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Arundathi Roy on Bhimrao Ambedkar, Mohandas Gandhi and Caste

"Each represented very separate interest groups, and their battle unfolded in the heart of India’s national movement. What they said and did continues to have an immense bearing on contemporary politics. Their differences were (and remain) irreconcilable. Both are deeply loved and often deified by their followers. It pleases neither constituency to have the other’s story told, though the two are inextricably linked. Ambedkar was Gandhi’s most formidable adversary. He challenged him not just politically or intellectually, but also morally. To have excised Ambedkar from Gandhi’s story, which is the story we all grew up on, is a travesty. Equally, to ignore Gandhi while writing about Ambedkar is to do Ambedkar a disservice, because Gandhi loomed over Ambedkar’s world in myriad and un-wonderful ways." [more inside]
posted by all the versus on Mar 2, 2014 - 13 comments

 

The radical consequences of public conveniences

It drips on her head most days, says Champaben, but in the monsoon season it’s worse. In rain, worms multiply. Every day, nonetheless, she gets up and walks to her owners’ house, and there she picks up their excrement with her bare hands or a piece of tin, scrapes it into a basket, puts the basket on her head or shoulders, and carries it to the nearest waste dump.
A chapter from The Big Necessity, a book exploring the world of human waste: A Brief History of Class and Waste in India [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Feb 1, 2014 - 18 comments

Flexible posturing around religion

Does doing yoga make you a Hindu?
posted by Gyan on Nov 21, 2013 - 63 comments

Saturday Morning Hinduism

Introductions to major figures: Lord Shiva (8:55), Lord Ganesha (10:41), Lord Hanuman (11:25), and Lord Krishna (12:38). But it really doesn't end there. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Apr 20, 2013 - 17 comments

Can you sum up the Ramayana in an elevator pitch?

A Hipster’s Guide to Hinduism: Pixar veteran brings a modern twist to the gods and demons of Hindu mythology
posted by vidur on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

Walking the Ganges

The Age of Dissolution. "Walking the Ganga river, from holy bacterial stews to crystalline glaciers: Shiva, eclipses, and the IPCC." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 30, 2011 - 4 comments

"Have friends who are atheists? Agnostics? Into Wicca? Or New Age?"

Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist, Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Sid the Satanist, Mo the Muslim and Willow the Wiccan. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones, Halo 3, Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Panda and The X Files.
posted by jardinier on Apr 8, 2011 - 299 comments

"Don't you know the house, the Love God's marketplace of passions, the dusk where the dark clears and yet is not clear?" - Annamayya

Devadasi are women in southeastern India who were dedicated in their youth to the goddess Yellamma. When they reach puberty they are forced into sex work. Once they were women of high status, but now they've been relegated to the outskirts of society. The devadasi practice goes back a long way in history, and was once celebrated in poetry. When God Is a Customer, a collection of translated classical Telugu poems about the devadasi, is free to read online. Their modern life is described by William Dalrymple in The New Yorker and in a video interview with filmmaker Beeban Kidron which includes clips from her documentary Sex, Death and the Gods. The devadasi have been targeted by exploitative Western media for a long time, but have recently started to hit back, using the internet to disseminate their views.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 22, 2011 - 14 comments

Yantra Tattoos

Yantra tattooing is a traditional Thai, Khmer, Lao and Burmese practice using beautiful and intricately designed yantras for good luck, fortune, strength and protection. [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Oct 20, 2010 - 11 comments

Hindu festivals

The Big Picture: Recent Hindu festivals and rituals. "Many Hindus throughout India recently celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi, a 10-day festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh, their supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Hinduism, the predominant religion in India, is rich with traditional festivals and rituals, celebrated in many ways and locations around the world. Collected here are a few photographs from recent Hindu festivals and of Hindu devotees worshipping and practicing ritual ceremonies in India, England, Nepal and Indonesia."
posted by homunculus on Sep 9, 2009 - 25 comments

Carvaka

Atheistic Materialism in Ancient India. Interesting piece on the ancient Indian philosophical school of Carvaka.
posted by homunculus on May 25, 2009 - 12 comments

Narendra Modi

India’s New Face. "Meet Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party. Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. But he also presided over India’s worst communal riots in decades, a 2002 slaughter that left almost 2,000 Muslims dead. Exploiting the insecurities and tensions stoked by India’s opening to the world, Modi has turned his state into a stronghold of Hindu extremism, shredding Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process. One day, he could be governing the world’s largest democracy." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 11, 2009 - 12 comments

Not singing the blues anymore.

