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Articles tagged with: New Delhi

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 2, 2010 No Comment
English Next India: The Numbers Game

A recent article in the Times of India discusses the state of English education in India, a language which is one of the focal points in discourses around “development.” Progress, one hears often, depends on our English skills-the nation’s very future depends on how well we speak/read/write the language.  So much so, that […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on August 14, 2009 2 Comments
Indian Independence Day

This evening, Sunehri Market, the local bazaar, was awash in green, white, and deep saffron, the colors of the Indian flag. There were tricolor kites, delicate (miniature) paper flags, exercise wristbands, streamers, paper caps, garlands, towelettes, artificial flower bouquets, and cloth flags. Tomorrow is Independence Day, the 62nd anniversary of Indian freedom from […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on June 7, 2009 2 Comments

In an effort to buy chairs in bulk from a warehouse for my project in a city in North India, we ended up in a rather remarkable part of town that I have never had occasion to visit before. We didn’t have the exact address when we started; my mother’s friend’s daughter’s husband had […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 28, 2009 2 Comments
Indian Sign Stores

This afternoon, I had occasion to visit some “sign stores” in a neighboring village in a New Delhi suburb. We needed stamp pads (it’s a long, dull, inconsequential, and utterly irrelevant story why), and so, this hot afternoon-it was around 104°F, with 25% humidity-we trekked over to the village. The “LADIES TOILET” (or, the “Ladies/महिला”/”Women” […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 11, 2009 1 Comment

Living in the United States for the past five years, the extensive circulation of the word “sorry” is something I generally take for granted. However, I was revisiting some of the stories I collected while with some kids at an orphanage in a suburb of New Delhi, India, when it struck me how odd, or […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 8, 2009 1 Comment

Samajwadi Party (a regional Indian party) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s campaign promise to abolish the use of English, “angrezi hatao” (Remove English) in UP (Uttar Pradesh, a north Indian state) has been causing quite a bit of tumult. Mulayam specifically promised “to ban English in education and computers in new projects.” My parents […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 24, 2009 4 Comments

My mother often tells me stories of growing up in pre-Independence Calcutta (Kolkata), India, and I am always fascinated by details about Bengali (Bangali)* cuisine. I grew up in a (primarily) vegetarian household (where food was niramish), whereas the defining aspect of traditional Bangali cuisine is (traditionally freshwater) fish curry (machher jhol) and […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 16, 2009 2 Comments

अनाथ
अकेले
क्या
वे
मेरा इंतेज़ार करते हैं
कहीं मुझे बुला रहें हैं
उस अंधकार में?
वह एक गुफा है-
जहाँ वे
खेलते हैं
हंसते हैं
हर रोज़ उनकी सच्चाई
एक दर्द है
आशा का अंत है
जहाँ न माँ का प्यार
ना पिता का आशीर्वाद.
आज कल में बदलता है
कल परसो में.
क्या वे मुझे बुलाते हैं?

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on February 26, 2009 2 Comments

One of the most fascinating aspects of my ethnographic work in a orphanage in a Hindu ashram in a satellite town of New Delhi, India, is the multilingual setting. The kids, to recap quickly, are first language Bengali speakers, second language Hindi speakers, attend an English medium school, and take part in mandatory 4 hour […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 21, 2009 2 Comments

As Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth president on January 20th, I was dozing off somewhere high over a deep turquoise Atlantic Ocean.

The nightmare began on Saturday night…dense fog enveloped New Delhi, India, as I headed out from the ‘burbs to the Indira Gandhi International Airport. On […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 13, 2009 2 Comments
Hidden Signs

From the New Delhi, India, campaign and “to-let” flyers make an appearance on street signs:

Who cares where you are?

 

 

 

 

 

And behold the irrelevance of traffic signs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

_

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 11, 2009 4 Comments
Danger Signs

As we drove to the gym today in a satellite town of New Delhi, India, I was struck by a skull and crossbones sign painted on the back of an auto-rickshaw. It had the word “STOP” written beneath it (see below). Now, I associate the skull and crossbones sign with poison and pirates…I have never […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 4, 2009 3 Comments
The Clay Dolls of Krishnanagar

The Khadi Handicrafts Fair sign was only barely visible through the fogged up car windows as we arrived there around dusk yesterday. Four or five middle aged men in thick woolen caps and dark shawls gathered around a small bonfire, their palms spread out, the flames nearly licking their fingertips. A young man stood forlornly […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 2, 2009 4 Comments
“Happy New Year 2009”

Happy new year, Didi!” the monkey-cap wearing kids yelled out as I stepped into the children’s study room in the basement of an orphanage. As I smiled at them, I felt the cold cement through the sheer nylon of my stockinged feet. The temperature in the room was little warmer than the 4°C outside, and […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 25, 2008 7 Comments
खादी: Weaving Indian Nationhood

A couple of evenings ago, with the temperature dipping into the low teens (in °C), and the stale winter air thickly polluted with smog, my mother and I happened upon the National Khadi Fair in a suburb of New Delhi, India. Even though we had pending errands to run, we were inexorably drawn to the […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 4, 2008 3 Comments

The New York Times‘ book blog, the aptly titled “Paper Cuts,” carries a post about a recent UC Press book entitled “One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost,” edited by Peter K. Austin. The description includes this alarming line: “There are more than six thousand languages used around the world today, although […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on November 27, 2008 2 Comments
Life Between Terrorist Strikes

Minutes ago, on the NDTV live feed covering the Mumbai terror strike I’ve been riveted to for the past 24 hours, Rahul Bose, the renowned Indian actor, (demanding of an Indian politician) asked what quality of life Indians could expect between terrorist strikes. The larger context of his question dealt with what steps […]

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