Posts Tagged ‘India’

Mimosa in Aldershot

November 21, 2013
Mimosa Westgate Aldershot

Mimosa Westgate Aldershot

Mimosa is one of the chain eateries in the ghastly Westgate (or Wastegate as local retailers call it for the damage it is doing to the town centre) in Aldershot.

It was lunchtime and yet the place was almost empty. Had it not been for a group at one table and a couple at another table, the place would have been deserted.

An empty restaurant at what should be a busy time of day, especially as the price goes up after three o’clock, is never a good sign.

I chose lunchtime, as I thought would be busy, and at least the food fresh, not sitting there for hours.

Thursday lunchtime is the one day Aldershot is busy, as it is market day, although busy should be seen as a relative term, busy compared with other days when Aldershot is dead.

Mimosa is a buffet, help yourself and eat as much as you like.

The food is allegedly Asian, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Thai, in other words, all of everything, all of nothing.

I took one look at the food, it looked so unappetising, I turned on my heals and walked out.

The comment of someone who appeared to be in charge either the owner or manager was: Either eat the food or fuck off!

I thought maybe grab something to eat in Morrisons, mid to late afternoon their cafe is usually almost empty. To my surprise, it was very busy.

I changed my mind, grab something in the town, take a look at the market, and head off back home and eat when I got home.

Although the town was busier than most days, the market stalls were not busy. The fruit and vegetable stall at the bottom end of the town which always had a long queue, even late afternoon when the market is closing, was not busy.

If you want a mix of everything, try A&M, in the town centre, not good, but at least it is not a chain.

For real Thai food, try the Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage in Guildford.

Why, oh why, is there nowhere decent to eat in Aldershot?

Top Story in The China Daily (Friday 29 November 2013).

Sexual harassment and violence in India

September 11, 2013

Vithika Yadav talking about sexual violence towards women in India, anything from sexual harassment up to and including gang rape.

Vithika Yadav was first sexually harassed when her breasts were pinched. She was 12 years old.

An Indian woman has to be on her guard every moment she is in a public place. But it is not only in public places, women and girls are not safe in the family home either.

One woman is raped or gang raped in India every twenty minutes (and that is only the reported rapes).

Rapists are serving in the Indian parliament.

In the Asia-Pacific rim, one in four men admit to rape, they see it as an entitlement, for sexual gratification and punishment.

Delhi gang rape capital of the world

December 29, 2012
three blind monkeys

three blind monkeys

corrupt Indian police brutally attack peaceful  protesters

corrupt Indian police brutally attack peaceful protesters

Today the Land of Mahatma Gandhi protested at Jantar Mantar in a Gandhian way – Peace and Non violence. — Dr Pooja Tripathi

We think of countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan being bad for women.

Delhi is the gang rape capital of the world.

23 December 2012, a 23-year old woman was brutally raped on a bus by six men, beaten with iron bars, then thrown off the bus. The bus driver let it happen. He drove round and round to let it happen. Today she died. The six men have now been charged with murder.

One is even more shocking than the gang rape, if anything could be more shocking, the woman’s naked body lay on the street for an hour, no one cared, people passed by.

Gang rapes, dowry murders, honour killings, witch lynchings, sexual violence in the home, all part of everyday life in India.

For days men and women have taken to the streets, not only to protest rape, but also the failure of corrupt police, the failure of corrupt politicians.

The response of the state, the response of the police, to brutally beat the protesters with batons, tear gas and water cannon.

Those corrupt police officers who beat peaceful protesters are a disgrace to the uniform they wear. They should be prosecuted for assault and kicked out of the police force.

Could it be many corrupt politicians are silent because they have criminal records for rape?

Could it be police attack protesters because they cover up the rapes, if not active participants?

The first female chief police officer chief Damayanti Sen, the IPS officer who punctured Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s claims and cracked the Park Street rape case was persecuted by the state government for acting for a rape victim.

70% people involved in rape cases are from the police.

