Who in India wears the sari?

New Delhi: A New York Times article published last month attracted widespread attention because of its claim that fashion in India was being driven by a nationalist agenda. The article by Asgar Qadri argued that India has witnessed a state-led promotion of traditional attire in general, and the sari in particular, as part of a broader attempt to “project multi-faith India as a Hindu nation”, ever since the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to power in 2014.

But the central premise of the article about the sari being a Hindu attire is not backed by data. Consumer expenditure survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) shows that the sari enjoys broad appeal across religious groups, with a majority of Christian and Muslim households reporting buying at least one sari in the year preceding the survey. This survey covering more than 100,000 households across the country was conducted in 2011-12, well before Modi became India’s prime minister .








Similarly, the share of households belonging to the top decile which purchased skirts (or frocks) at 27% was 15 percentage points higher than the share of households belonging to the bottom decile which made similar purchases.

Overall, geography and wealth seem to have a far greater influence on the sartorial choices of Indian women than religion.

This is the first of a two-part series on what Indians wear. The second part will examine the sartorial choices of Indian men.

Udayan Rathore is a research associate at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, and Pramit Bhattacharya is editor (data) at Mint.


Dances of India

India is a land of diversities. Various climatic conditions have made India a diverse country. In all spheres of Indian life diversities are clearly visible. These diversities have made the Indian culture a unique one. Like all other aspects of life, the dance forms of India are also varied and different. There are many types of dance forms in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are performed on small occasions.


The Indian dances are broadly divided into Classical dances and folk dances. The Classical dances of India are usually spiritual in content. Though the folk dances of India are also spiritual and religious in content but the main force behind the folk dances of India is the celebratory mood. Dances are a form of coherent expression of human feelings. Like the Indian culture, Indian classical dances are equally diverse in nature. There are numerous classical dance forms in India and innumerable folk dances. Each dance form can be traced to different parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people

The most popular classical dance styles of India are Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kathakali and Mohiniattam of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh and Manipuri of Manipur.

Indian Classical Dances
India has thousands of year old tradition of fine arts and classical and folk music and dances. Some of the world-famous dance forms that originated and evolved in India are Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and Odissi. All these dance forms use basically the same ‘mudras’ or signs of hand as a common language of expression and were originally performed in the temples to entertain various Gods and Goddesses.

Indian Classical Dancers
Indian classical dance has a distinct character that reflects the great cultural and traditional endeavor. The forms of Indian dance have transcended beyond the fences and socio-cultural hindrances. Exponents of the Indian classical dance believe that it has the caliber of creating a new and disciplined lifestyle. The Indian Classical Dance is often regarded as the form of worship and meditation. The performers of Indian Classical Dance, despite of the background and forms, have played a crucial role in presenting India to the forefront of the World stage.

Bharatnatyam is one of the most popular classical Indian dances. Bharatnatyam is more popular in South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Bharatnatyam dance is almost 2,000 years old. It is believed that Bharatnatyam was revealed by Lord Brahma to Bharata, a famous sage who then codified this sacred dance in a Sanskrit text called the Natya Shastra. The Natya Shastra is one of the fundamental treatises on Indian drama and aesthetics.

Kathak is one of the most important classical dances of India. Kathak is said to be derived from the word katha, meaning “the art of storytelling.” The Kathak dance form originated in north India and was very similar to the Bharatnatyam dance form. In ancient India, there were Kathakars or bards who used to recite religious and mythological tales to the accompaniment music, mime and dance.

Kathakali is the classical dance form of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means “Story-Play”. Kathakali is known for its heavy, elaborate makeup and costumes. In fact, the colorful and fascinating costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognized icon of Kerala. Kathakali is considered as one of the most magnificent theatres of imagination and creativity. Kathakali dance presents themes derived from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, mythologies and legends.

Kuchipudi is one of the classical dance forms of the South India. Kuchipudi derives its name from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. In the seventeenth century the Kuchipudi village was presented to the Brahmins, who were experts in staging dance and drama. Kuchipudi exhibits scenes from the Hindu Epics, legends and mythological tales through a combination of music, dance and acting. Like other classical dances, Kuchipudi also comprises pure dance, mime and histrionics but it is the use of speech that distinguishes Kuchipudi’s presentation as dance drama.

