Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Indian Railway Employs 'Monkey-Man' To Protect Passengers
Acchan Miyan, who's also known as Gudde, is allowed to monkey around at work - in fact it's an essential part of his job.
The 42-year-old is employed by the railway authorities in northern India to be a Monkey man.
He's paid around seven US dollars a day to scare away real monkeys.
There's a plague of them at Charbag station in Lucknow - at least there was until Gudde started work.
"There used to be thousands of monkeys here. But most of them have run away. People said that I would be eaten by the animals. But instead I've sacred them all the way."
Gudde perfected his monkey skills as a form of entertainment.
His ability to scare away the real thing was discovered by chance.
And passengers are delighted.
"There used to be many monkeys here and they'd cause all kinds of mischief. Sometimes they'd tear the seat covers in trains and snatch bananas from passengers. Acchan's act protect us from the monkey menace."
In a country where monkeys are often a menace Gudde's talents could prove lucrative.
That's something he's started praying for - to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, of course.