Category Archive 'India'
09 Aug 2015

Successful Job Interview

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SirJohnMalcolm
Sir John Malcolm 1769-1833, Governor of Bombay 1827-1830.

[Malcolm] was a grandson of the manse, his father being a small farmer of Eskdale. He was one of seventeen children and when his father fell suddenly into financial trouble it became necessary to settle as many sons as possible. The Directors of the East India Company were doubtful whether they could stretch things so far as to commission a boy of thirteen. ‘Why, my little man,’ asked one of them playfully, ‘what would you do if you met Hyder Ali?’ he being the father of Tippoo and the ogre of the moment. ‘I would draw ma sworrd and cut off his heid,’ replied the candidate, and was commissioned at once with acclamation.”

–Philip Woodruff, The Men Who Ruled India: The Founders, 1953.

30 Sep 2014

Tantric Painting

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HinduPainting

17th century Tantric painting from Rajastan: a meditation on “the endless dance of energy.”

Siglio Press book page

From Frank André Jamme’s Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan

Stephen Heyman, in the New York Times: 17th Century Modernism?

Hat tip to Virtual Artifacts.

27 Sep 2014

Inebriated Student Fell or Jumped Into Tiger Enclosure at New Dehli Zoo

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Heaven666:

A white tiger at the New Delhi Zoo has attacked and killed a young man inside the tiger enclosure.

There are mixed reports as to whether the young man jumped, or has accidentally fallen into the enclosure, and even the age of the individual. However, the most credible reports indicate the young man was an Indian student who slipped while taking photo’s.

National Zoological Park spokesman Riyaz Ahmed Khan said the man ignored repeated warnings that he should not get too close to the outdoor enclosure and climbed over a knee-high fence and small hedges.

Authorities eventually frightened the tiger into a small cage inside the enclosure. Police arrived on the scene “very quickly”, but could not save his life. The man, whose body remained in the outdoor enclosure two hours after the attack, was dead by the time help reached him, Mr Khan said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police M.S. Randhawa identified the man only as Maqsood and said he was thought to be about 20 years old…

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The Daily Mail says that Maqsood was drunk.

26 Aug 2014

Man Bites Snake

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Bungarus_caerulus
Blue krait, aka Common krait aka Indian krait (Bungarus caeruleus)

The Telegraph has a story of the tables being recently turned.

A man in central India killed a venomous snake by biting it after he saw the blue krait slithering towards him in bed.
Rai Singh, from Chhattisgarh, told a local television channel he feared the venomous blue krait was about to bite him and decided to bite the creature.

“At nine o’clock in the evening while I went to sleep on my bed, I saw a snake and tried to shoo it away with a stick but it attacked me. I bit it”, he told a local television channel.

His neighbour R.S Singh described the incident as “astonishing” and said it was a “miracle that he survived since this snake is highly venomous”.

Kraits are one of the four poisonous snakes which account for the most attacks in India where 50,000 people are killed by venomous bites every year.

The krait is nocturnal and often wriggles into homes at night during the monsoon season to keep dry. Its bites rarely cause pain and often go unnoticed by their victims as they sleep.

They are, however, highly venomous and up to 80 per cent of their victims die after suffering progressive paralysis.

Read the whole thing.

19 May 2014

Serrated, Cobra-Headed Khanda Sword

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A very rare Khanda hilted sword with serrated edge and of Cobra form

This formidable example is 98cms [38.6″] long from end to end.
The blade is 82cms [32.2″] long, 4cms [1.6″] wide with a weighted tip 9cms [3.5″] wide.
The large Khanda hilt has a pierced knuckle bow and langet ends and a curved pommel spike. The grip is bound with layers of coated twine.
The serpentine blade is a very unusual form that resembles a hooded cobra and would have taken some time and expertise to complete.
the edges are serrated and a medial ridge runs from the base through to the tip with the exception of the wide hooded area that has been hollow forged.
In profile and in hand the sword has the overall forward curve and weight of a large Souson Pata or Kirach and is surprisingly well balanced.

A very rare type of Indian sword, likely from the late 18th century in good as found uncleaned condition.

From Swords and Antique Weapons via Sword-Site posted by Ratak Monodosico.

01 Mar 2014

Man-Eating Tiger Terrorizing Uthar Pradesh

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Hunting is strictly banned in post-Imperial India, but the progressive administration of that country makes the occasional exception, in the case of man-eaters.

Outside magazine reports that, in Uttar Pradesh, hunting has been authorized for a man-eating tiger.

Officials in Uttar Pradesh, India, have issued a shoot-to-kill order for a tigress that has killed 10 people since early December. The four-year-old Royal Bengal tiger has attacked villagers of all ages, prowling an 80-mile area in the Binjor District.

The situation has placed the livelihoods of local villagers at stake, as people are afraid to work in the fields harvesting sugarcane, mustard, and wheat. “We will starve if this situation persists,” Sahuwala village resident Mithilesh told CNN.

Tigers that have turned man-eater rarely go back to hunting wildlife, and it’s clear this tigress is no exception. “She’s gotten used to killing people,” wildlife conservationist Nazim Khan told CNN. “This is easy prey for her. She’s going to kill again.”

Both conservationists and hunters are tracking the tigress, riding atop elephants through impenetrable jungle and terrain. Though conservationists would rather see the tigress tranquilized and transported to a zoo, hunters and most villagers are in support of seeking vengeance via rifle.

