Meet Mayawati, India's multi-millionaire lower-caste power broker and politician (and don't miss the slide show). [more inside]
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.”
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]
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]
"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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
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.
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.
The Caravan magazine takes a long, hard look at the Formula 1 inaugural enterprise in India.
"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."
Indian talent show Warriors of Goja SLYT
Carbon dioxide emissions increased by the largest amount on record in 2010, exceeding the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
In northeast India, a giant cliff leads up into a hidden world:
Lothlórien Meghalaya. Nearly two kilometers high and buffeted by monsoon storm clouds, this is possibly the wettest place on earth. Once, twenty-five meters of rain fell here in a year, the world record. Living here poses an unusual problem, and it's not just keeping dry. Nearly all the rain falls during the summer monsoon. Rivers switch from gentle streams to raging torrents. They become wild and unpredictable, and almost impossible to cross. Harley and his niece, Juliana, are busy cultivating a cunning solution. [more inside]
The remarkable occurrences of which I am about to write were related by certain French persons of sound sense and unimpeachable veracity, who happened to be in Berlin a few weeks before the outbreak of the European War. The Kaiser, the most superstitious monarch who ever sat upon the Prussian throne, sternly forbade the circulation of the report of these happenings in his own country, but our gallant Allies across the Channel are, fortunately, not obliged to obey the despotic commands of Wilhelm II, and these persons, therefore, upon their return to France, related, to those interested in such matters, the following story of the great War Lord's three visitations from the dreaded ghost of the Hohenzollerns.From "Wilhelm II and the White Lady of the Hohenzollerns," by Katharine Cox, as reproduced in S. Mukerji's charmingly digressive Indian Ghost Stories.
Pandit Chitresh Das is a renowned performer of Kathak, one of the classical dances of India. His company's YouTube channel features some striking examples of his work and that of his students: 1 2 3. (Uploads from other users include 1 2 3.) In recent years, he has collaborated with tap dancers like Jason Samuels Smith and Chloe Arnold on India Jazz Suites and India Jazz Progressions.
Research In Motion has established a surveillance facility in India following a authorities applying pressure. Google, Skype, Twitter and Facebook are also under pressure to provide greater surveillance assistance. [more inside]
The California—based Oakland Institute released a report earlier this year that documents some of the problems caused by the acquisition of land by foreign firms, including Indian ones, in Ethiopia and other African countries. Putting this global trend of ‘land grab’ under the spotlight, the report highlights the social and environmental costs of this phenomenon that have been largely overlooked by the media. Outlook interviewed Anuradha Mittal, the India—born—and—educated founder and executive president of Oakland Institute, to find out why she thinks India ought to share part of the blame of causing “depravation and destitution” in Ethiopia. text via Outlook [more inside]
You've seen the popular LMFAO's Party Rock, but have you seen Potter Rock? The Christmas light show? How about the Pokemon! or Indian versions? Speaking of Indian parodies, have you seen Thriller recently?
India's Lost Southern Border: Somewhere near the town of Mandapam on peninsular India, India's vast rail network is at its closest to the sea-coast; indeed, it crosses a 2.4 kilometre stretch of the sea, and then extends for another 12 kilometres, before terminating in an ancient temple town, Rameswaram(YouTube), close to the impressive Ramanatha Swamy temple around which the town is centered. Another 20 kilometres through an increasingly rough terrain brings us to a forgotten fishing hamlet, Moonram Chathiram, before bringing us to some ruined buildings, abandoned rain-tracks, a submerged temple and a ruined church. Welcome to Dhanushkodi(YouTube). Till tragedy struck on the night of December 22nd 1964, this was India's only border-town in the south. [more inside]
Mansoor 'Tiger' Ali Khan, erstwhile Indian cricket captain, has died. His legacy evokes a previous era in Indian history: a last-generation Royal blinded in one eye as a young man, he captained the Oxford then the Indian teams (his father had played for Oxford and England before captaining India), and married movie actress Sharmila Tagore with whom he had children who went on to become movie stars themselves. Some memories of a man known for his cricketing skill, style and charisma.
