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Murga punishment

Murga (also spelled murgha) is a stress position used as a corporal punishment in parts of South Asia (such as Northern India Bangladesh and sometimes in Pakistan). It is used primarily in educational institutions. Occasionally, it is also used by the police as a punishment for petty crimes and eve teasing (sexual harassment), usually administered in public view.[1]

The word murga means rooster in Hindi and Urdu Language. The punished person takes a position resembling that of a rooster, by squatting and then looping the arms behind the knees and firmly holding the ears.[2][3] Having to hold the ears makes it especially painful. It can become very painful after a few minutes. Over the years, corporal punishment has been banned in schools in Pakistan and although caning is still frequent, the Murga punishment is now rarely, if ever, used.

Murga Punishment is usually applied on boys, although it is sometimes used on girls as well. One of the famous Pakistani singer Annie Khalid claimed that she was given this punishment by her husband while she was tortured. In one state of Indian Punjab, a girls' school principal was suspended when someone from the school leaked out pictures of girls punished with Murga on school grounds. The students also claimed that this sort of punishment was often practiced by the principal on the girls. In 2013, a student in Alwar died after being forced to contort her body as part of the 'murga' position.[4]


There are many variants of the Murga punishment. Some of them are:

Standing murga[edit]

Standing murga punishment is similar to remain sitting in the air without a chair. The punished person must remain as long as in sitting position looping the arms behind the knees and firmly holding the ears. In standing murga, the recipient of the punishment is required to position the buttocks as high as possible. This is the most intense and severe punishment, as it requires constantly working against gravity to keep the bottom raised, and therefore becomes extremely painful within a matter of minutes.

For an average person, muscle fatigue starts to set in within a couple of minutes of getting into the standing murgha position. Holding on even for a total of 2 minutes becomes very painful. As the punishment continues, it gets unbearable and legs start to tremble. It is nearly impossible to hold this position for 5 minutes or longer. That said, it is possible for a person to improve their ability to do this longer by practicing regularly.

Sitting murga[edit]

This is the default murgha position, i.e. if you tell someone to assume the murgha position, they go into the sitting position. In this position, the person is allowed to relax his/her bottom on the arms. The only requirement is to hold the ears by bringing the arms from behind the legs just as in standing murgha. Being able to rest the bottom on the arms makes this milder than standing murgha, and therefore, it can be done for much longer durations. Nevertheless, it is still a very severe punishment. The lower legs and arms start hurting pretty soon. The arms hurt as they are squashed between the upper and lower part of the legs, and the lower legs because it's a very awkward position. (In contrast, standing murgha is easier on the arms as they are not squished, but it is much tougher on the legs including the thighs as one constantly has to work against gravity to keep the butt lifted. Sitting murgha does not hurt the thighs much).

As the duration gets longer, the pain starts to get more unbearable. At some point, one may feel compelled to raise one's bottom to get some relief. However, that only brings temporary relief as keeping the buttocks raised is painful (see standing murgha section), so one soon returns to the lower position. That again brings only temporary relief and one again feels like going back to the raised position. In this way, one can end up oscillating between the two positions, not getting much relief either way.

All that said, being able to rest the buttocks on the arms means that the sitting murgha position it is doable for a much longer period compared to standing murgha, but is still very painful. For younger people in their teens and may be even early twenties, even an hour is not unrealistic. However, doing this for such a long duration serves as an extremely severe punishment and is therefore used rarely, and that too only for very serious offenses.

Combination of standing and sitting Murga[edit]

Sometimes, sitting and standing murga are combined in order to make the punishment both long and severe. One such combination is to make the person stay in standing murga almost throughout, but allow them to rest their bottom in the sitting murga position for half a minute or so from time to time. This makes it possible to increase the duration of the standing murga punishment.

Another combination is to start with standing murga for the first few minutes when the person is fresh, and then let them lower their bottom for a much longer sitting murga punishment. Yet another approach is to do the same, but have the last few minutes of the punishment in standing murga in order to end on a tougher note. Yet another combination is to switch between sitting and standing murga once every few minutes and have several such iterations.

Murga parade[edit]

In murgha parade, the person in addition to being in murga position, has to walk. It is almost impossible to walk in sitting murgha, so for all practical purpose it must be done in standing murgha. This can be extremely tiring for both legs, hands and back. Recall that standing murgha is very severe by itself. Add to it having to walk and it becomes really tough. It also hurts the ears because of irregular movements. For these reasons, an average person can only do this for a very short period, usually not more than a couple of minutes, and that too with a lot of difficulty and pain.

A variation of this punishment is to make someone walk under the sun which causes extreme discomfort and dehydration. It is however somewhat uncommon and considered highly inadvisable to do so due to the health risk involved.

Swaying murga[edit]

In this kind of punishment, the person is asked to move his buttocks from the higher position (as in Standing Murga) to lower (as in Sitting Murga) and vice versa every 5–6 seconds.This is a very severe form; the legs start trembling after about 40 sways and becomes unbearable after 70-75 sways.

