Tag Archives | India

An Outsider’s Firsthand Look At The Aghori And Tantra Traditions

James Curcio

James Curcio

Special guest host James Curcio talks to William Clark about the time he spent in India, covering everything from tabla, the aghori sects of tantra, hinduisim and all points in between.

Over the course of the Immanence of Myth project, James Curcio has had many conversations with mythic artists, intellectuals and professors, and outright mutants who in Hunter’s words are “too weird to live and too rare to die.” Most of these are being written or transcribed in part for the book.

The Gspot: William Clark and Tantra (Or listen to the podcast on Alterati.com)

In the time since, we produced a “Gonzomentary” satyr-play about the modern artist called Clark. This podcast provides a very different look at the character behind the character.

Clark Episode 2: No Money Mo’ Problems

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Confessions Of A Thug

Victoriangothic.org reviews the classic novel which first popularized the Thuggee cult, a darkly psychological adventure story with a murderous anti-hero, Ameer Ali:

Philip Meadows Taylor’s 1839 novel Confessions of a Thug captured the imagination of 19th-century Britain with its chilling depiction of an organized death cult preying upon the hapless travelers of India’s wild and desolate roads. Based upon real accounts Taylor gathered during his work suppressing the Thuggee cult for the Nizam of Hyderabad, the book is ominously introduced as an authoritative exposé in which true events have been faithfully woven into a fictionalized narrative.

Group of Thugs c. 1864.

Group of Thugs c. 1864.

As portrayed by Taylor, the Thugs are the votaries of Bhowanee (Kali); the destructive aspect of the Supreme Being. Endowed with superior intelligence and cunning, they are sent forth to make “sacrifices” on her behalf. The reward for their piety is the plunder they gather from their victims. In so far as they observe her omens and obey her taboos, Bhowanee grants them protection from earthly authorities.

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India’s Population Reaches 1.21 Billion

800px-ATP_conferenceThe world's population has had a rapid increase in the last decade, but India takes the cake. With the 2011 census updated, India's population reaches 1.21 billion. BBC reports:

India's population has grown by 181 million people over the past decade to 1.21bn, according to the 2011 census. More people now live in India than in the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh combined. India is on course to overtake China as the world's most populous nation by 2030, but its growth rate is falling, figures show. China has 1.3bn people. The census also reveals a continuing preference for boys - India's sex ratio is at its worst since independence. Female foeticide remains common in India, although sex-selective abortion based on ultraso
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The Red Cross Briefed the U.S. on India’s Use of Torture in Kashmir

Red CrossThe AFP reports, via CommonDreams:

The International Committee of the Red Cross provided US diplomats in 2005 with evidence of the systematic use of torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir, leaked US diplomatic cables revealed Friday.

In a confidential briefing, the ICRC told the diplomats of 177 visits it had made to detention centres in Indian Kashmir that revealed “stable trend lines” of prisoner abuses, according to the cables released by website WikiLeaks.

Techniques included electric shock treatment, sexual and water torture and nearly 300 cases of “roller” abuse in which a round metal object is placed on the thighs of a sitting detainee and then sat on by guards to crush the muscles.

The ICRC said it had been “forced to conclude that the (Indian government) condones torture,” the cables said.

Human rights groups have repeatedly accused India of abuses in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir, where it has been fighting an armed separatist insurgency for more than 20 years.

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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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