The response of the corrupt politicians, many of who are rapists, is that girls should be married off early, forced marriage, so that they can be raped in the privacy of their own homes behind closed doors.

In Delhi, rape capital of the world, a woman is raped every 14 hours. 3406 rapes have taken place in one of the states in 1 year (Madhya Pradesh) and more than 600 in the national capital alone.

Please sign the petition by Common Causes.

Please ensure this is widely distributed.

Stop elephant abuse for processions and begging-blessings in India

July 19, 2012
death of an elephant

death of an elephant

5.30 am, Friday – June 29: The sun had just risen, when it set for an elephant in Noida. A speeding truck proved to be a KILLER for the 45-year-old INNOCENT female, while seriously injuring another. Both elephants lay HELPLESS on the road near Mahamaya Flyover for almost four HOURS. While the early-morning traffic gridlock on the busy stretch caused a fuss, NOBODY CARED about the loss of a precious life.

This was not the demise of just another animal.

It was a SIGNAL – a signal of how such elephants will continue to be used for begging as we throw pennies at their cuteness.

It was a SYMBOL – a symbol of how the same elephant that blesses us as Lord Ganesha, will be damned by our ignorance.

It was an INDICATION that how elephants that make our celebrations and weddings grand, will be left in mourning.

Do you want the AUTHORITIES to upkeep the elephants in the begging and travelling category?

Do you want their OWNERS to be PUNISHED for flouting laws which govern the welfare of animals?

If yes, then SPEAK UP. Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bangalore is writing to the Ministry of Environment and Forest appealing to end this menace and requests your support for this worthy cause. Tell your friends to SIGN this petition that will be tabled in front of India’s government officials, pushing strict enforcement of laws banning the cruelty and abuse to India’s elephants in captivity. You can post the petition to your Facebook profile, tweet it or copy and send the message above. END the illegal practice of allowing our precious elephants to be used as commodities for commercial transactions. NOW.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/STOP_ELEPHANT_ABUSE_for_Processions_and_Beggingblessing_in_India_1

Stop the suppliers of death in Syria

June 10, 2012
Syrian tanks in Homs

Syrian tanks in Homs

When a regime murders its own citizens in cold blood, that regime has no right to exist.

How many more children will we see massacred, how many innocents slaughtered by Assad and his murderous thugs before the world acts on Syria?

Each day the world sits idly by, more people are killed in Syria. The world has blood on it hands.

The Russians are propping up Assad, although even they have recognised the inevitable and said they are willing to let Assad fall. And yet still the Russians veto the UN Security Council.

If the world fails to act, Syrians will turn to Muslim fundamentalists, as they are already beginning to do.

Last week 27 children were massacred.

The Syrian currency is facing total collapse as sanctions begin to bite. Syrian banks are being propped up by Russian banks.

Military intervention is looking the least worst option.

Russia has an estimated annual arms sales worth £320 million to Syria. Russia is still supplying weapons to the murderous Assad regime.

We must stop the flow of weapons to the murderous Assad regime.

India and the US are key clients to Syria’s main weapons supplier — the state-owned Russian company Rosoboronexport. If we can get the two countries to threaten to halt all deals unless the Russians stop supporting Syria’s murder machine, the arms dealers could be forced to stop their Syria sales. Both the US and India want to stop the violence in Syria, but diplomacy is failing. This is their best chance — let’s give them a massive mandate to act.

The US has already persuaded the company to stop light weapons sales to Syria. Now if we can build up the pressure on India and get both countries to speak out, Rosoboronexport could be forced to cut Syria’s arms supply completely.

Please sign the urgent petition to stop dealing death to Syria and tell everyone — our call will be delivered to both countries and Rosoboronexport at a massive arms fair in Paris in two days:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/us_and_india_stop_syrias_merchants_of_death/?vl

International political solutions are failing to stop the bloodshed in Syria — a couple of weeks ago the world was stunned by the brutal al Houla massacre where 49 children were executed, and last week there was another mass killing. Why? Assad is protected by his old friend Russia, which has blocked international action while profiting in arms sales — Rosoboronexport is Russia’s biggest arms dealer, bringing the government billions in revenue per year. President Assad is only clinging to power through military might and sowing fear. If we can convince Russia that supporting the Syrian regime is not worth it, and end arms sales to Assad, his killing arsenal will wane and his command will slip away.

