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Von Daniken of the Puranas

Master Builder Uncovers Striking Similarities In Indian and Incan / Mayan Sacred Structures:- It is Sthapati's theory that Mayan, the creator of Indian architecture, originated from the Mayan people of Central America. In Indian history, Mayan appears several times, most significantly as the author of Mayamatam, "Concept of Mayan" which is a Vastu Shastra, a text on art, architecture and town planning. The traditional date for this work is 8,000bce. Mayan appears in the Ramayana (2000bce) and again in the Mahabharata (1400bce) - in the latter he designs a magnificent palace for the Pandava brothers. Mayan is also mentioned in Silappathikaram, an ancient Tamil scripture, and is author of Surya Siddhanta, one of the most ancient Hindu treatises on astronomy. (Original ca. 1995) [more inside]
posted by infini on Aug 31, 2012 - 32 comments

Noble Silence

"I chose the meditation style known as Vipassana for several reasons. It's wholly nondenominational. No gods are prayed to, no mantras chanted, all religious iconography is prohibited. If you typically wear, say, a crucifix, you must remove it for the duration of the course. Also, there is no need for prior meditation experience – in fact, I was told, a neophyte is the ideal student because you won't have any bad habits to avoid – which suited me perfectly, as I'd never meditated before." [The Quiet Hell of Extreme Meditation]
posted by vidur on Aug 27, 2012 - 60 comments

Parched is the Land, Thirsty is the Desire, Thirsty is the Sky

The Saawan So Far: In Hindi, as it is in other Indian languages, they are simply the Nairutya Marut, the Winds from the South West. "Bursting" every year at about June for the last sixty million years, the Monsoons are the pre-eminent weather formation for the lands south of the Himalayas; over a period of three months, they travel all over the sub-continent in a north-easterly direction. They are India's meteorological tryst with destiny; as a past Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor once said, "If it rains everything is well on earth and cordial in heaven[...] I am once again hostage to monsoon;[...i]f it rains, the monetary policy works. [...] I want you to realise that all of us are 'Chasing the Monsoon'": [more inside]
posted by the cydonian on Aug 26, 2012 - 5 comments

Perry Anderson's essays about modern states in The London Review of Books

Perry Anderson's book length three part series on the history of India from the beginnings of its independence movement, through independence and partition into its recent history as a nation-state is the latest in a series of erudite, opinionated and wordy articles in The London Review of Books by the UCLA professor of history and sociology on the modern history of various countries, so far taking in Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, the EU, Russia, Taiwan and France. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Aug 25, 2012 - 6 comments

Using Broad Strokes to Draw Attention to the Fine Details.

The World in 2 Minutes is a series of videos showing the eccentricities, both good and bad, of different countries as told by their youtube videos. [more inside]
posted by quin on Aug 14, 2012 - 19 comments

Off Grid Post Mortem

A Post-Mortem on India's Blackout: IEEE Spectrum's energy, power, and green tech blog gives an excellent overview of what led to the devastating blackouts that occurred in India on July 30th and 31st leaving more than 600 million people (approx 10% of the world's population) without electricity. Bonus: BBC's Soutik Biswas gives us 10 interesting factoids on India's power situation to chew on.
posted by infini on Aug 10, 2012 - 25 comments

Street dentistry

The Dentist of Jaipur (slyt)
posted by Forktine on Aug 8, 2012 - 16 comments

Sat Sri Akal, Sardarji

The history of the Sikh Diaspora in USA and Canada goes back to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897. Emerging as a casteless alternative to the ongoing Hindu Muslim wars in India, the Sikhs have always been known as a martial tribe, their prowess and courage respected by the British and others alike. Colloquially addressed respectfully as Sardarji, the men take Singh (lion) as their middle name while the women bear the name Kaur (princess). This custom further confirmed the equality of both genders as was the tradition set by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. The first Sikh Organization was The Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society organized in the spring of 1912. [more inside]
posted by infini on Aug 6, 2012 - 34 comments

SitOrSquat: Cheeta Camp

Mapping Toilets in a Mumbai Slum. As part of an initiative by the Harvard School of Public Health, a team of students is researching life in the Mumbai slum, Cheeta Camp. They started by studying sanitation and water use. Their results? This map of toilets.
posted by bluefly on Jul 24, 2012 - 8 comments

You still eat with your hands?

Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of watching Oprah’s Next Chapter: India on TLC. The name of the programme is pretty self-explanatory. And I’d already heard of her series, Oprah’s Next Chapter in the US where she “steps outside of the studio for enlightening conversations with newsmakers, celebrities, thought leaders and real-life families”. I’ve never been a great fan of Oprah’s – and the fact that she truly follows and believes everything that Deepak Chopra and Dr Phil say has nothing to do with it. I do think though, that she’s a good interviewer, she’s well-informed, an easy conversationalist and is well-travelled. But all that has changed after watching Oprah’s Next Chapter: India. Myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche. This was Middle America at its best worst.
posted by infini on Jul 23, 2012 - 132 comments

tut tut tut

Indian Dubstep is a fun little dance routine by Gerardam, two brothers from India, Johnnathan and Joshua Gerard. Via Ministry of Manipulation, who say, "... this is what happens when two clowns become excellent dancers." Johnnathan composed the music.
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 15, 2012 - 8 comments

Aye mere watan ke logo

Given how little thought India’s contribution to the World Wars gets in our collective historical memory, it is almost strange to think that in the First World War India made the largest contribution to the war effort out of all of Britain’s colonies and dominions. Close to 1,700,000 Indians – combatants and non-combatants – participated in WWI. My own area of interest is India’s role in the Mesopotamian theatre. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jul 8, 2012 - 7 comments

Can I get a whoow? Whoow!

Need to wish someone a really special happy birthday or congratulations or even a simple, heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving? Why not send them a singing telegram from India?
posted by shivohum on Jun 7, 2012 - 12 comments

The elephant moves

“Sexual orientation does make you poor,” says Manohar Elavarthi, a community organizer with Sangama in Bangalore. “Poverty is not just economic – you miss access to so many things: ration cards, inheritance rights, voter ID cards.” In several South Asian countries, there are reports that LGBT people have even been denied access to disaster relief. And homophobia is intricately connected with other divisions in South Asian societies, particularly around gender but also religion and caste. Yet I saw many signs of hope and change in both India and Nepal. Those transgender sex workers in Chennai have organized a coalition, called V-CAN, of every single community-based organization in the state of Tamil Nadu that serves homosexual or transgender people. Working with the NGO Praxis, they have been able to gain access to some public benefits, such as pensions and registering as “third gender” on government ID cards. Activists in Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society have achieved similar results and more. ~ World Bank blog post
posted by infini on Jun 3, 2012 - 9 comments

The Indian Memory Project

The Indian Memory Project "is an online, curated, visual and oral-history based archive that traces a personal history of the Indian Subcontinent, its people, cultures, professions, cities, development, traditions, circumstances and their consequences." See for example, Sarees, or Migration.
posted by dhruva on Jun 1, 2012 - 4 comments

Dumb, Drunk and Racist

Dumb, Drunk and Racist - Joe Hildebrand, writer for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, has a new TV show coming up on Australian TV, called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist", which was the phrase famously used during a training session in an Indian call centre about Australians. The show features four Indians from varying backgrounds visiting Australia - looks like very uncomfortable viewing (if you're Australian). (Slightly NSFW because of drunken boob-showing).
posted by awfurby on May 28, 2012 - 138 comments

India's reproductive assembly line

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.
posted by latkes on May 19, 2012 - 89 comments

Camels

Galleries of old photographs of camels in America, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, China, Mongolia and India, in war | camel breeds | How the Camel Got His Hump from Camel Tales, Folklore & Legends| baby camels and lots more at this one stop site all about Camels. Previously.
posted by nickyskye on May 14, 2012 - 17 comments

The Revolution Will Be Sung: The shifting sounds of the Dalit movement in Maharashtra

“We are responsible for this. We never got organised or converted to another religion. Had we done it, we could have mentally discarded caste and made others understand we are humans.” A review of 'Jai Bhim Comdrade', a documentary about the Dalit ('untouchable') struggle for life and dignity that weaves through Indian politics, identity and modern history: The Revolution Will Be Sung.
posted by the mad poster! on May 10, 2012 - 5 comments

The Artist who loved India's Soul

Svetoslav Roerich (work down the galleries on the left) was described in a tribute on his 100th birthday as The Artist who loved India's Soul.
Like his father Nicholas (previously); he was a painter and philosopher. The family foundation page has more on this extraordinary family. In 1954 Svetoslav married the widow Devika Rani who with her first husband Himansu Rai had made India's first English language talking movie which became a cause célèbre for India's first (and longest) onscreen kiss.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Brian de Palma!

