Archive for December, 2010

Touring the Old Bandra Villages in Mumbai

Posted on December 31, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under Culture, India, International, travel.

Mumbai’s popular suburb Bandra today boasts a happening night life, cosmopolitan feel and abundance of shopping choices. But Bandra was originally a collection of 25 quaint villages, traces of which can still be found.

Travelers to Mumbai can take a walking tour of these villages and see the charming lanes, Catholic churches and picturesque cottages that remain — but face the threat of decay and demolition, thanks in part to new high-rises.

A recent tour, led by Father Larry Pereira, a local priest, began at Bandra’s oldest church, St. Andrew’s (at the corner of Hill and Chimbai roads), which Portuguese Jesuits built in the 16th century. We then walked east on Hill Road and made a right into Varoda Road, directly across from Apostolic Carmel High School. Ranwar village begins at St. Jude Bakery, which was originally a traditional home.

The villages were built on rocky areas surrounded by fertile farmland, according to Father Pereira, who grew up attending St. Andrew’s. The homes were built huddled together without care for order or symmetry. “Haphazard is the old and planned is the new,” he said.

Continue reading at NYTimes.com.

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Hetal Dave, India’s Only Female Sumo Wrestler, Is Lonely

Posted on December 26, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, women.

MUMBAI, India — At 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Hetal Dave is strong and sturdy but far from obese. She is perhaps not what you first think of when you hear: India’s only female sumo wrestler.

But that she is.

It’s just one of the many things that distinguishes Hetal among the women in her family. Unlike her mother and her grandmother, both of whom were married before they were 20, 23-year-old Hetal is unmarried and attending college.

She comes from a conservative family of Brahmins, a Hindu caste associated with priests and scholars — not fighters. But when she was 6, Hetal’s father decided she should learn martial arts to gain physical and mental strength. He enrolled her in a judo class.

“I think the girls should be self-confident,” said her father Sudhir as he sat in the family’s modest apartment in South Mumbai. “If she walks on the road, she doesn’t have to bother. She is ready to face anything.”

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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How to Navigate Mumbai’s Train Culture

Posted on December 24, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, travel.

Mumbaikars complain about one thing more than anything else: traffic. With more and more cars, potholed roads and endless honking, trying to get from point A to point B in Mumbai can be a nightmare. And don’t even bother during rush hour.

Travelers to Mumbai, though, can zip between the south and north by taking the commuter train. It costs a fraction of  the price of a taxi, provides fabulous photo opportunities and gives visitors an authentic taste of the city. If you can handle them — more on that below — the trains can be an excellent way to see the city.

Take note: traveling on the trains should be left to the adventurous: no pregnant ladies, no weak of heart. You must be willing to push and shove, and you can’t mind having the occasional elbow thrown into your ribs.

Continue reading at NYTimes.com.

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India: Crackdown on Self-Selective Abortions

Posted on December 19, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, women.

MUMBAI, India — As India’s middle class grows, more families are using modern technology to ensure they have a boy, according to gender and population experts. Confronted with a decrease in the number of girls born, the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, has decided to crack down on the illegal practice of so-called female feticide.

India outlawed the practice of doctors using technologies like ultrasounds to tell patients the sex of their unborn child in 1994. Abortion based on certain grounds is legal, but having one based on sex is not.

Despite the law as well as gains in girls’ education and employment opportunities across India, the practice has continued and even grown as more people have access to ultrasounds. The child sex ratio, the number of girls to every 1,000 boys in the 0 to 6 years age group, dropped from 945 girls in 1991 to 927 girls in 2001, according to data from the United Nations Population Fund based on the census. When just looking at the sex ratio at birth, for the period 2006-08, the ratio drops to 904 girls per 1,000 boys.

Sex determination leads to a missing 500,000 to 700,000 girls across India each year, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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Photo Show Recalls a Calmer Mumbai

Posted on December 17, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, travel.

On any given night in Mumbai, odds are relatively high that you can find people drumming, singing and dancing barefoot through the streets as they celebrate a wedding or religious festival. With its endless buzz of people, cars and street parties, this city throbs with energy. But a new exhibition at Gallery BMB (Yantra Annexe, Queen’s Mansion, Ghanshyam Talwatkar Marg, Near Cathedral School, Fort; 91-22-6171-5757; www.gallerybmb.com), running through Jan. 10, shows photographs from the 1930s and ’40s that portray the city in a different light: notably, calm and peaceful.

“When It Was Bombay” consists of about 20 photographs of the city, taken before its name changed to Mumbai and its population reached upwards of 16 million.

“It’s such a big difference now,” said Kanchi Mehta, the show’s curator, as she looked through the photographs. “Every time I look at these I’m like, ‘Wow, what must life have been like back then?’ ”

Continue reading at NYTimes.com.

Follow Hanna on Twitter @Hanna_India.

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The Gender Factor: Is the Media Sensitive?

Posted on December 9, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media, women.

Kalpana, Hanna

Veteran journalist and former editor Kalpana Sharma, along with Hanna Ingber Win, who covers Mumbai for GlobalPost and blogs for the Huffington Post, conducted a two hour interaction with aspiring journalists  from three Mumbai colleges on the need for understanding media biases towards gender-related issues.

Continue reading at the US Consulate General, Mumbai, India, site.

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