India and the US make up over 50% of Russia’s arms sales, and they both want strong action on Syria. The US has led efforts to stop the violence, and a group of US Senators is right now calling on the Pentagon to cancel a massive helicopter contract with Rosoboronexport. India already voted to stop the violence in Syria at the UN Security Council. Now, experts say if there’s even a hint that the Indian government might reconsider its patronage of Rosoboronexport because of Syria, sales to the regime could end, and the Russians could ditch their support for Assad.

Rosoboronexport could be held legally responsible for war crimes for sending weapons to the Syrian regime, but due to huge profits and a sense of impunity, they continue their bloody business as usual. Diplomatic pressure is mounting on Russia right now, but it is this financial threat that could be the deciding card. We have to act now and make sure hundreds of thousands of us speak out before Rosoboronexport arrives in Paris next week. Click to call on the US and India to stop Russia’s deadly deals now and forward to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/us_and_india_stop_syrias_merchants_of_death/?vl

Over the past year, Avaaz members have supported the Syrian spring and an end to the violence — we have broken the blackout, exposed hidden atrocities and provided critical lifelines to Syrians under siege.

Now Avaaz are delivering our petition to the UN to call for more monitors. Now, let’s do all we can to cut off the weapons at the source that are killing the Syrian people.

Next month the Farnborough Airshow, the world’s biggest arms fair, takes place. It is being promoted as a day out for the family, kids go free.

Reweaving Shiva’s Robes

June 8, 2012
Arunachala : The Spiritual Center of the world

Arunachala : The Spiritual Center of the world

Lord Siva said: What cannot be acquired without great pains – the true import of Vedanta (Self-Realization) – can be attained by anyone who looks at (this hill). from where it is visible or even mentally thinks of it from afar.

— Arunachala Mahatmyam (Skanda Purana)

Arunachala, a mountain in the State of Tamil Nadu, is one of the most sacred sites in India. In the Hindu tradition, the story is told that their supreme deity, Shiva, manifested as a column of light stretching from infinity to infinity. He was so bright that the others gods complained that they were being dazzled beyond endurance.

In his compassion, Shiva took on a new form as this mountain, Arunachala, and more than 1000 years ago a vast temple was built at its base. Many believe that walking the 11 km around Arunachala is the fastest way to enlightenment and pilgrims by the millions have thronged there since time immemorial.

The Temple is the centre of life spiritually, culturally and physically.

In the long line of illustrious sages who have taken up abode in caves on Arunachala was Ramana Maharshi, one of the most celebrated Hindu mystics of the 20th century who died in 1950.

In 1987, the Rainforest Information Centre received a letter from one of the nuns in Ramana’s ashram telling us that when Ramana had arrived at the mountain as a young man, it had been clothed in a mighty jungle and even tigers could be met walking along its flanks. But now, nothing remained but thorns and goats, couldn’t we please do something to help restore the mountain?

The initial reaction of deep ecologist John Seed was to compose a letter, saying sorry, but our hands are full protecting our own rainforests. But he decided this he could not send. Instead he helped her set up an NGO The Annamalai Reforestation Society and raised funding for this work including two substantial grants from the Australian Government Aid agency. Two volunteers from Australia spent more than seven years helping to re-clothe the sacred mountain.

One of those volunteers was John Button who had already had several years experience of reforesting depleted soils in Australia.

The conditions on the hillsides were not good. When the monsoon rains hit, mudslides would pour down the slopes sweeping away everything in their path. To protect the young saplings, open stone walls were built around each and every sapling. A micro-climate was created which also helped to protect from the blistering hot winds. The work was labour intensive involving hundreds of volunteers.

