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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

I'll take six million jobs and a slice of pepperoni, please.

Bush's "pepperoni" defence of outsourcing. "India's middle class is buying air-conditioners, kitchen appliances and washing machines, and a lot of them from American companies like GE and Whirlpool and Westinghouse. And that means their job base is growing here in the United States. Younger Indians are acquiring a taste for pizzas from Domino's, Pizza Hut..."
posted by insomnia_lj on Feb 23, 2006 - 90 comments

Limits to growth redux

State of the World 2006, an annual research report prepared by the Worldwatch Institute, has just been released, with a special focus on China and India. Although Limits to Growth type predictions have had their critics, many of the stats and projections presented have a certain brutal inevitability about them.
posted by wilful on Feb 12, 2006 - 14 comments

heroes

Earth, Sea, Mountain, Man "Here, we feature heroes of the little, everyday histories, who exceeded the bounds of their petty existence in singular, lonely acts of nobility." reg req, bugmenot.
posted by dhruva on Jan 29, 2006 - 1 comment

Eastern vs. Western Philosophy

The other philosophy: Eastern
posted by Gyan on Jan 26, 2006 - 31 comments

Is it time to look at Renewable Energy sources again?

Aurore, a renewable energy (RE) service provider in South India has been designing and developing RE products like solar lanterns and street lights, arranging for microfinance to support installation in remote villages and winning prestigious awards for their work. Cleaner, safer and cheaper than fossil fuels, their business philosophy is grounded in a greater vision than mere profit.
posted by infini on Jan 24, 2006 - 15 comments

American air superiority?

Gaming Indian Wars. The Left Coaster has a good roundup of the conclusions drawn from the recent war games between the American and Indian air forces. The Indian fighter jocks were more than competitive, even responding to instructions from AWACS planes faster than their American counter parts. Are the Mirage 2000 and the SU-30 better planes than the F-15 or was the real reason that the Americans “lost” the war games because they were handicapped, and is this now being used as an excuse to get more money for the F-22 program?
posted by afu on Nov 29, 2005 - 13 comments

Plants and peoples of Britain and South Asia

Plant Cultures - central aim ... is to convey the richness and complexity of links between Britain and South Asia, through the story of plants and people
posted by Gyan on Nov 12, 2005 - 2 comments

Explosions in Delhi

Bomb blasts in New Delhi. The three explosions seemed to target shoppers preparing for the festival of Diwali (previous post on Diwali here).
posted by homunculus on Oct 29, 2005 - 35 comments

Restive masses grasp knowledge: outcome ?

Simputer : High tech meets extreme poverty
posted by troutfishing on Sep 29, 2005 - 22 comments

Fang

Nagraj v. Shakoora The Magician from Raj Comics. UFF!
posted by tellurian on Sep 23, 2005 - 13 comments

Wild Photos

Alex Bernasconi's (Mostly Wildlife) Photography [via MeCha]
posted by Gyan on Sep 16, 2005 - 4 comments

MetaRaga

ITC Sangeet Research Academy - a guide and resource of Hindustani classical music
RealPlayer and Flash recommended
posted by Gyan on Sep 11, 2005 - 4 comments

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away
posted by JeffL on Aug 23, 2005 - 11 comments

Toba Tek Singh

Upar Di Gur Gur Thinking about August Fifteenth, of course, leads us to thinking about the rest of the month. Coincidentally, the one man who arguably gave partition it's most enduring image was also as sure a victim of it as anyone else. And I'm sure he would have a very definate reaction to this. (A more exhaustive and bilingual edition here.)
posted by goodglovin77 on Aug 16, 2005 - 8 comments

Freedom at Midnight

Freedom at Midnight - At midnight, on the night of August 14th 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru claimed Independence from the British in New Delhi, India. 58 years later today, India along with China is in the mainstream news media as a "super power to be". While there is much discussion on how exactly all of this will play out in the near future, there are also some concerns as to whether this is nothing more than an updated version of the "burgeoning middle class of 140 million people" that sent numerous multinationals to unsuccessfully launch new products in this emerging market. However this tryst with destiny plays out, Happy Birthday India.
posted by infini on Aug 14, 2005 - 16 comments