At the end of your Bollywood comedy you have an item song that's supposed to be a tribal song with gibberish lyrics, so why not just list film directors' names? Cue, The Akira Kurosawa song
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 24, 2012 - 25 comments

"The biennial exposition, said to be the largest in Asia"

India's DEFEXPO 2012, is 'not a carnival in the truest sense', but rather ' the seventh in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Security Systems Exhibition . . . clearly steering the path of steady growth . . . receiving overwhelming and unprecedented international response.' As for arms dealers? 'On arms dealers, the minister [India’s Defence Minister AK Antony] insisted, “There are none I am aware of.”' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 12, 2012 - 3 comments

Badass Of The Week: 21 Sikhs

Badass Of The Week: The 21 Sikhs [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 11, 2012 - 20 comments

Having Twins With a Surrogate — in India

Having Twins With a Surrogate — in India
posted by wondrous strange snow on Mar 19, 2012 - 29 comments

Narendra Modi 2.0

The Emperor Uncrowned: An in-depth look at the controversial man who may be India's next Prime Minister (previously). Also related.
posted by peacheater on Mar 8, 2012 - 5 comments

India declared free of Polio for one year

Recently, the World Health Organisation anounced that India has officially broken the chain of Polio transmission, with no new cases reported in the last year. Following independent checks of the reporting laboratories, Indian Health Minister announced that WHO "has taken India's name off the list of polio endemic countries". [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Feb 26, 2012 - 21 comments

Kila Raipur Sports Festival Rural Olympics

In February each year, Ludhiana becomes the destination fro hundreds of sports enthusiasts, including foreigners. They come to Kila Raipur to see the special breed of bullocks, camels, dogs, mules and other animals competing in highly professional events. It is to be seen to be believed. In 1946, Mr. Bakhsish Singh was instrumental in getting the most popular event of the Games – the Bullock Cart Race – introduced. This is the annual Kila Raipur Sports Festival, commonly called The Rural Olympics. This years games are over, but photos of various events are being posted online. For one last taste, here's a 10 minute video from the 2007 events.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 21, 2012 - 3 comments

Once Upon A Time in Bombay

Once Upon a Time in Bombay "It is said that Bombay is the Alexandria of India. Its geographical position and commercial relations bear evidently some resemblance to the great eastern entrepot of the Mediterranean. As the swampy Rhakotis, a mere fishing village which Alexander the Great transformed into the splendid city of Alexandria, the desolate islet of the Bombay Koli fishermen was changed into the present capital of Western India." -- J. Gershon da Cunha in Origin of Bombay (google book) [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Feb 21, 2012 - 8 comments

A Democratic Ambivalence

"A staggering 49 per cent of Pakistanis said that it did not matter to them whether the government was democratic or not. Even more surprisingly, 21 per cent of Indian respondents also said that it did not matter to people such as themselves whether the government was democratic or dictatorial. Added to the fact that a third of respondents offered no response at all, many people in countries with substantial experience of democracy or with significant experience of both democracy and dictatorship appear to share the Libyans’ ambivalence about democracy as the preferred form of governance."
posted by artof.mulata on Feb 21, 2012 - 83 comments

Wind, sea, sand

Surfing took a baby step or the first dip at the first India Surf Festival in Puri this month. Indian surfers, from states along India's long coastline, came together for the first time, in one place. From fishermen's sons to professional surfing instructors, they do not fit the classic, global image of surfers we have. They are uniquely Indian.

Meet the first generation of Indian Surfers.
posted by timshel on Feb 21, 2012 - 26 comments

Economic Development: The Examples of India and China

"This is an intriguing little video summarizing the hypothesis of a new study by Vamsi Vakulabharanam. It looks at the puzzle of why China and India are exceptions to the Kuznets curve, that economic development at first increases income inequality but then starts to produce less disparity. But that did not occur in India and China. Vakulabharanam argues that the difference lies in changes in institutional arrangements, and the inflection point was roughly 1980."
posted by marienbad on Feb 18, 2012 - 3 comments

Vinod Thakur's Got Talent

Born without legs, Vinod Thakur has excelled at breakdance and performed on India's Got Talent. [more inside]
posted by gman on Feb 15, 2012 - 3 comments

The Untouchable

Meet Mayawati, India's multi-millionaire lower-caste power broker and politician (and don't miss the slide show). [more inside]
posted by vidur on Feb 6, 2012 - 7 comments

It is a peanut in our total

India tells Britain: We don't want your aid According to a leaked memo, the foreign minister, Nirupama Rao, proposed “not to avail [of] any further DFID [British] assistance with effect from 1st April 2011,” because of the “negative publicity of Indian poverty promoted by DFID”. But officials at DFID, Britain’s Department for International Development, told the Indians that cancelling the programme would cause “grave political embarrassment” to Britain, according to sources in Delhi. Further embarressment ensues. Emma Boon, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is incredible that ministers have defended the aid we send to India, insisting it is vital, when now we learn that even the Indian government doesn’t want it.”
posted by infini on Feb 5, 2012 - 34 comments

Robot psychics

Robot psychics of India
posted by latkes on Feb 3, 2012 - 15 comments

78 78s

78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
posted by carter on Jan 29, 2012 - 15 comments

Khooni lakir tod do, aar paar jod do

Inshallah Kashmir: Living Terror is Oscar-nominated director Ashvin Kumar's brand new documentary, which is banned in India, that provides the perspectives of people that rarely receive positive mainstream media attention. [more inside]
posted by gman on Jan 26, 2012 - 5 comments

For the sad old earth wants plenty of mirth. And ballsiness.

