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The Association of the Dead

Article #249 • Written by Gerry Matlack

This article was written by Gerry Matlack, one of our shiny new Damn Interesting writers.

In 1976, a farmer in northern India became alarmed when he was informed of his own death. Lal Bihari was in the process of applying for a loan when the bank representative delivered the bad news, and it wasn't just that his loan had been denied. He was clearly a breathing, animated, fifteen-year-old, and he exhibited none of the classic symptoms of zombiism, yet government records indicated that he was no longer among the living. There was even a death certificate bearing his name.

There was no arguing that he appeared to be alive, but such evidence turned out to be insufficient to correct the error. After some investigation Bihari learned that his situation was not due to some administrative blunder, but rather it was due to an act of fraud. An unscrupulous uncle had bribed a government worker to provide a false death certificate, as well as bribing another fellow at the local Land Registry Office. For less than $100, the uncle had gained the title to Bihari's farmland in Uttar Pradesh, leaving no legally living soul to challenge the claim. As Lal Bihari began the lengthy effort to bring himself back to life and reclaim his stolen lands, he discovered that there were many others like him, and that the death-by-paper practice was widespread in the region of India known as the "badlands."

In order to bring attention and justice to the throngs of the undead , Bihari formed Mritak Sangh, the Association of the Dead. Many were worse off than he, suffering beatings and threats from the family members who had defrauded them. Many of them were even in danger of losing their real lives at the hands of those who had profited from their "demise." No land owner was completely safe from the treachery, including a a man named Maha Prasad who worked as a police constable for six years while legally dead. Over time, Mritak Sangh's membership grew over 10,000-- with some estimates as high as 20,000-- though no official tally has ever been made. Apparently the culture of fraud and theft is fertilized by a mixture of scarce farmland, high crime rate, and fierce family rivalries.

For eighteen years Bihari battled the bureaucracy and corruption in an effort to once again be listed among the living. Finding that all official channels led to dead ends, Bihari resorted to more dramatic measures. He arranged his own funeral, applied for a widow's pension for his wife, kidnapped the son of the uncle who stole his land, threatened murder, threw leaflets at lawmakers, publicly insulted judges, and even tried running for Prime Minister. He went so far as to add the word "Mritak"-- meaning "dead"-- to the end of his name. "The Late Lal Bihari" created these public scenes in hopes of being arrested and thereby forcing the government to acknowledge his existence, but each time he was merely beaten by police or rebuked for wasting officials' time.

At long last, in 1994, a local District Magistrate helped restore Bihari to legal life and his lands were returned to him. He was thirty-three years old. After over eighteen years as a dead man-- more than half of his life-- he relinquished the land to the very uncle who had originally arranged for his premature death. His uncle was so ashamed that he begged Bihari for forgiveness.

Following his own success, Lal Bihari the Living has continued his efforts to raise the dead in India's badlands. At an official tally in 1999, the Association of the Dead had helped to resurrect roughly thirty people by virtue of having their death certificates annulled, but of those thirty only four have had their lands restored. In 2003 Bihari was awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize-- a parody of the famous Nobel Peace Prize-- citing his extensive and selfless "posthumous activities."

It is rumored that India's movie capital of Bollywood is planning to produce a film adaptation of Bihari's near-death experience. Perhaps such a movie will help bring needed attention to the thousands of walking undead whose lands have been misappropriated by ruthless family members, and help bring an end to this widespread practice. After all, trifling with zombies rarely--if ever--works out for the best.

Article written by Gerry Matlack, published on 23 January 2007. Gerry is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Edited by Alan Bellows. Topic spotted on www.2spare.com.

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98 Comments
haQpod
Posted 23 January 2007 at 02:09 pm

First!


cponomar
Posted 23 January 2007 at 02:10 pm

Very interesting.

Not a lot of family values out in the badlands.

At least they weren't really dead.


haQpod
Posted 23 January 2007 at 02:15 pm

An interesting subject, even though i have already read most of it on another site (don't remember which). The article wasn't DI, but since it was the writers first article, it was pretty good. The only thing i would have liked was perhaps something more extrodionary. Apart from that, good job.

And by the way, sorry for the shameless first comment. I hope you can forgive me.


sleazyb
Posted 23 January 2007 at 02:23 pm

Great article. I hope I'm not dead.


Sabyrne
Posted 23 January 2007 at 02:37 pm

Being legally dead while living isn't all bad... I mean you can't arrest a dead man so I think it could be fun (outside of the beatings).


lennon860
Posted 23 January 2007 at 02:56 pm

Good article damn interesting welcome aboard Gerry. I especially like the little pun

"Finding that all official channels led to dead ends..."

ha


lfsmith
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:05 pm

I found this site by accident a few months back. I liked it and continue to enjoy it because I perceived the intelligence level of the writers and readers that posted to be above that of the vast majority of the sites out there. Although I still believe my initial assessment is correct, for the most part, I find it beyond comprehension that some people choose to declare their "accomplishment" of being the first to post on an article. You people sound like juveniles. For the sake of the site, please quit posting that you are first. No one cares but you, so keep it to yourself.


Erados
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:09 pm

"Uncle, I don't want to go to school anymore."
"That can be arranged... just... sign here, would you?"

Man, that would suck.


oneeyechuck
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:18 pm

It took 18 years for the government to acknowledge that he was alive...Did that include the tax collector?


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:20 pm

@haQpod: First you demonstrate your lack of intelligence by Firsting the comments, then you needlessly make snide comments about a perfectly good article. You're an idiot.

Don't listen to the trolls Gerry... it's a good article, and we're sure the DI crew is glad to have you onboard!


another viewpoint
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:20 pm

lfsmith said: "...I find it beyond comprehension that some people choose to declare their "accomplishment" of being the first to post on an article. "

More like, they're dying to be the first post!


rev.felix
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:31 pm

lfsmith said: "…I find it beyond comprehension that some people choose to declare their "accomplishment" of being the first to post on an article. "

another viewpoint said: "More like, they're dying to be the first post!"

