When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Movember Glory: Meet The Indian Man With A 14-Foot Moustache

Ram Singh's Guinness World Record mustache
Ram Singh's Guinness World Record mustache
Jasvinder Sehgal

JAIPUR — Having a full-bodied moustache has long been a symbol of masculinity for Indian men and once was also an indicator of caste status. So-called untouchables, excluded from India's caste system altogether, were not allowed to have a moustache at all, while lower castes had to grow theirs with the ends drooped down. Even now in modern India, there are annual competitions to judge who sports the best facial hair.

For the last hour, 61-year-old Ram Singh Chauhan has been massaging his moustache, which is how he spends at least two hours each day. "I use mustard oil, coconut oil, native butter and almond oil to massage it," he says. "Often I use olive oil too. The secret of such a long moustache is that I have never used soap to wash it. Instead I use mud."

He says his moustache is his prized possession. "I started growing my moustache when I was at school. I have never trimmed it."

In 2010, he was awarded a Guinness World Record for having the world's longest mustache. "At that time, it was 14 feet, or 4.29 meters, long," he says. "Today it's even longer, over 18 feet long." That's 5 and a half meters.

Ram's wife Asha Chauhan wanted him to cut it in the early years of their marriage, but now she shares his pride. "My husband's moustache has made me and my family famous," she says. "My children and I help him to maintain it. I help him massage wash it once a week. It is too long, so one of us has to hold the ends."

Ram's facial hair has even given him roles in both U.S. and Bollywood films — in the James Bond movie Octopussy, for example.

Today the couple is headed to an over-50 local competition to support other moustache lovers, an event in the city of Kota that's part of the Hindu Dussehra festival.

One of festival attendees is 58-year-old Prakash Ram, who has traveled more than 100 miles to compete. "I want to show people the strength of my moustache," he says, adding that he doesn't use any oil on it. "Today I will demonstrate it by lifting my 15-kilogram granddaughter with my moustache."

But today’s winner is instead 58-year-old Dev Karan Gurjar, whose moustache was judged superior apparently because of its thickness and dark color.

Despite these kinds of events, mustaches are actually less popular in India than they've traditionally been, in part because women increasingly prefer their men with clean-shaven upper lips. Bollywood stars have sported stubble rather than handlebar moustaches.

Dev Karan says he hopes that the next generation is equally passionate about moustaches, which he believes are a sign of well-being. "I always tell everyone to consult me for free to get advice for good health."

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

Keep reading...Show less

The latest