The Mumbai Floods

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005, was a wet day for the city of Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay), to say the least. Within 12 hours, it rained more than half the average annual rainfall. Upwards of 400 people are believed to have died, with more in adjacent regions. In many regions, the water rose as high as five feet. All transportation links to the rest of India were severed. Within the city, many commuters who left work, for home, on Tuesday evening, didn't reach home till Wednesday night. There have been substantial financial and ecological damages. The state apparatus was caught offguard and proven unprepared; the police were nowhere to be found, and the meteorological department found wanting with their warnings. The rumour-mongering of an incoming tsunami or cyclone also didn't help, as 24 people died in the resulting stampede. Alas, just as one is relieved that the ordeal is over, it appears there's yet more to come.
posted by Gyan on Jul 31, 2005 - 16 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

Nek Chand's Rock Garden

Nek Chand was working as a roads inspector in northern India in the 1950's. Around 1958, he began collecting materials from demolition sites and using them to create a secret place which would soon grow into a beautiful rock and sculpture garden. But it happened to be on a national land conservency, and in 1975 authorities discovered it and the garden was nearly demolished. However, by this time it had already grown into a twelve acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals. Chand soon gained much public support and in 1976 the garden was sanctioned as a public space. It then continued to grow and today it is over 40 acres.
posted by p3t3 on Jul 16, 2005 - 21 comments

They Will All Go Together When They Go

The atom bomb is 60. It's very popular now and becoming more so daily. The most recent nuclear nation to threaten to use theirs is China. The U.S, Europe, and the U.S.S.R. got through a half century Cold War without immolating themselves. Will South and East Asia be as successful and/or lucky in the near future?
posted by jfuller on Jul 16, 2005 - 23 comments

Ayodhya Again

Once again, Ayodhya seems to be the subject of activity. This time, no group has taken responsibility for the attack, and the motivation and religion of the attackers is unclear. What is clear? That L.K. Advani is back in action.
posted by goodglovin77 on Jul 5, 2005 - 8 comments

chutney music

Chutney Music :"For these people, Chutney was more than just music (.asf files), it was their life, it was their culture. For a people twice removed from their native land, Chutney was their connection to the traditions they might have otherwise never known." [via]
posted by dhruva on May 29, 2005 - 6 comments

The Baburnama

The Baburnama Although Andijan has lately been in the news (NY Times, reg. required) as the site of riots against the US-backed government of Uzbekistan, its lasting claim to fame is that of the birthplace of Babur, the first Moghul Emperor.

Babur authored the Baburnama, often credited as the first Muslim autobiography and an endlessly entertaining read. The book's bloody-mindedness (Amazon's statistically improbably phrases include girth dagger, Uncle the Khan, and turn over the fortress) is leavened by a remarkably humane voice. A must.
posted by since1968 on May 19, 2005 - 8 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

Mountain Voices

Mountain Voices. 'This website presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.'
posted by plep on Apr 10, 2005 - 2 comments

The return of the Bnei menashe

The return of the Bnei menashe : Israel's Chief Rabbi has decided to recognize the members of India's Bnei Menashe community as descendants of the ancient Israelites. Previous discussion.
posted by dhruva on Apr 8, 2005 - 5 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

Indian Arranged Marriages

A look at arranged marriages for Indian-Americans.
posted by daksya on Mar 30, 2005 - 26 comments

Amul hits

Amul hits. A series of highly popular ads from Amul, India's largest food products marketing organisation
posted by growabrain on Mar 13, 2005 - 7 comments

Another tale of the sea

Mahabalipuram and the tsunami gifts
posted by magullo on Mar 1, 2005 - 3 comments

No soup for you!

