28 April 2013

Hindus only

In today's edition of The Hindu, V.R. Devika asks some pertinent questions: Why are non-Hindus not allowed into temples? Also, how do you recognize a Hindu?

I've been to many, many temples across South India and wasn't able to enter the sanctums of most. At the Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa, non-Hindus are not even allowed to enter the temple complex!

However, I have non-Hindu friends who have entered Hindu temples which are supposed to be out of bounds for them. How is it that they were able to enter these holier-than-holy places and not I? Simply because they're Indian and therefore are assumed to be Hindu.

As V.R. Devika points out, the rule seems to only apply to "well known non-Hindus or white skinned people".

Read the article here.

05 April 2013

Cardboard cop

Have you heard of Bangalore’s cardboard cop? Chances are that you have. The cardboard cop has been making news all over the world and has been featured in The Telegraph UK, ABC Australia, The Huffington Post, the BBC, and even a website called Weird Asia News, to name only a few.

This cardboard avatar of a traffic cop is the Bangalore Traffic Police’s way of multiplying their presence on the city’s roads and getting motorists to follow traffic rules. This cop is indefatigable, available 24/7 and bribe-proof. But will this cardboard replica make a difference?

After reading about him in the paper one morning, I had my first encounter with the cardboard cop when I rode past him in an auto-rickshaw on Raj Bhavan Road. There he was, standing with his arms crossed, peering into traffic. Since I had read about him only a day or two before, I knew this was the fake cop, and anyway his two-dimensional appearance was not very convincing and gave him away almost immediately.

Of course once you’ve seen him you won’t be fooled twice. Apparently the police have already foreseen this and plan to replace them from time to time with real policemen.

I wanted to take a photo of the cardboard cop on Raj Bhavan Road for this blog post but when I went there on Sunday, he was no longer around. Has he already been posted to another part of the city? Or was he one of the cutout cops who was stolen, after only two weeks on the job?

Click on 'play' on the image above to see a TV report about the cardboard cop!