Oy!


Krull
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:45 pm

Wow! that's crazy.

DI article!


Phill
Posted 23 January 2007 at 03:51 pm

Anyone else would've tried killing the Uncle?Then again, maybe that isn't way to go - the land would be up for grabs again, wouldn't it?


ti83
Posted 23 January 2007 at 04:09 pm

That was one DI article, good job Gerry. I don't know what haQpod is talking about (none of really like him, he's kind of a jerk, he hasn't been the same since he lost both his legs--so bear with him).


JM
Posted 23 January 2007 at 04:15 pm

lfsmith said: ". . . I find it beyond comprehension that some people choose to declare their "accomplishment" of being the first to post on an article. You people sound like juveniles. For the sake of the site, please quit posting that you are first. No one cares but you, so keep it to yourself."

First (haha... pun intended), they very well could *be* juveniles--this is the internet, after all. There's no age limit for posting on here.

Second, obviously *some* people care, as there have been more than a few "first" posts, and they were not all by the same person. If *you* don't care, get over it. It's not hurting or offending anyone, so quit your whining. I personally find it rather amusing. "Firsting the comments..." What a great phrase.


lfsmith
Posted 23 January 2007 at 04:44 pm

JM said: "First (haha… pun intended), they very well could *be* juveniles–this is the internet, after all. There's no age limit for posting on here."

JM, I am well aware that they could be juveniles. The comment was intended to either let them know that they sound childish if they are adults or emphasize their lack of maturity if they are not.

Second, obviously *some* people care, as there have been more than a few "first" posts, and they were not all by the same person. If *you* don't care, get over it. It's not hurting or offending anyone, so quit your whining. I personally find it rather amusing. "Firsting the comments…" What a great phrase."

Just because other people have posted "firsts" does not mean that they care that others do. Actually just the opposite is probably true since it seems to be a selfish thing to do, an act trying to set themselves apart from others.

I was however wrong in one aspect apparently, since you seem to care, and even enjoy, others' "firsting comments". Just out of curiosity JM, have you ever posted a first comment? It would make sense as to why you are defending them so vehemently.

As to you telling me to quit my whining, surely if other people can "first" I should be able to voice my dislike of it don’t you think? After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.


Asshe
Posted 23 January 2007 at 05:03 pm

DI article Gerry!
I'd heard of this problem before, but had no idea how prevalent it has become.

Everyone around there must have a 6th sense, cause they see dead people everyday!

My jokes always suck.


frenchsnake
Posted 23 January 2007 at 05:23 pm

Really DI; I'd never heard of this before. One thing still puzzles me, though -- wouldn't it be easier and cheaper just to kill them? After all, in a place where you can bribe someone to make someone legally dead (20,000 people?!), I don't see the police putting in too much effort to investigate a possible murder. And then you wouldn't have them hanging around and bugging you all day without having the decency to go through a medium like a regular ghost ;)


Bewildered
Posted 23 January 2007 at 05:25 pm

Ha ha, what a funny thought - that you can actually get beaten up or killed trying to prove that you are alive! If you can't stant up in court and say - 'I'm alive' I wonder if you can stand there and say 'I'm dead' (There should be an article written about 'First Post Syndrome', I have a strong negative opinion about it but i'll live and let live and won't bore you with it - I've been flamed here before for voicing my opinion...)


Secret Ninja
Posted 23 January 2007 at 05:50 pm

The first comments have bothered me for a while, but I never said this. My reasoning was why comment on the lack of relevance, as that itself is not relevant. But as long as others started the conversation, I vote that you all stop.


Stead311
Posted 23 January 2007 at 06:07 pm

With the exception of having your land being stolen from you... being dead may not be the most horrible thing that can happen. There are a few benefits i can think of, well at least in this country. I don't know India very well nor their way of life but it seems to me you could use certain loopholes. When all else fails... the bottom line speaks the loudest and the bottom line would be "Im frickin dead."


pEhrlich
Posted 23 January 2007 at 06:38 pm

Heck, bribe the same official to forge a new birth certificate. DI!


*looking interested*
Posted 23 January 2007 at 09:07 pm

pEhrlich said: "Heck, bribe the same official to forge a new birth certificate. DI!"

well obviously he would be jailed after this investigation and that...wont he?


Cynthia Wood
Posted 23 January 2007 at 09:16 pm

The solution to irritating first posts is simple. Post first yourself with a relevant comment, and don't mention position. Problem solved.


ExperimentNo6
Posted 23 January 2007 at 09:29 pm

But you gotta admit, not paying taxes for 18 would be kinda nice. Unless y'know, the government charged him back taxes...


solitas
Posted 23 January 2007 at 09:44 pm

Bag the "first post!"-stuff - this isn't, and shouldn't be, like Slashdot.

Good article Gerry - how/where did you discover it (and think to post it)?


crispi
Posted 23 January 2007 at 10:02 pm

I think the most amazing thing was that he gave the land back to the uncle who stole it. That showed great strength of character. Which, of course, shamed his uncle tremendously.

Lal Bihari the Living. That sounds like a character from a Douglas Adams book.

Nice article. DI


crispi
Posted 23 January 2007 at 10:04 pm

Of course, when he finally does die...will anyone believe it?


fecalmatters
Posted 23 January 2007 at 10:04 pm

I thought it was real interesting. What kind of an idiot system says, " Nope. Sorry. Says right here, you're dead." If he had kids, would they be stillborn?

He could still vote in Chicago, at least.


50-50
Posted 24 January 2007 at 12:33 am

I've felt the same about making an irrevelant post about another irrevelant post, but as Secret Ninja says, now that the topic has been breached...

"First!" posts are a waste of space and annoy me, personally. When I've run boards in the past, I have a policy to ban any user that does a "First!" post. It's only slightly less annoying when the same post actually adds to the conversation. But that's just me.