Only 11 percent of tigers’ natural habitat remains, according to the Wildlife Trust of India, and there are only 1,706 tigers left in the wild.

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Safest way to hunt tigers is from a howdah, eh?

31 Dec 2013

Not Safe on Top of Elephant

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And that’s why the British used to carry double-barreled Howdah pistols chambered in huge calibers.

gif version

Hat tip to Ratak Monodosico.

26 Nov 2013

Tipu Sahib’s Sword

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Maine Antique Digest runs a monthly Letter from London column which describes some of the more interesting items appearing in recent sales.

At Sotheby’s “Art of Imperial India” sale, London, October 9th last, was sold a captured and re-hilted British sword decorated with the bubri symbol of Tipu Sahib, “the Tiger of Mysore,” one of the most formidable enemies of British rule in India, slain finally defending his own fortress at the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799.

Tipu is quoted as saying: “Better to die like a soldier than live a miserable life dependent on the infidels… I would rather live two days as a tiger, than two hundred years as a sheep.”

Interestingly, this sword was not taken at Seringapatnam, as it comes from the estate of Sir Charles Malet, Bart., who had left India a year before the siege. It was probably a trophy of the Third Anglo-Mysore War.

The sword sold for $157,695 (98,500 GBP). Lot 249.

12 Nov 2013

Bully Goat

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This goat is the boss in his Punjab town. 2:46 video

24 Aug 2013

Zanjeer, Hero of Bombay

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Parachutiste Francais forwarded the above photo with the caption:

UN BEL HOMMAGE POUR UN VRAI HÉROS !

Ce chien s’appel Zanjeer.

Il a sauvé des millers de vies pendant la série d’attentats à Bombay en Mars 1993 en détectant plus de 3,329 kgs d’explosifs RDX, 600 détonateurs, 249 Grenades à main et 6406 sous munitions.

Il a été enterré avec les honneurs.

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trans.

A fitting homage for a true hero.

The dog was named Zanjeer [meaning “metal chain” in Persian].

He saved thousands of lives following a series of attacks in Bombay in March 1993 by detecting 3,329 kg. of RDX explosive, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades, and 6406 rounds of live ammunition.

He was buried with honors.

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Zanjeer (1992-2000) was a Golden Labrador who worked as a bomb detecting dog for the Bombay Police. He died of cancer in 2000 at age 8, and was buried with full honors by the Bombay Police.
The above photograph began going viral last March around the time of the twentieth anniversary of the Bombay attacks.

HuffPo ran a story at the time.

10 Aug 2013

Gold Damascened Steel Bow

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A 19th century Indo-Persian Steel Bow sold last year at Christie’s for £30,000 ($48,840).

Apparently, steel bows began replacing composite bows in Central Asia in the 16th century. Steel bows were superior with respect to having no need to be unstrung when not in use.

This take-down example is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship, made entirely of Damascus steel and completely inlaid on the front with 24 karat gold koftgari decoration.

From PaleoDirect.com

Hat tip to Sari Mantila.

02 Jul 2013

Meritocracy in India

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Alex Mayyasi tells us all about the IIT Entrance Exam.

The admissions test for the Indian Institutes of Technology, known as the Joint Entrance Examination or JEE, may be the most competitive test in the world. In 2012, half a million Indian high school students sat for the JEE. Over six grueling hours of chemistry, physics, and math questions, the students competed for one of ten thousand spots at India’s most prestigious engineering universities.

When the students finish the exam, it is the end of a two plus year process. Nearly every student has spent four hours a day studying advanced science topics not taught at school, often waking up earlier than four in the morning to attend coaching classes before school starts.

The prize is a spot at a university that students describe without hyperbole as a “ticket to another life.” The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are a system of technical universities in India comparable in prestige and rigor to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the California Institute of Technology. Alumni include Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, co-founder of software giant Infosys Narayana Murthy, and former Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin. Popular paths after graduation include pursuing MBAs or graduate degrees at India’s and the West’s best universities or entertaining offers from McKinsey’s and Morgan Stanley’s on-campus recruiters.

Government subsidies make it possible for any admitted student to attend IIT. The Joint Entrance Exam is also the sole admissions criteria – extracurriculars, personal essays, your family name, and, until recently, even high school grades are all irrelevant. The top scorers receive admission, while the rest do not.

This means that the test can vault students from the lowest socioeconomic background into the global elite in a single afternoon. Entire families wait outside the test center, as involved in the studying and test process as the children they pin their hopes on. In extreme cases, parents have sold their land to pay tutors to coach their children for the JEE.

Only two percent of students will be rewarded for their hard work. In 2012, Harvard accepted 5.9% of applicants. Top engineering schools MIT and Stanford had acceptance rates of 8.9% and 6.63%. The acceptance rate at the IITs, as represented by the pass rate in the JEE, was 2%. Every year, when the results are announced and the media swarms the accepted students, 490,000 students receive disappointing news.

You sit in a room with hundreds of test takers and look around and smile because, personally, you enjoy these kinds of tests, and besides, you have a private contest going with yourself. You mean to try to be finished with the test before anybody else, so that you can stand up, hand in the answer sheet, and theatrically leave, with dozens of eyes looking on at you with hatred.

Hat tip to the Dish.

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