They [the British Officers in 18th century India] had a clever way of enjoying practical jokes, and at the same time indulging their mercenary propensities. One of them would enter the premises of a Banya and pretend that he was shooting doves or sparrows. The horrified believer in metempsychosis would then come out, earnestly implore him to desist, and even offer him ” ready money.” He “drops in his hand a roupie or two to be gone,” says the narrator. There, reader, is a picture of the representatives of a high-minded nation drawn by one of themselves. Poor Civilians ! At least in your case necessity was the mother of invention.
So reading around the history of the British in early modern India I come across this.
In case you can’t parse it: As a funny joke and also a way to earn money British Officers would visit the houses of rich Indians and pretend to shoot birds outside and because Indians tend to believe in reincarnation they would pay the British to stop shooting their dead parents.
Hooray for imperialism!