Heaven's gonna burn your eyes
15th April 2005
Dancing and singing eunuchs are knocking on doors in the Indian city of Patna in a bid to embarrass shopkeepers into paying their taxes.
The new shock strategy, in which sari-clad and heavily made up eunuchs accompany officials on their rounds of crowded shopping areas in a country notorious for tax evasion and non-payment, has been declared a success.
"Some paid in cash, while others quickly wrote cheques. The shock therapy, which we plan to use sparingly, was a grand success," Atul Prasad, a top official in impoverished Bihar state, of which Patna is the capital, said.
The novel tax-collection technique kicked off on Wednesday, with boisterous eunuchs loudly demanding that mortified shopkeepers pay up - to the bemusement of scores of onlookers.
Taxmen pocketed 425,000 rupees ($NZ14,297) from defaulters in a few hours. "People may be afraid of them, but they are very much part of society and are useful," Prasad said, adding that authorities would pay the eunuchs a four percent commission on the total tax collected.
Eunuchs are still common in India, where they live in closed-knit communities. Some are castrated men but others are transexuals and hermaphrodites who have been ostracised by their families.
Also known as hijras, they are widely feared and move around towns and cities in groups and demand money on occasions such as marriage or the birth of a child. They are believed to have occult powers.
Those unwilling to pay sometimes face lewd dances, lifted saris, and abuse.
Quite a novel way to enforce tax collection, and it does seem to work well, as well as tackling an important issue in India. Hopefully too, it will help reduce corruption in officials (it's hard to be stealing taxes when you're surrounded by dancing eunuchs and a large crowd), and generally improve relations between government and locals.
I wouldn't mind seeing it introduced in the West too, it would certainly make the subject of taxes less reviled.
Lord of the Peach
19th April 2004
I have a pair of ear muffs, so annoying singing won't get me to pay up. A $20 pair of ear muffs costs alot less than taxes;) And all you have to do is close your door to aviod seeing the dances.
Insted of trying differnet ways of collecting taxes, reform the taxes themselves.
Italicised no more
14th August 2004
Yes, but not all your customers would have earmuffs, and having eunuchs outside your shop is bound to ward off some customers. Quite an interesting method. :lol:
Melts in your hand
6th February 2003
Hooooly shit, this is the funniest thing I've seen all day! xD