Hindu Press International- May 21, 2017

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INDIA, May18, 2017 (BBC): The numbers are stark – for the first time in India’s recent history, not only was there a decline in the female labour participation rate, but also a shrinking of the total number of women in the workforce. Nearly 20 million Indian women quit work between 2004-05 to 2011-12 The labour force participation rate for women of working age declined from 42% in 1993-94 to 31% in 2011-12. While more than 24 million men joined the work force between 2004-5 to 2009-10, the number of women in the the work force dropped by 21.7 million.

Using data gleaned from successive rounds of National Sample Survey Organisation and census data, a team of researchers from World Bank have attempted to find out why this is happening – at a time when India’s economy has grown at steady clip. Women need better and more suitable job opportunities outside farming, the authors say. Predictable social norms are attributed to women quitting work in India: marriage, motherhood, vexed gender relations and biases, and patriarchy. But they may not be the only reasons. Significantly, rising aspirations and relative prosperity may be actually responsible for putting a large cohort of women out of work in India.

More at ”source” above

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TAMIL NADU, INDIA, May 17, 2017 (New York Times): Driving on the main roads in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the barely there villages that materialize every few miles take on a comforting rhythm. Cement lean-tos and shacks give way to a formal grid of streets with mansion after looming mansion in various states of maintained opulence and elegant decay, their decorative facades partly hidden by high walls. Built between 1850 and 1950, these homes — some of which dwarf the grand cottages of Newport and the villas of Cap Ferrat — number over 15,000 throughout Chettinad, which covers about 600 square miles. Many have more than 60 rooms spread over interiors as large as one and a half acres.

The globe-trotting Hindu merchant and banking clan called the Nattukottai Chettiars thrived during colonialist expansion. The massive homes — at least those not abandoned due to the crushing cost of upkeep, then pillaged for the remarkable architectural details within — are still owned by the families whose ancestors built them. Few of those owners actually live in them full time now, but, like the castles and manor houses that dot the English countryside, the residences are familial status symbols of staggering heft, worrisome expense and emotional attachment. Except for salvage, they have no resale value. Who might buy an 150-year-old, 85-room villa two hours from the nearest airport in an area that modern industry has forgotten?

Much more on the Chettiar mansions, including colorful photos, at ”source” above.

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INDIA, May 16, 2017 (India Times): Whether it was Rustam-e-Hind (Champion of India) or Rustam-e-Zamana (Champion of the Universe), the titles conferred on Gama Pehalwan always fell short in describing the legend. His legacy is such that even 57 years after his death, every wrestler in India and Pakistan aspires to be like Gama-The Undefeated. Like all other true champions and icons of sports, Gama Pehalwan too was far above the petty concerns of religion, caste, creed and all the things that divide human beings. And the example of it came in the thick of the riots that marked the partition of British India into India and Pakistan. Gama, a Muslim by faith saved hundreds of Hindus of his colony in Lahore from the bloodthirsty mob.

Gama Pehalwan lived in Amritsar, where he was born in 1878. But citing the political atmosphere of the country in which the buzz of partition was reaching crescendo, Gama Pehalwan shifted to Lahore in early 1947. The majority of the colony he was settled in was Hindu and all were jubilant about the great wrestler becoming their neighbour. Gama had sensed what was coming and therefore, he promised Hindus of his colony that he would defend them with his life. As riots escalated, Gama knew his colony wasn’t safe and he wouldn’t be able to protect them beyond a point. Therefore, he escorted them to the border. Gama bore all the expenses from his pocket and bid adieu his neighbours with teary eyes.

More of this history at ”source” above.

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Listen for silence in noisy places; feel at peace in the midst of disturbance; awaken joy when there is no reason.
— Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

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