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" Dismantling Globa Hindutva " as the conference is named, is a virtual congregation of anti-national, anti-Hindu, anti-semitic, pro-Jihadi elements. The organizers who remain staunch on staying anonymous have stated that the conference aims at scrutinising what Hindutva is, says and does with regard to a wide range of topics, from caste to political economy, to gender and sexuality, and more.
The purported international conference is virtually scheduled for the second weekend of September. The organizers of the conference are firm on remaining anonymous but have released a list of guest speakers. The list mainly includes names of prominent university professors, research scholars, journalists and a few social activists too.
Furthermore, the organizers stated that such conversations will empower academics, public intellectuals, activists and artists who will speak "carefully and powerfully" to educate the wider public about the perils of Hindutva.
An Indian seer outside a temple. Photo by Ashes Sitoula on Unsplash.
When quizzed about the timing of the conference the organizers stated that "This conference is held during a time when a Hindu supremacist regime is in power in India, and so this conference will also throw light on what Hindutva does when it has captured state power by closely scrutinising both its official policies, and its unofficial policies like creating impunity for Hindutva violence and setting up a massive propaganda machinery,"
When prodded about the backlash and serious criticism from the Hindu community, the organizers stated that "We categorically reject the idea that critiquing Hindutva is in any way harmful to Hindu students. Indeed, we consider Hindutva to be the most significant threat to Hinduism's pluralist ethos, as well as to efforts to fight ills in Indian society like casteism. That certain groups can't distinguish between a critique of Hindutva and attacks on Hinduism says more about their confusion, affiliation, and desire to defend Hindutva using any rhetoric necessary, than it says about this conference,"
The conference has invoked serious flak from the global Hindu community. Niraj Antani the youngest Hindu elected official in the history of the United States and is the first Indian American state senator in Ohio history has also severely critiqued the conference. Along with Niraj, the 18 million-strong Indian-American diaspora too has vehemently criticized the conference. The website of the proposed conference (https://dismantlinghindutva.com/) is purportedly under maintenance.
The government of Punjab has recently informed the writer from Shillong - Salil Gewali, about its approval of the book titled – 'Great Minds on India' for translation into Punjab's official language Punjabi. Gewali's research-based book has already been translated into thirteen languages and won the appreciation of several literary organizations from Punjab.
The decision on the translation and publication was directly taken by the Chief Minister Office. The translation department in Patiala has also sought the Hindi edition from the writer, apart from the English, for the accurate transition of the book. The research work spanning over twenty-four years by Mr. Gewali has been held in high esteem by many eminent scholars across the world, apart and political leaders in the country.
The Governor of West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh not only officially launched Gewali's book, but they applauded the contents of the book and its significance in the present context in their speeches and appreciation letters. The Chief Minister of Gujarat has recently sent Mr. Gewali the personal appreciation letter.
Smt. Srishti Jaitwani and her other literary friends from Ludhiana who had made the formal approach to the government of Punjab for the translation of 'Great Minds on India' into the Punjabi language. Photo by Salil Gewali
Mr. Gewali says that he is highly grateful to the poetess Smt. Srishti Jaitwani and her other literary friends from Ludhiana who had made the formal approach to the government of Punjab for the translation of 'Great Minds on India' into the Punjabi language. This book has also been published in kindle edition by the prestigious international company – Penguin Random House. The book first published in 2009 was officially launched by the then Governor of Meghalaya Shri RS Mushahary.
Prefaced by the NASA Chief scientist, Gewali's 'Great Minds on India' contains the quotes, opinions, and thoughts of the world-renowned intellectual giants in appreciation of the ancient literature of India. The book bears testimony to the contribution of the ancient sages to the world in the development of modern science, mathematics, linguistics, metallurgy, cosmology, psychology, and other areas of studies.
A scholar from Brooklyn, New York -- Mr. Robert C. Brenton says – " I congratulate Salil Gewali for this wonderful book on Indian classical literature in the eyes of the western scholars. True intellectual minds who are free from prejudices always appreciate Indian wisdom. Indian wisdom is fully secular and universal.' Mr. Robert has studied many ancient books and is a yoga practitioner.
