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"Please try to respect the youth. They are the ones who are going to build the next generation."

Now in its fourth year, CNN Heroes highlights and rewards "Everyday People Changing the World." This year's Hero of the Year (chosen by public poll) is Anuradha Koirala, whose group Maiti Nepal has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery along the India / Nepal border since 1993. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 26, 2010 - 9 comments

The End of a Smartly Turned Out Era

The border crossing at Wagah between India and Pakistan has long been host to one of the most bizarre rituals in diplomacy, one which draws massive crowds to witness its daily spectacle. Sadly, all good things come to an end.
posted by Biru on Nov 2, 2010 - 57 comments

plants in sanskrit poetry

Seasonal Poetry in Sanskrit : The blog Sanskrit Literature has been running an excellent series on plants that appear in sanskrit poetry. Some examples : Jasmine (malati), Lotuses and Water Lilies, Mango.
posted by dhruva on Nov 2, 2010 - 6 comments

The Largest Home In The World

The newest and most exclusive residential tower for this city’s superrich is a cantilevered sheath of steel and glass soaring 27 floors into the sky. The parking garage fills six levels. Three helipads are on the roof. There are terraces upon terraces, airborne swimming pools and hanging gardens in a Blade Runner-meets-Babylon edifice overlooking India’s most dynamic city. There are nine elevators, a spa, a 50-seat theater and a grand ballroom. Hundreds of servants and staff are expected to work inside. And now, finally, after several years of planning and construction, the residents are about to move in. All five of them. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 29, 2010 - 84 comments

Cheap Water

The race is on: India by 2020, China by 2025 - will the US get there at all?
posted by PuppyCat on Oct 21, 2010 - 24 comments

My father used to do the same work.

Professional ear cleaners are not always popular amongst backpackers in India. Few realize it's an ancient trade, passed down from father to son. It's also one that may be dying in the face of stiff competition from Q-tips and western medicine. How does one recognize an authentic professional ear cleaner? By his red skull cap, of course.
posted by Ahab on Oct 18, 2010 - 91 comments

Hindustani classic musician - Abdul Karim Khan

Abdul Karim Khan (1872-1937). Master Hindustani classical musician: Piya bin chain nahi aavat, Raag Natyageet, Bengali folk, Jamuna ke teer, Raag Bilawal
posted by stbalbach on Oct 11, 2010 - 14 comments

The cat, the mouse, and the elephant.

"This is your state! A big country like India is a slave to a small country like Britain. The Indian soldiers should be fighting for their freedom which can only be achieved if England is destroyed. You are only fighting to remain enslaved." A comprehensive account of WWII propaganda campaigns on all sides of the complicated relationship between Axis, Allies, and India. [more inside]
posted by albrecht on Oct 8, 2010 - 13 comments

Another brick off the tower of Babel

As part of National Geographic's Enduring Voices project, Gregory Anderson, K. David Harrison and Ganesh Murmu travelled to Arunachal Pradesh to document the Aka and Miji languages - and in the process, they found a previously undocumented language, Koro (not to be confused with Koro, Koro or Koro). The NG site has a video and gallery; you might also be interested in this interview given by Harrison to NPR, which includes a small audio selection of Koro words and phrases.
posted by Dim Siawns on Oct 7, 2010 - 5 comments

In the Courtyard of the Beloved

"IN THE COURTYARD OF THE BELOVED is a visual and aural portrait of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, a Sufi shrine in New Delhi, India. Made from over 18,000 still images and ambient sounds recorded on-site, rapid-fire bursts of kaleidoscopic imagery assemble into fractured collages where a moment expands outwards and then converges back into itself, fleshing out a three-dimensional rendering of place."
posted by gman on Oct 7, 2010 - 12 comments

India's Chuck Norris

He is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch. "If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth." [more inside]
posted by vidur on Sep 28, 2010 - 22 comments

Welcome to the Evil Federated Empire of Europe

Europe according to... is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 22, 2010 - 57 comments

bollywood radio

Bollywood Radio, the classics l Top 40 Countdown, news, interviews, talk about the music scene in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam l Bonus links: Indian classical music on Radio Live365 and more.
posted by nickyskye on Sep 20, 2010 - 8 comments

iPod, iPhone, iDal.