Heels touching murga[edit]

This is a somewhat less common variation of murga punishment. In this the heels of the person should remain in contact. It can also be either sitting or standing. This is a very severe form of Murga, and is impossible to maintain for too long. As a result, the inevitable shorter duration of the punishment reduces the effect of the additional severity to some extent. Moreover, it can be tougher to monitor as the punisher has to keep an eye on the punishee's heels to make sure they are being kept together. Touching together of the heels does not bring any additional viewing pleasure to the watcher but the reduced duration naturally cuts short the 'entertainment.' For these reasons, heels touching murga is not very commonly used. If a severe punishment is intended and regular sitting murga is not enough, then standing murga is generally the preferred option rather than sitting murga with heels touching as it is much more interesting. Likewise, if the punisher wants to make the punishment tougher than regular standing murga, then a parade is a much more appealing option rather than heels touching standing murga.

Murga position at the punisher's feet[edit]

The punishee can be going into the murga position right in front of the punisher's feet. As the punishment becomes really painful, the punishee may feel like touching the feet to beg for mercy, except that it is not possible to do so without coming out of murga while the feet are on the floor. The punishee can end up just lightly having his/her head touch the lower leg of the punisher and beg for mercy (remember that their hands are not free as they are holding the ears). However, if the punisher is sitting with one leg crossed over the other, then his/her foot is off the ground, and it may be possible for the punishee to have her head touch that foot.

Another possibility is that the punisher can use the person in murga as a foot rest. However, this should generally be avoided or done very carefully (see murga riding section below) as it can cause injury.

Apart from touching the punisher's feet or getting close to touching them while in murga, the punishee can fall right at the punisher's feet after he/she is told to come out of the murga position in order to offer one final apology.

Uthak Baithak[edit]

This is a different punishment, and not a varient of murga punishment. In this kind of punishment, the person is asked to stand with feet and knees together. The person has to squat down and then stand back up completely. The person has to hold his/her ears. (Left hand should hold the right ear. The right hand should hold the left ear). This is repeated for dozens of times. This is a somewhat severe punishment as it can cause tiredness in the legs after 30 or 40 repetitions and can become unbearable after 50 or 60 times. This punishment is very common in Myanmar. In Myanmar, the most common cause is being late to school, not finishing homework and failing tests. Sometimes, if the person is not able to complete the number repetitions the teacher has told, the teacher would cane the student.

Murga riding[edit]

In this punishment, the person is made to carry another person on his back. A less intense variant is to put some weight (but not a whole person) on the back of the person in the murgha position.

In practice, apart from being very difficult, murgha riding or putting a weight on the murgha is very bad for the back and can even cause long-term damage. It is therefore highly inadvisable and should therefore never be done.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Srivastava, Arunima (June 29, 2006). "Public prosecution: Crime and instant punishment!". The Times of India. 
  2. ^ Sanchita Islam (14 June 2011). Gungi Blues. Chipmunkapublishing ltd. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-84747-259-5. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Madan Mohan Jha (1 September 2010). From Special To Inclusive Education In India: Case Studies Of Three Schools In Delhi. Pearson Education India. p. 51. ISBN 978-81-317-3217-5. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Student dies after teacher forces her to contort body, By Rajendra Sharma, TNN | Mar 20, 2013, 06.40 AM IST

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murga_punishment — Please support Wikipedia.
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203 news items

Firstpost (satire)

Firstpost (satire)
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 00:36:26 -0700

To balance corporate life with school life, the company has even introduced rules like making employees kneel down or undergo “Murga punishment” if they fail to meet deadlines. “If required, young executives will be asked to stand up on their chairs ...

indiatvnews.com (press release) (blog)

indiatvnews.com (press release) (blog)
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:19:02 -0800

Most of our (mine at least!) school time memories are flooded with punishments & detentions with studies fitting somewhere between here-n-there! Though corporal punishment has been termed illegal in India, but it is still more or less prevalent even today.

Times of India

Times of India
Wed, 27 May 2015 11:52:13 -0700

The story revolves around residents of a housing society who face common real life challenges. However, they find simple solutions and the underlying message is to keep a positive perspective in life.
Times of India
Sun, 08 Mar 2015 08:24:02 -0700

Jethalal wants to unearth the cash-for-admission scam going on in MK Gandhi College. He vows to bring out the truth and help those who don't get admission despite scoring well. Episode - 1426 01:00 PM - 01:30 PM, 07 Jul Set Alert. Mr. Iyer is happy to ...
Hindustan Times
Thu, 13 Dec 2012 11:06:02 -0800

Vietnamese citizen, Neil Thomson, being punished on Daurala police station premises in Meerut. HT photo. Share. Vietnamese atithi (guest) Neil Thomson's brush with 'Incredible India' began on a humiliating note on Wednesday in UP after police made him ...

Firstpost (satire)

Firstpost (satire)
Sun, 22 Dec 2013 02:26:39 -0800

In case any AAP MLA is found violating rules set by the high command, they will have to face serious actions like 'kneel down' or 'murga punishment' at Jantar Mantar. The final punishment will be decided through SMS poll. Sources say that Congress MLAs ...
The Hindu
Sat, 04 Feb 2012 11:07:22 -0800

On being discharged from the hospital, my wife's paternal aunt came over to stay with us for a few days. She was convalescing and had to be closely attended to, but she had her wits about her and could converse happily if some one did! My wife became ...

Firstpost (satire)

Firstpost (satire)
Mon, 30 Sep 2013 05:45:00 -0700

Sources say that Dr. Singh insisted that Nawaz also goes through the Murga punishment, but a peaceful resolution was adopted soon after. The incident has sent shockwaves back home as the Congress party is not sure if Manmohan Singh should be ...

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