Daily superstition: Indian woman marries a d*g

September 4, 2014 • 2:23 pm

From the Torygraph’s “Pictures of the Day” section, via reader Roo:

An 18-year-old Indian girl has married a stray dog as a part of a tribal ritual designed to ward off an evil spell. Village elders hastily organised the wedding between Mangli Munda and the canine as the teenager is believed to be bringing bad luck to her community in a remote village in Jharkhand state. Mangli’s father Sri Amnmunda agreed and even found a stray dog named Sheru as a match for his daughter. And while Mangli was a hesitant bride, she believes that the ceremony will help ensure that her future human husband will have a long life.Picture: Barcroft India.


A cat would have made a better husband. No walkies required.  If you want verification, the story is also at PuffHo, with the addition that the marriage isn’t really legally binding, so she can also have a human husband.

Oh, and there’s a video:

I’m sure there are many puns here, but I’ll leave that up to the readers—and keep ’em clean!

127 thoughts on “Daily superstition: Indian woman marries a d*g

    1. Probably something like “just because people call you a dog doesn’t mean you have to marry one.” According to the Chinese mystics I’m a dog but I married a tiger, so I guess my wife can be accused of marrying a dog as well.

    1. I don’t know… my daughter’s d*g watches sports and many other shows. She (the d*g) especially watches for ads to come on with animals in them. Then she goes bananas, so to speak.

      1. If the dog goes bananas, how come there are still monkeys. huh? huh?

        Sorry – channelling a creationist. I’ll go and read something interesting ; should cure me.

          1. One of
            * bite him ;
            * copulate with his leg ;
            * sniff his crotch, leaving a noticeably wet patch ;
            * all of the above.
            Dogs do have their uses. Even outside certain Oriental cuisines.
            (I’m taking it that “Ray Comfort” is some god squaddy. The name rings a bell from the Dark Side, but I can’t be bothered to look. It’s a name made for Faith Healing Fraud.

          2. Whaat? You don’t know Ray Comfort’s Argument From Design: bananas, therefore God.

          3. I recognise the name but have never considered him worth the effort of remembering what sort of drivel he spouts. If it’s drivel he spouts. I’ve got his name filed under “drivel”, but also under “unimportant enough to not need any further notes.”

          4. I don’t know. Anecdotal evidence suggests many people have called out his name over the years during private moments. According to hearsay evidence, Jesus was quite good in the sack…

      1. and drinking out of the toilet before giving you a nice big wet kiss. At least the cat only wipes his nose on me and sticks his claws in my leg.

  1. Said pooch of Mangli Munda,
    To villagers who shunned her,
    Don’t harry her,
    I’ll marry her,
    ‘Though I’m a bitch, by thunder.


    1. From what I can see, that’s no bitch. More of a Son of a Bitch.

      Artistic license because of scansion, I presume.

  2. The part that goes something like, “my evil spell will be transferred to the dog” makes me worry a bit for the p**ch, tho, despite the “pet” claim at the end…

    1. Yeah I don’t think they are very nice to that pooch and if I were him I’d beat it. Beat it like Petey!

        1. Don’t joke about null. A null pointer in the wrong place could bring down the Internet.

          Note to self: stop making programming references while enjoying a beverage on the ride home on the evil liberal mass transit system and then italicizing engineering jargon.


          1. Oh, my.

            …what’s more a bit disturbing is that that’s one rap pretty much all of whose references I instantly got. What’s a bit more disturbing is that I also thought of the references as something a youngster would consider hip. Athlons and bash are the new kids on the block….


          2. Funnily enough, right now in one terminal window I’m getting a kernel message “Dazed and confused, but trying to continue”. (Yes it’s genuine). Debian’s still working though…

          3. I hasten to add, no I didn’t try that string in Bash, I’m not as stupid as I look…

  3. Her name actually is an indication of how she’s supposed to be bad luck. Mangal is mars. She’s probably named Mangli because she was born so, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangal_Dosha I have no idea what any of this means). The marriage to the dog is to pass the dosha on to the dog and then she can probably get married to some other guy.
    A friend of mine, who was astrologically incompatible with her husband had to get married to Vishnu first (I think he got married to Lakshmi), and then they were married. Fortunately she has a great sense of humor about all this and came up with this great line pointing out how Astrology claims to predict everything based on just 2 parameters.

