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Indians are God's rotis, cooked "just right"

A right-wing Indian politician's racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim books are making their way to schools in Gujarat. [more inside]
posted by Ragini on Jul 28, 2014 - 35 comments

Bollywood Hamlet

Welcome to Haider, a Bollywood version of Hamlet set for a controversial, much anticipated release this autumn. Vishal Bhardwaj's latest Shakespearian adaptation turns the Prince of Denmark into a philosophy student from Kashmir, the former Himalayan princedom, who returns home from university after hearing that his doctor father has disappeared and his mother is in a new relationship. View the trailer here - captions available. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Jul 28, 2014 - 18 comments

Cross-cultural experiences of schizophrenia

A new study by Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann and others found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
posted by Rumple on Jul 19, 2014 - 24 comments

Aunties with swag

Upping the Aunty, a photography project by Indian-born, Toronto-raised artist Meera Sethi [more inside]
posted by Ragini on Jul 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Making a life on the margins of society

After Koovagam, India's Largest Transgender Festival: "Some of the transgender women you see on the street were training to be lawyers or engineers," says Rangeela, who is one of a handful in her circle who did not drop out of school. "I hope in that in 10 years those people can go on with their careers and not be stuck into a life of prostitution." [more inside]
posted by Ragini on Jul 1, 2014 - 3 comments

English explodes in India

English words are becoming more popular in various Indian languages (Hindi is the language that's predominantly discussed in the article). Vise versa: words that English owes to India (again, predominately discussing Hindi).
posted by Shouraku on Jul 1, 2014 - 20 comments

Elephant Bath

A mahout is the person charged with looking after an elephant, a relationship that lasts for the duration of both their lives. As part of his responsibilities, the mahout regularly bathes the elephant in his charge, massaging its thick hide with the husks of coconuts.
posted by growabrain on Jun 29, 2014 - 19 comments

Garbage Everywhere

What refuse in India's streets reveals about America’s hidden trash problem
posted by infini on Jun 22, 2014 - 43 comments

National Greatness

Francis Fukuyama on 'The End of History?' twenty-five years later: "liberal democracy still doesn't have any real competitors," but to get there... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 15, 2014 - 29 comments

Open defecation solves the child mortality puzzle among Indian Muslims

“Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation.” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jun 5, 2014 - 33 comments

Weekend at Sri Ashutosh's

Indian court asked to rule on whether Hindu guru dead or meditating: Since January 29 of this year, Sri Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious sect, has been residing in a freezer in his ashram in Punjab. His followers claim he is in a "deep meditative state (samadhi)." Doctors, however, have declared Maharaj clinically dead and his family have sued to have his death be investigated and to have his body released for cremation. The guru's son also alleges that Maharaj was murdered and that his followers are trying to gain control of his estate, said to be worth $170 million. While traditional yogis have claimed extraordinary powers, including the power to stop one's heart, the evidence for these claims has been lacking.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 2, 2014 - 37 comments

We might as well start with gay sex

For the past two weeks, the back of my mind has been occupied by thoughts of how to start writing about my experience as a white man in India. The list of potential anecdotes is interminable. Perhaps a theoretical grounding would prove a more incisive framework. Or maybe I need to talk about everything that I am. I am more than a skin colour. I am a gender. I am a nationality. I am a language. I am a class. I am a sexual orientation. The overlapping privileges encompassed in a straight, white, English-speaking, relatively affluent American man can be more difficult to disentangle than one might imagine.

posted by infini on May 27, 2014 - 37 comments

“How can India stop people urinating in public?”