"Every input in agriculture is a war chemical. Every agrichemical is a war chemical." Physicist Vandana Shiva on monoculture, agricultural imperialism, and protests in Delhi conscribed to the hours of 9-5. [more inside]
posted by simulacra on Sep 3, 2010 - 14 comments

Very very hilarious

"The ultimate movie scene of India,or the world may be" (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 2, 2010 - 84 comments

Making a Difference

"Sure, Bono and Richard Branson can change the world. But there are millions of individuals making a difference who are not rich or famous." The Christian Science Monitor's ongoing Making a Difference section focuses on "that unheralded community – 'to honor the decency and courage and selflessness that surround us.'” [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 2, 2010 - 4 comments

Dhan dhan dhan dhan!

The dhol has traditionally been played by men at Punjabi weddings and sufi shrines. Rani Taj, the first professional British-Kashmiri female dholi, trained by the Dhol Blasters and Azaad dhol, plays the dhol at public events.
posted by bardophile on Aug 27, 2010 - 19 comments

the idea of a fully operational zero...

"Michel de Montaigne, whose essays transformed Western consciousness and literature, was not capable of solving basic arithmetic problems. And most other people would not be able to do so either, if not for the invention of decimal notation by an unknown mathematician in India 1500 years ago." The Greatest Mathematical Discovery? (expanded pdf) a paper written for the US Dept. of Energy makes this assertion based in part on the work of Georges Ifrah. [via] [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Aug 26, 2010 - 44 comments

Journeyman Pictures

Journeyman Pictures has uploaded nearly 4000 videos to YouTube. Many of these are trailers for the documentaries they sell, but they have also posted hundreds of full-length videos. Most are for short documentarie, but there are a lot of features too. It's somewhat daunting to explore, but the playlists are a good place to start, and so are the shows: Features, Shorts, News and Savouring Europe, a European travelogue series. Here's a few interesting ones: Gastronauts, about French culinary students working to make astronaut food more palatable, Demon Drummers, about student Kodo drummers, India's Free Lunch, about the effects of free school lunches on Indian society, The Twitter Revolution, about YouTube and Twitter's role in the 2009 Iranian uprising, Europe's Black Hole, about Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Small Town Boy, about a gay male carnival queen in a small town in England, The Vertigo of Lists, Umberto Eco talks about the ubiquity of lists in modern culture and Monsters from the Id, about scientists in the science fiction films of the Fifties.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 24, 2010 - 10 comments

Indian voting machine researcher arrested

The Indian government describes their electronic voting machines as 'perfect', but has never permitted an independant evaluation. A team of three academic researchers received access to a machine from an anonymous source, and demonstrated several flaws. Concerns are being expressed in India. At 5:30 this Saturday morning, police arrested Hari Prasad, one of the research team, at his home, transporting him to Mumbai. [more inside]
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed on Aug 22, 2010 - 31 comments

Not exactly pole dancing.

Indian Pole Gymnastics [more inside]
posted by empath on Aug 14, 2010 - 49 comments

The USS Gen. H.F. Hodges In Photos

From 1945 to 1946, Leonard Rudoff served as Apprentice Seaman, 3rd Class on the troop transport USS Gen. H.F Hodge as it made its way to India, Egypt, NYC, and San Francisco. And he took photos along the way..[via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 29, 2010 - 6 comments

30 dollar Linux tablet?

An Indian laptop priced at just Rs.1,500 ($30) and touted as the world's cheapest will come as a godsend for students for whom it has been specifically designed. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 23, 2010 - 48 comments

"Google has inadvertently waded into disputes from Israel to Cambodia to Iran"

The Agnostic Cartographer : How Google’s open-ended maps are embroiling the company in some of the world’s touchiest geopolitical disputes.
posted by desjardins on Jul 18, 2010 - 23 comments

Birth of a booming baby industry

Couples from Western countries, such as Australia, the US, and the UK are turning to surrogates in India to carry their babies. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 12, 2010 - 45 comments

Janaganana karaycha aahe

How do you survey a billion people? Since April 1, India has been conducting its 15th decennial census. Unlike in some countries, in India, the data for the census is still entirely collected by enumerators—2.7 million of them—who visit every residence in the country to count the people living there. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Jun 29, 2010 - 19 comments

Hitler Goes Bollywood!

