Tag Archives | India

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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Coca-Cola and Water Use in India: “Good Till the Last Drop”

From ScienceBlogs.com:

The marketing executive who came up with Coca-Cola’s popular slogan in 1908 most likely never expected it would be taken so literally. However, a hundred years ago there probably weren’t many who imagined a term like “water wars” could exist in a region that experiences annual monsoons.

On February 25 a complaint was filed in the New York Supreme Court against the The Coca-Cola Company alleging that they knew about and sought to cover up human rights abuses in Guatemala. While that trial gets started, the company’s controversial practices in India continue involving the over-exploitation of limited water resources and the contamination of groundwater supplies. In response to public outcry the soft drink company is now championing itself as a longtime environmental leader and the business community is eager to advertise their claim. Yesterday CNN Money reported that:

Coke has been a leader when it comes to environmental issues: It is aiming to be water neutral — meaning every drop of water used by the company will be replenished — by 2020.

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Forbes Billionaires List Shifts To China, India & Mexico

225px-Carlos_Slim_Helú

Carlos Slim Helú. Photo: José Cruz/ABr (CC)

A sure sign that the balance of power is shifting away from the United States and Europe towards developing nations is shown in the new Forbes list, with the Mexican Carlos Slim Helu beating out Bill Gates for the top spot and China claiming more billionaires than any country outside the US.

India’s billionaires, however, are richer, as reported in the Christian Science Monitor:

With the release of the latest Forbes rich list of billionaires, India is finding much to brag about – even as other fast-growing economies like China make their mark.

Eight Indians made Forbes magazine’s latest list of the top 100 billionaires, and two – energy tycoon Mukesh Ambani and steel mogul Lakshmi Mittal – sit in the top 5. Mr. Ambani is now the fourth richest person in the world, and the richest person in the Asia-Pacific region.

The highest-ranking Chinese person on the list is Li Ka-shing of Hong Kong, ranked No.

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Criticising GM Crops May Land You In Jail

Imran Khan for express buzz:

BANGALORE [India]: Criticising Genetically Modified (GM) products could land you in jail — if the draconian draft Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill (BRAB) of 2009, which will be tabled in the current session of the parliament by the UPA government, is passed.

In an unprecedented muzzle on the right to freedom of speech of the citizen, Chapter 13 section 63 of the draft bill says, “Whoever, without any evidence or scientific record misleads the public about the safety of the organisms and products…shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees or with both.” The BRAI Bill drafted by the department of bio-technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology comes on the heels of a moratorium on Bt Brinjal announced by the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

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Zero-Rupee Bribes for Bent Indian Officials

From ABC News:

Indians are being urged to hand over a note worth zero rupees when asked for a bribe, in a bid to stamp out corruption among officials.

Last year, international corruption watchdog Transparency International said almost 4 million Indian families had to bribe officials for access to basic services.

Vijay Anand, from the lobby group 5th Pillar, says they began distributing the worthless note because of a lack of practical solutions for tackling corruption.

“The topic of corruption have never been on the surface,” he said.

“Everybody was practising it, paying bribes, getting their jobs done. We thought that the fundamental reason was there was lack of alternatives – there was no practical solutions, no alternatives.

“So we thought we should come up with something. One of our volunteers came up with the idea of the zero-rupee note and we then launched it on a wide scale.”

The note, similar to a real 50-rupee note, carries 5th Pillar’s email address and phone number.

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