India Insight

Meet Mangla Charan Mishra, ‘Friend of the Dead’

April 30, 2015

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If you ever find yourself driving down the secluded, dusty National Highway 96 in the remote Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, you probably will notice a billboard flashing this message in Hindi: “If you find any unclaimed dead body, inform us. We will cremate it in accordance with full religious procedures.”

Amish Tripathi on his new book “Scion of Ikshvaku” and retelling the Ramayan

April 29, 2015

The gods must be pleased with Amish Tripathi. After all, the author’s first three books on Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, have sold more than 2.2 million copies and made him a household name in India.

Movie Review: Dharam Sankat Mein

April 10, 2015

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

If Fuwad Khan’s “Dharam Sankat Mein” is any indication, Bollywood is in the midst of a theological crossroads. It certainly is debating the idea of God with more fervour than before.

from Photographers' Blog:

Waiting to die

July 23, 2014

Varanasi, India
By Danish Siddiqui

The River Ganges is sacred in Hinduism, and the city of Varanasi, which lies on its banks, is one of the oldest and holiest sites for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world.

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead

By Kaustubh Kulkarni
August 20, 2013

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

Finding harmony in music and Islam

February 20, 2013

The grand mufti whose words against music ended the short career of an all-girl teenage pop band in Kashmir last month made me wonder: is music really un-Islamic? He said that if women indulge in indecent, immoral acts such as singing, it would be a step toward their destruction. Is it really that simple in Islam? Of course it isn’t.

‘Nobody can stop you if you engage in art with dignity’: Zila Khan on singing and Islam

February 7, 2013

The members of Praagaash, an all-girl band in Kashmir, split up this week after an influential cleric deemed their music un-Islamic. Zila Khan, one of India’s most popular sufi singers and daughter of sitar maestro Vilayat Khan, spoke to Reuters about how singing is closest to worship and meditation and how children should be allowed to sing.

The news this weekend: LPG, Kejriwal, toilets, politicians… and Somali pirates

October 6, 2012

It’s shaping up as a busy weekend for India’s politicians…

The price of LPG — liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, or cooking gas — has risen 11.42 rupees per cylinder because dealers are getting higher commissions. TV channels attacked the government because this “shocker” comes right after the imposition of a cap on subsidized cylinder sales was imposed.

Is the outraged Indian over-sensitive or culturally prudent?

March 7, 2012

Protests are as common in India as the ‘Singh’ surname in the national hockey team.

Of sex swamis, lies and videotape

April 26, 2010

The recent scandals over two spiritual gurus have shaken the collective faith of their followers in India.