The Pissing Tanker is on a Mission to Stop Public Urination in India
posted by KokuRyu on May 26, 2014 - 47 comments

With reference to the recently leaked NYT memo

How Naspers CEO Koos Bekker beat the New York Times at its own game by Michael Moritz [more inside]
posted by infini on May 26, 2014 - 12 comments

The largest elections in Human history

An election spread over 42 days with 550 Mn people (66% of eligible voters), 930,000 polling booths, more than a 1000 parties, 545 seats and approximately $6 Bn spent. These elections come at time when India is going through huge changes. The economy has slowed down from its heady days of 9% growth to around 5% growth. The current coalition government headed by congress was mired in scandals and policy paralysis. The demographic dividend has resulted in a large number of youth participating in elections. [more inside]
posted by TheLittlePrince on May 15, 2014 - 26 comments

"An argument that has the characterizing flavor of bullshit."

The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, is viewable on its official YouTube Channel. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 28, 2014 - 99 comments

Steady Hands

Royal Enfield motorcycles are built in Chennai, where they are painted by by hand.
posted by Sokka shot first on Apr 18, 2014 - 16 comments

10 signs you're a buzzfeed clone

What if buzzfeed was aimed at a different population?
posted by garlic on Apr 16, 2014 - 47 comments

Mr. Poo, India's Dancing Anti-Public Defecation Mascot

In order to combat public defecation in India, the UN has created an anthropomorphic cartoon turd with a tune that's catchy as hell.
posted by gman on Apr 15, 2014 - 46 comments

Supreme Court of India recognizes transgenders as 'third gender'

The Supreme Court of India directed the Indian Government to include a new gender category to include people who don't identify as the traditional male or female. My head spins as I write this. A combination of being woken up suddenly from heavy sleep and a sudden jerk of pleasant shock has left my head spinning. I am humming some sweet songs in celebration! Hurray!
Supreme Court ruling grants transgender recognition and OBC status* in India. [more inside]
posted by infini on Apr 15, 2014 - 19 comments

The Indian Sanitary Pad Revolutionary

"I will be honest," says Muruganantham. "I would not even use it to clean my scooter." The incredible and funny story of a man who set out to change the way sanitary pads are viewed and made in India.
posted by secretdark on Mar 4, 2014 - 36 comments

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

Borders

In the beginning, all saris were created equal, then they weren’t. enter the border: functional accoutrement, artisanal medium, class distinction.
posted by infini on Feb 24, 2014 - 36 comments

frugal engineering can boost your space program

Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.” “The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. “By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.
(NYTSL)
posted by infini on Feb 18, 2014 - 44 comments

The cost of staging a modern World Cup

Qatar has proposed a bold vision of its future in 2022, but at what cost? In September 2013, the Guardian reported that up to 4,000 migrant workers would die during the construction process for Qatar's staging of the football World Cup in 2022. The Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee, an advocacy group representing Nepalese and South Asian migrant workers, estimates that 400 Nepalese have died on Qatari construction sites since 2010. Nepalese make up around 20% of the migrant workforce. In the past two years 450 Indian workers have died on construction sites. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Feb 17, 2014 - 32 comments

The Hindus

Why free speech loses in India “The Hindus: An Alternative History,” an eight-hundred-page book by Wendy Doniger, an eminent professor of religion at the University of Chicago, will be removed from Indian book shops. Penguin Books India, which first published the book, in 2009, signed an out-of-court settlement with an advocacy group, the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, who claim to be defending 'the sentiments of Hindus all over the world.'"
posted by dhruva on Feb 15, 2014 - 35 comments

"I have a lot of gay stuff to do."

In response to India's Supreme Court re-affirming an anti-gay law, the comic strip Dilbert has announced that Asok the Intern is officially gay. Of course it's not the first time that a comic character has come out.
posted by graymouser on Feb 7, 2014 - 130 comments

STRENGTH YOUR BLOOD AND SHADOW

At first sight the search for peace and stability in Iraq, and the search for physical and mental fitness in the extreme contortions of modern Yoga seem to have absolutely nothing in common. But curiously they do. Both the terrible structural problems and distortions that underly Iraqi society today, and the strange, contorted poses that millions of people perform every day in things like Bikram's Hot Yoga, actually come from the fevered imagination of the British ruling class one hundred years ago. As they felt Britain's power declining they wanted desperately to go back into the past and create a purer and more innocent world, uncorrupted by the messiness of the modern industrial world - a new Eden forged both by strengthening and purifying the human body and by inventing new model countries round the world. And we are still suffering from the consequences of that terrible nostalgia. BODYBUILDING AND NATION-BUILDING
posted by timshel on Feb 4, 2014 - 11 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

