Archive for the ‘India’ Category

book now on a flight to nowhere

October 2, 2007

According to a Times Online article, Indian entrepreneur and retired Indian Airlines engineer Bahadur Chand Gupta has given a new twist to the concept of low-cost airlines. The passengers boarding his Airbus 300 in Delhi do not expect to go anywhere because it never takes off. All the passengers want is the chance to know what it is like to sit on a plane, listen to announcements and be waited on by stewardesses bustling up and down the aisle.

As on an ordinary aircraft, customers buckle themselves in and watch a safety demonstration. But when they look out of the windows, the landscape never changes. The airplane being used has only one wing and a large part of the tail is missing. Gupta’s regular announcements include, “We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence” and “We are about to begin our descent into Delhi.”

The plane has no lighting and the lavatories are out of order. The air-conditioning is powered by a generator. Even so, about 40 passengers turn up each Saturday to queue for boarding cards.

Passengers are looked after by a crew of six, including Gupta’s wife, who goes up and down the aisle with her drinks trolley, serving meals in airline trays.

Gupta bought the plane in 2003 from an insurance company. It was dismantled and then put together again (Well, almost). The Indian Airline logo on the fuselage has been replaced by the name Gupta.

Gupta charges about £2 each for passengers taking these “virtual journeys”. See for yourself!

the cruel life of a dancing bear

September 19, 2007

Did you know that every year in India and Pakistan, bear cubs — sloth bears, Asiatic black bears, and Himalayan brown bears — are taken from the wild and sold to be trained as dancing bears?

According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals or WSPA:

Numerous bears in India and in Pakistan are living out their days dragged from town to town by a rope or a chain, dancing for entertainment. Many of them are cubs no more than a year old.

Young cubs are taken by poachers either while their mother is away from the den or by killing her when she returns. Many cubs die from neglect and dehydration before they can be sold to the trainers. Those that do survive spend their first months tethered to a post, straining at the rope, desperate to get back to their mothers.

In captivity, a bear cub’s teeth are often removed or broken
to prevent their owner from being injured.

Dancing bears will have a hole pierced through their lips, nose or palate and a chain or rope attached.

Pulling on the rope causes the bear intense pain and is used to control them. Constant tugging prevents these raw holes from healing properly and dancing bears find no relief from painful infections.

Many bears also suffer from cataracts and go blind.

WSPA aims to:

  • Stop bear cubs from being captured in the wild by
    working with local communities, e.g. equip forest guards to protect bears in the wild and microchip each bear to prevent new bears from entering the existing dancing bear population
  • Rescue bear cubs being trained for bear dancing and
    care for them in a rehabilitation centre – and release
    captured bears back into the wild if possible
  • Help local people dependent on bear dancing to
    find new ways to earn a living