India Insight

Elsewhere in India: Maria Sharapova wins hearts, minds of cameramen

Here’s some more news that we found in the Indian press over the weekend and would like to share with you. Rather than present stories of great national importance, we would like to highlight some of the items that you are less likely to see in world news reports. Any opinions that the author might express are surely beneath contempt, and are not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters.

Tennis pro Maria Sharapova visited India. Gushing ensued. “The 25-year-old, here to announce her partnership with UK-based real estate company Homestead, sported an infectious smile throughout the interaction even though the lensmen could not get to focus enough of capturing the blonde beauty. ‘Well, it is just the hair and make-up you know. I don’t wake up looking like this,’ quipped Sharapova when a scribe called her pretty. Here only for a day, Sharapova said food and culture was something she would take back from India. ‘I arrived last night and asked the chef what should I try of the Indian food. I had a dosa which tasted really nice. I wanted to have this great Indian experience. There is so much energy in the city, I have been in some quiet areas recently, resting. I really like the culture and people. You all have been really welcoming.’” Final score: love-love. (NDTV)

Mulayam Singh Yadav’s interests spread wider than wrestling or politics. He is also a lover of poetry. “For more than 35 minutes, Mulayam Yadav analysed the content of the book, ‘Yatharth ke Aas Pas’, written by a Congress leader, Chandra Prakash Rai. “This collection of poems on some very sensitive issues like girls, female foeticide, loneliness, loss of faith and other human emotions must be read by everyone,” he said. (The Indian Express)

Starbucks pays its workers a mere 25 pence an hour at its new India stores, below the country’s official living wage, according to The Mirror. “Under Indian law, restaurant, hotel and cafe owners are only required to pay their staff 17p an hour, or £6 a month. But the Indian “living wage” – the amount people need to eat, drink and pay the bills – is set at 67p an hour. When our investigators visited the Mumbai Starbucks they found cleaners were earning just 25p an hour – about £2 a day. And even the baristas who serve coffee were being paid only 56p an hour, less than £5 for a day’s work.” Starbucks declined to comment. (The Mirror)

You can get a bigger payday from being trapped in an elevator. Mumbai’s Ambassador hotel is paying 200,000 rupees ($3,657) to six guests who were trapped in one of its elevators for two hours — 18 years ago. The hotel argued that it did not bear responsibility for the trapped guests, who used the facilities at their own risk, and also argued that the elevator operator had not maintained the lifts properly. Otis Elevator Co argued that indeed it had, and had urged the hotel to shut down the elevators for three weeks for maintenance.(CNN-IBN)

Can you outsource God?

– Saritha Rai writes for the GlobalPost, where this article first appeared. –

It is dawn in Kerala, a palm frond of a state in India’s South West. As the sun’s first rays hit the church steeple, a Holy Mass is being conducted in the local Malayalam language.

Only, the prayer is dedicated to a newborn by his Catholic family half a world away in the United States.

from FaithWorld:

Ex-nun urges Indian Catholic Church reform in tell-all book

amenA Roman Catholic nun who left her convent in India after 33 years of service has penned an unflattering picture of life within the cloistered walls in a book that may further embarrass the Church.

In "Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun", published in India in English this month, Sister Jesme tells of sexual relations between some priests and nuns, homosexuality in the convent and discrimination and corruption in Catholic institutions...

"Amen" grabbed media headlines in February, when it was first published in Malayalam -- the regional language of Kerala. With the new English edition and offers of a film based on the book, Sister Jesme's plea for a reformation of the Church is now set to reach a wider audience.

How thin a line between Church and State?

Catholic churchgoers in Kerala will soon receive, in addition to the communion, an appeal to not vote for atheists.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council has issued a pastoral letter to be read out in Catholic churches from Sunday, urging parishioners to vote for those who uphold secularism and fight terrorism, according to a report in the Indian Express paper.

The church is also keen that people vote for politicians who will fight against euthanasia and abortion, a direct response to the Left-ruled state’s law reforms commission, which favours legalising euthanasia and floating a public trust to run church properties.

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