Posts Tagged ‘Gandhi’


image via I Paid a Bribe

I still feel like there’s a shotput in stomach whenever I think back to one of the worst days of my life:  my husband and I had just moved to Bangalore from the US and we had to go to the Bangalore aiport to claim some items we had shipped over.  The nightmare began as soon as we entered customs – you can’t bring in this and this, actually you can’t bring in any of this.  We only had books and a high resolution computer monitor – but they were medical books that my husband needed for his work – so of course their eyes were bulging rupees.

I don’t remember the exact amount of the “facilitation fee” we ended up paying – I think around 50,000 rupees (gulp!).  But I do remember feeling utterly powerless and completely helpless.  I even cried from fear when I was seperated from my husband for a brief moment (these men were obviously “above the law” so you can imagine what I was thinking…).

Corruption in India is the single reason I never felt safe living there.  Because, apparently, you can even get away with murder (see the Jessica Lall Murder Case, as dramatized in this year’s critically-acclaimed film No One Killed Jessica).

But there seems to be a new wave of hope sweeping over India – a grassroots movement in favour of empowerment of the people.  The movement is fueled in part by the leadership of Anna Hazare and by social media.  Check out – a website where people can anonymously report incidents of corruption and tell the world what department was involved, the circumstances and how much they were forced to pay.  Genius!

Wherever you are in the world, I urge you to take part in this movement:  Join the Facebook pages of India Against Corruption and of I Paid a Bribe and spread the word to your friends and family.  If you live or travel to India and are forced to “pay up” – report it on IPaB.  As members of the Indian diaspora, we can help India be free and independent from corruption.  The web and social media makes it easy for all of us to have our voices heard.  And the strength is in the numbers:  India (finally) ratified the UN Convention against Corruption last month.

Gandhi gave the world Satyagraha.  India is now on the brink of breaking free from another captor – in a novel way that could yet again set an example for the world (Chinese activists have already copied IPaB’s model).  So, please, join the Anti-Corruption Movement – it is real, it has a leader and it’s gaining speed fast.

We owe our children a corruption-free India!


Gandhi Jayanti is tomorrow, October 2nd – so make sure to pay your respects to our Great Father.  We’ll be having a little cupcake party with stories, like we did last year (read last year’s Gandhi Jayanti post here).  If my kids were a little older, I think creating a timeline of Gandhi’s life using a Montessori-style Black Line would be a great weekend activity.

The Montessori Black Line – pictured above –  is a simple black strip marked with tick-marks showing relative scale of time.  It’s an interactive, hands-on way for kids to learn about history – they simply place a picture (or a card with a descriptive paragraph) along the line in logical progession.  The Black Line is used to illustrate almost anything – from the evolution of humankind to a timeline of a child’s life.

If you are so inclined, you can purchase a Black Line here – it’s coveniently pre-marked by decade.  Of course, you can just as easily  make one of your own.  You can use a simple timeline of Gandhi’s life – like the one found here – or you can stretch the project over a few weekends with more elaborate detail.

Maybe we’ll do this next year.  It’s still cupcakes this time around.  Happy Birthday, Gandhiji!


In case you and the kids are bored at the beach…

First things first,  Sri Ganesh Ji:

Image by Barcroft Media


Image by Sudarsan Pattnaik


Image by Sudarsan Pattnaik

The Taj Mahal:

Image by Sudarsan Pattnaik

Gandhi, as sculpted in the Italian town of Jesolo:

Image by Reuters/Michele Crosera

All but the Gandhi sculpture were sculpted by internationally renowned sand artisit Mr. Sudarsan Pattnaik, who grew up on the shores of Puri in Orissa.  You can learn more about him and the Sudarsan Sand Institute at  Talk about a self-made man!

World Cup Fever!
Author: Gnaana

Are you excited?  I certainly am.  For those of you who know me well, you know I have a soft spot for South Africa.  Maybe it’s because I was so moved by Mandela’s autobiography (recommended on our In The Gnaana page), or maybe it’s because Gandhi spent over 20 year there.  I don’t know – but I have Mandela quotes framed and was weak in my knees when I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu while living in Bangalore.  So the fact that South Africa is the first African nation to host this World Cup is more than just a historical event – it’s pure symbolism of the unity of sports.

Will South Africa be able to pull off a home town win against Mexico on opening day?  Or will the US be able to upset England?  The kids and I will certainly be watching.  (Game schedule here).

Now India didn’t qualify – BUT did you know that a group of Indian kids won the Street Child World Cup held in Durban, South Africa earlier this year?  India was one of 8 countries to participate in this groundbreaking event – organized by UK Human Rights organization Amos Trust as a “celebration of the potential of street children.  The tournament garnered attention and support from David Beckham and Archbishop Tutu, among others.  You can read about (and support) this inspirational organization on their website.  The video brought tears to my eyes.