Posts Tagged 'Delhi'

Could India Host an Impressive Olympics?

India and China. China and India.

Whenever discussion turns to the New World Order, these neighboring giants are always mentioned in the same breath as the up-and-comers. I understand the arguments, but remain deeply skeptical about the prospects for both countries, though for vastly different reasons.

With the Beijing 2008 Olympics drawing to a close, one must concede that China has managed to pull off a fabulously successful advertisement for itself, even though its ugly authoritarianism and environmental shamefulness remained on plain view throughout. So the question nags: Could India hold an Olympics that would flatter, rather than embarrass the nation? I, for one, seriously doubt it.

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India: Going Nowhere Fast

Maruti Suzuki Assembly Line (courtesy of New York Times)

A story about India’s booming auto industry leads today’s New York Times business section. “Ask a billion people, and 99 percent of them are going to say they want a car,” explains Jagdish Khattar, managing director of Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s largest car manufacturer. “The problem,” he continues, “is: How many can afford it?”

And so Maruti Suzuki, and the other Indian automakers are cranking out inexpensive cars by the lakhs. Car sales within India will reach nearly two million units this year, and are estimated to climb to nearly four million by 2013.

Most tout this kind of industrial muscle and burgeoning consumer acquisitiveness as signs of a brilliantly expansive, vital economy. I see it as further evidence – as if more was needed – that India is a second-rate country with first-rate promise, limited by third-rate imagination and fourth-rate fidelity to the values and traditions of its proud past.

Put another way: India is squandering its Twenty First Century economic opportunity with its mid-Twentieth Century mindset.

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Anshu Gupta and the Weave of Life

Anshu Gupta

A gift of cloth is a traditional gesture of goodwill in India. The weave of the yarns symbolize the entwinement of our lives, and the act of giving stands as an acknowledgment of our fundamental unity.

It is only natural, then, that Anshu Gupta would make clothing the poor his life’s mission. Few people I know are as instinctively empathetic or take the oneness of humanity as a basic, everyday operating instruction, rather than a kind of esoteric philosophy. Anshu understands the metaphor of the weave in an intuitive, visceral way; and as a consequence, he thinks broadly, creatively, and incisively about the suffering of others.

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Finding Forgiveness

Symbol fo the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Say what you will about His Giggliness the Dalai Lama, but the lessons he has taught the world about the power of forgiveness are pretty significant.

I count myself in the camp, ugly as it may be, who draw a degree of strength from the art of the grudge. Somehow, I find both creativity and motivation from the self-righteous sense that someone has done me wrong, even as I understand that the energizing feelings it engenders are probably more-than-counterbalanced by the negativity of focus, and know that such enmity is hardly the thing I wish to be propagating in the world.

So, I work on forgiveness. The process is, perhaps, all-the-more interesting because it does not come easily to me. For that matter, it may not come that easily to anyone, even the Lamaisto Giganto himself. Forgiveness is a concept we throw around pretty easily. It is not difficult to utter the words of forgiveness; it is altogether a different proposition to work through the resentment and excise the satisfyingly ingenious, mouse-trap acts of revenge the mind cooks-up, to arrive at an attitude of true indifference to the slight.

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Better Days

MBJ Apendix, inflamed, un-needed, unwanted, unloved

People have been writing to inquire about my appendectomy so, for sake of efficiency, I’ll answer one-and-all here.

One day it was intermittent cramps, which I took to be an amoeba and mostly tried to ignore, the next it was hard-core and focused in the lower right quadrant, which I correctly surmised was acute appendicitis. The good thing about guessing right is that you arrive at the hospital carrying your laptop, shorts, favorite t-shirt, and toothbrush.

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Samjhauta Express Bombing: We Are Fine, Many Are Not

Samjhauta Express after Bombing

The flow of calls and emails has already begun in the wake of the bombing of the Samjhauta Express, the train which runs between Delhi and Lahore. Everyone should know that we are still stuck in Delhi, awaiting our visas, and will probably not be leaving for Lahore for a few more days. (I guess we have some reason to be thankful for the classic inefficiency of the Pakistan High Commission and Interior Ministry, where our visa applications have been moldering.) We appreciate the expressions of concern for our well-being.

So, it looks like we’ll be walking across the border rather than traveling by train.

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Lahore Lahore Hai

Lahore's Badshahi Masjid

There is an old joke in Lahore. A hajji arrives in Mecca and is asked how he feels to be in the heart of Islam. “This is a dream come true for me,” he says, “and Mecca is more beautiful and inspiring than I ever could have imagined. But,” he adds, “Lahore is Lahore.”

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Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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