Keywords: Great Minds on India', Salil Gewali, Penguin Random House,
This is a chronicle of five-hundred years of Indian immigration to Britain as it explores the adventures of the imperial capital and how its saga fuelled the journey of Indian independence
In September 1600, Queen Elizabeth and London are made to believe that the East India Company will change England's fortunes forever. With William Shakespeare's death, the heart of Albion starts throbbing with four centuries of an extraordinary Indian settlement that author Arup K. Chatterjee unfolds in "Indians in London" (Bloomsbury).
In five acts that follow, we are taken past the churches destroyed by the fire of Pudding Lane; the late eighteenth-century curry houses in Mayfair and Marylebone; and the coming of Indian lascars, ayahs, delegates, students and lawyers in London.
A Beautiful Street Of London.
From the baptism of Peter Pope (in the year Shakespeare died) to the death of Catherine of Bengal book covers all. Photo by Arvydas Venckus on Unsplash
From the baptism of Peter Pope (in the year Shakespeare died) to the death of Catherine of Bengal; the chronicles of Joseph Emin, Abu Taleb and Mirza Ihtishamuddin to Sake Dean Mahomet's Hindoostane Coffee House.
Gandhi's experiments in Holborn to the recovery of the lost manuscript of Tagore's Gitanjali in Baker Street; Jinnah's trysts with Shakespeare to Nehru's duels with destiny; Princess Sophia's defiance of the royalty to Anand establishing the Progressive Writers' Association in Soho; Aurobindo Ghose's Victorian idylls to Subhas Chandra Bose's interwar days; the four Indian politicians who sat at Westminster to the blood pacts for Pakistan.
India in the shockwaves at Whitehall to India in the radiowaves at the BBC; the intrigues of India House and India League to hundreds of East Bengali restaurateurs seasoning curries and kebabs around Brick Lane, the book details all this and more.
London East Side from The Shard
London over half a millennium of Indian migrations-reborn as independent India. Photo by Giammarco on Unsplash
Photo by Giammarco on Unsplash
"Indians in London" is a scintillating adventure across the Thames, the Embankment, the Southwarks, Bloomsburys, Kensingtons, Piccadillys, Wembleys and Brick Lanes that saw a nation-a cultural, historical and literary revolution that redefined London over half a millennium of Indian migrations-reborn as independent India.
Arup K. Chatterjee is an Associate Professor at O.P. Jindal Global University. In 2014, he was a recipient of the Charles Wallace fellowship, to United Kingdom. His interests are in the history of British imperialism, politics and philosophy; British cultural and historical encounters with India; and colonial and postcolonial historiography of India; Vedanta and Nondualism; and Indian philosophy and psychoanalysis. (IANS/RN)
Keywords: Indian immigration to Britain, Indians in London Immigration, London, Arup K. Chatterjee
The origin of the Anglo-Indian culture spans 30 decades before independence, when the voyagers from the West first set foot in Indian coastal cities. It began with the Portugese, and the Dutch and French soon followed suit. When India became a colony under the British Crown, the emerging generation that resulted as a product of this historical era, was a culture that was independent of both the British power and Indian subjugation: the Anglo-Indians. Perhaps this generation of mixed-race children had prestigious roots, with their parents belonging to the British regime, or serving as officers in the governing East India Company, but in the eyes of the Indians, they were labelled as "kutcha bacha" (uncooked children/bread) , or as they were known in the South, "vellakaaran/vellakaarchi" (white men/women).
Through the years, this community of people who were darker than their ancestors but fairer than their Indian counterparts, began to form their own culture. They began marrying among themselves, and created a tradition of food, clothes, and practices that were a blend of the British manners and the Indian spirit. They began sporting richly decorated clothes, high heels, for both men and women, tall hairdos, and rich food. Some critics of the culture argue that they are known to live beyond their means, and that their tastes in their appearances are rather gaudy.
