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Why Are Millions of Indian Women Dropping out of Work?

Posted on 2017/5/20 19:31:39 ( 549 reads )


INDIA, May18, 2017 (BBC): The numbers are stark - for the first time in India's recent history, not only was there a decline in the female labour participation rate, but also a shrinking of the total number of women in the workforce. Nearly 20 million Indian women quit work between 2004-05 to 2011-12 The labour force participation rate for women of working age declined from 42% in 1993-94 to 31% in 2011-12. While more than 24 million men joined the work force between 2004-5 to 2009-10, the number of women in the the work force dropped by 21.7 million.

Using data gleaned from successive rounds of National Sample Survey Organisation and census data, a team of researchers from World Bank have attempted to find out why this is happening - at a time when India's economy has grown at steady clip. Women need better and more suitable job opportunities outside farming, the authors say. Predictable social norms are attributed to women quitting work in India: marriage, motherhood, vexed gender relations and biases, and patriarchy. But they may not be the only reasons. Significantly, rising aspirations and relative prosperity may be actually responsible for putting a large cohort of women out of work in India.

More at "source" above

India's Lost Party Mansions

Posted on 2017/5/20 19:31:29 ( 429 reads )


TAMIL NADU, INDIA, May 17, 2017 (New York Times): Driving on the main roads in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the barely there villages that materialize every few miles take on a comforting rhythm. Cement lean-tos and shacks give way to a formal grid of streets with mansion after looming mansion in various states of maintained opulence and elegant decay, their decorative facades partly hidden by high walls. Built between 1850 and 1950, these homes -- some of which dwarf the grand cottages of Newport and the villas of Cap Ferrat -- number over 15,000 throughout Chettinad, which covers about 600 square miles. Many have more than 60 rooms spread over interiors as large as one and a half acres.

The globe-trotting Hindu merchant and banking clan called the Nattukottai Chettiars thrived during colonialist expansion. The massive homes -- at least those not abandoned due to the crushing cost of upkeep, then pillaged for the remarkable architectural details within -- are still owned by the families whose ancestors built them. Few of those owners actually live in them full time now, but, like the castles and manor houses that dot the English countryside, the residences are familial status symbols of staggering heft, worrisome expense and emotional attachment. Except for salvage, they have no resale value. Who might buy an 150-year-old, 85-room villa two hours from the nearest airport in an area that modern industry has forgotten?

Much more on the Chettiar mansions, including colorful photos, at "source" above.

Here's the Story of Gama "The Undefeated" Pehalwan and How He Saved Hindus During 1947 Riots

Posted on 2017/5/20 19:31:19 ( 531 reads )


INDIA, May 16, 2017 (India Times): Whether it was Rustam-e-Hind (Champion of India) or Rustam-e-Zamana (Champion of the Universe), the titles conferred on Gama Pehalwan always fell short in describing the legend. His legacy is such that even 57 years after his death, every wrestler in India and Pakistan aspires to be like Gama-The Undefeated. Like all other true champions and icons of sports, Gama Pehalwan too was far above the petty concerns of religion, caste, creed and all the things that divide human beings. And the example of it came in the thick of the riots that marked the partition of British India into India and Pakistan. Gama, a Muslim by faith saved hundreds of Hindus of his colony in Lahore from the bloodthirsty mob.

Gama Pehalwan lived in Amritsar, where he was born in 1878. But citing the political atmosphere of the country in which the buzz of partition was reaching crescendo, Gama Pehalwan shifted to Lahore in early 1947. The majority of the colony he was settled in was Hindu and all were jubilant about the great wrestler becoming their neighbour. Gama had sensed what was coming and therefore, he promised Hindus of his colony that he would defend them with his life. As riots escalated, Gama knew his colony wasn't safe and he wouldn't be able to protect them beyond a point. Therefore, he escorted them to the border. Gama bore all the expenses from his pocket and bid adieu his neighbours with teary eyes.

