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It seems like every day, somebody in India is getting impaled by an iron rod (and living to tell the tale). The latest was a youngster who somehow managed to fall off the terrace of his grandparents' house while playing Holi (read: throwing water balloons and colored dye at unsuspecting bystanders). Before that it was a migrant worker. And I'm pretty sure there were a couple others before that, though I'm too lazy for the kind of mindless googling that it would require to find out.
Are Indians more impalement-prone? Or are there just more iron rods lying around? Maybe it has to do with the quick-and-dirty construction methods (rebar + concrete = building)?
It got me thinking. Indians DO die in weird ways.
The other day, two kids were mauled by stray dogs in one of Delhi's satellite towns, occasioning a mass bludgeoning of innocent canines — very reminiscent of the way various ethnic groups exact justice on one another.
Not long before that, I read that the leading cause of death for women is burning in "kitchen accidents" — apparently, sometimes husbands and mothers-in-law accidentally tie up women and set them on fire.
But it turns out that all these things aren't really so common. According to statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (I believe — I wrote this down but didn't note the source), the leading causes of "unnatural" death are as follows:
Suicide — 336 per day
Road accidents — 314 per day (including impalings)
Drowning — 74 per day
Poisoning — 70 per day
Fire — 57 per day (mostly women?)
Falls — 29 per day (including impalings)
Electrocution — 22 per day
Lightning — 8 per day
Guns — 6 per day
Terrorism — 2 per day
At first I thought those numbers can't be right. But then I remembered: Most of the impaling victims actually survive.