Members of India's lowest caste, the untouchables, are now finding that they're unaidable, as well.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Jan 7, 2005 - 110 comments

Ancient tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The tribal people of the beautiful Andaman and Nicobar Islands include socially and genetically important ancient 'negrito' groups such as the Jarawa. Fortunately, it looks like many of their tiny communities have survived the earthquake and tsunami.
posted by iffley on Jan 3, 2005 - 13 comments

The Future of the Car

Obsession: Mr. Singh’s Search for the Holy Grail American visionaries, cranks and con men have long sought the simple key to boosting the efficiency of the gasoline engine. Now a barefoot tinkerer in India believes he has unlocked the door. Is he for real?
posted by Shanachie on Jan 2, 2005 - 14 comments

South Asian Tsunamis

A massive earthquake - the largest since 1964 - centred off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra has caused tidal waves that are devastating coastal areas around the Indian Ocean including Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia.

Eyewitness report from the south coast of Sri Lanka. The death tolls are still rising, there is the risk of further tsunamis and it is being estimated that 100,000s of people will be left homeless.
posted by i_cola on Dec 26, 2004 - 193 comments

theyyam

Theyyam, a corrupt form of daivum (god), is a popular ritual dance of North Kerala, India. As a living cult with centuries old traditions, ritual and custom, it embraces almost all castes and classes of the Hindu religion in this region. A performance (mpg) of a particular deity continues for 12 to 24 hours with intervals. The costumes differ based on the character (mpg) of the theyyam.
posted by dhruva on Dec 23, 2004 - 13 comments

Long Live Freedom....

CEO of eBay's Indian company arrested for an item offered up for sale on his site. Avnish Bajaj, the CEO of baazee.com, an Indian auction site purchased by eBay in June 2004, was arrested on Friday while assisting in the investigation into the attempted sale of pornography by a user on the auction site, and charged with violating the 2000 India IT Act. Bajaj was arrested even though he was not involved in the sale, had it cancelled as soon as it was found, and the people involved had already been arrested.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Dec 20, 2004 - 25 comments

The price of greatness is responsibility.

"There is no excuse for superior authority not choosing the most suitable agents for particular duties, and not removing unsuitable agents from particular duties." With all the talk of empires and resignations, a reflection to history turns up a remarkable story about an already remarkable man:

A tense time in British India came to a head when General Reginald Dyer's brigade opened fire on an unarmed crowd assembled in Amritsar with machine guns, killing 379 and wounding over 1500. Command wanted to relieve him of duty, but patriotic (and imperialist) fervor at home led to a parliamentary debate which was expected to repudiate this decision and honor him. Enter War Secretary Winston Churchill who defended the Government so eloquently that the minds and hearts of the entire deliberative body were turned.
posted by allan on Dec 17, 2004 - 16 comments

New Monekys and Species this year

A new species of monkey turned up in India [NYTimes or Rediff]. Though the monkeys are new to science, people in the area are quite familiar with them. They call them "mun zala" or deep forest monkeys. It's a stocky, short-tailed, brown-haired creature they have named the Macaca munzala, or Arunachal macaque. Maybe not that excting for those of us not excited by, uh, mokeys, but did you know this year there have been other new things discovered? A new species of plec and one of Neon goby, even more exciting, a new electric fish was found as well. A quick search turned up dozens of new fish this year. ABC News says 178 new things found in the oceans this year alone, raising the number of life-forms found in the world's oceans to about 230,000. The big question is, of course, how many of those will Taste Like Chicken? The bad news on the little critter front is 1 in 10 bird species could vanish within 100 years, and I bet they all taste like chicken.
posted by Blake on Dec 16, 2004 - 16 comments

The Next War?