Nina Paley's animated film, Sita Sings the Blues, has been mentioned here several times before. It's a retelling of the classic Indian epic Ramayana, featuring the 1920s jazz recordings of singer Annette Hanshaw, interspersed with the story of Nina's own troubled marriage-- and despite critical accolades, it's been languishing due to copyright issues surrounding the 80-year-old Hanshaw songs. But things seem to be finally looking up for Ms. Paley: she has worked out a distribution plan, the movie will be broadcast on New York PBS station WNET on March 7, and the whole thing is finally available online, at thirteen.org. [more inside]
posted by bookish on Feb 27, 2009 - 30 comments

The Pink Chaddi Campaign

The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women of India want to celebrate Valentine's Day by sending pink chaddis (underwear) to the right-wing Hindu group Sri Ram Sena. The group says it is "not acceptable" for women to go to bars in India, and members attacked a group of women at a bar last month. They have also threatened to attack couples who publicly celebrate Valentine's Day. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 11, 2009 - 34 comments

The Depraved of India

India--the country of the Taj Mehal--known for it's love. But wait, there's more sadly, a lot more.
posted by hadjiboy on Jan 16, 2009 - 22 comments

Art of the Kathmandu Valley

From the Land of the Gods: Art of the Kathmandu Valley. [Via Plep - NY]
posted by homunculus on Jul 17, 2008 - 3 comments

Amar Chitra Katha

A collection of comic books, Amar Chitra Katha is like the American Illustrated Classics, except that the stories are from Indian sacred texts, mythology, history, folktales and legends. It was conceived by Anant Pai. The series has sold over 86 million copies of about 440 titles. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 3, 2008 - 35 comments

Faces of the Divine

India's Ancient Art. "Fifth-century painters created stunning murals in dim man-made caves. A gifted photographer brings them to light." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 25, 2007 - 13 comments

Rama's Bridge or Adam's Bridge

Indian Government withdraws scepticism of bridge-building monkey army
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 14, 2007 - 48 comments

Dharma Initiative

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a masterpiece of exotic design and workmanship that rises above the grey commuterland of north-west London. Made out of 5,000 tonnes of Italian marble and Bulgarian limestone and hand-carved, Europe's first traditional Hindu temple represents the ancient Indian traditions, arts and philosophies. It may not be the largest traditional temple outside India, but it certainly is the most beautiful. Deities and motifs spring from the walls, ceilings and windows, representing the faith and beliefs of a people that date back over 8,500 years.
posted by chuckdarwin on Jul 21, 2007 - 23 comments

OM

A Happy Maha Shivratri to you all!
posted by hadjiboy on Feb 16, 2007 - 11 comments

Immortal Illustrated Stories

Amar Chitra Katha were the comics of my youth. Illustrated painstakingly with loving details, the immortal epics and stories of India going back over 5000 years were crystallized in these thin graphic novels. I will always remember Mirabai, for the romance between her and the god of love and war, Krishna. And Chanakya, aka Kautilya, author of the Arthashastra but better known to me for his Nitishastra - niti means political ethics. But other nitishastras include the famous Panchantra [pdf], the equivalent of Aesop's Fables for India, a textbook of 'niti' or the wise conduct of life.
posted by infini on Nov 5, 2006 - 20 comments

Happy Diwali

The Festival of Lights, Good vs. Evil Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights that falls each year in October or November. This year, Diwali is on the 21st of October 2006. Legends about Diwali are many, from the story of Prince Prahlad, immortal in his faith in the universe to the story of Ram and Sita returning from exile to Ayodhya. My favourite is not a story so much as a snippet of what is actually said to happen tonight, not the mythology behind it. Lakshmi walks tonight, she is the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and lamps [diya or deep] are lit and placed at hearths and entrances so as to help her find her way. Accompanying her is the elephant headed one, Ganesh, the remover of obstacles and giver of knowledge. Just welcome them into your home.
posted by infini on Oct 21, 2006 - 22 comments

One of Thailand's most revered shrines destroyed.

One of Thailand's most revered shrines destroyed. Bangkok's most popular religious site -- the shrine to the four-headed Hindu god Brahma at the Erawan corner (ศาลพระพรหม) -- was smashed to pieces early Tuesday by a hammer-wielding mentally-ill Thai Muslim man. In the context of Thailand's current political instability, the disaster is seen by many in this deeply spiritual country as a terrible omen.
posted by soiled cowboy on Mar 21, 2006 - 59 comments

Atheism in Hinduism

Elements of Atheism in Hindu Thought
posted by Gyan on Mar 2, 2006 - 19 comments

Holy car!

The Omkara Project "..the word Omkara meaning - ' the vehicle to cross the ocean of life ' Crossing this ocean is the journey that the mortal being must undertake in a lifetime and henceforth encounter the three basic elements of mortality - creation, preservation and destruction."
posted by dhruva on Jul 17, 2005 - 8 comments

hindu?