The Bollywood film "Dear Friend Hitler" has lost its Hitler, Anupam Kher, due to protests from India's Jewish Community. The film was to focus on "Hitler's love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence...to capture the personality of Adolf Hitler and his insecurities, his charisma and his paranoia during the last few days of his life." Westerners may be puzzled by the project's flippancy towards its subject, but knowledge of the Holocaust is relatively slim in India, where Mein Kampf is a best-seller supposedly lumped in with Who Moved My Cheese. While Hitler may have lent some wispy nominal support to India's independence movement, the fact is most of the people who tried to draw a connection between Hitler's fortunes and that of India were just plain loons. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Jun 18, 2010 - 52 comments

Air India bombing final report

The final report of the bombing of Air India flight 182 from Canada in 1985 has been released. Turns out the Mounties, and others, are to blame.
posted by anothermug on Jun 17, 2010 - 21 comments

got mny in yr pkt? kthxbai

M-Pesa, the mobile platform based money transfer system launched by Safaricom in Kenya, is changing the landscape of money in Africa, and around the world. Competition is heating up even while the service expands internationally allowing transactions to occur between Africa, UK and Asia. Bankers, regulators, startups and operators all want a piece of the pie as even the phone manufacturers themselves get into this potentially lucrative business.
posted by infini on Jun 12, 2010 - 12 comments

How to snag your very own Indian!

How to Date an Indian (Advice for the Non-Indian) by Andrea Miller. [more inside]
posted by peacheater on Jun 4, 2010 - 117 comments

Snakes and sauropods

Can a snake prey on a dinosaur? The answer is yes. A plug of wet sediment captures a snake preying on a dinosaur hatchling.
posted by unliteral on Jun 2, 2010 - 16 comments

Why Are Indian Kids So Good at Spelling?

Because they have their own minor-league spelling bee circuit. Having a qualifying spelling bee league that is, at times, tougher than the actual competition is what results in the extreme over-representation of Indian kids (1% in population, 11% in the spelling bee) at the national-level Scripps spelling bee. Where else have you seen such a phenomenon?
posted by vidur on Jun 2, 2010 - 15 comments

Where were you when The IDEA knocked at the windows of your mind?

The IDEA - The Indian Documentary of Electronic Arts - Seven somewhat dated collections of essays, music, videos, and thought curated and designed by Shankar Barua, backed by totally awesome early Internet-era graphics, and hosted at Laurie Spiegel's also-rad retiary.org.
Please note that many individual pages of The IDEA gazettes are very-very heavily loaded, by [2001's] WWWeb standards, with images/audio/video. In other words, if you can get past ugly old broken HTML and auto-playing music, you may find a lot to like in here.
posted by carsonb on May 4, 2010 - 3 comments

The Art of Living

Doing Time, Doing Vipassana is a powerful 52-minute documentary (1 2 3 4 5) in which Goenka's form of meditation is once again introduced in India's largest prison. [more inside]
posted by gman on Apr 28, 2010 - 21 comments

tea in India

Chai Why? The Triumph of Tea in India : "But whereas I initially supposed tea-drinking to be as Indian, and perhaps as old, as the Vedas, I have come to know that it is, in the longue durée of Indian history, a very recent development; one that (in many parts of the country) did not much precede my first visit, or that even followed it."
posted by dhruva on Apr 19, 2010 - 18 comments

words fail me

CK Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in the University of Michigan passed away on 16th April 2010 after a brief illness. His core competency was strategic insight and vision and his legacy to the world, the concept of the Bottom of the Pyramid, which changed the way big business viewed the teeming, huddled poverty stricken masses of the former third world as micro-innovators, micro-producers and so, micro-consumers in their own right. Among others, his work inspired Ratan Tata as the Nano turned conventional wisdom of automobile manufacturing on its head and paved the way for Indian industry to focus on the high volume/low margin potential of their domestic market. In 2009, he was named the "world's most influential thinker" . Though not uncriticized for his theories on the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, one can acknowledge his role in overcoming the "tyranny of dominant logic" that the poor should not simply be recipients of charity but demanding customers in challenging environments. RIP, sir. {previously, previously}
posted by infini on Apr 17, 2010 - 14 comments

1837 illustrations of South Indian castes

"Seventy two specimens of castes in India". This illustrated manuscript made in southern India in 1837 consists of 72 full-colour hand-painted images of men and women of the various castes and religious and ethnic groups found in Madura, India at that time. Search or browse (recommended) all the images, in very good resolution, from Yale's Beinecke Library. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Apr 12, 2010 - 14 comments

colours of passion

Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), considered “the greatest painter of India,” “the father of modern Indian art,” and a “prince among painters and a painter among princes.” Varma became renowned both for his portraiture and his paintings of Indian mythology. The painter's life and times played a major role in the shaping of the women he painted and controversy over the way he painted them. Varma's images have not just survived, but due to his vision of making them accessible to the common man, they have thrived over a century and influence movies, television, the world's most expensive sari, theatre and everyday calender art.
posted by infini on Apr 10, 2010 - 7 comments

Passage from India

Lori Whisenant, who teaches business law and ethics at the University of Houston, has outsourced the grading of students' papers to a private company, Virtual-TA, who sends them to be marked in Bangalore, India.
posted by Rumple on Apr 7, 2010 - 66 comments

