One of the most intriguing items in the British Library Persian manuscripts collection is a small unexceptional looking volume which contains a personal record, written in his own hand, of 37 dreams of Tipu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore (r. 1782-1799). [Complete translation.]A figure of continuing interest, Tipu Sultan's depiction in a 2014 parade float was the subject of a minor controversy, revisited expansively this year in a TV news report. A video history lesson for children offers a brief portrait of the ruler, sometimes remembered for his use of rockets against the British and his anti-British mechanical pipe organ (examined carefully here, but here used to play two tunes, including "Rule, Britannia!"). [more inside]
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)
If you asked me two years ago whether I’d have a baby and give it away for money, I wouldn’t just laugh at you, I would be so insulted I might hit you in the face,” said Indirani, a 30-year old garment worker and gestational surrogate mother.
The Ugly Indian: Ordinary people trying to clean up India's streets, starting with the city of Bangalore. Associated Facebook page. BBC coverage of the initiative.
Leprosy in India has officially been eliminated since 2005 as prevalence of the disease has fallen to historic lows. But what was once a public health issue sometimes looks more like a political or religious one as some of the Christian charities that treat victims come under sustained pressure. [more inside]
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
Two cities in two days. Multiple injuries and several fatalities. The BJP has of course come out strong against the [ruling] Congress party for not trying to do enough to stop the menace of "terrorism" in the country, after having lost its fight to overthrow the government. Now, it is up to the Prime Minister to pick up the pieces and move on. [more inside]
First, a bit of an introduction to the game of Cricket (youtube) for those of us who may not be familiar with the sport. Next, a few clips (1, 2, 3, 4) on how awesome the Gentleman's Game can be (and you thought we didn't do anything but roam around in our white pants and cotton shirts...). But, if that wasn't enough for you, then here's a taste of Twenty20 Cricket (the fast, fast paced version of the game), and the new DLF Indian (pdf) Premier League. (This is in addition to the One Day Matches, which were instituted to bring in a bit more excitement into the game during the 1970's, prior to which the match only consisted of Tests. However, some purists still maintain that the game would've been better served had it not been commercalized to the extent that it has, and still prefer the leisurely pace of the original format to its current incarnation.) [more inside]
The Daily Dump [video] is an open source design for a terracotta home composting unit that aims to provide manifold benefits - for potters, for homemakers, and also for civil society, particularly in a country where waste removal isn't as regular or reliable a service. How to's here.
Indian slum-dwellers given voice Their pride is unmistakably justified - a team drawn from the ghettos is successfully running India's first news magazine about slum-dwellers.
Bangalore tech support (NY Times, free reg. req.) try to convince callers that they're actually nearby in the US, like one who "conjured up a fictional American life, with parents Bob and Ann, brother Mark and a made-up business degree from the University of Illinois."