Is the next war unavoidable? China is now building a large amphibious fleet, with the sole purpose of invading Taiwan. This joins its ever-growing and formidable surface and submarine fleets. Thousands of coastal surface-to-surface missiles, with dozens added each month, now face Taiwan. For its part, Taiwan is considering an $18 Billion arms purchase from the US. India is ramping up its military might, and even Japan is changing its neutral defense policies. Is a major Asian conflict coming soon?
posted by kablam on Dec 14, 2004 - 106 comments

The Wisdom of Super Sadhu

The Wisdom of Super Sadhu: An Indian Sadhu, or holy man, expounds upon sexuality. Entries are scrawled out in a nearly illegible longhand and mailed to turbanhead, who transcribes them into blog form so the spiruatally bankrupt technoratti can get their learn on. Not to be confused with the other, less sexy Super Sadhu.
posted by ba on Dec 13, 2004 - 9 comments

Innovative ideas in India

India Emerges as Innovation Hub. Some other recent innovations I've read about include wireless internet rickshaws and public internet kiosks, trading services for farmers, and an education satellite. Perhaps of most interest to Americans now should be India's e-voting machines.
posted by homunculus on Oct 11, 2004 - 7 comments

F-16's for Pakistan

The weapons the U.S. is sending to Pakistan are targeted against India, not the Taliban. At Pakistan's biggest arms show, a former favorite of A.Q. Khan, it was announced that the U.S. will be selling F-16s to Pakistan, possibly equipped with air-to-air missiles. It looks like Pakistan got its end of the deal for the July surprise.
posted by homunculus on Oct 7, 2004 - 10 comments

Dr. Babasahed Ambedkar

The legacy of Dr. Babasahed Ambedkar, Indian Dalit ('untouchable') intellectual and activist who agitated for reform and equality through education for his people. He converted from Hinduism to Buddhism, and encouraged other Dalits to do likewise, based on that religion's casteless nature.
Related :- National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights.
posted by plep on Sep 29, 2004 - 7 comments

Anglo-Sikh Heritage

Anglo-Sikh Heritage. Sikhs and Britain. More at the Sikh Cyber-Museum.
posted by plep on Sep 22, 2004 - 3 comments

Why don't you pretend I'm working?

Outsource Your Own Job! -- "Says a programmer on Slashdot.org who outsourced his job: "About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. I pay him $12,000 out of the $67,000 I get. He's happy to have the work. I'm happy that I have to work only 90 minutes a day just supervising the code. My employer thinks I'm telecommuting. Now I'm considering getting a second job and doing the same thing." " via BBspot.
posted by Space Coyote on Aug 23, 2004 - 23 comments

India Times Goes Cryptic

Non-NewsFilter From the India Times: "The family cannot be named because we have no written proof. Nor can we give details of the exact nature of the trouble, because that would reveal more than would be prudent, at least for the moment." Or maybe the India Onion.
Just doing my part in keeping the 'Filter from being too USA-centric, via a Monkee who apparently knows who the story's talking about.
posted by wendell on Aug 21, 2004 - 12 comments

Before coming here, had you thought of a place like this?

Cybermohalla --really interesting group project in and around Delhi, bringing young people together via "Compughars" (fully-equipped media centers in their neighborhoods). Located in LNJP Basti (an illegal neighborhood) in Delhi, and Ambedkar Nagar (a resettlement colony) at Dakshinpuri in south Delhi, and cyberspace, and created by ANKUR - Society for Alternatives in Education (an NGO) with Sarai, the New Media & Urban Culture Programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, they've created everything from texts, collages, posters, animations, and publications, to videos, and large-scale installations. Don't miss by lanes --collected excerpts of some of the kids' personal and public diaries (pdfs), and the scratchbook (55-page pdf) and the animated gifs.
posted by amberglow on Aug 20, 2004 - 3 comments

What If...

What If... Speculative fun with Indian history.
posted by homunculus on Aug 17, 2004 - 13 comments

Indian Superman

Indian Superman is a movie of questionable legality released in India in the mid eighties. Perhaps it should have had a wider release since it has a great deal of humorous appeal for Western audiences. Check out this review from Stomp Tokyo. I'm looking forward to a crossover when Indian Superman meets Indian Spider-Man. via Sepia Mutiny
posted by rks404 on Aug 17, 2004 - 10 comments

Asia: Full of Grace

Asia Grace
posted by euphorb on Jul 21, 2004 - 6 comments

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