No More Island

An island in the Bay of Bengal, South Talpatti/New Moore Island, disappears under rising seas. The inundation settles a long dispute between India and Bangladesh over the island.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer on Mar 26, 2010 - 17 comments

Walking with the Comrades

Last month, Arundhati Roy decided to visit the forbidding and forbidden precincts of Central India’s Dandakaranya Forests, home to a melange of tribal people many of whom have taken up arms to protect themselves against state-backed marauders and exploiters. She recorded in considerable detail her face-to-face encounter with armed guerillas, their families and comrades.
posted by shoesfullofdust on Mar 21, 2010 - 11 comments

you forgot the parsi bawas, you madman

Jug Suraiya, famed middle of the editorial ha ha heh man of india's ridiculous prolific and noisy media takes a poke at stereotypes. All ring true of course.
posted by infini on Mar 21, 2010 - 18 comments

kabaddi kabaddi kabaddi kabaddi kabaddi...

Kabaddi is an ancient team sport, originating in South Asia, that requires nothing but an open area and a bunch of people [wikipedia]. It combines the skills of tag and wrestling with the ability to hold your breath while doing so: raid your opponents' side of the court, tag as many of the defenders as you can, and then run back to your side, avoiding the defensive tackler--all in one breath, while chanting "kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi". [extended rules].
Footage: [ 2006 World Cup (with music) • 2005 World Cup 1 2 320049 minutes of footage from a Tauranga, NZ tournament • From the USA 1 2 ]
"Kabaddi Kabaddi" by Babbu Mann from the film HasharAnother song
The British Army uses Kabaddi as a recruiting tool.Representing Team MeFi
posted by not_on_display on Feb 28, 2010 - 35 comments

The Champawat Tiger and Other Man Eaters Of Kumaon

Jim Corbett's Man Eaters Of Kumaon (1944) is a collection of true stories about the hunt for man-eating tigers and leopards in India. One of Corbett's most notable kills, the Champawat Tiger, was alleged to have killed some 436 people in Nepal and India. Similarly, the Leopard of Panar possibly killed some 400 people in northern India before she was hunted down herself. [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Feb 25, 2010 - 26 comments

If it feeds, it leads

"..when a victorious chief minister openly admits that he himself approached the leading newspaper of his state with money for “positive stories” after learning that the newspaper had signed a “package deal” with his rivals to print negative stories, you had better sit up and take urgent notice"
posted by Gyan on Feb 12, 2010 - 4 comments

Paying Zero for Public Services

Protesting corruption with the zero-rupee note. Indian NGO 5th Pillar has a come up with a unique project to help India's poor fight against institutionalized bribery.
posted by shakespeherian on Jan 27, 2010 - 21 comments

Choosing Central Asia for a bride

Fascinated by the Orient An exhibition of the letters, photographs and maps bequeathed to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by the great explorer, archaeologist, geographer and Sanskritist Sir Marc Aurel Stein. Journeyer in the footsteps of Alexander, explorer of Central Asia and West China, surveyor of the antiquities of India and Iran; after a long life of journeying through and studying central Asia, Aurel Stein found his final rest in Kabul. He is also remembered for rediscovering the oldest dated printed book still in existence, a copy of the Diamond Sutra in the caves at Mogao. That the latter and many thousands of other manuscripts collected by Stein now reside in the British Library is of course, like his other 'treasure hunting', not without controversy.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 4, 2010 - 4 comments

Head hunters

The Naga, from North-East India and Burma, were headhunters. [more inside]
posted by stonepharisee on Jan 4, 2010 - 14 comments

To dye for

Best known as an Indonesian handicraft, batik is a distinctive technique for textiles that has been used for millennia and can be found as far away as Egypt, Ghana, China and India. An integral part of daily life in Java, batik has spread around the world as a wellknown artform as well as clothing. From its hippy heyday to the smart couture outfits of the Singapore Girl, batik is still daily wear for many and the equivalent of black tie in the ASEAN. [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 19, 2009 - 13 comments

"Error is Horror": The Dabbawallas of Mumbai

Follow that Dabbawalla For nearly 130 years, Mumbai's Dabbawallas have been delivering lunches from customers' homes to their workplaces and taken the empty tiffin boxes back again. The service, with its origins in the mid 1880s when a single textile mill worker paid an errand boy to bring him his lunch from home, is a complex system with in which color coded lunch boxes are passed from Dabbawalla to Dabbawalla to reach their destination, creating a network that, in many ways, resembles the Internet itself. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Dec 17, 2009 - 40 comments

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