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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

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

"I went to the root of things, and found nothing but Him alone."

"Perhaps the most remembered and quoted (pdf) woman in Indian history is a sixteenth century poet, singer and saint called Mirabai, or Meera. Versions of her songs are sung today all over India, and she appears as a subject in films, books, dances, plays and paintings. Even Gandhi promoted her, seeing Mira as a symbol of a woman who has the right to choose her own path, forsake a life of luxury, and in nonviolent resistance find liberation (pdf)." ~ Women in World History
posted by infini on Nov 18, 2012 - 5 comments

Dear Mandir

When you think of Hinduism, you probably don't think of suburban Lilburn, Georgia, yet it is home to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, at over 30,000 square feet the largest Hindu temple in the world outside of India. The beautiful temple was assembled from 34,000 pieces of Turkish limestone, Indian pink sandstone, and Italian Carrara marble hand-carved by some 1500 craftsmen in India, then shipped to Georgia, where about 900 volunteers put in over a million man-hours to bring the architects' vision to fruition (YT), at a cost of about US$19m. [more inside]
posted by notashroom on Aug 12, 2009 - 36 comments

India

The Story of India : PBS HD
posted by vronsky on Jan 12, 2009 - 28 comments

Tear me apart at the seams

India, as she is today, was carved out of British India, in 1947 when the left and right hand sides of the country became the new nation of Pakistan (East and West) respectively. While the history of Islamic influence and subsequent tolerance and intolerance goes back centuries to the first advent of the Mughal invasion, it has been said that the post Independence troubles of the modern nations of India and Pakistan stem from this sundering. In 1971, war brought forth Bangladesh from the former East Pakistan on India's eastern border. The Partition, as this holocaust is known, embedded in current day Indian memory, history, culture, movies, books, TV serials and music, was an unimaginable horror of slaughter and bloodshed. This separation was not in the plans of the Mahatma, and it is said he was assassinated by Hindu fundamentalists for letting it happen. What future awaits the Hindus and Muslims who have lived side by side for hundreds of years?
posted by infini on Nov 26, 2008 - 37 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

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

Behind the numbers: Indian weddings

70 private cars, 50 000 kilos of flowers, 3000 candles, 65 000 yards of fabric. Those are just a few of the figures from the wedding of New York playboy and (wait for it) hotel heir Vikram Chatwal to model Priya Sachdev. Last year, Lakshmi Mittal (the world's third-richest man, according to Forbes) spent over $60 million for his daughter Vanisha's wedding. What kind of wedding does $60 million buy? A song-and-dance by Aishwarya Rai, among other Bollywood luminaries; ceremonies at the Tuileries and Versailles; and top chefs and designers at your beck and call. In 2004, the Sahara Group's Subrata Roy built three mock palaces on the edge of a lake in Uttar Pradesh; his sons' double wedding had 11 000 guests. Mr. Roy's company paid for the weddings of 101 couples (numbers ending in '1' are considered auspicious) who couldn't afford to get married, and also fed 140 000 poor people across the country (all as part of the festivities). All of this sound like idle gossip? The wedding business is huge in India; it's a $10bn business (and growing at 25% annually), and the demand for gold wedding jewelry, according to analysts, "helped lift the metal's price to a 25-year high last month." Appliance retailers offer discounts during weddings season; there are personal loans available for weddings; and there's even an entire mall devoted to weddings. As the Christian Science Monitor notes, the minimum a middle-class Indian family will spend on a wedding is $34 000. (The average American wedding? $26 327.) And who makes up the Indian middle class? "Those making $4,545 to $23,000 a year." More on Indian wedding traditions here.
posted by anjamu on Mar 6, 2006 - 58 comments

William Gedney, photographer

What Was True. From the mid 1950s through the early 1980s, William Gedney (1932-1989) photographed throughout the United States, in India, and in Europe, and filling notebook after notebook with his observations. From the commerce of the street outside his Brooklyn apartment to the daily chores of unemployed coal miners, from the lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury to the sacred rituals of Hindu worshippers, Gedney was able to record the lives of others with clarity and poignancy. Gedney's America is a nation of averted eyes, and broken automobiles, and restlessness, a place Edward Hopper would recognize, but so, also, Walt Whitman.
posted by matteo on Apr 27, 2005 - 11 comments

How I Sent My Father to Heaven

How I Sent My Father to Heaven. A Hindu funeral. 'My non-believing heart had melted and I once again saluted my father's dedication to my mother. '
New content on The Call of Yama, a page about death and dying in Hinduism (and part of Kamat's Potpourri, a huge personal site devoted to Indian culture, history, art and scenery).
posted by plep on Dec 10, 2003 - 6 comments

Stories of Krishna: The Adventures of a Hindu God

Stories of Krishna: The Adventures of a Hindu God is a lovely interactive Flash presentation from the Seattle Art Museum: Click an image and hear the accompanying tale (or read the transcript), then click "close the story" and mouse over the image icons to explore the characters and view details. After you are finished you can test what you've learned with a drag and drop card game. No broadband? View images of Krishna here and here, and read some background.
posted by taz on Nov 14, 2003 - 6 comments

Indian Hijra Festival

Eunuchs' Day in the Sun: Eunuchs from all over India gathered in a small village, Koovagam, this week to re-enact a story from the Hindu scriptures in which they pretend to marry a warrior-god. Pictures from the festival.
posted by Spezzatura on Apr 30, 2003 - 10 comments

Gujarat rocked by a series of bomb blasts.

Gujarat rocked by a series of bomb blasts. "It appears that the bombs are crudely made bombs and intended to create a panic" says a police spokesman. About a dozen people were injured in three explosions in the city of Ahmedabad.
posted by riffola on May 29, 2002 - 4 comments

The Essential Hinduvta Orgchart

The Essential Hinduvta Orgchart by Suman Palit in his weblog the Kolkata Libertarian. I'm not from Calcutta, and I'm not Libertarian, but I found the information design in this chart of the relationships between the Hindu nationalist party BJP and various other Hindu institutions fascinating. Note that not only each organization block, but most of the relationship lines, have individual links. What specialized knowledge do you have? What tools would help you share it with the world?
posted by dhartung on Mar 17, 2002 - 4 comments

Hindu protests against Valentine's Day Cards in India

Hindu protests against Valentine's Day Cards in India While I understand the "protest against encroachments of Western culture" part of this, I find it curious that part of the problem is that they find the cards obscene "because they show young couples embracing and kissing" - considering certain bits of Hindu cultural history.
posted by dnash on Feb 13, 2002 - 45 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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