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Embarrassing the weather gods

by Bill Osler / July 25, 2009 11:34 PM PDT

From Reuters:
http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE56M3G020090723
Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plow parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.

Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state plowed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the plows.

"They (villagers) believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains," Upendra Kumar, a village council official, said from Bihar's remote Banke Bazaar town.


You have to wonder what the local men thought of the plowing.

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Need some good pictures...
by EdHannigan / July 26, 2009 12:08 AM PDT

to see if this looks like an effective technique.

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Not so sure I would want to.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 26, 2009 12:21 AM PDT

"They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the plows".

Hopefully, not naked?

Mark

PS, is Reuter's spelling of "plows" correct?

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Plow vs plough?
by Bill Osler / July 26, 2009 12:45 AM PDT

Are you used to seeing the word as 'plough'?

The usual American English spelling is 'plow' though I believe it is spelled differently in some other places.

US and UK: Two nations divided by a common language.

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Yep I did wonder about the US version.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 26, 2009 3:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Plow vs plough?

And I did see it as plough, UK spelling.

Mark

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You have to admit...
by EdHannigan / July 26, 2009 5:38 AM PDT

"Plow" makes a hell of a lot more sense than "plough".

I think I've mentioned that one of my earliest jobs was re-lettering American spellings in comic book reprints to British spellings. I'm convinced that the Brits just sprinkled in random vowels and reverse letter orders to make trouble (possibly an evil influence of the French). "Manoeuvre" was particularly troublesome; it's used a lot in comics.

At the end of each issue Spider-Man would haul the bad guys off to gaol! There is no rational accounting for that!

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I've always wondered ...
by Bill Osler / July 26, 2009 6:21 AM PDT
In reply to: You have to admit...

With some of those alternate spellings like 'gaol' or 'aluminium' or 'colour' ... do they SAY the word differently (aside from the charming accent) or do they say it more-or-less the same way we do?

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In the case of "aluminium", I believe they do...
by EdHannigan / July 26, 2009 6:30 AM PDT

the others, I don't think so.

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It is my understanding
by Diana Forum moderator / July 26, 2009 7:26 AM PDT

(from an English teacher) that universal literacy was the problem. When just a few people were literate, spelling tended to be changed to make things simpler (and more phonetic). When more people could read and write, the spellings tended to become cast in concrete.

Have no idea whether it's true or not.

Diana

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I don't doubt that it is true ...
by Bill Osler / July 26, 2009 9:19 AM PDT
In reply to: It is my understanding

I read somewhere that John Wycliffe spelled his name about 12 different ways at one time or another, and there is no doubt that he was a very well educated man.

I have also read that the tendency toward variant spellings was quite widespread up until the time of the printing press. Of course, there is considerable correlation between use of the printing press and increase in literacy.

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(NT) [chuckle!} :-)
by Angeline Booher / July 27, 2009 6:37 AM PDT

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