“We have wish to stay in the sky, not here. Not on Earth,”

Manoj and Maninder recall their harrowing year-long escape from brutality in India. They smuggled themselves into the United States, where they encountered further abuse in a detention center in El Paso, Texas. In the aftermath of the ruling on India's sodomy law, they've been granted asylum, but they continue to fear for their lives.
posted by orangutan on Jan 24, 2014 - 11 comments

Uncle America

Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jan 23, 2014 - 7 comments

A Delhi Drama: The 'Common Man' Chief Minister turns Anarchist

We have the unique instance of a sitting Chief Minister of Delhi labelling himself an anarchist, sitting in protest in the heart of the city, while claiming to conduct government business from the site of his protest and conveniently holding the nation to ransom by threatening to disrupt the the country's annual Republic Day parade due to be held in 5 days.

All this over the unlawful and allegedly racially motivated attempt by his Law Minister to arrest and humiliate some African women on prostitution and drug charges without first showing cause. And they've been brazen enough to forge a letter from the Ugandan embassy supporting their allegations. The professional diplomats are less than pleased.
posted by vanlal on Jan 20, 2014 - 18 comments

A day and night in the life of a rickshaw driver in Bangalore

Gorgeous animation by Xaver Xylophon brings Indian rickshaw world to life. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 20, 2014 - 11 comments

Nights out in a New Town

The author travels with Indian sex tourists to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
posted by reenum on Jan 18, 2014 - 30 comments

The Saxophone Sisters, Indian fusion

The Saxophone Sisters, Lavanya and Subbalakshmi's musical repertoire includes Carnatic music, Hindustani, Western classical, Hindi, Tamil movie songs and jazz. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 12, 2014 - 4 comments

Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

if a paragraph does not start with bold and italics feel free to skip it

Indian tech entrepreneur and engineer Navin Kabra was dubious when the B.E. students he was advising told him that publishing papers at conferences were a requirement for graduation - a requirement shared by M.E. and M. Tech students in India. When an 'international engineering conference' came to Pune, he submitted two fake papers - one generated using SCIgen and one interspersed with random references to pop culture. Both were accepted - and one was published after Navin paid for the publishing fees (haggled to a 50% discount). Since the expose, the University of Pune has clarified that publishing for Masters students is recommended but not mandatory, more conference fraud has been uncovered, and Navin's still investigating publishing requirements for Bachelors students.
posted by divabat on Jan 6, 2014 - 21 comments

30c3

While Jacob Appelbaum grabbed headlines with his NSA revelations at this year's Chaos Communication Congress, other presentations provided equally fascinating insight into how the world works. Learn how data mining is bringing perpetrators of genocide to justice (alt), how an artist uses different concepts of secrecy landscapes (alt) to keep tabs on clandestine activities, and how India's surveillance state continues to grow (alt). previously [more inside]
posted by antonymous on Jan 4, 2014 - 23 comments

Curse of the Mummyji

Mothers in law have long been a focal point of Indian society. With the modernization of Indian culture, their roles are changing for better and for worse.
posted by reenum on Jan 1, 2014 - 17 comments

11 Reasons to Be Optimistic in 2014

It's not all bad news. People are living longer, we're winning the fight against malaria, worldwide poverty is down, and eight more reasons for hope in the coming year.
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 30, 2013 - 127 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Airing the Immigration Bill's Dirty Laundry