Now enough of me wasting space with an irrelevant post :) Hopefully it'll be the last I make.


frenchsnake
Posted 24 January 2007 at 12:37 am

You know, this whole idea seems highly exploitable for the world of crime (and I don't just mean land snatching). Couldn't some mob boss over there just buy death certificates for all of his goons and lackeys, and then proceed with his dirty deeds totally immune from the law because there is no standing rule for dealing with the undead? Of course, there's still the whole "getting beat up by the cops anyway" thing, but at least it wouldn't go on their permanent record :P


Fibonacci
Posted 24 January 2007 at 02:03 am

In most westernised countries, being dead is apparently a cool thing, your still able to vote ( provided you live in the windy city), your family gets to pick up a widow\ers check each week, and the joy of not having to plan your funeral is also a big bonus. Where as in India I guess its a living nightmare to be dead.

Side note .As a possible solution to the "First" thing, why not have the authors of the article post a comment during, or immedietly after creating the article, that way, the author could share their personal opinions on the subject, and not have an articles comment section riddled with "first" comments. Just a suggestion.


Hoekstes
Posted 24 January 2007 at 02:57 am

Last


HarleyHetz
Posted 24 January 2007 at 06:13 am

fecalmatters said: "I thought it was real interesting. What kind of an idiot system says, " Nope. Sorry. Says right here, you're dead." If he had kids, would they be stillborn?


He could still vote in Chicago, at least."

Memphis too!!

DI article, my compliments to the chef.


Romeo702
Posted 24 January 2007 at 07:50 am

lfsmith said: "JM, I am well aware that they could be juveniles. The comment was intended to either let them know that they sound childish if they are adults or emphasize their lack of maturity if they are not.

There are 29 million youths on the internet (and I estimate 50 million immature adults) - name calling in regards to an obvious shortcomming is about as relevant to this articile and about as mature as "FIRST!". So please allow me, Captain Obvious, to in turn emphasize your shortcommings to the complete bordem of anyone reading. Really folks, is it that much to scroll over that guy who has nothing to contribute other than being first? It must mean so much to them, let them have it.

We all have the right to be heard, and in accepting that right we loose the right not to be offended, ignored, flamed and, more commonly, bored by our fellow "contributors".

Thank you, and my appologies for likewise wasting your time without commenting on the article as this space was orginally intended for.


Brother Jebadiah
Posted 24 January 2007 at 07:51 am

lFor the sake of the site, please quit posting that you are first. No one cares but you, so keep it to yourself."

If they keep it to themselves, they won't post it and therefore they won't be first. Yeesh, use your head.


Dave Group
Posted 24 January 2007 at 08:57 am

haQpod said: "First!"

WOOHOO!! YEAH!! BOO-YAH!!

Everybody bow down before my superior typing skil;ls!! By being first, I have PROVEN that I am Lord and Master over all other posters, including those who have something intelllignet to say. One day my name will rank with those of Bill Gates and other computer greats of all history!! I would have been the first post on the previous entry, but I had to go all the way down to the kitchen to get my Hot Pockets out of the microwave, all because my stupid mom wont let me keep a microwave in my room. Plus shes always screaming at me to get a job. I know this isn't the kind of stuff that would look good on a resume, but hell people live to be a hundred or so these days, so I've got plenty of time to kick-start my career whenever I want to, cause I'm like thirty-two right now, okay? You gotta have priorities, right?, and right now mine is sitting at the computer twenty-four hours a day proving with just one little word how superior I am to those who take their time to form actual thoughts before sending them out over the internet. I AM GOD!!!!!!

;D


RichVR
Posted 24 January 2007 at 09:16 am

haQpod said: "And by the way, sorry for the shameless first comment. I hope you can forgive me."

No. You are dead to me. ;-}


xpkranger
Posted 24 January 2007 at 10:14 am

So I wonder how Bollywood will work a dance number into this one? (Dance of the Dead, anyone?)


shanachie
Posted 24 January 2007 at 10:49 am

Stead311 said: "With the exception of having your land being stolen from you… being dead may not be the most horrible thing that can happen. "

I suspect that in India, a farmer who loses his land is "really" dead before long.

I forwarded a link to this article to a friend of mine who regularly goes on about the superiority of Eastern Cuture, that "5,000 years of civilization" crap. They're soooo advanced.


Beth
Posted 24 January 2007 at 11:53 am

ExperimentNo6 said: "But you gotta admit, not paying taxes for 18 would be kinda nice. Unless y'know, the government charged him back taxes…"

How funny would it be if the government had been collecting this man's taxes all along while claiming he was dead? Wouldn't put it past 'em.


ballaerina
Posted 24 January 2007 at 12:35 pm

Gah, how frustrating would that be, trying to convince people that you were actually alive but not having anyone believe you?

At least he didn't have to pay taxes.


levitysea
Posted 24 January 2007 at 01:54 pm

Fibonacci said: Side note .As a possible solution to the "First" thing, why not have the authors of the article post a comment during, or immedietly after creating the article, that way, the author could share their personal opinions on the subject, and not have an articles comment section riddled with "first" comments. Just a suggestion."

I couldn't agree more. That's my least favorite thing about this site, and I LOVE this site, the morons who continually point out that they posted first. WHO CARES??? I really think people do it just to annoy, and nothing bugs more than going to a cool site that usually has very insightful posts, complete with the token idiot starting the whole thing off.


lfsmith
Posted 24 January 2007 at 02:08 pm

My point exactly levitysea, and it was a great idea from ballaerina. As for you Romeo702, you are just as ridiculous as those you defend. I don’t even care to waste my time pointing out the hypocrisy of your statements nor their improper spelling.


Captain Blowhard
Posted 24 January 2007 at 06:58 pm

I used to enjoy reading the comments.


Dr. Evil
Posted 24 January 2007 at 08:27 pm

Dave Group said: "WOOHOO!! YEAH!! BOO-YAH!!