After some years, the authorities from the main temple invited the tree planters to move their tree nursery inside the temple walls and allowed the use of their precious waters. Consequently, this initiated the regeneration of the temple gardens, growing flowers for their ceremonies as well as hundreds of thousands of native tree seedlings each year. Local authorities liked the beauty of the Temple Gardens and when requested, were given thousands of seedlings from the nursery for the regeneration of the gardens of other South Indian temples.

When John Seed returned to Arunachala in 2009, he was heartened to find that more than ten new NGO’s had sprung up around the base of the mountain. These inspired groups have constructed native tree nurseries and are engaged in tree planting, environmental education, fire prevention and fire fighting. He was able to walk in the cool shade of the trees the project had planted for over 20 years ago.

Planting trees changes the environment. Not only the natural environment but also the spiritual environment. The idea had been born and taken root that Shiva could be worshipped by reweaving his ecological robes.

Was Reweaving Shiva’s Robes a sacred task? This was a question John Seed asked himself. He decided the person to ask was Shiva. He climbed the mountain, sat and meditated and sought a sign. He received a sign in the form of a troupe of monkeys.

John Seed is the founder and director of the Rainforest Information Centre.

Khule Da Rabb

May 6, 2012
Rabbi Shergill at the performance of 'Khule Da Rabb'

Rabbi Shergill at the performance of ‘Khule Da Rabb’

Angaraag 'Papon' Mahanta at the performance of 'Khule Da Rabb'

Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta at the performance of ‘Khule Da Rabb’

Rabbi Shergill (influenced by local folk music and Led Zeppelin) and Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta (influenced by local folk tradition) collaborate on Khule Da Rabb.

Location: The verdant landscapes of Kaziranga.

The Dewarists is an exploration of the different musical genres in India, the boundaries between, crossing those boundaries and creating a fusion.

A free download of Khule Da Rabb is available from The Dewarists on facebook, click like, enter e-mail address and you will receive a link to download an mp3 file.

If would be great if The Dewarists uploaded all the music to an album on bandcamp, where the music would then be available for download as high quality lossless FLAC. [see mp3 v FLAC]

Top Story Business in Berkshire Daily News (Monday 7 May 2012).

Changing World

May 5, 2012
The Dewarists - Changing World - Monica Dogra

The Dewarists – Changing World – Monica Dogra

When you find your roots, when you understand who you really are, everything becomes really easy. — Monica Dogra

British-based Indian musician Shri, joins singer-songwriter Monica Dogra and folk collective Rajasthan Roots in the desert of Jaisalmer.

Monica Dogra a musician in her own right coordinates The Dewarists, but for Changing World she joined in the collaboration.

The resultant song Changing World is a fusion of rock and ethnic folk.

The backdrop is the desert landscapes of Jaisalmer and its surrounding villages.

Growing up Shri only knew traditional Indian music, then going to college, where he encountered rock music, he asked ‘what is that boom boom boom in the background?’ Hey man, that is bass. A bass guitar became a must have, only he came from a poor family, and so he made his own. He then developed a style of playing it with a bow.

Solo Dreams by Shri is worth a listen.

When Shri took up the guitar, he was told by his uncle that he was a disgrace to his family. Ten years later when Shri was touring the world his uncle had the good grace to come to him and say sorry, he was wrong, his family was proud of what he had achieved.

Paulo Coelho wanted to be a writer. Against all odds, he followed his dreams, he became a writer.

Shri wanted to be a musician, Against all odds, he followed his dreams, he became a musician.

We all have to learn to be like Santiago in The Alchemist, to realise our passions, to take risks, to follow our dreams. We have to learn to shun the advice of those around us who wish us to conform, be like everyone else.

Again and again what comes across with The Dewarists is the passion the musicians have for music.

Monica Dogra knew from an early age that all she wanted to do was play music.

Music comes from the heart, it is to communicate with the Soul of the World.

Amazing, sit around a camp fire in the middle of the desert and compose music.

The Dewarists make music because they love music. Fuckwits debase themselves on X-factor, wanna be worthless celebrities.

The final song, very existential.