  4. The video doesn’t mention it so this is just an educated guess. The girl’s name is “Mangli” which comes from the name of the planet Mars or “Mangal” in Hindi (an many other Indian languages). It is a common superstition in India that having Mars in a particular position or location in your horoscope is inauspicious. Both men and women (but mostly women) who have this are called “Mangli” and they find it hard to find a bride/groom because checking horoscopes is still widely prevalent and “Mangli” people are considered bad luck for their spouses. Matrimonial advertisements routinely state that they won’t accept Mangli brides/grooms as prospects. The common workaround varies from region to region. In some cases I have even heard of people married to a tree to cast of the curse. It was rumored that the famous Indian actress and former ‘Miss World’ Aishwarya Rai married a tree before marrying her current husband Abhishek Bachhan.

    It is depressing to see the influence of these superstitions not just among the poor and illiterate but also among the so called “educated” populace. We have sent a spacecraft to orbit the damned planet. We have rovers digging around on it for years on end now. Yet they continue to believe that it has an evil influence!

    1. Thanks to you and Subramanya for the elucidation. This raises the question, though–why then would anyone give their child this name?

      1. Somewhat paradoxically, the word Mangal (pronounced /məŋgəl/) also means “welfare”, “bliss” etc. in colloquial Hindi, as well as in many other North Indian languages. The name is probably derived from this usage (which is far more popular than the astrological one pointed out by Subramanyam and Sameer, at least in North India).

        Also, as far as I knew, this farce about “mangliks”, as far as I know, is completely gender-neutral: men have to undergo the same kind of rituals as women.

        1. Ah. And the participants here seemed to actually be having fun. If longstanding religious customs evolve into harmless rituals like this one (excuse for a party?), that’s a great outcome.

          1. whether the rituals are harmless or not depends on the individual people. It can become harmful in certain cases. For example, the dowry (strictly illegal) may become very high if the girl has astrological problems.

          2. Yes, well, I was imagining a continuum from zealous believers with dangerous customs to bemused liberal adherents who are merely enjoying lingering cultural rituals. PS’s remark about this particular superstition being gender neutral led me to think about this event that way…(Although I’m aware of other customs that are supposedly gender-neutral when in fact they’re far more punishing for females than males.)

            The whole dowry business is scary indeed.

    2. Interesting.

      This reminds me of the research by the historian-genius E.P. Thompson in, I think, ‘Customs in Common’ in which he explained the phenomenon of wife-sales in England, the last of which occurred as late as the 1890s if memory serves.

      The spectacle was well-attested and hitherto inexplicable, especially as the slave trade had been criminalized at the beginning of the century. Thompson worked out that it was a form of mob sanction for adultery, usually on the part of the woman.

      The village would get together on market day and along with the sale of pigs, domestic stock etc., the woman would be led, often by a rope tethered round her neck, to the market square. There her cuckolded husband would act as auctioneer and the boyfriend would bid the price for the woman. In a sort of communal ritualized divorce, beyond the authority of state and church, but in the ancient market-place of the exchange of goods of services. Marriage as economic and anarchistic entity: woman as subordinate in that unit.

      At the end of the proceedings, the woman would leave with her new ‘husband’. Wife-sales, condemned by civic society, but a sort of rough, rustic justice.


      1. Astrology is a virus that has a crazy tight hold in India, and people at all strata of society with all levels of education are very serious believers. A fair amount Indian Math was developed just to help with astrological calculations , (this includes fairly involved stuff such as series approximations to trigonometric functions). This also lets many Indians (hindus primarily) to go around shouting that Astrology is a science. The education minister when I was in High School (A PhD in physics , no less) actually proposed a BSc in astrology.

        1. Jeeze, you had me all excited that at least good math was developed from the woo but then I was sad at the insistence that astrology be considered a science.

          1. Not just in India. IIRC, much of the work of Tycho Brahe, foremost astronomer of his century, was funded by wealthy patrons so his data could be used to improve astrological predictions. It was also used by Tycho’s assistant Kepler to discover that orbits were elliptical which was an essential bit of information to put the heliocentric theory on a firm foundation.

          2. Sagan called Kepler the last “scientific astrologer” (in the sense before hand one might be excused for thinking astrology was a protoscience) and the first astrophysicist.