Everybody bow down before my superior typing skil;ls!! By being first, I have PROVEN that I am Lord and Master over all other posters, including those who have something intelllignet to say. One day my name will rank with those of Bill Gates and other computer greats of all history!! I would have been the first post on the previous entry, but I had to go all the way down to the kitchen to get my Hot Pockets out of the microwave, all because my stupid mom wont let me keep a microwave in my room. Plus shes always screaming at me to get a job. I know this isn't the kind of stuff that would look good on a resume, but hell people live to be a hundred or so these days, so I've got plenty of time to kick-start my career whenever I want to, cause I'm like thirty-two right now, okay? You gotta have priorities, right?, and right now mine is sitting at the computer twenty-four hours a day proving with just one little word how superior I am to those who take their time to form actual thoughts before sending them out over the internet. I AM GOD!!!!!!

;D"

i find it amusing u being 32 and still living with your mother


ke4roh
Posted 24 January 2007 at 08:59 pm

I think we have better things to discuss than who gets the first post - and besides, who has time to check so often for the new article? (Please don't answer, that's a rhetorical question.) I caught this one in a quarter-day - it's hardly stale.

Back on topic, it seems to me the way to solve this problem in the United States, after exhausting the other avenues of remedy, would be to file suit against the vital records office. Once the judge sees you alive, the death certificate would be voided. Alas, I don't know how things work over there, but with eighteen years to think about it, you'd suppose he'd thought of most all of the options.

Thanks for a great first article, Gerry!


JM
Posted 24 January 2007 at 09:12 pm

ballaerina said: "Gah, how frustrating would that be, trying to convince people that you were actually alive but not having anyone believe you?

At least he didn't have to pay taxes."

Now, the real question is, can you still post a "first" comment if you are dead?


JM
Posted 24 January 2007 at 09:19 pm

One first post = one comment to scroll past (it's even extra easy since it's usually the "first" one).

Twenty+ posts griping about or defending first posts interspersed between relevant comments = annoying.

Can't we all just get along?


JM
Posted 24 January 2007 at 09:25 pm

lfsmith said: Just because other people have posted "firsts" does not mean that they care that others do. Actually just the opposite is probably true since it seems to be a selfish thing to do, an act trying to set themselves apart from others.

No, it appears that it's rather like a competition to them. You still care about it even if you don't win.


I was however wrong in one aspect apparently, since you seem to care, and even enjoy, others' "firsting comments". Just out of curiosity JM, have you ever posted a first comment? It would make sense as to why you are defending them so vehemently.

No, I haven't. I'm more of a spectator.


As to you telling me to quit my whining, surely if other people can "first" I should be able to voice my dislike of it don’t you think? After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander."

Can we be friends?


lfsmith
Posted 24 January 2007 at 09:33 pm

No. lol


lashemgal
Posted 24 January 2007 at 10:35 pm

I couldn't agree more. That's my least favorite thing about this site, and I LOVE this site, the morons who continually point out that they posted first. WHO CARES??? I really think people do it just to annoy, and nothing bugs more than going to a cool site that usually has very insightful posts, complete with the token idiot starting the whole thing off.

You are correct. And we win. You are annoyed. Goal!~ Get a life. Why get your panties in a wad over something so trivial? I love reading this sh*t. It's nice to see others are more uptight then myself.


lashemgal
Posted 24 January 2007 at 10:37 pm

Ok so I did that wrong. Maybe I'm a juvenile.


Old Man
Posted 24 January 2007 at 10:49 pm

From what I know about Indian culture (little), many of the younger people who were declared dead would probably not make too much noise about it because they wouldn't want to publically criticise their older relatives. I'd imagine the authorities would be reluctant to interfere in such senstive family cases.

I've heard it's pretty easy to get declared dead in Mexico, Nigeria, Eastern Europe and Yemen. In Haiti, "medical examiners are not even required to view a body before issuing a death certificate, provided that three people swear that a death has occurred." (www.pallorium.com)

I think staying "dead" would be the difficult part. I'd go for a fake kidnapping, personally.

And ... not all of us can get the first post, but we ALL get the last one for a time. Last!


Hoekstes
Posted 25 January 2007 at 02:10 am

Hoekstes said: "Last"

Hey! This was supposed to be the final word on this. I'm never first! You could have at least given me "Last"! There goes my famous last words. It's like I died and nobody cared. Where can I get Lal Bihari's number so he can sort this out.


RupiyaPaisa
Posted 25 January 2007 at 02:57 am

Old Man said: "From what I know about Indian culture (little), many of the younger people who were declared dead would probably not make too much noise about it because they wouldn't want to publically criticise their older relatives. I'd imagine the authorities would be reluctant to interfere in such senstive family cases.

We need to remember that we do not generalise everything. Its nothing to do with Indian Culture. Just because a few school kids in America go on a shooting spree in their schools does not mean that its in American Culture..or is it?


RupiyaPaisa
Posted 25 January 2007 at 02:58 am

I dont know how everything became red in my last comment.


Old Man
Posted 25 January 2007 at 04:21 am

Like I said, I don't know much about Indian culture.

RupiyaPaisa said: "I dont know how everything became red in my last comment."

You just move your eyes ...


ke4roh
Posted 25 January 2007 at 06:25 am

RupiyaPaisa said: "We need to remember that we do not generalise everything. Its nothing to do with Indian Culture. Just because a few school kids in America go on a shooting spree in their schools does not mean that its in American Culture..or is it?"

Perhaps school shootings (and particularly Columbine) fit that cultural generalization because we have a portion of the country radically supportive of gun ownership mixed in with a school social culture that denigrates intelligence and individuality. Fix either and the problem goes away.


another viewpoint
Posted 25 January 2007 at 07:14 am

...if you can't prove you're not dead, maybe persons need to take a lesson from Hollywood. They figured out how to prove the existence of an individual very easily.

Go back and watch Miracle on 34th Street...plays every year around holiday time. The argument that was used to prove that Kris Kringle really exists is that he received mail that was addressed to him. And since the post office has to deliver the mail and since the post office was a government agency, then the government was basically acknowledging his very being.

