22 December 2017

Modern-day Mowgli: Indian toddler forges bond with monkeys

Samarth Bangari, 2, feeds langur monkeys in a field near his home in Allapur village in Karnataka. He is still too young to talk, but the boy has become a subject of local intrigue after befriending a gang of langur monkeys.
He is still too young to talk, but a two-year-old Indian boy has become a modern-day Mowgli and a subject of local intrigue after befriending a gang of langur monkeys.

Samarth Bangari's unusual friendship was discovered when the youngster was spotted alone in his village in southern India playing with nearly two dozen grey langurs.

The infant's uncle Barama Reddy said it was "strange" for the monkeys to behave like that, and villagers feared the boy would be attacked while his parents worked in a nearby field.

In India, some fear lawmakers are stoking anti-Muslim fervor

In this April 10, 2016, file photo, members of Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Organization, stand during Varsh Pratipada festival, the Hindu New Year in Ahmadabad, India. A series of incidents this fall have reinforced fears that anti-Muslim sentiment has hardened in India in the three years since a right-wing Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power.
A lawmaker from India’s ruling party called the Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture, saying in October that the famous tourist site had been built by Muslim traitors. In November, another party member offered a bounty for the heads of two people involved in a movie featuring a Muslim sultan. Then, this month, a laborer was hacked to death and set afire while his alleged attacker ranted against Muslims.

The series of incidents this fall has reinforced fears that anti-Muslim sentiment has hardened in India in the three years since a Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power. Some say it has reached a point where Hindu extremists believe they can get away with murder. Others worry that hard-line Hindu leaders want to rewrite the country’s rich Muslim history.