

The Monkeys and the Mango Tree: Teaching Stories of the Saints and Sadhus of India
The Monkeys and the Mango Tree: Teaching Stories of the Saints and Sadhus of India

Beautiful tales from the land of India - stories that will enchant, intrigue and amuse you.


Have No Fear When The Monkeys Are Here?

I was in my car when I noticed a large group of monkeys enjoying their snack offered by devotees outside the temple. I was really amused by it all. They didn't appear to be the least bit scared of us humans and just continued with their daily activities.

When I went on a family tour to Ooty, a monkey literally snatched a packet of chips away from us.

Now imagine this same sort of situation happening at a more religious place with more devotees. More food is offered and as a result more monkeys relocate to the place. This is what you see at Vrindavan, India.

Vrindavan - The Monkey Haven

Vrindavan has a religious history behind it and is also considered as an important Hindu pilgrimage site. The place is completely infested with monkeys and they are adept at stealing anything and everything.

I recently saw a show on Discovery Channel where an old man gets attacked by hundreds of monkeys just so that they could take away his basket of veggies and fruits. The man claims to have lost considerable amount of money this way - it was a scary sight!

Since monkeys are considered sacred, there's hardly anything these people can do. Devotees offer a lot of food to these religious creatures and hence they end up breeding in large numbers at Vrindavan. 

Monkeys were generally gentle creatures which became bolder as time went by. They became more aggressive and firm due to which they ended up considering human beings as competitors for food and shelter. If needed, they were even ready to attack humans for food.

Solutions to The Monkey Problem

When man-monkey coexistence ceased to be peaceful at Vrindavan, some suggestions were made by animal welfare -

  1. Translocating the monkeys to a different place - A difficult task because of the large numbers.
  2. Creating Zonal Monkey Sanctuaries - A more practical solution to the problem as suggested by Iqbal Malik, a primatologist, who considers welfare of monkeys before anything else.
  3. Using trained langurs to combat Macaques - Yes! A monkey-monkey combat! Have you heard this anywhere else? Langurs are larger monkeys as compared to macaques and coexist peacefully with humans. Next to the macaque, a langur appears to be a model student.

The Monkey Man - A Character Fabricated Out Of Fear
The Monkey Man - A Character Fabricated Out Of Fear

The Rise of The Monkey Man!

Like I mentioned earlier, no one was able to do anything when it came to dealing with sacred creatures. Many people were attacked at night but they couldn't blame the monkeys because they were religious creatures. They then decided to put all the blame on an imaginary character - the monkey man! At night, people were unable to see the creature properly and said it resembled a monkey but only larger. They were dead sure that it was half human and half monkey which roamed around in the evening looking for new victims. Experts say that this character was just a figment of many people's overactive imagination - a character that was born out of fright because no one wanted to put the blame on a sacred animal and in return face the wrath of religious leaders.

I had seen a Hindi movie called Delhi 6 where the monkey man played an important character but I never knew that India had once upon a time had actually faced this problem! The whole of Delhi had gone into a collective hallucination of sorts at that time with panic breaking out in the evenings all because of the monkey man! You can read it on Wikipedia here.

Time To Share Your Own Unique Story!

At times I wonder if such things only happen in India. Do you have any unique story to share about your country? Something fascinating and which you believe happens nowhere else?

Share it in the comments section below -- I would love to know!


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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      So very interesting and a great read.

      Thanks for sharing and take care.


    • davidseeger profile image

      davidseeger 7 years ago from Bethany, OK

      Beware of introductin langurs. The cure could be worse than the disease. This has happened so many times in the US. In Australia they brought in dogs where none had been before. They have been a terrible pest, since. Anyway, I really enjoyed your hub. One of the regrets of my life is that I have never been to the sub-continent and probably at this late date never will. Every thing I've seen indicates that it is a beautiful country.