Otherwise, check the newspaper obituaries everyday...if you're name isn't list, you must NOT be dead.


redinc07
Posted 25 January 2007 at 08:42 am

62nd!!!!!!!!!!!


davidmcw
Posted 25 January 2007 at 10:22 am

So being alive and trying to prove you are not dead is obviously tricky. Now, being dead and having to prove that you are not alive, to the world's biggest bureaucracy, I'm thinking, could be very much trickier.


Xoebe
Posted 25 January 2007 at 10:37 am

Best. DI. thread. ever.

Oh, and a good article, by the way! Nice to read some DI stuff that is not about science or technology - though of course, I love those as well.


goodwindman
Posted 25 January 2007 at 11:22 am

I really did like this article, though at first i though he was going to be talking about the people who do exhibit zombie-like characteristics due to a certain type of poison that virtually kills you, but later you come back with hardly any cognitive brain functioning.

About the First post "situation", I really never minded it. I just scroll past it and go on with my life. It would make much more sense if they at least posted a full comment in the posting with their "first post" exclamation, but once again I can always just scroll past it and go on with my life to read what people really had to say.


another viewpoint
Posted 25 January 2007 at 11:56 am

goodwindman said: "...exhibit zombie-like characteristics due to a certain type of poison that virtually kills you, but later you come back with hardly any cognitive brain functioning. "

Once again, something running rampant in various circles in Washington, DC and many corporate American Board rooms. Sure wish someone could find an antidote for such poison before things REALLY get out of hand!


SparkyTWP
Posted 25 January 2007 at 12:04 pm

As someone who works with lots of Indians, I've heard many stories about India.

To do anything government-related in India requires a bride. For example, it is now beneficial to be of a lower caste (They have an affirmative action type program there for the lower castes). They have reservations at schools and whatnot. Most people from the higher castes just go to the registration office and pay the guy to make a new certificate saying you're from a lower caste.

Police will frequently pull you over for something minor to purposely get a bride. The government doesn't really have any control over anything in day to day life. Also, the legal system (At least the civil one) is pretty much useless. Lawsuits can last decades. Yet somehow, the whole country keeps running just fine. The guy in the article would've probably been better off bribing the official to cancel his death certificate.

All this may just be in the one region they're from, but they made it seem like it was pretty much standard fare all across the country.


senorstu
Posted 25 January 2007 at 12:32 pm

From the looks of his photo, it appears that Lal Bihari the Translucent had travelled back in time (perhaps as part of an elaborate property tax evasion scheme), only to inadverantly seduce his own mother and jeopardize his own existence.

If this is the case, his uncle had every right to nick the land.


SparkyTWP
Posted 25 January 2007 at 12:33 pm

I also have a suggestion to the admins.

A better comment system where there can be multiple threads per topic (Kind of like slashdot) would be useful. Many of the off-topic comments could then be on their own thread and you don't have to go through them if you don't want to.

Just my opinion though.


brienhopkins
Posted 25 January 2007 at 01:08 pm

He should have taken out a life insurance policy and then cleaned up.


telkontar
Posted 25 January 2007 at 01:20 pm

Identity theft is pervasive worldwide.

While we decry theft and corruption at US institutions, I think we are still better off than the bribe-centric civilizations in most other places. I think that corruption is still more often the exception (and not the rule) for officials in the US. Still, one case is one too many.

Regarding the official Indian response to the walking corpse: How could they determine that he was the original Lal Bihari (without cooperation from the official issuing the fraudulent certificate)? Identity theft goes both ways. Without good records, it would be extremely difficult to prove that you are the true Lal Bihari. There may have been no 6th-grade class picture to show he was the original LB.

Doggone interesting -- the story of identity fraud is old, but I did not imagine it was so common anywhere. Maybe I could bribe an Indian official and make myself a Rajah.


pEhrlich
Posted 25 January 2007 at 02:25 pm

SparkyTWP said: "I also have a suggestion to the admins.

A better comment system where there can be multiple threads per topic (Kind of like slashdot) would be useful. Many of the off-topic comments could then be on their own thread and you don't have to go through them if you don't want to.

Just my opinion though."

The problem then being that you cannot simply scroll to the bottom, and read the latest comments. (Of course, I'm sure there are creative solutions to that as well.)


Silverhill
Posted 25 January 2007 at 04:49 pm

SparkyTWP said: "To do anything government-related in India requires a bride. ... Police will frequently pull you over for something minor to purposely get a bride."

So, an Indian woman must either do nothing government-related or else marry another woman? And the police are striving to marry, but have a hard time of it? [grin] (I know you really meant "bribe", SparkyTWP....)


gopalan.evr
Posted 25 January 2007 at 06:37 pm

i am an indian, and serving in govt too. the q is: why not kill someone straightaway rather than getting a death certificate?

the a is:
1. it is much cheaper and easier. with luck, you can arrange a death certificate and a land transfer for less than $30!
2. under the indian law one cannot inherit from someone he/she has killed.


Aero
Posted 25 January 2007 at 11:03 pm

This was a very good article. However, anyways, those of you who dislike the firsts, just skip it. You can simply ignore the first comment if you want. And however, this topic is getting off subject, so lets get back to it. And yes I have posted a comment first but I did not say first, I just commented about the story. And 50-50, banning people for just posting first is absurd. That, I will say is outright stupid. Just get an alternative and you will be much better off. And the reason why people probaly dont kill them instead of just making them legally dead is that A. Perhaps guilt, or B. It would probaly cost more I think.

This was a really interesting article...


Dave Group
Posted 26 January 2007 at 11:35 am

Dr. Evil said: ";D"


i find it amusing u being 32 and still living with your mother"

*ahem* This was meant as a satirical swipe at those who post "First!" I think the little emoticon (which you took for a signature) should have given it away.


frenchsnake
Posted 26 January 2007 at 01:30 pm

gopalan.evr said: "i am an indian, and serving in govt too. the q is: why not kill someone straightaway rather than getting a death certificate?

the a is:

1. it is much cheaper and easier. with luck, you can arrange a death certificate and a land transfer for less than $30!

2. under the indian law one cannot inherit from someone he/she has killed."