        2. I don’t think it is entirely true that “A fair amount Indian Math was developed just to help with astrological calculations”. Perhaps the most important (at least in terms of historical, though perhaps not mathematical value) mathematical text of medieval India is the Aryabhatiya written by Aryabhata in c. 500 CE, presumably at the ripe old age of twenty-three.*

          In his magnum opus written in metrical Sanskrit verses Aryabhata described his own place value notation for numbers, gave one of the first table of sines (the word sine comes from a fascinating mistranslation, via Arabic and Latin, of his term for the function), provided an approximation for pi that was to remain the best for the next few centuries, gave the right cause of eclipses while also describing the notion of time zones (he of course now, like most ancient mathematicians, that the Earth was spherical), even possibly hinted at heliocentrism, and showed applications of his work to time-keeping and calendar construction.

          As you might have noticed, what was conspicuously absent from all of this is what we would today call astrology. It seems that at least at Aryabhata’s time, the prime application of mathematics in India was time-keeping, and not astrology.

          However, all that apparently changed over the next few centuries. Bhaskara, for example, who lived five centruies after Aryabhata, was by all accounts a more accomplished mathematician (his work on continued fractions was only rediscovered in Europe a further four centuries later by the great Euler, and he also made advances in differential calculus, among other things) was also apparently more superstitious. The Persian traveler Al-Biruni has described how these later mathematicians continued to use Aryabhata’s (correct) model of the eclipses, while still castigating Aryabhata for daring to give a model not consistent with religious mythology. It seems also that by this time, astrology had already taken much firmer roots in India, and probably had even come to dominate astronomy.

          Part of the clamor of the “astrology is science” also seems to come from their hilarious ignorance of the culture they claim to defend. The word jyotisha, which traditionally stood for the application of astronomy to time-keeping, was slowly co-opted
          as a label for phalit jyotish, or astrology. But, the brigade just sees the word: oh look, many of the old books on jyotish are all pure mathematics, so what we call jyotish today must be too!

  5. You know some dumb ass is going to proclaim, “see this is what happens when you allow gay marriage!”

    Honestly though, the dog looks more upset than the bride. I actually feel sad for the dog because of his sad face.

  6. I’ve been married to lots of dawgs. Each marriage was happy beyond belief. My current spouse is always happy to see me, is never, never critical and never, never complains about my cold feet. My friends view these marriages with amused smirks.
    The two cats in my life were not amused.

  7. As long as they have the [idiotic] red dot on their head, it is just fine.

    In fact, marry a fucking red dot and be done with it.

  8. It’s just incredibly sad, what human beings do as the result of ignorance and the superstition to which it gives rise- I suppose we can be grateful that at least they didn’t burn her as a witch!

  9. Can anyone offer an explanation for the relative difference in skin tone between her and everyone else? No, not including the dog.

    Also google pulled up the NY Post headline which was: “A tail of love!”

    1. I guess her parents aren’t in the frame. India has the most diverse range of skin colors that I’d known of and history suggests it was like that long before the British occupation, so I wouldn’t even notice the bride had lighter skin if you hadn’t pointed it out.

      1. “I guess her parents aren’t in the frame.”

        Not quite sure what that means? Both parents are in the video and they’re both darker than Mangli, her father considerably so. Not sure whether people get darker with age due to sun exposure.

    2. She probably stays out of the sun. Being light skinned is a big deal in India. I’m hoping she doesn’t use skin whiteners (as I slather on my fake tan because I totally fall for the Western idea of beauty while feeling bad for someone else).

      1. I’ve read that in Samoa a light skin was considered beautiful and girls were kept indoors as much as possible. Don’t know if it was the same in India.

        Obviously notions of beauty differ, I’m a sucker for a nice tan or a brown skin (says he looking at his ghastly pinkish-yellowish-beige-ish mottled hide commonly described as ‘white’ 😉

        1. Yes Asian and Southeast Asian cultures prefer women to be light skinned. As someone told how ugly she was for being light skinned and often by complete strangers in youth, I’m sensitive to skin colour and beauty. It is why I put on fake tan now.

  10. At first I was tempted to mock this situation, but then I thought about the news stories I’ve read in the last year about people, particularly children, being killed or maimed in Christian exorcisms. In the grand scheme of things, an elaborate ceremony to adopt a new pet is rather benign by comparison.

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