Grilled Chicken, Anglo-Indian style Image source: wikimediawikimedia
The typical Anglo-Indian woman is recognised by the knee-length skirt and blouse with shiny buttons, and puffed sleeves. She always wore stockings, did her hair in the same style, wore a lot of jewellery and lipstick. The man is dressed in a suit, for any occasion, is clean-shaved, and his shoes always have high soles. The fabric that they choose is usually brocaded or flowery, and their clothes are accompanied by a hat. Bengaluru's Austin Town, Richmond Town, and Langford Town used to be the areas where Anglo-Indians were most found. Today, one will find them in Cooke Town, D'Costa Square, and parts of the city close to Richards Town, but it is hard to distinguish them from the foreign settlers around these parts.
The British mispronounced "melligathanni" (Tamil for peppery water) as mulligatawny, which was their name for the South Indian rasam. The Anglo-Indians adopted this as mulligatawny soup which they famously call pepper water, even though it has no pepper in it. Their cuisine is a blend of the English combinations and the Indian spices. They have popularised chutneys, and often one finds that the difference between the Anglo-Indian chutney and an Indian chutney is the extra dash of sweetness or ginger irrespective of its flavour. At Christmas time, the world is their oyster. They dish out many different kinds of wines, jellies, curries, and desserts. Plum cake soaked in rum, ginger wine, rose cookies, and kalkals are now Christmas time staples in all major cities. Kalkals are the Indianised ways of saying "curl-curl" as the cookie dough is curled off a fork to get its shape. The Anglo-Indians had the blood of the Indian folklore pulsing through their veins, and this they incorporated in their unique dance style. They often host or conduct large gatherings that include dancing through the night. This is when their best clothes, highest heels, and best food come out . They began the tradition of all-night mass, and this usually ended with dancing under the lights, Today, the masses are more solemn and hardly have an Anglo-Indian crowd.
Midnight mass, a tradition introduced by the Anglo-Indians Image source: wikimediawikimedia
The areas that they inhabit always has a distinct aroma, and a festive fervour about it. Red and green are the prominent colours that flash by. The streets smell of sugar, spice, and wine. At night, the houses are brightly lit, and there are celebrations right from the first week of the month till the last during special occasions. In December, Christmas trees adorn each house with elaborate decorations, gifts are exchanged, shopping and baking happens in large groups, families come together to sing and dance, and children are dressed up and eagerly learning their traditions for the time when they will have to carry them out and pass them on. Carol-singing, where groups of people go door to door singing, in the evenings, are the most looked forward to.
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education board was founded by Anglo-Indian representative Frank Anthony. A chain of schools that taught English-medium and which were under the aegis of churches founded by the British began a tradition of bringing up students who were well-equipped for learning adapted to all cultures. Today, with Anglo-Indians becoming scarce in India, these schools have completely come under the Diocese rule of their respective regions. Even now, Anglo-Indians are privileged to attain a full education without having to pay any tuition.
Many Anglo-Indian Churches and Schools have plaques like this on all their walls to remember their founderswikimedia
The Indian constitution offers two representatives of the community to be nominated to the Lok Sabha. Other regional governing bodies also allow for Anglo-Indian representatives, and currently, Ms. Vinisha Nero holds an MLA seat from Karnataka. Since the 1960, there has been a rift among legislatures to remove this provision, owing to which the community has faced insecurities about their identity in the country. The 104th Amendment Act of 2019, abolished the Anglo-Indian representation quota.
Under the British Raj, English was the official language of the state, and Anglo-Indians were able to survive in any part of the country irrespective of the local language. After more than 70 years of independence, times have changed for this English-speaking community. They find it hard to blend into a culture that they have never known, and despite being able to pick up a few words, are unable to completely adapt to a new language. As a result, most of them have chosen to migrate out of the country, to places where their mother tongue is better accepted. They are also able to find better jobs there. Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia have recently opened their doors, welcoming Anglo-Indians to take up residence in their countries, which has caused India to slowly lose an integral part of her history and culture. Christmas in the cities is no longer as vibrant as it used to be. All that is left of Christmas deserts are processed goods, and plum cake that does not exactly taste the same. A few families who have chosen to stay back keep up the traditions, but it is a small effort and often goes unnoticed.
Keywords: Anglo-Indians, Culture, Traditions, Food, Christmas