India


scissor_budaI’m loving this scupture of Buddha made out of scissors — it’s at Emporio in Delhi. The rest of the store is decorated with monochromatic scissors — what a cool way to revise such a mundane instrument of the everyday.

Advertisements

Interesting NYT piece by Somini Sengupta on gated communities in Gurgaon, a business-process-outsourcing just outside Delhi. Although they lack the overtly racial tones these enclaves suggest for many Americans, Sengupta does a pretty good job at teasing out the two vastly different worlds that coexist.

Also noteworthy (though woefully underreported) is a quick report on women and alcoholism in India via the Hindustan Times.

Sepia Mutiny chronicles the outrage of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti concerning Mike Myers’ upcoming film The Love Guru. The organization provides a helpful table explaining exactly how you’ll be punished if you take in the flick:

Act

Demerit

Means

Making the movie, ‘The Love Guru’

30 units

2nd region of Hell for 1000 years
Watching it for entertainment without knowing the spiritual science/significance

2 units

Nether region (Bhuvaloka) for 100 yrs
Watching it for entertainment even after knowing the spiritual science/ significance

5 units

1st region of Hell for 100 yrs
Being a seeker of God/on the spiritual path, knowing about the Movie, but doing nothing to stop it

5 units

1st region of Hell for 100 yrs

The Times of India reports that activists in Tamil Nadu are trying to press charges against Bollywood sex bomb Mallika Sherawat for showing up to a red-carpet event in skimpy attire.

A glimpse of the crazy:

[A] splinter group … lodged a complaint with the police on Thursday, saying that Mallika’s attire at the function to release audio-CDs of Kamal Hassan’s new film Dasavatharam in which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Jackie Chan and Amitabh Bachchan were present had “hurt the sentiments of Hindus.” The actress was accused of wearing transparent and skimpy clothes … activist Kanirajan, in his complaint, also said Mallika sat cross-legged on the dais where Karunanidhi was present.

Cross-legged! The horror, the horror! Imagine if she hadn’t been so circumspect and pulled a bit of the classic Britney magic

Joking aside, my thoughts, in no particular order: 1) damn, she looks good; she might as well capitalize on her looks while she has them; 2) is contemporary Hinduism really so fragile that a bit of leg could threaten the very core of its philosophy?; 3) if Jackie Chan hadn’t been present, would it still have been such a gaffe?; 4) is women’s sexuality so threatening that men must try and outlaw it and/or shame those bold enough to revel in their fecundity?; and 5) seriously, don’t these fellas have better things to do?

And, for your entertainment, the trailer for Dasavatharam:

The Indian Express reports that the Indian Railways will pilot voice and data connectivity in trains between Ahmedabad and Mumbai; liveblogging about the difficulty of managing one’s bodily functions on a squat toilet with a malfunctioning lock soon to follow.

I kid, but it isn’t funny: women in India face significant challenges, and too often, it seems, issues like gender parity fall by the wayside as the country focuses on its spectacular economic growth, etc.

It’s probably just lip service, but it is heartening to hear the country’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, thrusting the issue into the public eye. In a speech Monday, Singh said, “We are an ancient civilisation and we call ourselves a modern nation. And yet, we live with the ignominy of an adverse gender balance due to social discrimination against women built into our societal structures. … Our record in female literacy is far from satisfactory as the last Census recorded only 54% female literacy in the country. The last Census again showed a declining child sex ratio. This is a national shame and we must face this challenge squarely here and now. It indicates that growing economic prosperity and education levels have not led to a corresponding mitigation of the problem.”

For a good primer on the social status of women in India, I’d suggest the Bridge “India Gender Profile” (PDF). The Wikipedia page on women in India, though of debatable quality, also surfaces a number of issues and provides a bit of historical context.

(Image: Painted advertisement for Jadugar Anand magic show in Kottayam, Kerala, in mid-2005.)

In Kerala, a small state in the south of India perhaps best known for being the first region in which a communist government was democratically elected, a storm is brewing. But not over political machinations: no, the latest kerfuffle has erupted over an actor’s plan to put on a “fire escape act.” Three hundred magicians from the state have signed a petition urging Mohanlal to reconsider performing the stunt, in which he would be “chained and lowered upside-down in a metal box using a crane into a big haystack, which would be set afire.”

According to the Indian Express, “The magicians who held a press conference [in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala] on Monday said the actor is just not trained enough to perform this act, and alleged that his trainer, Muthukad, was himself burnt when he had tried the act in Bahrain sometime back.”

Next Page »