That's interesting... Your second point doesn't entirely address my original comment, though. If the police run on bribes like everyone else does, then if you killed a relative for their land and somehow got caught, couldn't you just bribe the police for about the same amount it would cost to buy a death certificate (no one would know...)? Or would that cost a lot more? (Forgive me for not knowing what the bribing standards are ;) )

And as for guilt, it seems to me that "killing" someone's identity is more cruel than actually killing them, because then they probably have to hang around and watch their home and family taken from them, and probably end up as beggars or killing themselves. Unless it's easier to forge a new identity in India than it would be in the US, but the article didn't make it seem that way...


Misfit
Posted 27 January 2007 at 01:49 am

A Proposal for the Solution to the Ongoing "First!" Battle:

Man I hope that this comment gets read by people visiting the recent comments section, as I am going to offer a solution to the battle of "First!" once and for all!!

My solution is this:

For anyone who is AGAINST the "First" commenters, they must fulfill two requirements in order for it to be generally agreed amongst the DI members that shouting "First!" when you are indeed first, is unacceptable.

1.) You must submit an argument opposing those who choose to publicly declare their "Firstness"

2.) That argument must take up less or equal space than is taken up by the word "First!" (exclamation point will be included in this given space)

This proposal is submitted to the people of DI mainly because the most commonly used reason for harboring opposition towards "firstees" is that their exclamations are a waste of space. Whereas I have come to realize that the very arguments opposing "First!" often take up several tens of times more space than "First!" itself actually does. Therefore, I propose that someone should come up with a way to articulate their opposition towards "First!" in a space less than or equal to six letters in length.

As for the other reasons for opposing "First!" such as its lack of relevancy or maturity... Many irrelevant comments slip through the cracks just fine, and the topic of maturity can be argued until the end of time.

Secret Ninja said: "... My reasoning was why comment on the lack of relevance, as that itself is not relevant. But as long as others started the conversation, I vote that you all stop."

Well spoken, Secret Ninja.

While I understand that this will never be an "official" proposal/agreement, I encourage anyone who reads this to reply with an opinion regarding the fairness of its terms.

By the way, INCREDIBLY DI, Master Matlack!! Identity is truly one of the most universal concepts in the... universe!


lfsmith
Posted 27 January 2007 at 07:37 am

Dear Misfit, here is the argument that meets both requirements:

dumb!


Gerry Matlack
Posted 27 January 2007 at 01:19 pm

Misfit: Thank you for the kind praise, it gives me a goal to keep my future articles as DI as this one for everyones entertainment.

I'm just pleased as punch to be here, and that's puch with the "good stuff" added!


gopalan.evr
Posted 27 January 2007 at 08:05 pm

to frenchsnake:

getting away with murder is very difficult. in india, murder cases in the countryside are easily solved, as there will be always some eyewitnesses around. again, a murder involves at least three branches of govt officials: police, doctors and the land administration (called revenue). it is not always possible to bribe all the way. whereas a death certificate is easily obtained, and a land transfer is only slightly more diffficult.
about identity theft, in indian countryside, one is seldom called upon to prove his/her identity. within the village, and in the nearby small town, nobody would ask for one's identity for any purpose. in spite of india's huge population, in the countryside, and among the poorer people, practically everyone knows everyone else in the neighbourhood, including vagabonds and all. all other services would be delivered to a certified dead person, except the lost property. the very fact lal bihari was able to live for so many years after losing his identity proves that loss of identity is not a big handicap. "losing yourself in the crowd" takes a whole new meaning!


frenchsnake
Posted 28 January 2007 at 09:37 am

I see... so it really is more practical. Thank you for clearing that up, gopalan.


Wolfie
Posted 29 January 2007 at 05:53 am

Must make Indian divorce cases damn interesting.

"Mr xxxx I am giving your wife everything you own" says the Judge.
" You can't because shes dead and I have the certificate to prove it!!" says Mr xxxx


misanthrope
Posted 29 January 2007 at 06:26 am

lfsmith said: "Dear Misfit, here is the argument that meets both requirements:

dumb!"

Excellent job!


gopalan.evr
Posted 29 January 2007 at 07:28 pm

to wolfie:

your comment brings to my mind another case near Delhi, in which the husband was convicted of killing his wife but let out after a brief imprisonment for want of evidence; he was all the time protesting his innocence. one day he found his wife, still living and having an affair with one of his kinsmen. now the police is having tough time preventing him from killing her! and of course he could not be punished if he does it! i wish someone in 'damn interesting' would take it up


gopalan.evr
Posted 29 January 2007 at 07:29 pm

i meant, writing an article on the above topic, not killing that woman! sorry for the funny language.


Gerry Matlack
Posted 02 February 2007 at 12:30 pm

Don't worry gopalan, I don't think that anyone here really thought you meant for one of us to knock the lady off.

I would like to point out that India is not the only country in the world that this occurs in, as demonstrated in Malaga, Spain, in the case of Maria Antonia Calvo. She was declared dead 15 years ago by her brother because of an inheiritance dispute, and she found out about it 6 years later when she received a court summons to verify her status (they send a legal summons to dead people?)! It took 8 years for her to be declared alive so that she could legally marry her fiance.
The story is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4719708.stm


iq_two
Posted 07 February 2007 at 06:31 pm

Actually I read an article in the newspaper here in the U.S. (California) about a guy who tried to get a passport and found out he was dead.

As for this:

gopalan.evr said: "to wolfie:
your comment brings to my mind another case near Delhi, in which the husband was convicted of killing his wife but let out after a brief imprisonment for want of evidence; he was all the time protesting his innocence. one day he found his wife, still living and having an affair with one of his kinsmen. now the police is having tough time preventing him from killing her! and of course he could not be punished if he does it! i wish someone in 'damn interesting' would take it up"

Doesn't double jeopardy only apply to the same crime? I think if he was convicted of killing his wife, then got out and killed her, it would be a seperate crime. Since it happened after he was convicted. For example, if someone was convicted of stealing something, whether or not they had, they would still be able to be tried if they stole it agan after getting out of prison. I'm not thatsure, it would be an interesting topic to research. I agree that this would make a good found article.


iq_two
Posted 09 February 2007 at 09:39 pm

Oh, I just thought of something else: couldn't he have had his uncle arrested for his murder?


gopalan.evr
Posted 10 February 2007 at 07:03 pm

iq_two said: "Actually I read an article in the newspaper here in the U.S. (California) about a guy who tried to get a passport and found out he was dead.