Strange, how this morning when I awoke my first thought was must read The Zahir. The Zahir is set in the desert.

Everyone sat around the desert camp fire jamming, I thought of my lovely friend Carolena Sabah playing Athena in The Witch of Portobello, where she dances around the camp fire in the desert. It is through dance Athena communicates with the Soul of the World.

Do we paint the desert with our music or does the desert paint the music?

The Dewarists is an exploration of the different musical genres in India, the boundaries between, crossing those boundaries and creating a fusion.

A free download of Changing World is available from The Dewarists on facebook, click like, enter e-mail address and you will receive a link to download an mp3 file.

If would be great if The Dewarists uploaded all the music to an album on bandcamp, where the music would then be available for download as high quality lossless FLAC. [see mp3 v FLAC]

I believe

May 2, 2012
 Parikrama, Agnee, Shilpa Rao, Monica Dogra at Shisha Jazz Cafe, Pune


Parikrama, Agnee, Shilpa Rao, Monica Dogra at Shisha Jazz Cafe, Pune

Pirate our music … We want to be heard by as many people as possible. — Nitin Malik, vocalist Parikrama

Music for the love of music not for the love of money. Which would you miss more, the money or the music?

Folk-rock Parikrama, rock Agnee (reformed from Agni) with an infusion of Indian classical guitar and singer Shilpa Rao. Quite a mix.

On location in the lush green hills of Panshet, to the bustle of Pune.

The result was I believe, originally over ten minutes but cut down to six, performed at Shisha Jazz Cafe, Pune.

Musicians who play for the love of music, not the love of money.

The philosophy of Parikrama is that music fills the soul, not the stomach.

The Dewarists is an exploration of the different musical genres in India, the boundaries between, crossing those boundaries and creating a fusion.

A free download of I believe is available from The Dewarists on facebook, click like, enter e-mail address and you will receive a link to download an mp3 file.

If would be great if The Dewarists uploaded all the music to an album on bandcamp, where the music would then be available for download as high quality lossless FLAC. [see mp3 v FLAC]

Maaya

May 1, 2012
Rahul Ram at The Garden of Five Senses

Rahul Ram at The Garden of Five Senses

What comes across time and time again with The Dewarists is the love and passion for music. This is especially so with Indian Ocean, they play music because they love music.

I contrast this with X-Factor and other garbage TV reality shows that are dumbing down music. Wanna be celebrities who want to be rich and famous.

Many are now using crowd sourcing, community support, to raise money for new releases. Very depressing though to read in The Guardian that many see this as the route to becoming rich and famous, more wanna be celebrities.

My Grandfather was a musician, he played in a band, though that was before my time. I will always remember him tapping out a rhythm, be it with fingers, an item of cutlery or a stick. He used to have a massive collection of old 78s and a wind up gramophone, which I used to love to play. Sadly all destroyed on his death.

I recall this as that is something I notice too, playing with sounds.

India Ocean are an Indian folk-rock group. A strange concept to a Westerner.

Sometimes I drop in on Jon’s Jam at The Old Ford. A group of musicians who get together to jam. Bass player Rahul Ram of Indian Ocean reminds me of Jon.

India Ocean get together with  Mohit Chauhan to create Maaya.

The final performance of Maaya takes place at The Garden of Five Senses.

The Dewarists is an exploration of the different musical genres in India, the boundaries between, crossing those boundaries and creating a fusion.

A free download of Maaya is available from The Dewarists on facebook, click like, enter e-mail address and you will receive a link to download an mp3 file.

If would be great if The Dewarists uploaded all the music to an album on bandcamp, where the music would then be available for download as high quality lossless FLAC. [see mp3 v FLAC]

Indian Ocean released their album 16/330 Khajoor Road on-line for free. Named after the house where they used to rehearse, now derelict. The main reason for releasing free was frustration with record companies and fighting over copyright issues. Please upload 16/330 Khajoor Road to bandcamp where it can be free to listen and pay-as-much-as-you-choose download. Indian Ocean recognise that people get to know music through sharing.