More of this history at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/5/20 19:31:09 ( 347 reads )


Listen for silence in noisy places; feel at peace in the midst of disturbance; awaken joy when there is no reason.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

California Department of Educations Releases History-Social Science Textbooks Submitted for Adoption in 2017

Posted on 2017/5/16 20:33:59 ( 775 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, May 16, 2017 (CDE): The California Department of Education has posted a web page at "source" above which allows access to 14 programs teaching history at various grade levels. Of interest to Hindus are those that cover grades six and seven when India and the Hindu religion is covered. In theory, these new programs reflected the revised Framework for History-Social Studies which has been revised over the last three years by the Board's Instructional Quality Commission. They are called "programs" because all are either entirely Web-based, or have extensive web resources for a printed textbook.

Publishers submitting for sixth and seventh grade include Discovery Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, McGraw-Hill School Education LLC, National Geographic Learning, Pearson Scott Foresman and Prentice Hall, and Teacher's Curriculum Institute.

Instructions for submitting public comment on these programs is available here:

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/5/16 20:33:48 ( 458 reads )


Man needs a guru. But a man must have faith in the guru's words. He succeeds in spiritual life by looking on his guru as God Himself.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

The Only Place in the U.S. You Can Get a Master's in Yoga Studies? Los Angeles

Posted on 2017/5/15 20:37:15 ( 604 reads )


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, May 13, 2017 (LA Times): Ana Funes is a philosophy professor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). She sat under a whiteboard she'd filled with flow charts and Sanskrit. Her graduate students had just spent more than an hour examining the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika," a 15th century manual. Now they were eager to understand how the ancient text could be translated into physical experience. They were studying to earn a master's degrees in yoga studies in the only university in the country where it is possible to do so. Forty-million people in America say they do yoga -- twice as many as five years ago -- but how many of them really learn about what it is and where it comes from? It's an important area of study, says the practice's few (but growing number of) scholars.

At LMU, studying yoga takes two years and is more in the books than on the mat. Five professors -- two full time, three part time -- lead about 30 students through numerous disciplines. Students study health sciences. They learn Sanskrit in order to read the "Yoga Sutras," the "Upanishads," the "Bhagavad Gita" in their original language. They grapple with Eastern philosophy and numerous Indian theologies.

Much more of this interesting article at "source" above.

Natya Shastra Lectures at Kalakshetra

Posted on 2017/5/15 20:37:04 ( 424 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, May 15, 2017 (YouTube, Press Release by Bharat Gupt): You will be happy to know that I have uploaded 25 hours of my lectures delivered in Kalakshetra Chennai, India. They begin with the first and go up to 53 videos. The lectures-interactions provided a detailed exposition of all the principles of performance in each of the 36 chapters of the Natya Shastra (Sanskrit Hindu text on the performing arts at least 2,000 years old) and have been related to the present genres of performance such as plays, cinema and sculpture. The text and the ensuing discussion made a springboard to analyse and contrast many classical ideas with Indian modernity not only in the area of performing arts but in the approach to life as a whole.

Introductory video at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/5/15 20:36:54 ( 371 reads )


Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.
-- J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967), theoretical physicist

How Artists Are Keeping the Ancient Practice of Theyyam Alive

Posted on 2017/5/14 20:01:39 ( 500 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, May 10, 2017 (Euro News): In Kerala, a state in South India, the cult of Theyyam, a ritualistic folk art incorporating dance, mime, and music, is still alive. The ritual form of worship involves traditions that some say date back as far as neolithic times. These rituals, practiced across North Kerala's Malabar region, are rooted in the natural world.

Annooran Balan Nenikkem, a senior Theyyam artist, said: "Every community has its own unique rituals. "When these rituals are performed, after lots of preparation, they believe this is a God - this is the truth." Preparations begin hours before the performance with artists creating elaborate costumes made from palm leaves. Late into the night, the drums beat in rhythm as the performance gives way to a trance that can last until daybreak. It is believed at this point the performers are no longer men, but have transformed into Gods and the crowds are eager to seek their blessings.