As for this:

Doesn't double jeopardy only apply to the same crime? I think if he was convicted of killing his wife, then got out and killed her, it would be a seperate crime. Since it happened after he was convicted. For example, if someone was convicted of stealing something, whether or not they had, they would still be able to be tried if they stole it agan after getting out of prison. I'm not thatsure, it would be an interesting topic to research. I agree that this would make a good found article."

about double jeopardy: the idea is that a person should be punished for a crime only once. in this case, the crime is 'murdering mrs x', for which he was tried, convicted and punished. now, he cannot be tried again for 'murdering mrs x', even if he actually does murder x later on. but he could be tried again if he had not been convicted first time and let off; in fact the indian penal code specifically provides that if someone is convicted and sentenced to death due to a witness' false testimony, and executed, that witness SHALL BE punished with death! though i do not know any such cases so far.


grumpygeezer
Posted 16 February 2007 at 02:40 pm

I sure enjoy all the fascinating articles here and look forward to visiting this site every chance I get. I would just like to make a personal comment to Alan (website founder & developer) to please stop making those regular excuses being posted with each article that has been previously displayed. I for one have not read all the articles since the onset of Damn Interesting and just because they might not be "current" does not make them any less interesting and enjoyable to read. It's beginning to sound like you're suffering from a major insecurity problem, and I am sure all the other readers along with myself are very much aware that you are providing us with an excellent website and doing the best you possibly can to keep it fresh and up-to-date.


Atomizer
Posted 26 May 2008 at 05:18 pm

"I'm not dead yet!"

"You're not fooling anyone; you'll be stone dead in a moment."

"I feel happy... I feel happy..."


zamaris
Posted 16 October 2008 at 04:44 pm

Dave Group said: "WOOHOO!! YEAH!! BOO-YAH!!

Everybody bow down before my superior typing skil;ls!! By being first, I have PROVEN that I am Lord and Master over all other posters, including those who have something intelllignet to say. One day my name will rank with those of Bill Gates and other computer greats of all history!! I would have been the first post on the previous entry, but I had to go all the way down to the kitchen to get my Hot Pockets out of the microwave, all because my stupid mom wont let me keep a microwave in my room. Plus shes always screaming at me to get a job. I know this isn't the kind of stuff that would look good on a resume, but hell people live to be a hundred or so these days, so I've got plenty of time to kick-start my career whenever I want to, cause I'm like thirty-two right now, okay? You gotta have priorities, right?, and right now mine is sitting at the computer twenty-four hours a day proving with just one little word how superior I am to those who take their time to form actual thoughts before sending them out over the internet. I AM GOD!!!!!!

;D"

That made me laugh so hard, I had tea coming out my nose! I actually know someone like that! D&D is his life, he still lives at home at age 33, and his mother does his laundry. She doesn't clean his room only because he won't let her. He's someone who really is dead inside.


Bennito.bh
Posted 13 January 2009 at 10:50 am

I agree with Secret Ninja and Misfit. All this arguing against "First!" comments makes it sound like some posters here got their panties in a wad because they didn't find the article early enough to get the "First!" =)

I'm fairly new here, trying to back-read on all these cool articles. And as to what Grumpygeezer said, I agree....It isn't necessary to write a note in front of each re-post saying that it is. What matters is that the article is DI, which they always are. Keep up the good work!


Bennito.bh
Posted 13 January 2009 at 10:54 am

Last!


alex212
Posted 27 March 2009 at 12:13 pm

When I hear of India, my heart beats faster. I spent a lot of time there working on an Indian -Russian project. The first place I was to see was Mumbai. It was right in the middle of the Rain season. I can remember myself standing for five hours at the arrival gate at the airport. The people whom I expected to meet me did not show up. Later I found out they did not even know about my arrival. Soon an indian policeman approached and started inquiring what I was about to looking with a jaundiced eye at my old military bag. Only a few days before that a bomb went off in Delhi at a railway station taking 200 lives with it. The first thing that shocked me was a chaotic mass of three-wheeled motor vehicles which seemed to be moving more like bees inn a hive and the sounds of horns flowed like one endless river piercing my brain. The policeman put me on board of some japanese vehicle that looked like a dwarfed bus. It took me to the hotel. Now I was completely lost in a city with a 20-million population. I searched for telephone codes all day and I was able at last to find my men. They stayed in Belapur -a version of New-Mumbai. Now It only remained to find me by the name of the hotel I happened to stay in because the street it was located in had no proper name... The next episode I recollect is Delhi, the capital. I just bought myself a Honda motorbike and was testing it after my duties ended in the evenings. At first it seemed impossible to understand these new traffick "rules" especially when I found there were none. The road is glittering with taillights it is a new road and it is wonderful, I feel absolutely free. The next moment I hear the sound of brakes somewhere behind me, the speed is 95. A thump the road is somehow on my left side and I can see the road kerb approaching my head at the speed I never felt before. Another thump. I am concerned about my bike. I am pissed. A car lands on it's side some forty centimeters from me. I am standing on my feet examining the bike. I feel dizzy suddenly. I begin to realize that a part of my arm is gone the asfalt is like a grater with a red track on it some fifty meters long. A crowd is gathering. Time to get lost for good. I approach the car behind me, but the driver is blocked inside. His luck. He seems in a stupor still chewing some kind of a light drug. I am beginning to realize I had no helmet. The lights go out.
A hospital. MediCare. A nice place, though a little expensive for most indians.
Indian military force consists of two grounds - the first is Nuclear missiles. The second - a division of T-90s (a Russian 5th generation tank fires plasma embodied missiles instead of shells). Nothing else is needed, they say. Pakistan is simply scared.
Indians. What are they like? There is somehow more joyous energy in them than in any people I had met before. Some passion for life unknown to us. A many -coloured many-headed god with many friends like himself. And they talk to Him, they feed Him, so He is a real being.
They have got so many lives, they do not fear death. I saw many scenes like motorbike vs old crazy truck.
Once on a gunnery range a small armoured truck fell into the river. It sank fast. Everybody jumped to help the driver out. When they finally got him, he was full of indignation, he said: what the ***ck did you do it for, a new better life was coming....
And there is one more thing about them - a subtle scent, a forgotten knowledge of mighty Gods that once walked on that land. Even the the most dark and illiterate of them have it.
On the far side of this triangle is another megapolis -Haydarabad, a city with 80% - muslims population. And they live next door to Hinduists, Sikkhs, Parsees.. And nobody hears Allah calling them to wage a war on the kuffar.
Tibet, at last. It's natives are the most unfathomed beings of all. Some are 2.4 -2.3 meters tall. They seem to shine when they smile. In deed and not in name. Some himalayan mountain valleys are tremendously beautiful, but there is one but. People do not risk to walk there even in big groups with a native guide. Those who have returned either end in asylum or confine themselves to monasteries for the rest of their days. They report having seen devas and many other entities for which we have no proper name.