Manipuri is one of the six major classical dances of India. Manipuri dance is indigenous to Manipur, the North eastern state of India. The Manipuri dance style is inextricably woven into the life pattern of Manipuri people. The most striking part of Manipur dance is its colorful decoration, lightness of dancing foot, delicacy of abhinaya (drama), lilting music and poetic charm. The Manipuri dance form is mostly ritualistic and draws heavily from the rich culture of the state of Manipur.

Mohiniattam is a classical dance form of Kerala. Mohiniattam is derived from the words “Mohini” (meaning beautiful women) and “attam”(meaning dance). Thus, Mohiniattam dance form is a beautiful feminine style with surging flow of body movements. Mohiniattam dance in Kerala developed in the tradition of Devadasi system, which later grew and developed a classical status.

Odissi is one of the famous classical Indian dances from Orissa state. The history of Odissi dance is almost two thousand years old. Odissi is a highly inspired, passionate, ecstatic and sensuous form of dance. Like most of the South Indian classical dances of India Odissi too had its origin in the Devadasi tradition. The state of Orissa has a great cultural history.

Gandhi Jayanti 2017: 10 Quotes By Mahatma Gandhi On Education

Gandhi Jayanti on October 2 is an occasion to remember the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi.


Gandhi Jayanti 2017 On October 2: 10 Quotes By Mahatma Gandhi On Education

NEW DELHI:  The world celebrates Gandhi Jayanthi on October 2 every year. Gandhi Jayanti (the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi) is the occasion, when people come togethor to remember the man who was influential in shaping the modern world with his ideas and struggles. Mahatma Gandhi, as a philosopher of education, was ahead of time. Mahatma Gandhi had talked about everything related to education, from school to primary education to technical education to idea of university to importance of exercise in a students’ life. Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas have influenced Indian education system in its full strength.

Gandhi Jayanti 2017: Mahatma Gandhi On Education

Mahatma Gandhi on School

“The school must be an extension of home. There must be concordance between the impressions which a child gathers at home and at school, if the best results are to be obtained”.

Mahatma Gandhi on technical education

“I would revolutionize college education and relate it to national necessities. There would be degrees for mechanical and other engineers. They would be attached to the different industries which should pay for the training of the graduates they need”.

Mahatma Gandhi on literacy vs education

“Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. It is only one of the means whereby man and woman can be educated. Literacy in itself is no education. I would therefore begin the child’s education by teaching it a useful handicraft and enabling it to produce from the moment it begins its training. Thus every school can be made self-supporting, the condition being that the State takes over the manufacture of these schools”.

Mahatma Gandhi on primary education

“Then as to primary education, my confirmed opinion is that the commencement of training by teaching the alphabet and reading and writing hampers their intellectual growth. I would not teach them the alphabet till they have had an elementary knowledge of history, geography, mental arithmetic and the art (say) of spinning”.

Mahatma Gandhi on ‘best education for citizenship’

“The emphasis laid on the principle of spending every minute of one’s life usefully is the best education for citizenship”.

‘Money inversted in learning’

“In a democratic scheme, money invested in the promotion of learning gives a tenfold return to the people even as a seed sown in good soil returns a luxuriant crop”.

Education for all

“Love requires that true education should be easily accessible to all and should be of use to every villager in this daily life”.

Mahatma Gandhi on corporal punishment

“Experience gained in two schools under my control has taught me that punishment does not purify, if anything, it hardens children”.

Mahatma Gandhi on education and exercise

“I hold that true education of the intellect can only come through a proper exercise and training of the bodily organs, e.g., hands, feet, eyes, ears, nose, etc. In other words an intelligent use of the bodily organs in a child provide the best and quickest way of developing his intellect”.

Mahatma Gandhi on idea of university

“There should be a proper background for new universities. They should have feeders in the shape of schools and colleges which will impart instruction through the medium of their respective provincial languages. Then only can there be a proper milieu. University is at the top. A majestic top can only be sustained if there is a sound foundation”.

(All the quotes are taken from mkgandhi.org)

Google celebrates 19th birthday with 19 games from Doodles past


Google is celebrating its 19th birthday with a “Surprise Spinner.”

Google’s latest Doodle for its 19th anniversary is a birthday surprise spinner that takes players back to its most memorable Doodle games. Spin the wheel to play interactive browser games from the past 19 years, like a musical puzzle game celebrating Beethoven’s 245th birthday, or this adorable Magic Cat Academy Halloween game from 2016.

Google has also added a brand-new Snake game to its Search Funbox, which is one of the 19 wheel surprises among other search result games like tic-tac-toe, and an Earth Day quiz. You can play it anytime by searching “snake game,” or just search “Google birthday surprise spinner” to give the wheel a spin and try out the other Doodle games.