"One jar contained chilli powder, the other turmeric. But in the dark, the girl from Odisha couldn't see which jar had the chilli powder. So she mixed both the powders, carried it to the bedroom and threw it into the eyes of five thieves brutally beating up his [sic] parents." The (Indian) Daily Mail write about the 24 child winners of the National Bravery Awards.
posted by Diablevert on Jan 18, 2012 - 32 comments

Júzcar, the Smurfy blue Spanish town

Júzcar is a little Spanish village that voted to stay blue, but their buildings weren't always that hue. In fact, if you view the Google maps, you'll see the traditional whitewashed walls, as you'd expect for one of the (former) White Towns of Andalusia. It happened in advance of Global Smurfs Day, to celebrate the birthday of Peyo (25 June 1928 – 24 December 1992), the Belgian creator of the Smurfs comics. The town was chosen by Sony as the site for the international debut of its new Smurfs movie, who offered to pay for the town to become temporarily blue. The citizens unanimously voted to accept the offer. In September, the 221 residents voted to keep the town blue, as the media coverage was huge, and tourism was boosted from 300 summer tourists to thousands. More photos. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 12, 2012 - 21 comments

RINOA SUR

A leaked memo by India's Military Intelligence indicates they eavesdropped on a U.S. government department (USCC) that reports to congress on "the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship [between the U.S. and China]" using "lawful intercept" backdoors provided to the Indian government by Apple, RIM, and Nokia. (previously) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 8, 2012 - 48 comments

New, deadlier form of TB hits India

Tuberculosis, which kills around 1,000 people a day in India, has acquired a deadlier edge. Forty years ago, the world thought it had conquered TB. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 7, 2012 - 34 comments

Reality of India

This is a story of a young man named Chotu Lohar* from a small nondescript village in one of the poorest states of India. He dropped out of school to work in the iron mines. Music on a radio was the only entertainment available in his house but last year he came to national notice on a reality show called Dance India Dance - where although his untutored enthusiasm and energy captured attention - he was unable to make the cut. His passion, on the other hand, caught the interest** of the show's producers who took him under their wing and a year later, he's just made the shortlist for this year's show. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jan 7, 2012 - 7 comments

multitasking

In 1993 in Dharamsala I met for the first time that amazing music performer, perhaps he was a Rajhastan gypsy. Usually he sat on road side from McLeod Ganch to Dhalai Lama residence. This man-orchestra created great atmosphere, sometimes he sang from eternity even didn't notice listeners. In 2004 I came to Dharamsala and people told me that he passed away. This video is dedicated to him and to people who knew him.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 29, 2011 - 7 comments

A radical, but not a revolutionary

Grierson believed strongly that the filmmaker had a social responsibility, and that film could help a society realize democratic ideals. His absolute faith in the value of capturing the drama of everyday life was to influence generations of filmmakers all over the world. In fact, he coined the term "documentary film." [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 26, 2011 - 4 comments

Disrupting The Period

When Arunachalam Muruganantham hit a wall in his research on creating a sanitary napkin for poor women, he decided to do what most men typically wouldn’t dream of. He wore one himself--for a whole week. [...] It resulted in endless derision and almost destroyed his family. But no one is laughing at him anymore, as the sanitary napkin-making machine he went on to create is transforming the lives of rural women across India.
An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Dec 19, 2011 - 51 comments

A grassroots initiative to clean up the streets of India

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.
posted by peacheater on Dec 13, 2011 - 6 comments

Slumdog Golfer

The Golf Course and the Slum
posted by vidur on Dec 11, 2011 - 9 comments

Fingers crossed

Australian Labor Party's 46th National Conference starts today in Sydney. Key agenda items - Gay marriage, refugees, and Uranium sale to India. Follow it live.
posted by vidur on Dec 1, 2011 - 39 comments

Fast and Furious

The Caravan magazine takes a long, hard look at the Formula 1 inaugural enterprise in India.
posted by vidur on Nov 27, 2011 - 33 comments

Cars in India: The Middle-Class Dream

"Little is changing modern India more than the spread of cars, a four-wheeled reflection of its economic transformation and a window into the aspirations of the new Indian middle class."
posted by mr_crash_davis on Nov 27, 2011 - 23 comments

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