Now here’s some news tailor-made for a Friday: the Indian Army is developing a “chili grenade.” Packed with bhut jolokia peppers (aka the world’s hottest chili pepper), these special grenades will be used as non-lethal munition. Check your calendars, folks. It isn’t April 1st yet.
Native to the Assam region of northeastern India, the bhut jolokia pepper measures 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), nearly twice as hot as Red Savina (577,000). Your average jalapeno pepper is only 10,000 SHUs. In 2007, the Guinness Book of World Records certified the bhut jolokia pepper as the world’s hottest chili pepper. It’s worth noting that “bhut jolokia” translates as “ghost chile.” In other words, novice eaters beware! This stuff is dangerous.
According to R.B. Srivastava, a senior scientist and director of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), “The chilli grenade is a non-toxic weapon and when used would force a terrorist to come out of his hideouts as the smell is so pungent that it would literally choke them.” The effect would be similar to tear gas, though one would surmise, far more potent.
The Times of India mentioned “trials” being conducted. In the US Military, we put our recruits through the “gas chamber”, a room filled with chlorobenzylidene malonitrile (CS Gas), a non-lethal substance. The intent is to build confidence in their equipment (i.e. gas masks). Yet for many, this is the worst part of Basic Training. Now imagine being subjected to bhut jolokia Chili Grenades!