The wheel also includes the 2010 Pac Manbrowser game, which time management software company RescueTime famously alleged cost the economy $120 million and 4.8 million hours of lost productivity. For the sake of humoring more bad math, I’m going to go ahead and guesstimate that $120 million x 19 games means $2.3 billion of productivity will be lost today. Have fun!

Top 10 causes of deaths in India

Nearly 61% of deaths in India are due to non-communicable diseases, which include heart disorders, cancer and diabetes. But other big killers include lung diseases caused by air pollution, smoking, etc and diarrhea – which can be prevented with improving hygiene. Here’s more…


Google to launch mobile payment service in India next week: report

Blue Dogs Spotted in India—What’s Causing It?

Residents were initially baffled after several stray dogs were found roaming the streets with bright blue fur.

When dogs in Taloja, an industrial neighborhood in Mumbai, India, began walking around with bright blue fur, residents took notice.

Concern about the dogs, and fear that the dye could portend a dangerous pollutant, was quickly evident on social media and in local news reports.

A representative from the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell (NMAPC), one of the animal clinics that treated the dogs, told National Geographic over the phone that heavy rains have since washed the dogs clean. In an email, Shakuntala Majumdar from Mumbai’s Thane SPCA also said they had caught one of the dogs and were able to clean it up.

While the dogs that have been treated are reportedly fine, their appearance prompts a number of questions, chief among them—how a bunch of dogs turned bright blue.

According to reporting from the Hindustan Times, the dogs were likely affected by untreated industrial waste that had been allegedly dumped by one company into the nearby Kasadi River. The river flows through an area with hundreds of factories, but the Times quoted officials who are blaming one factory whose name has not been released but which allegedly manufactures detergent. An investigation has been opened by the local regulatory agency, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, who will reportedly release a full report on the incident in the coming weeks.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Majumdar and his team were initially notified of the blue strays by concerned residents. The factory that locals think may be responsible and water areas surrounding it were fenced off, but the dogs were reportedly able to find holes in the wire fence, where they swam in the water to cool off. The Thane SPCA counted five dogs initially affected but estimate there could be more in the area based on the higher population of strays and the relatively weak fence.

“They looked apparently healthy excepting blotches of blue on their fur,” said Majumdar.

The team struggled to catch the nimble dogs in the marshy area, but were eventually successful in taking one back to their clinic.

“The dye is possibly water based as it washed off after two regular baths,” said the animal care worker.

In addition to baths, the dog’s skin was lightly scraped to test for toxicity. A number of regional outlets have reported that the dogs were found blind, which Majumdar says is false.

“We have not seen any blind dogs.”

A representative from the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell reached similar conclusions about the dye’s toxicity. The have observed no adverse health effects in the dogs or other animals in the region. However, until lab tests on the dogs are finished and the pollution control board releases its report, a judgement on the complete impacts of the dye cannot be made.


Dogs are protected by law in India. This past May, the government passed sweeping regulations that ended indiscriminate breeding and provided funding for necessities like food and shelter. In a country with a billion people and 30 million dogs, it’s a massive undertaking.

“They stay on the streets; they are sheltered by small business communities and slum dwellers; most gated communities hate them, but they continue to exist,” remarked Majumdar.

They’re not just existing, says one expert, they’re thriving.

N.G. Jayasimha is the managing director of Humane Society India. He hadn’t heard of the incident in which dogs were turning blue, but he wasn’t surprised that they had been able to access polluted water.

Adding to Majumdar’s comments on the concerned community members who contacted the SPCA, Jayasimha emphasized the important relationship dogs can serve in Mumbai’s communities.

“There are street dogs which do not have personal owners or a referral household but may still be accepted by the neighborhood as belonging to the community,” said Jayasimha.

While dogs can provide an important source of companionship, they also pose a threat as a vector for rabies, often transmit from bites. (Read more about the effort to vaccinate dogs in India.)

According to Humane Society data, 60 percent of India’s dog population falls under the “community owned” status. In Mumbai, over half the city’s human residents are estimated to live on the streets or in slums, and dogs provide companionship while scavenging on trash or other human byproducts.

It’s this scavenging nature, Jayasimha said, that could have led them to rummage around the factory in the first place. A temporary gate has been reportedly installed to block off any additional dogs from entering the waste area.