Culture


How many of you wear gold?

Apparently, gold is an “Indian passion.” Back in 2005, the Christian Science Monitor reported that “India’s costly love affair with gold” was “weighing down” the economy. And really, look around you: aunties, mothers, grandmothers, and sisters wear some object of gold. Prior to a shaadi, what is the bride-to-be presented with? Gold jewelry. Whatever the sources are for this consumption of gold and diamonds, few people know where the diamonds come from and what are the effects of wearing gold.

(click here to read more from Pass the Roti)

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Communities, Resistance, and the Story of Desh Pardesh

Desh Pardesh was a Toronto-based arts festival that strove to bring forward the voices of those who are most silenced inside the South Asian community and society at large: gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans-gendered people. In putting together this case study the author draws on mainstream and ‘alternative’ print media sources, post-colonial theory, her own experience and solicited observations from individuals closely involved with Desh Pardesh throughout its 13-year existence.

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1857 was First War of Independence Rather than Mere Mutiny

New Delhi, Feb 23 — Urdu journalists and poets had played the most important role in mobilising public opinion against British imperialism and inculcating a deep sense of patriotism in the public during the first war of Independence 1857, observed Sahitya Akademy president Professor Gopi Chand Narang while presiding over a seminar on “1857 Revolt, Colonial System, Literature and the Independence Movement.”

Speaking as Chief Guest, noted historian Professor Irfan Habib of Aligarh Muslim University cited the poetic verses of Muhammad Hussain Azad and Bahadur Shah Zafar to prove that it was an united uprising. “One important feature of this Revolt was that Hindus and Muslims both raised the voice of revolt together.”

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We Can Wear Bindis, But You Can’t

As an Indian American who has spent the majority of her life in the “West” (ie North America and to a smaller extent, Western Europe), I’ve always noticed the commodification of cultures for societies that are based on consumer culture. The moment I noticed this was back in 1997. In high school, my friends took me to a No Doubt concert in Orange County, California. At the time, No Doubt’s GwenStefani was sporting bindis. So when I went to the concert, I wore one. Everyone at the concert was white; all the girls were wearing bindis . But they were looking at me in the most depreciating manner; I even heard a couple of comments about my skin color (I used to be very tan because I was a swimmer and water polo player) and that I “should go back.”

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The right’s only objection to MF Husain’s depictions of Hindu deities is that they are made by a Muslim, says Salil Tripathi

As you enter London’s netherworld — its labyrinthine underground subway system — you will notice large images of a Hindu deity, looking sinuous and sensual, cavorting cheerfully and wearing almost no clothes at all. There are other posters nearby, of sexy women advertising perfumes or holidays, wearing almost as little as the god in the poster, but the god wins hands down in attracting your attention.

More unusually, nobody from London’s neo-hypersensitive Hindu community has expressed any criticism or outrage over the nearly-naked image of the Hindu god staring at almost 2.5 million commuters daily. This is surprising. I remember last year, when Asia House — a gallery near Oxford Street in central London — hosted an exhibition of paintings, which included some canvases of nude Hindu deities, a self-styled Hindu human rights organisation (and the so-called Hindu Forum in Britain, claiming to speak for the 700,000 Hindus who live in the country), protested immediately, and forced the gallery to cancel the exhibition.

(click here to read more from Tehelka)