Archive for September, 2010
Posted on September 23, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Religion.
MUMBAI, India — Mehtab Sudhan stands by the welding shop, at a small, dusty crossroads in Jogeshwari East, a suburb of northern Mumbai.
He points to a mosque where men kneel on rugs and pray to Allah. A man in a white skullcap sits on a nearby stoop, reading an Urdu-language newspaper.
“This is the border road between Muslims and Hindus,” he said. “This side Muslim,” he nodded to the right, and then to the left over where a stage was set up for the Ganesh festival. “This side Hindu.”
When Sudhan was a child Jogeshwari East first was integrated, and Hindus and Muslims came together peacefully. Then the riots in 1992 and 1993 changed everything.
Sudhan walked down the road to a dirt clearing where a cat ate out of a dumpster and a baby goat stood nursing its mother. This was the spot where Sudhan’s brother, a Muslim, was shot dead on Dec. 7, 1992, the day after Hindu fanatics demolished the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in northern India.
The destruction of the mosque, which many Hindus believe to have stood at the birthplace of their god, Lord Rama, triggered riots between Hindus and Muslims across India — most notably in Mumbai, where large sections of the city burned. About 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, died and the violence, some of the worst since partition, helped usher India’s main Hindu nationalist party, BJP, into power.
This Friday, nearly two decades later, the Allahabad High Court will issue a long-awaited verdict to determine land ownership rights of the Ayodhya site. Much of Mumbai — though, notably, not all of Mumbai — is on edge.
Continue reading at GlobalPost.
Posted on September 16, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under Culture, India, International, Religion.
MUMBAI, India — At a line of stalls in Mumbai’s Matunga East, men sit on wooden stands and others crouch underneath, their hands working fast as they tie flower after flower together to make garlands of every size and color combination.
On another street, men and women line up down the block, waiting to buy incense that will be used as an offering. Mumbai is geering up for Ganesh Chaturthi, a celebration of the Hindu elephant-headed god Lord Ganesh and one of the city’s most elaborate festivals.
But all is not merry. As the festival has grown in popularity and become modernized and, some would argue, commercialized, its traditional practices have developed into a strain on India’s environment. The state government for Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, and local NGOs and activists have responded with a campaign to give Ganesh a makeover — of the green variety.
“It’s an effort to make the whole festival eco-friendly because it results in a lot of water pollution at the end of the day,” said state environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh.
Read more at GlobalPost.
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Posted on September 16, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media.
MUMBAI, India — A Facebook user posted a video of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani giving a speech, and within 24 hours there were 300 comments.
People debated Geelani’s call for non-violence and argued how best to bring peace to a region that has seen an explosion of protests in which 50 people have been killed since June. More than 30 died in the last week or so.
Over the past few years technology has played an increasingly important role in protest movements around the world, from Myanmar (Burma) to Tibet to Iran and now to Kashmir, the largely Muslim state at the heart of the dispute between India and Pakistan.
Continue reading at GlobalPost.