Religious beliefs have consequences, and Hindus have not only sacred cows who slow traffic but revered monkeys who create mischief and mayhem with impunity.
Agence France Press reports that "Troupes of monkeys are out of control in India's northeast, stealing mobile phones and breaking into homes to steal soft drinks from refrigerators."
Our troupe of presidential candidates shines in comparison - but few of us see Fred Thompson as a god. It's different in India, where some see the thieving monkeys as incarnations of the beloved monkey god Hanuman, a faithful but playful aide to Rama in the Ramayana, which is one of the two great Indian epics.
One Indian lawmaker, Hiren Das, described the problem: "Monkeys are wreaking havoc in my constituency by taking away mobile phones, toothpastes, sipping coke after opening the refrigerators." He said the monkeys were "even slapping women who try to chase them."
Another legislator, Goneswar Das, said that more than 1,000 monkeys are "turning aggressive by the day." In November, according to Agence France Presse, two dozen people were hurt when monkeys rampaged through New Delhi - and during the previous month, the deputy mayor of Delhi died when he fell from his balcony during a monkey attack.
Hindu religious beliefs make it unlikely that a Bollywood studio will do a monkey-substituting remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but the raw material is there. (By the way, readers interested in the latest monkey news may want to go to monkeywire.org, "the premier source of monkey and ape news.")