Video of Theyyam preparation and performance at "source" above.

The Hindu Community Celebrates Anniversary

Posted on 2017/5/14 20:01:28 ( 422 reads )


SPAIN, May 7, 2017 (Ceuta Actualidad, translated from Spanish): The Hindu temple celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. A distant memory are the meetings in private homes that had a sacred book and where even weddings were held. Much has changed for the Hindu community over the years. The construction of the temple was a watershed event. Before its construction the local government's councilor for development, Nicolas Fernandez Cucurull, offered a site on Echegaray street at a symbolic price of one euro and for a period of 50 years through a concession. Economic contributions of the Hindu devotees and the City allowed the place to take shape. Today it is the meeting point, for prayers of the community but it is also a place for visitors from other religions that come to meet the Hindus.

"The evolution has been very positive. We are fully integrated and our customs and festivities are known by all the citizens of Ceuta, who also participate actively," says the president of the community, Ramesh Chandiramani, who assures that "if it were not for our elderly who still wear typical Hindu clothing, we would go unnoticed in the day to day life in the city."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2017/5/14 20:01:18 ( 365 reads )


When you obey laws of health, your body is your friend. When you love God, nature is your friend. When you love man, God is your friend. When you love hard work, success is your friend. When you possess an understanding heart, peace and harmony are your friends. Everywhere you have a friend. In all things there is a friend for you.
-- Swami Omkarananda Saraswati (1930-2000), guru and founder Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas

Railway Minister Lays Foundation Stone for Final Location Survey on Famed Char Dham Pilgrimage Route

Posted on 2017/5/13 19:02:30 ( 477 reads )


DEHRADUN, INDIA, May 13, 2017 (Times of India): In major welcome news for Uttarakhand, railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday laid the foundation at Badrinath for the final location survey for a single broad gauge line rail system on the Char Dham pilgrimage route. This follows the start of a project to create an all-weather road for the same route.

Prabhu, who first flew to Kedarnath to offer prayers, came to Badrinath in a chopper to pay obeisance. Later, in the presence of CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, he laid the foundation stone for the ambitious project worth US$6.7 billion. The route length of 203 miles through rough Himalayan terrain is likely to have 21 new station, 61 tunnels, totalling of 173 miles tunnel length and 59 bridges. On the occasion, Prabhu said, "The project will benefit the tourists as well as the locals. It will help people in the hills travel from one place to another."

Thai King Inaugurates Annual Royal Rice Plowing Ceremony

Posted on 2017/5/13 19:02:20 ( 407 reads )


THAILAND, May 12, 2017 (The financial Express): Thailand's king presided over an annual ceremony Friday marking the start of the rice-planting season. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun sat quietly, his daughter at his side, as two oxen named "Increase" and "Abundance" ploughed a furrow around a section of the royal field in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. An official scattered rice seeds in the oxen's wake. The Brahmin rites, led by Hindu priests and the first to be presided over by Thailand's new king, were attended by the prime minister, Cabinet members and diplomats as well as farmers seeking signs of good fortune.

According to Thai historical accounts, the Royal ploughing Ceremony dates back around 700 years. Then as now, the success of the harvest is vital to the economy but also to the culture of the country. Thailand is one of the world's leading producers of the crop, at around 30 million tons a year. It is also, surprisingly, the world's second largest exporter of rice. It exports US$4.4 billion worth of rice a year, just behind number one India ($5.3 billion) and well ahead of number three, the US ($1.9 billion).

Further Defense Against Charges Art of Living Event Damaged Yamuna Floodplains

Posted on 2017/5/13 19:02:10 ( 395 reads )


INDIA, May 13, 2017 (Art of Living): The World Culture Festival was held on the banks of the River Yamuna on March 11-13, 2016. The expert committee set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has submitted 2 reports that contain the claims of alleged damage to the Yamuna floodplains due to the event. This video extensively challenges the claims of both reports.

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