The invention of the Hindu : "Hinduism is largely a fiction, formulated in the 18th and 19th centuries out of a multiplicity of sub-continental religions, and enthusiastically endorsed by Indian modernisers."
posted by dhruva on Apr 2, 2005 - 72 comments

battle for the swastika: different faiths have different meanings

The European Union abandoned a plan to ban Nazi symbols throughout it's member nations. The ban was strongly supported by German Ministers of Parliament after British Prince Harry wore Nazi insignia to a costume party. Among those opposed to the ban was the Hindu Forum of Britain (press release) who launched a campaign to reclaim the Swastika. The symbol its self was in Frequent popular use before WWII. Anti-Communists in former Soviet Block countries sought to expand the ban to communist emblems. Searching for different points of views on this came up with an earlier story of interfaith conflict over meaning, and a parallel to the European debate going on in New Zealand.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Feb 24, 2005 - 39 comments

Hindu nationalist attacks on scholars

In the past several years, some prominent Western scholars of South Asian religions have been subjected to extraordinary criticism and unprecedented attacks because of their apparent disrespect for Hindu culture. Whether another instance of post-colonial academic politics or a troubling sign of the rising impact of Hindutva on academic freedom, it isn't just the study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that is becoming polarized.
posted by felix betachat on Dec 22, 2004 - 24 comments

The Passion of the Krishna

There appear to be many similarities between the lives of Krishna and Jesus Christ. Exploring the linkage between the two does make one wonder whether the similarities are coincidences or for a very good reason.
posted by riffola on Sep 10, 2004 - 22 comments

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

Dear Leo, Dear Mohandas "The longer I live -- especially now when I clearly feel the approach of death -- the more I feel moved to express what I feel more strongly than anything else... the doctrine of the law of love unperverted by sophistries. Love... the highest and indeed the only law of life". The Kingdom of God Is Within You (full text available) is Leo Tolstoy's tractatus of "Christianity Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life", a primer of (among other things) the doctrine of non-violence. Among the many fans of the 1894 book was an imprisoned Hindu barrister, a "half-naked fakir" if you want, a certain Mohandas K. Gandhi who was fascinated by "the independent thinking, profound morality, and the truthfulness" of the book. So he ended up writing fan letters to the great Russian man: who warmly wrote back to his young Indian "friend and brother". The old wise Christian anarchist literary giant and the shy, insecure young man who sparked a revolution: to paraphrase another wise, badly-dressed , pacifist old man, "Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such men ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
posted by matteo on Jun 17, 2004 - 16 comments

Angkor

Water woes, not wars, ended Angkor's empire, according to the Greater Angkor Project. Ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown brought down Cambodia's great city and Hindu civilization.
posted by homunculus on Jun 9, 2004 - 7 comments

I'd never sell an idolatrous wig, madam...

"A hair-raising fear of idols" - Orthodox hair crisis ".....The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair" (Ha'aretz, Friday, May 14 2004)
posted by troutfishing on May 16, 2004 - 50 comments

The Sadhus

The lives of the Sadhus of India, an interview with a boy ascetic, and the passionate feats which express their devotion. [pictures 1, 2]
posted by moonbird on Mar 6, 2004 - 7 comments

Photos taken from the space shuttle have revealed what is believed to be a 1.75 million b.p. human-made bridge from India to Sri Lanka. Incredibly, legend says the army of Vanaras (monkeys) built a bridge across the ocean to enable Rama (a Hindu Moses) to conquer Sri Lanka, possibly makeing it a 1.75 million year oral tradition. It is proposed to be a land bridge again.
posted by stbalbach on Oct 20, 2002 - 57 comments

"When Shiva holds the center of the stage, the role of the personalized Brahman is colored with death and destruction. Shiva's stern asceticism casts a blight over the fields of rebirth. His presence negates and transcends the kaleidoscope of sufferings and joys. Nevertheless, he bestows wisdom and peace and is not only terrible but profoundly benign. Shiva's nature at once transcends and includes all the polarities of the living world." "Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders.
posted by sudama on Aug 10, 2002 - 26 comments

"The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion,"

"The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion," according to popular historian Peter Berresford Ellis. Another author examines the parallels between Celtic and Vedic culture in the article The Celtic Vedic Connection, and a particular diety is analyzed in The Horned God in India and Europe. This may not be very conservative scholarship, but I found it intriguing and fun to contemplate.
posted by homunculus on Jul 31, 2002 - 6 comments

Time to wash up

Time to wash up for Hindus. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for religion and such. But if you wash your sins away in this river, you might wind up with something that won't wash off.
posted by CRS on Jan 9, 2001 - 8 comments

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