What can be better than going home for Christmas, especially if home happens to be warm and sunny Goa? Chris and Beverly D’Souza with their young son Luke visited Goa, their hometown, far away from the cold of New York. This story is a Christmas tradition on Lassi with Lavina!
At Hanukkah, Indian-Jews remember the homeland which nurtured their faith. “India has been the only country in the world where Jews have never been oppressed or suppressed or discriminated against,” says Romiel Daniel, who is Jewish-Indian-American. Indeed, India has been nurturing home and haven for generations of Jews whose ancestors fled from persecution centuries ago. At its peak there were about 37,000 Jews living in India. “Discrimination is something that has never happened in India for 2000 years and that is something we are very proud of, and that is why we go back to India so often,” he says.
This year on India’s Republic Day, we pay tribute to the wonderful Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman photojournalist (1913-2012) who captured the nation’s ups and downs in a series of remarkable photographs.
We are fortunate that the Rubin Museum of Art hosted a retrospective of her work right through January 2013, with free tours every day. Visitors could catch a glimpse of the India that was, and also see the work of a woman who captured history as it was being made. Her images include those on the historic meeting of Gandhi and the Congress Committee on the 1947 plan for partition, of a changing India as well as of many dignitaries who visited India including Queen Elizabeth, Ho Chi Minh, Zhou En-lai and Jacqueline Kennedy.
He has been Shiva and Krishna, countless mythical heroes and ordinary humans, and he has traveled the globe, telling all their wondrous tales through the magic of rhythm and dance. Datuk Ramli Ibrahim is a changemaker, an innovator with bells on his feet. For over 30 years, this Malaysian dance pioneer has nurtured both Indian classical dance and contemporary modern dance in Malaysia. He brings past, present and future on the lit up stage with audacity and shows that culture is meant to be shared, regardless of faith or nationality.
If Thanksgiving is a festival of gratitude, then Indians have been preparing for it their whole lives.
In India, take a walk down the Mumbai waterfront in the early morning mist, and you see ordinary citizens quietly feeding the fish and the birds. Their daily day doesn’t really begin until the deities in their home shrine have been venerated with fresh flowers and offered prasadam.
It is only after eating a little of this blessed offering does the family sit down to their meals. Many remember to keep aside a portion of the food for a hungry person or the birds. It is all about sharing.
If the Pilgrim Fathers revisited America this year, they would certainly be amazed by the aromas, tastes and colors of the diverse Thanksgiving table. New York is, of course, one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. and its residents trace their roots to hundreds of countries and ethnicities. Each immigrant family brings its own culture and food habits and incorporates them into the Thanksgiving meal.
No matter which part of the world Indian immigrants live in, they each carry with them their special memories of India filed away in their heads and hearts. For these diasporic Indians, many now with hyphenated identities, India’s Republic Day does bring in a whole lot of memories and a feeling of pride in being a part of India, and India being a part of their emotional DNA.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard shares a message about victory over challenges this Diwali. “Just as Lord Rama faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles, we as a people, face immense challenges—whether it’s war, poverty, disease, or countless other adversities.”
This isn’t Kashi or Prayag but thousands of devotees clog the streets, dancing and chanting as Ganesha’s Ratha Yatra takes place – in Queens, New York. Yes, this pilgrimage spot happens to be in Flushing, Queens, and people came to celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi from as far as California, Florida, Texas, Atlanta – and even India!
It is Lord Ganesha’s birthday and everyone is invited to this giant block party. Over 50,000 lunches are prepared; there are hundreds of pounds of sweets and hundreds of gallons of rose milk. About 20,000 people turn up over the course of nine days at the Hindu Temple Society of North America. (Photo: Chirag D. Shah)
Sarab Kaur Zavaleta shares memories of her family’s exodus from Lahore during India’s convulsive Partition and subsequently her return visit to document the past and her family’s history in Pakistan in an upcoming film.
Lord Krishna is the Cosmic Cowherd, the mischievous deity that Hindus love the most for his pranks, for his butter-thievery, for his melodious flute, for his romantic interludes with Gopis, the milkmaids.
He fought demons, danced on the mighty serpent’s head and lifted Govardhana Hill with his little finger, using it as an umbrella to protect the people from torrential rains.
One of the most anticipated festivals in the Hindu calendar is Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan, the Festival of Threads. This is the day when brothers and sisters renew their bonds and sisters receive money and gifts from their brothers. Now which little girl can argue with that? Lucky are the sisters who have several brothers!
Indeed, if you are Hindu and have a brother, no matter where you are, you will try to meet up with him on Raksha Bandhan which falls this year on August 29. This is an ancient Hindu festival which occurs in the month of shravan on the full moon. Sisters pray for their brothers health and well-being, tying the sacred Rakhi thread on their wrists, and brothers pledge to protect their sisters.
These are the littlest citizens and they seem to have a real hold on President Obama, and he on them. Look at these charming images clicked by Peter Souza, the Chief Official White House photographer and you’re bound to smile. The most powerful man in the world and Commander-in-chief of a mighty nation can baby-talk, snuggle and hug and cuddle and exchange high-fives with the best of them.
A law degree has been the avenue for a number of Indian-American women who have done very well in corporate America and private legal practice. It has also been the building block for a handful of strong women who have entered public life via this route as judges, attorney generals and lawyers in the public sphere, this having an impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.
Jyotsna Singh, grand-daughter of the Maharaja of Patiala, recalls a bygone time: “Naniji was exceedingly beautiful and at a young age she was married to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and had two daughters Elsie (my mother) and Angela (her younger sister). The English names were given by the English governesses who could not pronounce the Indian names of the children. And there were a lot – 52 siblings, a pack of cards my mother would tell me…..Though the mothers lived at the palace and spent time with the children, the children were really brought up by the governesses. My grandfather lived in the main Motibagh Palace with his wives and his older children.”