Meet real-life Mowgli, darling of monkeys, from village near Dharwad

Langurs, boy can't live without each other; 2-yr-old brokers peace between 2 troops

Meet real-life Mowgli, darling of monkeys, from village near Dharwad

The grey langurs or the Hanuman langurs, as they are called, are often not preferred as pets. While some 'madaris' tame monkeys and make them dance to their tunes, the langurs are usually not so friendly.

But langurs are soulmates for two-year-old Samarth Bangari of Allapur village in Kundagol taluk, Dharwad district. He literally eats, sleep and plays with the wild langurs.

The langurs, which are tree canopy dwellers, of this village too cannot live without him. If Samarth doesn't come to play with them at the break of dawn, the langurs go to his bed, remove his bedsheets, wake him up and 'drag' him to play.

It all started six-eight months ago, when the tiny Samarth, along with his mother, went to his maternal grandfather's village. To stop Samarth from crying, his grandmother gave him a piece of jowar roti to eat. He walked straight out of the house and offered the piece of roti to a langur that was resting on a tree along with its little one.

As Samarth babbled, the mother langur climbed down the tree and took the roti from him. Relatives were wonder-struck when the 18-month-old Samarth did not even flinch when eight to 10 langurs came to him, expecting him to offer something for them too. He stood there with a giggle on his face.

The friendship has only grown ever since. The toddler lifts the young ones in the troop or sometimes hits them. The monkeys have no issues with it.

"Earlier we used to fear for the safety of Samarth. The elders used to rush to his 'rescue,' but the langurs would attack us," said Mallikarjun, Samarth's father. Many times, the elders have sustained injuries or have been bitten by them in their 'rescue' mission. There have been instances where these animals have chased the elders for kilometers. But Samarth has not sustained even a scratch due to the langurs.

Family members tried several tricks to make sure Samarth was out of the reach of the langurs, but failed. They had taken Samarth to another village for a few days, but were forced to bring him back, as the langurs trooped there and ransacked everything in their wasy. They virtually searched every house in the village for Samarth. "The langurs stopped the ruckus only after he returned with them," said a villager.

The village residents said there used to be two groups of langurs in the nearby woods of Allapur and they had constant fights. This had resulted in losses to farmers and housewives, in terms of crops, utensils or eatables. But now, truce prevails as Samarth has played the perfect peacemaker.

The boy now has a fan following of sorts as people from far and wide are coming to Allapur, to see for themselves this strange but strong bond.

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