The Annual Hindu Rain Festival of Ambubachi Mela

Ambubachi-Mela-Devi-Kamakhya-menstruation-statue

For 3 days each June, typically always starting upon June 22 and ending upon June 26, but fluctuating due to various influences, the Hindu festival of Ambubachi Mela is observed. Sadhu’s, that is, holy men of the Hindu faith, and pilgrims from all over India gather at the Kamakhya Temple (pronounced “kah-mah-kee-yah”) in Guwahati, India, a site located upon a hill near the Brahmaputra River, to pray for rain. It is believed by Hindus that the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, who is the Mother Shakti, goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this festival. The Kamakhya Temple becomes closed for 3 days during the mela as it is believed by Hindus that the Earth, commonly associated as Mother Earth, becomes unclean for 3 days and therefore should be secluded in the same format that some traditionally practicing Hindu women seclude themselves during their own menstrual cycles. During these 3 days, some restrictions are observed by the Hindu devotees (e.g. cessation of cooking, cessation of performing worship which is referred to as “puja”, cessation of reading holy books, cessation of farming etc.). After 3 days, Devi Kamakhya is bathed by cleaning the statue which represents her with red pigment flowing from her vaginal canal, alongside other rituals which are carried out to ensure that the devi retrieves purity. The doors of the Kamakhya Temple are reopened on the 4th day and devotees are permitted to enter Kamakhya Temple to worship Devi Kamakhya. The devotion of these pilgrims is believed to bring rain and fertility back to the Earth

The Largest Family In the World

Ziona-Chana-family

Ziona Chana who was born in 1945 in Mizoram, India has the largest family in the world. Chana’s family is so incredibly large because he practices Chana Páwl, a religion started by his father Challian Chana in 1942. Chana Páwl is claimed to be a subsect of Christianity but the faith more closely resembles a modern day cult than it does an institutionalized major religion. As of 2011, Chana has 39 wives, 32 sons, 19 daughters, 12 daughter in laws, 26 grandsons, 28 granddaughters, 3 grand daughter in laws, and 1 cousin, all living under the same roof, 161 relatives in total. This enormous family consumes an astounding 50 kilograms of rice each day

The Decaying Sewage Infrastructure of Calcutta, India

Calcutta-India-sewer-cleanerKolkatan sewers were once the envy of the world, built during the Victorian era and spanning 90 kilometers below the city. Because the Kolkatan sewer system is now 130 years old, it no longer functions as it should, especially when accounting for the increasingly large modern day population of Calcutta, India. Due to this, teams of workers with buckets enter the sewers every night all over Calcutta to shovel and remove excrement so that blockages don’t occur. Workers typically work 11:00 PM – 5:00 AM because this is when the least amount of people are awake to use the bathroom. The problem is becoming increasingly worse as time progresses, being that more and more people are now connecting into the central city sewage line as incomes and quality of life increases throughout India

 

The Legality of Indian Child Labor

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India has the highest amount of children who work of any country in the world. Thousands of children are trafficked into domestic slavery each year in India but due to India’s vast population of 1,300,000,000 (1.3 billion) people, these children go largely unnoticed. In India, every hour, 8 children are trafficked however 5 of these children are never found after having gone missing. Traffickers are paid 5000 – 6000 Indian Rupees ($95.00 – $110.00) per child. Indian society seems to permiss children working and it is deeply ingrained within society as it is viewed as poor children working because their families cannot afford to send them to attend an educational institution. It is viewed as better to work than to do nothing at all. It’s ironic because a buffalo will sell for 200,000 Indian Rupees ($3700.00) but a young girl for 10,000 Indian Rupees ($185.00). The value of a human life does not seem to count for much as prices are set in terms of how much work a person or animal can perform before collapsing. Kailash Satyarthi, a man who has spent his life freeing children from slavery, his organization freeing close to 100,000 children in the last 3 decades as of 2018. Satyarthi who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his efforts to eradicate slavery states. Satyarthi often educates that there is a triangular relationship between poverty, child labor, and illiteracy with each forming a chicken and egg relationship with the other as each factor is a consequence of the other factors. When child labor is permitted, it allows child illiteracy and poverty to continue. Child labor is the largest factor preventing education and literacy for children around the world. This places children at an enormous disadvantage because they cannot become equal partners in the globalized economy. It’s not only the traffickers of organized crime who need to be suppressed. It is also the middle class families in large cities like Delhi who do not consider the consequences before hiring a young person to watch their children, clean their home, and cook their meals. Suppressing both of these ties to slavery will drastically help reduce the number of children who are trafficked each year. Law enforcement has been known to resort to medical examinations to provide an accurate age when documentation is unavailable or thought to be fraudulent. Indian law however clearly states that if a school certificate is used as proof of age, then no medical examination shall commence. This is used by traffickers as leverage to ensure that they’re never culpable for having a person below the age of 18 under their supervision

