Notes – Why does Anish Kapoor support delinquent NGOs

Saw an article in the Guardian by Anish Kapoor about “India being ruled by a Hindu Taliban.” In the article he mentions with great angst,

Nine thousand NGOs have been “de-registered” in a concerted effort to force out these “nuisance” groups … (quotation marks are from the article)

Every time I see a number being tossed around, I like to understand what the denominator is. That is, how many total NGOs are there in India, and what percentage do these 9,000 represent. Continue reading “Notes – Why does Anish Kapoor support delinquent NGOs”

Satyagraha – Resistance by Muslim Women

muslim school girls with veils in Daulatabad Arun ShanbhagRecently I saw this short news article about Muslim women in UK choosing to wear the veil in public.  These are young (presumably educated) Muslim women who choose to declare allegiance to their faith, despite the rising violence against identifiable Muslims. (pic is of school girls in Daulatabad from my earlier trip.)

This act of peaceful resistance by the Muslim women is a beautiful example of satyagraha, which Gandhi exemplified as he forced the British to leave India. This is not very different than the protests that have gripped the predominantly minority town of Ferguson, MO facing a violently racist, civil & police administration. But notice how subtly the young women in UK are making their stand.

It is definitely easier to bow to societal norms and subdue their (our) faith, but these young women show true courage by standing up to society and going about their lives.

Particularly those of us living away from ourr homeland, there is a constant tussle to retain your identify and yet conform. Can you give me examples of how people show such resistance? We don’t have to have our heads bashed in by British troops to make a point, but can stand up to our beliefs in our own peaceful way.

Despite eating most meats when I was in India, I chose to be predominantly vegetarian in the US. I admire the women who chose to wear the bindi in the US.

Give me more examples from your life.

Buddha’s Tooth, Peter’s Bones and Jesuit Pope’s Hypocrisy

pic of Buddha from the RijksMuseum posted by Arun ShanbhagCirca 1560 CE
Portuguese forces based in Goa, India, raided the town of Jaffnapatam, Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka). They looted the temples and pagodas and torched the town. One of the items they stole was a reliquary containing a tooth of Buddha – the Enlightened One.

The Buddhist community was distraught and the King of Pegu (present day Myannmar) sent an ambassaor to Goa and offered to pay an astronomical ransom of 300,000 – 400,000 cruzados for the return of the sacred relic. The Portuguese Viceroy of Goa, Constantino de Braganza was inclined to accept the ransom and return the tooth. He argued it would help with the States needs. Strenuous discussion between the political and religious groups, primarily the Jesuit priests took place in Goa during the spring of 1561. Continue reading “Buddha’s Tooth, Peter’s Bones and Jesuit Pope’s Hypocrisy”

Norway is Kidnapping Indian Children

Update, March 19, 2012: More than a month after agreeing to transfer custody of the children to the children’s uncle, the kids still languish in Norway’s foster care system. Indian politicians are headed to Norway to participate in the custody hearings. Norway should be fined a million dollars a day for holding the kids hostage. That should get them to return the kids promptly.

And shame on other European countries for not calling on Norway to return the kids immediately. By being quiet on this issue, the European Union is condoning such atrocities in Europe. Continue reading “Norway is Kidnapping Indian Children”

How to Smackdown a Journalist, President Obama Style

From President Barack Obama’s new Conference on Wednesday June 29, 2011.

Here is what transpired during the Q&A. I think President Obama gave a polite but firm reply to Ms Meckler. Tell me what you think in the poll below.


Laura Meckler of The Wall Street Journal: Thank you, Mr. President. … And I’d also like to follow up on one of your earlier answers about same-sex marriage. You said that it’s a positive step that so many states, including New York, are moving towards that. Does that mean that you personally now do support same-sex marriage, putting aside what individual states decide? Is that your personal view?

Mr Obama: I’m not going to make news on that today. (Laughter.) Good try, though.

Follow-up by Laura Meckler: I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to say anything further on the same-sex marriage issue, but what you said before really led me to believe that that’s what is in your personal mind. And I’m wondering what’s the distinction you’re drawing.

Mr. Obama: Laura, I think this has been asked and answered. I’ll keep on giving you the same answer until I give you a different one, all right? And that won’t be today. (Laughter.)

Ms Meckler: That’s going to be — (inaudible.)

Mr Obama: Yes, exactly. I thought you’d like that one. (Laughter.)


Added in Revision:
Mark Halperin of MSNBC apparently did NOT like President Obama’s news conference, made a derogatory slur and was suspended indefinitely.

Sitting on the set of “Morning Joe,” Mr. Halperin smiled mischievously as he disparaged Mr. Obama’s behavior at a news conference a day earlier. “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday,” Mr. Halperin said.


Poll: In which country does this happen

It was depressing to see the Government of India, a beacon of democratic aspirations in Asia, act like a repressive monarchy, attacking peaceful citizen protesters. This is simply NOT done! And the gall of the ministers to justify their actions!

Time for a shaming poll. Take this poll and send a strong message to the secular fundamentalist Congress Party in India.


Video: Embrace Life

As you get ready for the Holidays, here is a British public service announcement encouraging riders to wear seat belts. WoW! What a beautifully executed video!

Not boring and no scare tactics here; just beautiful acting and the full play of emotions. A tear was ready to well up in my eyes. Stunning!

Video produced by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, UK.

Poll: Who is letting India down?

After 63 years of Indian Independence, there is a sense amongst Indians and even the rest of the world, that India is not living up to its potential ‘completely.’ There is a lot more it could have done, but is unable to get it done.

What is the reason for this? Who is letting India down?

Pragati – Revisiting Indian History

pragati Indian historyNow is such an exciting time for Indian History! New technologies from satellite imaging to DNA sequencing are bringing scientific curiosity to the understanding of our ancient history.

The latest findings are typically scattered in scientific journals and archaeological reports. In history books I find a sad disconnect between what they are still parroting and the latest findings. Thus it was such a joy to see the latest issue of Pragati, dedicated to early Indian History.

Nitin Pai, an Editor of Pragati, who blogs at Acorn, has done a masterful job of collecting related topics in one issue. Nitin was magnanimous in writing here a short introduction to Pragati: A Sense of History. He has also given permission to have the complete issue of Pragati available here as a PDF. Previous issues are available for download at Pragati.

Enjoy this issue of Pragati!
Continue reading “Pragati – Revisiting Indian History”

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