India – the How, the What and the Where

Three things FULLY absorb our days. How we will ride? What we will eat? Where we will sleep? Three things we barely think about at home! Three questions that now bamboozle us all day long! We fixate about a cornetto ice cream. We haven’t seen a cold storage truck for weeks! We ride around for…

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The Legacy of Opium

The British Industrial revolution in the 1700’s radically changed international consumption and trade patterns. Sometimes for the worst.. Cheap manufactured goods (first cloth, then weapons other mass produced goods) became staple exports from Britain while raw materials, foods and luxury items were imported from her colonies and China. As a result,two important ‘triangles’ of trade…

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The Head Hunters of Nagaland

Right on the edge of India and Myanmar lies Nagaland, often refered to as the wild west of India where until recently 16 odd headhunting tribes valiantly fought off any intruders.             Long feared for their ferocity in war and fierce independence , Naga tribes considered head hunting a sign…

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a Missing Tribe, a Shrinking Island, a Forgotten State

‘A Missing Tribe on a Shrinking Island in a Forgotten State.’ A Puzzle of A Title. A little like the ‘Smile without the Cat’ in Alice in Wonderland. Isn’t it lovely? Isn’t the Smile almost lovelier without the Cat? Let’s break the puzzle into its pieces! The Forgotten State; A tribe called Missing and a…

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The Goddess Ganga – presides at Varanasi too

Our Goddess Ganga presides at Varanasi too. It’s one of the oldest, continually inhabited cities of the world. At Varanasi long stretches of steps, called ‘ghats’, slip down her banks. Here people of India wash clothes, do yoga, offer blessings, sell flowers, get massages, play cricket, fly kites, wash buffaloes, take ‘holy dips’ and cremate…

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The Goddess Ganga – presides at Allahabad

The Ganga, the river Ganges! It collects its water from the Himalayas. It flows for 2500 km across India. A formidable water resource! The holiest of rivers! Hindus sanctify the river as a goddess; the Goddess Ganga, the Mother Ganga. She is a beautiful woman and devotes Lord Krishna. This infuriates Radha, the lover of…

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‘Incredible’ Heady Heights

Hinduism captivates us, kicking and screaming! Its heady heights are incredible. We read it’s a polytheistic religion (poly=many, theos=gods). But, behind these many gods there stands a single extreme power (Brahman). So the many gods we see are simply physical expressions of this formless spirit. Dare, we draw a parallel with saints or gurus or…

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Sikhs and Swords

Harry and I rush, like fools, into the stuff of rebellions. Smack bang, face-first … hurt and angry young men rise from the ground and stop us … We ride peacefully in the agricultural region of the Punjab. Then out of the blue, clusters of branches lie across the road. They stretch-out and alternate from…

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Mending Borders

Every afternoon just before sunset members of the Indian and Pakistan military meet at the border post between Attari & Wagah to engage in a display of military showmanship. Officially the purpose of the ceremony is to lower the national flag and close the borders but what really happens is a mix of formal marching,…

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The Tibetan Government in Exile

                                                        In Dharamsala we visited the Tibetan humanitarian museum to gain insight into their side of the story as exiles. Spare a thought for the plight of Tibet and…

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