Ancient Stained Glass Manufacturing

ancient-stained-glass

The manufacturing of stained glass is an ancient technology which dates back so far that the ancient Egyptians knew how to do it 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Medieval Europe inherited this form of technology but did not invent it as is common belief. Deep, rich blue glass was very difficult to make and therefore needed to be imported from southern Italy. The deep blues which the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France is so famous for can historically be traced through documentation to fragments coming from the Byzantine Empire as well as the Roman Empire. These imports were melted down and used to create new glass. Most colors and dyes came from the natural world in the forms of roots, berries, barks, leaves, minerals, and crushed insects, but the most prized colors were imported into Europe from the east, specifically India and China using Ottoman trade routes. The simple luck of geography made Venice, Italy an incredibly wealthy city as it acted as a nexus between the east and west. The blue hue referred to as “ultramarine” was the most expensive color to acquire and therefore it was almost always saved for depictions of the Virgin Mary, typically in her cloak or some other form of clothing, as Mary was depicted as the focal point of every painting she appeared within. Ultra Marine came from the mineral of lapis lazuli and when it was ground up into powder, some parts would inevitably become smaller than others which allowed these particles to reflect more light and provide a deeper, richer color to work with and appreciate. Vermillion Red was almost as precious as ultramarine, and has been used in Europe for hundreds of years in various illuminated manuscripts. Made from the mineral cinnabar, vermillion was adopted in places outside of Europe like meso-America for painting, India for bindi dots, and China to create lacquerware

The Most Vulnerable Cities Due To Climate Change

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Miami, United States of America is the number one city in the world in terms of risk related to global warming and flooding. Miami has experienced and continues to experience flooding of its streets as tides grow increasingly higher with each passing year. Projections estimate a full 6” of flooding by 2030, 2’ by 2060, and 7’ or more by 2100. The top 10 cities at risk in terms of population density by 2070 in ascending order are Kolkata, India, Mumbai, India, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Guangzhou, China, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Shanghai, China, Bangkok, Thailand, Rangoon, Myanmar, Miami, United States of America, and Hai Phong, Vietnam

The Status Symbol of Fast Food In Brazil

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Fast food in Brazil is considered a sign of success. Fast food in Brazil costs approximately 2x as much as it does in the developed world. Fast food corporations view China, Brazil, and India as emerging markets but the way in which these markets have responded to the introduction of fast food is very different. Whilst the general public of all industrialized countries are aware that fast food is bad for health and therefore should not be consumed often, subsequently being viewed as a product which is consumed predominantly by the poor, this viewpoint is completely flipped and skewed in Brazil as Brazilians know that fast food is bad for their health, but participating in the eating of fast food is regarded as a status symbol, something that only wealthy and affluent members of society can participate in and enjoy. It’s a smaller, lighter version of what owning an iPhone or high end brand name clothing is in the industrialized world

Chess

chess

Chess was originally a two player game from India referred to as “Chaturanga” and dates back to 600 A.D.. The first chessboard which displayed alternating light and dark squares appeared in Europe in 1090. The phrase “checkmate” comes from the Persian phrase “shāh māt” (pronounced “shah-mat”) which means “the king is dead” in Persian

Indian Thuggee

indian-thuggee

The term “thug” is derived from the term “thuggee” which was a Hindi term used to describe a cult in India who killed 2,000,000 (2 million) people by strangulation. This group performed these murders in the name of Kali, the goddess they worshiped, who according to Indian mythology would drink her victim’s blood