mnjtrana
Posted 28 July 2011 at 07:34 am

Dear alex212 ,
This happened to be the most bad and unlucky event for u in india.
I am frm india and doesnt believe it always happens lik that.If you by chance had any interaction with an indian people then u would have known how india is and how the people here are.
Shit Happens and it can happen in any country leave india one side.
The work culture and offcourse there is corruption and bribery but still we developing at a great pace comparatively higher to other developing countries.....


mnjtrana
Posted 28 July 2011 at 07:58 am

alex212 said: "When I hear of India, my heart beats faster. I spent a lot of time there working on an Indian -Russian project. The first place I was to see was Mumbai. It was right in the middle of the Rain season. I can remember myself standing for five hours at the arrival gate at the airport. The people whom I expected to meet me did not show up. Later I found out they did not even know about my arrival. Soon an indian policeman approached and started inquiring what I was about to looking with a jaundiced eye at my old military bag. Only a few days before that a bomb went off in Delhi at a railway station taking 200 lives with it. The first thing that shocked me was a chaotic mass of three-wheeled motor vehicles which seemed to be moving more like bees inn a hive and the sounds of horns flowed like one endless river piercing my brain. The policeman put me on board of some japanese vehicle that looked like a dwarfed bus. It took me to the hotel. Now I was completely lost in a city with a 20-million population. I searched for telephone codes all day and I was able at last to find my men. They stayed in Belapur -a version of New-Mumbai. Now It only remained to find me by the name of the hotel I happened to stay in because the street it was located in had no proper name… The next episode I recollect is Delhi, the capital. I just bought myself a Honda motorbike and was testing it after my duties ended in the evenings. At first it seemed impossible to understand these new traffick “rules” especially when I found there were none. The road is glittering with taillights it is a new road and it is wonderful, I feel absolutely free. The next moment I hear the sound of brakes somewhere behind me, the speed is 95. A thump the road is somehow on my left side and I can see the road kerb approaching my head at the speed I never felt before. Another thump. I am concerned about my bike. I am pissed. A car lands on it’s side some forty centimeters from me. I am standing on my feet examining the bike. I feel dizzy suddenly. I begin to realize that a part of my arm is gone the asfalt is like a grater with a red track on it some fifty meters long. A crowd is gathering. Time to get lost for good. I approach the car behind me, but the driver is blocked inside. His luck. He seems in a stupor still chewing some kind of a light drug. I am beginning to realize I had no helmet. The lights go out.A hospital. MediCare. A nice place, though a little expensive for most indians.Indian military force consists of two grounds – the first is Nuclear missiles. The second – a division of T-90s (a Russian 5th generation tank fires plasma embodied missiles instead of shells). Nothing else is needed, they say. Pakistan is simply scared.Indians. What are they like? There is somehow more joyous energy in them than in any people I had met before. Some passion for life unknown to us. A many -coloured many-headed god with many friends like himself. And they talk to Him, they feed Him, so He is a real being.They have got so many lives, they do not fear death. I saw many scenes like motorbike vs old crazy truck.Once on a gunnery range a small armoured truck fell into the river. It sank fast. Everybody jumped to help the driver out. When they finally got him, he was full of indignation, he said: what the ***ck did you do it for, a new better life was coming….And there is one more thing about them – a subtle scent, a forgotten knowledge of mighty Gods that once walked on that land. Even the the most dark and illiterate of them have it.On the far side of this triangle is another megapolis -Haydarabad, a city with 80% – muslims population. And they live next door to Hinduists, Sikkhs, Parsees.. And nobody hears Allah calling them to wage a war on the kuffar.Tibet, at last. It’s natives are the most unfathomed beings of all. Some are 2.4 -2.3 meters tall. They seem to shine when they smile. In deed and not in name. Some himalayan mountain valleys are tremendously beautiful, but there is one but. People do not risk to walk there even in big groups with a native guide. Those who have returned either end in asylum or confine themselves to monasteries for the rest of their days. They report having seen devas and many other entities for which we have no proper name."

alex212 ,
This happened to be the most bad and unlucky event for u in india.
I am frm india and doesnt believe it always happens lik that.If you by chance had any interaction with an indian people then u would have known how india is and how the people here are.
Shit Happens and it can happen in any country leave india aside.
The work culture and offcourse there is corruption and bribery but still we developing at a great pace comparatively higher to other developing countries…..
If you had been to russia and pakistan the condition is even worse..""You cann't predict what can happen to one's live in next moment due to terrorism and other un social events.

And how come u can say delhi doesnt have any traffice rules...I believe you just want to deframe india for d this unfortunate events and nothing else.


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