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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
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
, the remover of obstacles
and giver of knowledge
. Just welcome them into your home.
posted by infini
on Oct 21, 2006 -
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 -
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 -
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
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
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 -
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 -
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
posted by CRS
on Jan 9, 2001 -