Browsing articles in " Culture "

Seeking Wisdom in Tribal Storytelling

There was a beautiful girl called Ramenhawii who was famous for her very long hair. All the young men in the village desired her but none could win her favour. One day she was washing her hair in the river, a fish swallowed her hair. A strand of the hair found its way to the plate of the king of the valley as he was being served dinner by the palace cook. Filled with curiosity at the sight of the beautiful hair the king ordered his guards to look for the owner of the hair as he wished to make her his queen. After a long search, the guards at last found the place where the girl lived but they were unable to approach her as she lived protected by barricades around her.

“Oh! Please tell us at least your name” implored the king’s guards.

She replied: ‘No name, no name have I, I live on pure water, I live on pure vegetables.’

Mizo tale of “Ramenhawii.”

“If the end of nineteenth century underlines the distressing effects of industrial revolution and colonialism, the end of twentieth century witnesses the emergence of two paradoxical processes: (i) globalization: a process that cuts across the boundaries of nations, cultures and societies privileging a move towards larger integration of the world and facilitating interdependence moving towards a global culture; and (ii) resistances to globalization: in the form of a vehement articulation of the local  for preservation of indigenous cultures and identities,” writes Kailash C. Baral, Director of Northeast Campus of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) at Shillong in his essay Globalization and Tribes of  Northeast India . There is no escape from the emerging reality that the ‘Global Village’ is a community stripped of all heterogeneity of cultural and traditional flows of life – life here is equated with economic aspirations of market that sell a pipe dream of prosperity while hiding the bleak future. And such realization cannot be disposed off anymore as alarmist.

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‘The authorities in New York are discovering what Egypt also learned — that it’s not as easy to regulate or arrest journalists when everyone is a journalist. But while that may make our lives a little more complicated, it is fundamentally a good thing for society,’ writes Mathew Ingram in his post ‘ What happens when journalism is everywhere.

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Kallenbach Letters – What if Gandhi was Gay?

MY DEAR FRIEND,

I feel like crying out to you ‘Do come  and  help  me!’  Mrs. Gandhi is again down with her swellings. She has lost all power of resistance. She weeps like a child, is ever angry with me as if I was the party responsible for her swellings. I am over head and ears in work. This  institution  costs  me  much  trouble.  I  wish  I  had  the  time  to describe to you the troubles I am passing through. I am not dejected but I feel lonely. You know what I mean. Heaven knows what will happen. There are so many sick people on the Farm. I want hours of solitude and have not a minute of it. Do ‘buck up’ and prepare for the struggle of the spirit when you are able to come here.

I know nothing about some honour  that has been  conferred upon me. I have just received a letter of congratulations. More in my next.

With love,

OLD FRIEND

From the original: Gandhi-Kallenbach Correspondence. Courtesy: National Archives of India

India Government has bought the whole collection of mementos, documents and letters between Hermann Kallenbach and M.K.Gandhi from Sotheby’s in a private deal at $ 1.28 Million fueling  speculation of an attempt to keep the private relationship of nation’s father-head secret, which some say, was homosexual or homoerotic.

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The Uncomfortable Truth

The time has come for you to see
That love is something else you practise it to be
The line is long
For you and me
That leads us to the very debt of our hearts
We’re still on the surface deceiving ourselves…

The Uncomfortable Truth  by NNEKA

This is a reworked old post. I hope that it did not lose it’s ‘punch’ in 15 months while it gathered 2657 page views in Think About It Water . I am inspired by Somnath’s comment in my last post ‘ Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty ‘ where he suspected my content as hard core communism, almost Pol Potish.

Any suggestion about examining limits of personal wealth is decidedly unlikable. Pol Pot is a fair measure of such distaste. Possibly communism as well. Read more >>

Love the Country, Can’t Stand the Scene

I don’t really know why I am writing this.

I drove roughly two hours today seeking a tea stall where I can have a cup of sweet and hot tea, deshi style, to enjoy the drizzle and the much waited rains after a week of stifling heat of Kolkata April.

My city mates might be frowning by now. Driving two hours looking for a tea stall? Well, in Kolkata every block has two of them. Read more >>

The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen?

Ambika Mahapatra. Photo Courtesy Facebook/HT

A recent arrest of Ambika Mahapatra, a professor of Physical Chemistry in the Jadavpur University of Kolkata left the city agitated with protests from student and teacher communities and civil society organizations. The social media sites like Facebook buzzed with angry to humorous protests by netizens mocking and rediculing the Police and the State Administration for excessive regulation of freedom of expression and political over-lordship. Ms. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and her less than one year old administration came under severe criticism as well.

News here. Prof arrested, univ rises in protest against Mamata – Hindustan Times .

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Earth Day 2012 on top of the World

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests

Pablo Neruda

It was almost 9.30 p.m  as Jan Shatabdi Express from Delhi sluggishly rolled in alongside Dehradun. I left the comfort of the air conditioned chair-car, anticipation eating into me and was breathing the familiar Indian Rail station smell. No, I did not grow up in this town and my poetry is novice. But I am in eternal tug and pull between hill and river; I saw life in great river country of Bengal and fell in love with it. Yet Himalaya with its lofty heights and ancient stories beckoned me all my life. Presently, on this railway platform, I was going to meet a friend whom I have not seen with my eyes. It could not get any more exciting!

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A Truth Of Folly

Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace.

Bhagavad Gita

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When Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900), a Sanskritist at Oxford was speaking of Indians as “our elder brethren”, much to the displeasure of the colonial and missionary authorities who ruled India, he hardly knew his idea could spark off a meme that would, in a span of 100 years, challenge the Nehruvian ideal of a Secular Democracy for India. Many British administrators despised the dark-skinned natives, while Christian priests were horrified by their “idolatrous errors, senseless mummeries… and bloody barbarous sacrifices”. The popular belief of the West had been that the Colonial West represented a racial supremacy over the Indian people in the east but this belief drew strength from a much recent Christian world view and 200 year history of Industrial revolution.

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Wayside Story

The News

Men have always been the ones who are supposedly genetically and psychologically geared for a no-strings-attached sex life. And there’s a reason why ‘getting lucky’ is usually something a guy boasts about in the locker room. But things are changing and today’s Indian woman is slowly moving away from the ‘touch me not’ syndrome, where even if she did indulge in a physical relationship, she had to assuage the ‘guilt’ by assuring herself that the man in her life was there for keeps. “Now, sex is not taboo anymore. Everyone’s indulging in it. In this scenario, young girls, too, are talking about sex and initiating casual encounters quite unabashedly,” notes Mumbai social psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. Read more >>

Womb For Hire

Approximate Surrogacy Cycle Cost at a reputed hospital in India is about US $ 22 to 35k. Add IVF/ICSI cost of about US $ 2 to 3k, you can have a child through a surrogate in under US $ 40k. That’s an attractive package because the same cost in US is 50 to 100k. Commercial Surrogacy is not illegal in India. That and a reasonably efficient medical technology (at least for those who can afford it) at a globally competitive price makes India a popular destination for fertility tourism . For example check Med Tourism Co, LLC, an international medical travel facilitation company registered in the State of Texas from their website here . Read more >>

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