Blog buzz from India: Religion, politics and Monsoon

I think providence conspired that I write about the two subjects that really don't mix: politics and religion, but mercifully these two subjects are punctuated by rain and travel posts. This week we look at a new and changing India, the monsoons in Bombay, the Sabrimala temple controversy, Tibetan monatries and temples of Karnataka and finally celebrate Mahinder Singh Dhoni's birthday. Dhoni is the current poster boy for India's millions of cricket lovers.

The new and changing India has been widely covered these past couple of months by International Media. Adding his voice to the India changing chorus recently was Pankaj Mishra, who wrote two articles on India: one was published by the Guardian and the other was an op-ed piece in the New York Times. Bloggers had plenty to write about Mishra's articles.

Anthony of Amar Akbar Anthony questions the recent article by Pankaj Mishra in The Guardian and wonder what is Mishra really talking about? He writes:

“As the piece continues I find Mishra to be less persuasive than usual: some of his interpretations of facts are problematic, and his subject is so large as to probably defeat comprehensive treatment in a short essay.”

Read and discover for yourself what else he has to say on this subject.Sharath of The Broad Cast writes that Pankaj Mishra's article is “a good reality check but too much venom that puts one off …”Is India a Superstar aks Madhat in his post? Read and discover what he has say about this new and changing India.

It rained cats and dogs (and continues to rain) in Mumbai/Bombay. Let us start with some before and after pictures of Bombay. Revenge of Smith writes about his trip to Bombay before the rains, and has some great pictures of South Bombay, also known as “town.” Ryan Estrada writes that during the monsoons Bombay turns into the Venice of India and he shows how the city undergoes this watery transformation in pictures.

GS of Chummachumma has visuals of the heavy rains in Bombay and writes;

“it rains in spain mainly in the plains. but in mumbai it rains and rains….it would pour endlessly.sometimes for days together without stop.life would go on.children will put on their overcoats and continue going to school,collegians to their colleges and officegoers would take it in their stride and report for work.in mumbai,life goes on without stop.”

Like many folks from Bombay Abodh takes the heavy rains in his stride and suggests that one should learn to enjoy and fun during the monsoons. He writes:

“But on the flip side, Mumbai rains do have its own charm and romance. Here is a list of things to do in the rains but as a true-blue Mumbaikar don't miss work and indulge in these activities.” Read on to discover his suggestions for having fun during the rains.

Gagan Kaul writes that heavy rains, and lack of electricity did not put a damper for those determined to enjoy. Gagan watched two movies and uploaded pictures — all thanks to laptops or “lappies” and their long battery life. I must confess I have never heard laptops referred to as lappies…must be a new word.

We stay on the west coast of India, but travel down south to Kerala and the Sabirmala temple controversy. The temple is accessible mostly to men. Recently the temple was in the center of controversy and Gaurav writes:

“Banning the entry of women into temples, is that the right thing to do. Is that the right thing to do, when we are living in a so called civilized world. I would say NO.” Read on to discover what Gaurvav thinks of this recent controversy.

This is what Tanmantram has to write about women going to the Sabrimala temple:

“Should women go to Sabarimala? No! They should not if the rule says so. Who made the rules? Whoever made the rules, if the rule says so, they should not go. Should you take the 41 day penance, celibacy before you go to Sabrimala?”

We stay in South India and mosey over to the neighboring state of Karnataka, best known for Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. The state is also home to a large number of Tibetans, who have re-created their own little community in the state, complete with Buddhist monestry, restaurants etc at Bayalakuppe. For some inexplicable reason quite a few people appear to have had Bayalakuppe and Coorg on their minds this monsoon season. Kulveer Singh Chawla writes about his travels to the monastry and has some great pictures. MS Sriram too writes about his trip to Bayalakuppe (pictures included) enroute to Coorg, a beautiful mountain region of Karnataka. Sriam first heard about Bayalakuppe at Paris airport and writes:

“There are several settlements in this area and each one of them is a small kingdom in itself. Our first target was to go to settlement No. 4 – this seemed to have the best monastry [visually] with a golden temple.”

Read on to discover what else Sriram has to say about this region. Elyssian Fields writes:

“I assumed its a Hindu temple may be temple with a famous golden idol of the goddess etc. This little is an understatement settlement – Tibetan – in a valley amidst in the hills on the BM highway is something i least expected .”

Finally, we look at cricket, and not at the current world football games underway in Germany. Mahinder Singh Dhoni turned 25 today, and there is no dearth of well-wishers for India's favorite cricket player. Aparna of Vetti Ideas pleads that readers should bear with her while she writes one more post on Dhoni. With that kind of earnest plea you are forced to read the rest of her short post. Shinjan Chakraborty of The Bengal Tiger wishes “the pride of India,” on his birthday.

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