Tag Archives | India

Fighting Monkeys With Monkeys…

The more we train our fellow primates for tasks once relegated to human beings, the closer we are as a species to seeing the Statue of Liberty half-submerged in a shoreline. Sara Sidner writes on CNN: Grey Langur Monkey
New Delhi, India — Chotu is not happy to see visitors. He is busy scratching himself and intensely surveying his surroundings when he's approached.
He and his buddies Pinki and Mangu are in the middle of their eight-hour shifts. They have important jobs to do. They are some of more than 100,000 security forces protecting people during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
But Chotu and his gang are a special force trained to put a stop to any monkeying around near the stadiums. Chotu, Pinki and Mangu are langur monkeys. Their trainers said each one has the ability to scare off 50 potential attackers — namely the wild smaller macaque monkeys that roam the streets and buildings of Delhi. The wild monkeys are known for some naughty habits. You can't blame the macaques; they're just being themselves. The wild monkeys are in a densely populated city where they occasionally have run-ins with humans — especially if there is a chance to snatch some food.
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New Language Discovered In India

Cultures about to be lost, are still being found. The new language discovered in India, Koro, leaves more questions than answers. From Discovery News:
A team of linguists announced Tuesday that they have discovered a new and unique language, called Koro, in northeastern India, but immediately warned that it was highly endangered. Only around 800 people are believed to speak the Tibeto-Burman language, and few of them are under the age of 20, according to the researchers who discovered Koro during an expedition as part of National Geographic's "Enduring Voices" project. The language, they said, has never been written down.
Continues at Discovery News ... From National Geographic:
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Recipe For Disaster? India Divides Sacred Site Between Muslims and Hindus

Uttar_PradeshI almost hate to say it, but is this the next Jerusalem? From the Wall Street Journal:

NEW DELHI—An Indian court ruled Thursday that a sacred site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims should be divided, in a complex decision that will test whether India has moved beyond the violent religious passions that bedeviled the nation in the 1990s.

In the ruling, two of the three judges in the case found that the site be divided into three parts—two for the Hindu side and one for Muslims. Two of the judges also found that the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram, a significant ruling for the Hindu side. The court said no action would be taken for three months and the Muslim side said it would appeal to the Supreme Court of India.

The case, before the Allahabad High Court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, has been running since 1950 and had been closely watched not just for its historic and religious significance but for the country’s reaction; a Hindu mob partially destroyed a mosque on the site in 1992 which was followed by widespread violence.

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Drug Resistant Indian Superbug Spreading

From Reuters:

A new superbug could spread around the world after reaching Britain from India — in part because of medical tourism — and scientists say there are almost no drugs to treat it.

Researchers said on Wednesday they had found a new gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, in patients in South Asia and in Britain.

NDM-1 makes bacteria highly resistant to almost all antibiotics, including the most powerful class called carbapenems, and experts say there are no new drugs on the horizon to tackle it.

With international travel in search of cheaper healthcare increasing, particularly for procedures such as cosmetic surgery, Timothy Walsh, who led the study, said he feared the new superbug could soon spread across the globe…

[continues at Reuters]

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Coming Soon: The Bollywood Hitler Movie

Martin-Sommerlatte-001Dear Friend Hitler is a lighthearted Bollywood romp, presumably filled with dancing, based on “Hitler’s love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence.” Anupam Kher and Neha Dhupia star as Hitler and Eva Braun (although Kher just quit, following the public controversy). The Guardian reports:

Western productions have occasionally attempted to make fun of Hitler, ranging from successes like The Producers to fiascos like Heil Honey, I’m Home. But Dear Friend Hitler is not a traditional Bollywood musical, and makes no claim to comedy. “It aims to capture the personality of Adolf Hitler and his insecurities, his charisma and his paranoia during the last few days of his life,” Kumar says. In other words, this is Downfall – but with a positive spin.

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India’s Castes: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Count?

Jason Overdorf reports that for the first time in 80 years India may get a true tally of an ancient system, in Globalpost:
NEW DELHI, India — The 2,000-year-old Hindu caste system remains the most powerful force in Indian society. Friendships, business ties and marriages live and die according to its dictates. Political parties carefully script their election tickets according to its mathematics. And an increasing number of government policies — including spiraling quotas for government jobs and university education — follow its logic. But it's not polite to talk about it, and might even be dangerous to quantify it...
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Gandhi’s Sex Life Laid Bare in New Book

From Yahoo News:

A new book on Mahatma Gandhi has delved into the intimate life of the Indian icon whose famous vow of chastity did not prevent him sleeping with naked women and conducting bizarre sex “experiments”.

“Gandhi: Naked Ambition” by British historian Jad Adams sheds new light on the spiritual leader and independence hero whose spartan existence and resistance to earthly pleasures are an integral part of his popular image.

The book has been released in Britain and will be available soon in India where it is bound to make waves in a country where Gandhi’s image is fiercely protected and a source of national pride.

That his attitudes to sex were censorious and unusual is well known. He wrote of his disgust at himself for having intercourse with his wife Kasturba, aged 15, when his father died in 1885.

In later life, having fathered four children, he forbade even married couples in his ashram retreats from having sex and lectured men on the need to take a cold bath when they felt lustful.

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Yoga As A Political Movement

Swami RamdevThe return of yogis to political life? From the New York Times:

HARIDWAR, India — The sun slumbered well beneath the horizon, but Swami Ramdev had been up for hours. Swathed in a saffron loincloth, he led his charges, a few hundred devotees in this holy city on the Ganges River and tens of millions more watching on television, through a rapid-fire series of yoga poses.

“If you sweat this much in the morning, you will never get old,” he shouted, the Chiclet-white dazzle of his smile undimmed by the wild bush of his beard. His own 50-ish body, lithe and supple as it whipped through the poses, underscored the point.

Without skipping a beat, Swami Ramdev, who as one of India’s most popular and influential gurus has reintroduced yoga to India’s masses, segued seamlessly into his latest passion: politics.

“We clean up our bodies,” he cried. “Then we will clean up our democracy!”

Swami Ramdev plans to do for the body politic what he has already done to the country’s creaky physiques: whip it into shape.

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Headless Human Sacrifice Victim Found In Indian Temple

sacrificeCutting off people’s heads as a gesture to the gods may have fallen out of favor, but it still happens sometimes, BBC News reports:

The severed head and torso of a man has been found in a temple in the Indian state of West Bengal in what the police say is a case of “human sacrifice.” The head and the body were found at the local temple to the goddess Kali near Chotomakdampur village in the western district of Birbhum.

“This man has been sacrificed to propitiate the gods,” said local official Kalyan Mukherjee. “This is a shame for Bengal where the ruling Left coalition claim they have eradicated social evils and combated superstition,” an opposition leader Samir Kumar Ray said.

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Indian Military to Weaponize World’s Hottest Chili

roasted-pepper-736227WASBIR HUSSAIN writes on the Associated Press:
GAUHATI, India — The Indian military has a new weapon against terrorism: the world's hottest chili. After conducting tests, the military has decided to use the thumb-sized "bhut jolokia," or "ghost chili," to make tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects, defense officials said Tuesday. The bhut jolokia was accepted by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world's spiciest chili. It is grown and eaten in India's northeast for its taste, as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat. It has more than 1,000,000 Scoville units, the scientific measurement of a chili's spiciness. Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000.
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