Undercover of helping immigrant agricultural workers who have long needed a break in America, the American technology sector - lead by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg - has seen fit to heavily lobby Congress to increase H1-B and other worker visa permits, vastly increasing H1-B visas at a time when very good research shows that there is no shortage of tech workers in America. Zuckerberg has so far succeeded, in the Senate. What is motivating the claim for more H1-B visas and what's at stake? [more inside]
posted by Vibrissae on Dec 12, 2013 - 131 comments

"It is up to Parliament to legislate on this issue"

A day apart, the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Australia respectively overturned the three-year-old 2009 Delhi High Court ruling and the five-day-old Australian Capital Territory same sex marriage law. For India, this means a return to laws dating from the British rule of India which criminalise sexual acts "against the order of nature", and for Australia this means a return to the "man and woman" 2004 Amendment of the Federal Marriage Act.
posted by ossian on Dec 12, 2013 - 46 comments

"I will not post any casualty reports for 24 hours as I am celebrating."

The Far Post is a journalism series by Roads and Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated on global soccer culture that will run every other week until the start of "the largest theater that has ever existed in human history," the World Cup. So far there are five articles: Brazil 2014 Starts Now by Laurent Dubois gives an overview of the history of the World Cup and what it means now. Messi in Kolkata by Kanishk Tharoor is about a visit by the Argentine national team to Kolkata and the state of the game in India. Afghanistan United By May Jeong is the story of the incredible triumph of the Afghan national team at the 2013 South Asian Championship. Soccer and the Street in Istanbul by Izzy Finkel reports on the links between soccer and politics in Turkey. The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy by Patrick Kingsley is the account of how hardcore soccerfans in Egypt, at the center of the 2011 revolution, have fared in the aftermath.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 21, 2013 - 14 comments

"Pop Art of a poor man’s country"

Poor Little Rich Boys: The Art of the Mumbai Circulating Library, by Ryan Holmberg, The Comics Journal's resident Indian comics specialist.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 20, 2013 - 1 comment

"Everybody gets a hot meal regardless of caste, creed and religion."

"Anyone can eat for free here, and many, many people do. On a weekday, about 80,000 come. On weekends, almost twice as many people visit. Each visitor gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers who embody India’s religious and ethnic mosaic. “This is our tradition,” said Harpinder Singh, the 45-year-old manager of this huge operation. “Anyone who wants can come and eat.”" Behind the scenes at the kitchen (langar) at the Golden Temple that feeds 100,000 daily. More information from the Golden Temple's website.
posted by jessamyn on Nov 17, 2013 - 31 comments

A rainy commercial by Google India

The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. A granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over 6 decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search. SLYT
posted by esprit de l'escalier on Nov 14, 2013 - 46 comments

"Now, only humans will play cricket."

The entire nation of India grinds to a halt for the next 5 days, as Sachin Tendulkar competes in his final Test match before retiring. ESPN's CricInfo has a hub of reflections and recollections for the Little Master. [more inside]
posted by Errant on Nov 14, 2013 - 14 comments

My Heart Sings For You

Around the time Ravi Shankar passed in December of last year (previously) his daughters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones were working on collaborative tracks for a new album with producer Nitin Sawhney. While the project, which was half way finished at the time, was conceived and planned some time before Ravi Shankar's passing it comes as no surprise that many of the tracks became infused, shaped and sometimes entirely transformed by the immediacy of their experience of the loss of their father. Emotions of sadness, loss and reconciliation run deep within some of the recordings. The album's title track "Traces Of You" is a filigrane dew sprinkled spiderweb gently spun from interlacing threads of melody and texture. An incredibly tender expression of what happens when the raw pain of grief is transformed into the bittersweet melancholy of memories, forgiveness and reconciliation. [more inside]
posted by Hairy Lobster on Oct 25, 2013 - 8 comments

Countries within Nations

Chinese Provinces and Indian States : "local leaders are increasingly running much of India and China, which are home to a third of all humanity, from the bottom up. That is affecting how both countries act in the world, which means that these countries need to be understood from the inside out"
posted by Gyan on Oct 25, 2013 - 5 comments

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