Tag Archives: india

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941): The Local and the Universal by Rene Wadlow

ovicover_07_05_16In a period of rapid change as we face today, it is often difficult to find the right balance between the cultural contributions and needs of the local, the national, and the universal.  One way of finding this balance is to look at the life and work of others, who earlier confronted the same challenges.  One such person was the poet, writer and cultural reformer Rabindranath Tagore. As Amiya Chakravarty, a literary secretary of Tagore wrote  “Each individual must strike the ‘universal concrete’ in terms of his own creative effort, in the milieu of his own cultural heritage.  Only by proceeding from wherever we are, geographically, spiritually or vocationally, can we make the integral effort for peace.  The peace-workers belong to the entire human family, using the language or religious associations to which he has been born, and which he transforms, not necessarily by revolt but by inner transcendence.” (1)

Rabindranath Tagore  was the Renaissance man of modern India — the bridge from an Indian culture dominated on the one hand by a traditionalism that had long ceased to be creative and on the other by English colonial practice whose reforms were self-interested.  He was known world wide as a poet having received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.  His aim was to combine a renewal of local thought, in particular that of his native Bengal, with an appreciation of the cultures of the world. The motto of the educational center he founded, Visva-Bharati, was “Where the world makes its home in a single nest.”

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!


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An island to plant Zakir Naik’s radicalism? by Dr. Azly Rahman

ovicover_04_05_16Is there a link between the Terengganu government’s hysteric fascination of the Indian radical Islam televangelist Zakir Naik, the Chief Minister’s generosity in gifting the not-so-liked preacher an island, and the coming of 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers over a period of three years?

Seems that there is no connection. But first let me talk about the absurdity of live-on-TV public conversions as happened in the recent tele-dakwa tour of Mr. Zakir Naik — to give a sense of the implantation of Islamic radicalism in multicultural Malaysia. A connection through a complex system of meanings and representations.

Did the stunt cheapen religion into a show biz spectacle? Or is it done in sincerest honesty? Or to antagonize other religions?

I am reminded of the case of preachers on TV playing with rattlesnake in the Mid-West of America, walking on water in Nigeria, mass conversions in the Unified Church in Korea, and mass conversion of the Orang Asli in Malaysia — these perhaps gladly televised.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!


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Tragedy by Dr Elsa Lycias Joel

ovicover_03_05_16As the ongoing news series on Kollam tragedy surfaces, Incredible India is not all that it’s cracked up to be, especially our living temples. It is a matter of national shame that despite more and more fire accidents, there is no national or state level policy that addresses this goof up as such. Given the agitation and persuasion from the people’s side to host the “Kambam” calling it a tradition, there is no doubt that temple festivals have wound their way out of all legal, political and moral conundrums to become a law unto themselves. It annoys me when an incident as this is described as a ‘Tragedy’ when it’s actually a ‘fallout’ of unwarranted deeds and the repetitive nature of temple festivals and accidents. Considerable suspension of disbelief I required to come to terms with the affected lot calling “Kambam” a tradition that can’t be banned. Fatalistic Indian!! Or is it his thought process orbicular that life’s inequalities tend to follow him around!

The past few days have shown just how difficult it is for the Kerala government to put up with the fire tragedy and confront the challenges. Though the discomforts with banning fireworks have been visible for a long time now and especially after the clamor for a blanket ban grew louder, it’s ridiculous that the government is still unprepared for the starkness with which a wise choice should be articulated. The choice is actually quite simple for the government: Ban the production and sale of fireworks or review the regulations and measures of The Explosive rules, 2008 to limit the sale of fireworks thereby include necessary prohibitions on the importation, sale, possession and use of fireworks in public places or places of worship even late at night. If the government is concerned that a ban could lead to an unregulated black market in illegal fireworks, then they should be at least working on the enforcement of the existing measures. For now, the spectacle is shocking.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!


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Pakistan admits terror attack link

A senior Pakistani official has admitted for the first time that last year’s attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai were partly planned in Pakistan.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said that a number of suspects from the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group had been held and may be prosecuted. India’s foreign ministry described it as a “positive development”. Tensions were high after Delhi said 10 gunmen from Pakistan were involved in November’s attacks that killed 173.

Perhaps that’s a beginning for the cure. What’s going on in Pakistan in just too many levels is unbelievable, of course more unbelievable was George W. Bush’s support to the dictator Musharraf but hopefully …things change in Pakistan!

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India issues new suspect sketches

Police in India have issued three more sketches of men whom they want to question in connection with the attacks that hit the city of Jaipur this week.

A series of explosions killed 63 people and left about 200 wounded in the crowded old city on Tuesday evening. Police had already issued a sketch of a man they believe owned a bicycle used to plant one of the bombs.

Jaipur, in Rajasthan, is a popular tourist destination about 260km (160 miles) from the Indian capital, Delhi. The curfew in the old city has been lifted.

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Torch reaches Delhi

The Olympic flame has reached the Indian capital Delhi from Pakistan amid tight security on the latest leg of its troubled tour before the Beijing Games.

Many Tibetans live in the country and they have announced plans to hold a parallel protest in Delhi. Some 15,000 police and commandos have locked down the heart of the city where the torch relay will be held.

The flame’s journey has so far seen chaotic scenes in London, Paris and San Francisco amid pro-Tibet protests.

Is it going to go through Tibet as well? It is close!

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