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from India Insight:

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead

Narendra Dabholkar, who campaigned against superstition in India for more than two decades, was shot dead in Pune on Tuesday, police said.

Dabholkar, 67, was a physician-turned-activist who openly criticised and questioned supernatural phenomena attributed to practitioners of black magic in India.

He was instrumental in drafting a new law in Maharashtra state that sought to target conmen who exploited superstitious beliefs, especially among the illiterate. The controversial bill is yet to be passed by the state assembly due to opposition from right-wing groups and political parties who fear the new law might curb religious freedom.

Superstitions prevalent in parts of India, especially in its villages, range from animal sacrifices and dropping babies in rivers to killing or raping children as a cure for infertility.

from Photographers' Blog:

Meeting a modern-day Gandhi

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Delhi, India

By Mansi Thapliyal

"I am Gandhi!" he says firmly. "His soul resides inside me," he announces, smiling unwaveringly.

I stare blankly at the man who is wearing a dhoti wrapped around his waist, thick black oval glasses and carrying a cane just like Mahatma Gandhi.

from India Insight:

More than Lokpal, does Anna need a speech writer?

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By Diksha Madhok

The self-styled crusader against corruption, the “modern Gandhi”  -- Anna Hazare -- has managed to pick on one of the most marginalized sections of Indian society. While pitching for a strong Lokpal Bill on Tuesday, Hazare resorted to an unfortunate idiom about childless women, when he said, “Banjh kya jaane prasuti vedana (what would an infertile woman know about labour pain)?"

However the word in Hindi, “banjh”, does not have the same clean and scientific connotation as “infertile” or “sterile”. It means “barren” and is used as a derogatory term for women who fail to bear children. A woman who does not produce a child loses her social status inside and outside the house. While the ostracism in urban India may not be as obvious, contempt for childless women is reinforced through colloquialism and Bollywood.

from FaithWorld:

India Congress scion Rahul Gandhi says radical Hindus a threat

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gandhis (Photo: Rahul Gandhi with his mother Sonia Gandhi, in New Delhi May 21, 2009/B Mathur)

Rahul Gandhi, seen as an India prime minister in waiting, told the U.S. ambassador radical Hindu groups could posed a bigger threat to the country than the Islamists who attacked Mumbai in 2008, a leaked cable showed. The comments made to Timothy Roemer last year were immediately criticised by the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adding to political sparring that has deadlocked parliament and pushed policymaking into limbo.

Gandhi's comments, made in response to a question from Roemers on the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, referred to religious tension created by more extreme BJP leaders, according to the cable dated August 3, 2009. It was released by WikiLeaks and published on Friday by Britain's Guardian newspaper.

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama remembers Gandhi, and King, in Mumbai

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INDIA-OBAMA/

U.S. President Barack Obama spent part of his first day in India visiting a museum dedicated to the memory of one of his heroes, Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and walking in the footsteps of another, U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as he did so.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, located in a home where Gandhi stayed during his nonviolent campaign for India's independence from the British.

from Tales from the Trail:

Golden Temple off Obama’s India agenda, Gandhi on

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.INDIA/
U.S. President Barack Obama will not visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar during his trip to India next month, the White House confirmed on Wednesday

But he will make several other cultural stops, including two related to the revered Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who is a hero to many African-Americans and was an inspiration to the U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

from India Insight:

Amitabh Bachchan and politics of celebrity

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Amitabh Bachchan is caught in a political controversy yet again. The 67-year old-actor finds himself in the middle of a row over his presence at government functions in Mumbai and Pune.

Amitabh BachchanWhile no official reason has been given, Bachchan’s presence at a government function in Mumbai last week has raised hackles in the Congress party, ostensibly because of Bachchan's bitter relationship with the Gandhi family.

from Tales from the Trail:

So what does Obama do for an encore?

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Maybe he does walk on water...

President Barack Obama, having barely cut his teeth in office after nine months, has joined the rarified club of Nobel Laureates that includes the likes of  Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr. Even Gandhi, despite being nominated five times, never made the list. NOBEL-PEACE/OBAMA

As with anyone who reaches the impossible dream early on, the question is: what next? He's 48 years old, has more than three years left at the White House, how does he top this?

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Hey, are you Ben Kingsley’s kids?

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Blog Guy, can you please help settle an argument with my girlfriend? Did Gandhi have any children?

This is what you argue about with your girlfriend? What about fidelity and commitment and toilet seats and stuff?

from India Insight:

Will the Gandhi magic work again?

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The countdown has begun in India. As political pundits peer into their tea leaves before the results of another marathon election, the question on everybody's lips is: will the Gandhi magic work again?

Exit polls show the coalition led by Sonia Gandhi will fall short of an outright majority, but her Congress party has a slight edge over its rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
But then exit polls in India have been way off the mark in the past. Like the last election.

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