Democracy’s Saintly Challenger India is no stranger to protest movements, hunger strikes, and the mass mobilization of citizens for a popular cause. But the recent fast by the Gandhian leader Anna Hazare, culminating in an extraordinary Saturday session of Parliament to pass a resolution acceding to his main demands, marked a dramatic departure in the country’s politics. The Anna phenomenon reflects a “perfect storm” of converging factors: widespread disgust with corruption, particularly after two recent high-profile cases of wrongdoing (in allocating telecoms spectrum and awarding contracts for the Commonwealth Games); the organizational skill of a small group of activists committed to transforming India’s governance practices; the mass media’s perennial search for a compelling story; and the availability of a saintly figure to embody the cause. It also raises important questions about civil society’s role in a democracy.
Which countries match the GDP and population of ● Brazil's States? ● China's Provinces? ● India's States and Territories? [more inside]
The typewriter lives on in India. 'India's typewriter culture survives the age of computers in offices where bureaucracy demands typed forms and in rural areas where many homes don't have electricity.' [more inside]
Massive Biometric Project Gives Crores of Indians an ID: Aadhaar faces titanic physical and technical challenges: reaching millions of illiterate Indians who have never seen a computer, persuading them to have their irises scanned, ensuring that their information is accurate, and safeguarding the resulting ocean of data. This is India, after all—a country notorious for corruption and for failing to complete major public projects. And the whole idea horrifies civil libertarians. But if Aadhaar’s organizers pull it off, the initiative could boost the fortunes of India’s poorest citizens and turbocharge the already booming national economy. [more inside]
Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
"Certainly, Uncle Sam, disowned by Pakistanis, has found innumerable devoted nephews in India. Indian and Pakistani perceptions of America now wildly diverge: A 2005 Pew poll conducted in 16 countries found the United States in the highest regard among Indians (71 percent having a favorable opinion) and nearly the lowest among Pakistanis (23 percent)." Why do India and Pakistan see America in such opposite ways?
জয় হে : So you have seven swara's, or musical notes, each associated with elements, animals, chakra's and Hindu gods. Linearly arranged swara's, or sur's in Hindi, form a swaramalika, a chain of swara's. Mixing yours and my swara's, for instance, produces our sur(YT) (text). Once again,(YT) on a Continuum Fingerboard. The seven swara's together are also called a 'sargam', a Devnaagri acronym formed by taking the first letter of each note. Sargam mix with each other and form raaga's, melodic modes that depict the colours, hues and moods in Indian classical music. Assembling known maestros from every corner of the nation, and asking them to play their sargam's, you get desh raag(YT): the Sound of a Nation. [more inside]
Samosapedia "The definitive guide to South Asian lingo". Eg., Enthu Cutlet: An enthu cutlet is an earnest eager beaver who is able to muster up inordinate amounts of energy, inspiration and enthusiasm towards a variety of things. (via)
In August-September 1965, India and Pakistan went to war for the second time since their independence in 1947. On September 19, a civilian aircraft (Beechcraft Model 18) carrying the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat (bordering Pakistan) was shot down by a Pakistani Air Force pilot (flying an F-86F). Now, 46 years later, the Pakistani pilot has written a condolence letter to the daughter of the pilot of the Indian civilian aircraft.
The African Presence in India: A Photo Essay : The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental answers. This series of articles, "The African Presence in India: An Historical Overview," is designed to provide some of those answers.
The Age of Dissolution. "Walking the Ganga river, from holy bacterial stews to crystalline glaciers: Shiva, eclipses, and the IPCC." [Via]
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]
Job searchers have begun outsourcing the process of applying for jobs to companies in India. The results have been mixed.
Le Figaro has a great article with photographs of the journey of human hair obtained as offerings to the gods by pilgrims in Tirupati to the beauty salons of New York and the heads of such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Since its in French, here's Mother Jones covering the same in English. A Spaniard in London does a photo essay while exporters show you a flowchart of the entire process. Highly valued and in short supply, remy hair, as it is known, is very different from the stuff you find being used in pesticides, pizza base and deer repellent (warning: Fox News link).
India's vultures are vanishing. Populations of three species on the sub-continent have plummeted since the 1980s from 50 million to less than 60,000. Their disappearance could lead to widespread increase in human diseases.
Fast food in South India is fast | in Thailand iced tea is really cool | in Sri Lanka tea is cooled with dramatic effect | in Delhi the bread is made fast too | in Calcutta it puffs up magically | tea serenely | singly | or two at a time | in China tea is served with a long spout, acrobatically. [more inside]
A court-mandated opening of some secret chambers at the Sree Padmanabhaswami temple in Kerala - family temple of the ruling royals of the former Kingdom of Travancore - has led to the discovery of a treasure estimated to be worth billions of dollars.