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Taming the Monkey Menace

ISP Delhi Bureau 

With shrinking forest cover and loss of the natural habitat for animals, the national capital suffers from the menace of monkeys so much that there have been news reports of ministerial documents gone missing due to monkey attacks in office. Gul Khan is the monkey chaser of the city who is helped by his partner langur in helping offices stay safe from monkeys. 

Photo courtesy : Frontline/The Hindu

He inherited the business from his forefathers. He has also trained his siblings and around half-a-dozen cousins in the art of chasing away the monkeys. With changing times and rules, the cousins upskilled their talent and they are today the most sought after in the country. Belonging to the Qalandar community with their family sufi deity in Haryana, the group of monkey chasers earlier lived in a slum area in Paharganj area. 

Gul Khan, now a resident of Khajuri Khas area in East Delhi shot to fame when he was featured extensively during the Commonwealth Games. Those days he was in contract with the Press Trust of India in New Delhi along with his langur friend Kundan Singh and was doing a roaring business in chasing away the monkeys from the Parliament Street head office. His work came to a standstill when the use of langurs was banned in 2012. The business of the langurs chasing monkeys in India was no more viable. 

Photo courtesy: Frontline/The Hindu

With langurs no longer allowed to be accompanied, Gul Khan evolved his skills and they learned to simply mimic the langurs and produce their voice to scare away the monkeys. And it worked. Gul and his family members have been effective in justifying their job of protecting offices and people. They have been proved more productive than trained dogs, scare guns and electronic devices like high frequency sounds which have been tried by various institutions over this period of time. 

The 2012 ban on langurs made life difficult for Gul and his family. They were rendered jobless but they chose not to handover their tamed langurs to the zoo authorities instead they freed the apes to the nearby jungle area to let them live freely. Gul and his family members freed six langur companions to the jungle. They were named Mangal Singh, Mangali, Lajwanti, Kundan Singh, Pawan, and Anjali and the news of this made newspaper headlines. 

The high-pitched and sharp sounds produced by Gul Khan are enough these days to scare away monkeys from schools, offices and ministries in the New Delhi area. Gul Khan is in high demand. His services are sought by high offices including the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministries of Finance, Commerce and External Affairs, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and the NITI Aayog among others.

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