Archive for Culture & History

Poem of the Atoms

Rumi's timeless poem, part of the soundtrack of the film Bab'Aziz, composed by Armand Amar, performed by Salar Aghili and Haroun Teboul.

How the river Ganges was taken to London

About an extraordinary journey that was made possible by the largest silver objects ever produced. Explained by Neil MacGregor, former director of the British Museum.

Why do we celebrate Halloween?

A video about the origins of Halloween. Why do we carve pumpkins and 'trick or treat'?

The Atlantic Slave Trade

315 years. 20,528 voyages. Millions of lives. Link to a two-minute animation. Article by Andrew Kahn and Jamelle Bouie, published in 'Slate'.

Love prohibited to be listed as an ingredient

Of all the bizarre moves federal US agencies (and many also in other countries these days) came up with in the last few years, this one beats them all! Published in The Kansas City [...]

Dalit women breaking stereotypes

Savita Devi is leading a group of 10 Dalit (formerly known as untouchable) women who have broken stereotypes by coming together to form a drum band. Published on BBC on October 2, [...]

Earliest origins of zero symbol revealed

Carbon dating shows an ancient Indian manuscript has the earliest recorded origin of the zero symbol. Published on BBC, September 15, 2017.

The defiance of an ‘untouchable’ New York subway worker

Sujatha Gidla, who was born into the Dalit caste and now works as a conductor on the New York City Subway, wrote a remarkable and candid memoir, 'Ants Among Elephants'. Sudha G [...]

Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon

The world's longest and oldest 'art gallery' filled with tens of thousands of petroglyphs and pictographs is located deep in the Utah desert in the Western United States, writes [...]

How the British say ‘no’ politely

Helpful and humorous English lesson with Benjamin.

The intoxicating drug of an Indian god

The cannabis plant’s role in Hindu mythology has authorities turning a blind eye to India’s drug shops, writes Charukesi Ramadurain on BBC on March 13, 2017.

Mad splashes of colour on Holi

Spring is here and to celebrate the vibrancy and joyful hues all around, people in India play Holi, the festival of colours. Published in the Indian Express on March 14, 2017

The hidden dangers of euphemisms

An increase in bizarre euphemisms has been sneaking up on an unsuspecting public in recent years. Mark Peters wrote the essential update. Published on BBC on January 27, 2017.

20 Great Euphemisms

Lynn Schneider's crucial list of euphemisms.

Coolest Concert Ever

Ice instruments, a creation of ice sculptor Tim Linhart, in concert - a National Geographic Short Film.

Of Sodawaterbottleopenerwalas and other Walas

It is no exaggeration to say that Parsis, the Zoroastrians of India, take their food seriously - very seriously, report Parinaz Madan and Dinyar Patel on BBC on December 25, 2016.

The History of Urbanization

3700 BCE - 2000 CE: This map visualizes the history of urban settlements over 6,000 years.

The Mysterious Secret Society of Ancient India

and 'The Nine Unknown Men' of Ashoka. Kerry Sullivan writes in Ancient Origins on September 26, 2016.

Orange Rules!

Persimmon drying season in south-eastern China paints many towns orange. Published on BBC on December 16, 2016.

Restaurant Has a City Eating Out of Its Hands

Bangalore restaurant that many say serves the"world's best dosa". Geeta Pandey writes in BBC on December 15, 2016.

The Life of Death

A hand-drawn animation by Marsha Onderstijn.

Afghan Tribe in Remote Villages

Stunning images by Eric Lafforgue of the Wakhi people who live between Tajikistan and Pakistan. Rebecca Taylor writes on MailOnline, published October 9, 2016.

12 Ridiculous Shaadi Profiles

Rishabh Banerji writes in India Times on February 19, 2016, that reading these listed profiles for matrimonials will make you feel very happy you're single. *) Shaadi means [...]

The Street Food that Powered the British Empire

From the BBC series 'India on a Plate', on the famous Kolkata egg roll. Justin Rowlatt reports on BBC on July 29, 2016.

The Street Food so Good it is Waved through Airport Checks

From the BBC series 'India on a Plate' - Bihar's famous litti are char-grilled flavour bombs, writes Justin Rowlatt. Published on BBC on July 22, 2016.

How India’s Changing Kitchens Have ‘Modernised’ Food Habits

From the BBC series ‘India on a Plate’ – a look at India's home kitchens by Amita Baviskar, published on July 25, 2016.

World’s Largest Matrilineal Society

In the highlands of West Sumatra, a man is considered a guest in his wife’s home, writes Rathina Sankari on BBC on September 22, 2016.

Tasting India’s Coveted Holy Sweet

From the BBC series ‘India on a Plate’ - Laddoo from Tirupati and its secrets - by Shilpa Kannan and Premanand Boominathan, published on BBC on July 20, 2016

The Dark History Behind India and the UK’s Favourite Drink

From the BBC series ‘India on a Plate’, on the origins of and popular demand of masala chai. Justin Rowlatt on BBC, July 15, 2016.

From Iran to India: The Journey and Evolution of Biriyani

From the BBC series ‘India on a Plate’, on the origins of and popularity of biriyani. Pushpeth Panth on BBC, July 12, 2016.

Why this Indian State Screams for Ice Cream

From the BBC series 'India on a Plate', on Gujarat's love affair with ice cream. Soutik Biswas on BBC, July 11, 2016.

The Street Food That Silences Even The Most Heated Debate

India on a plate: Jhaal muri is the king of street food snacks in Kolkata (Calcutta), reports Justin Rowlatt, published on BBC on July 8, 2016.

The Indian Street Food Bringing Theatre to Your Plate

From the BBC series ‘India on a Plate’, introducing chole bathure that originated in the Punjab. Justin Rowlatt reports on July 2, 2016.

Home Chefs Are Helping Uncover India’s Food Secrets

From the BBC series 'India on a Plate'. India is a land with diverse cuisine, writes Ayeshea Perera, published on BBC on July 6, 2016.

Vivacious Zorba The Greek Ballet

Performed by the Turkish Ankara and Samsun State Opera and Ballet.

Oliver Stone links Pokémon Go to Totalitarianism

Outspoken and controversial well-known film director speaks on ‘invasion’ of privacy in gaming app and about his new film 'Snowden'. The Guardian, July 22, 2016

Amma Canteen: Where an Indian Meal Costs Only Seven Cents

From the BBC series ‘India on a Plate’, sampling food at the amma canteens in Chennai. Geeta Pandey reports on July 4, 2016.

Politics is Faked and Staged

Only a psychopath could read someone else's lies from their teleprompter with such feigned emotion. Video by The Corbett Report, published July 21, 2016.

Inside India’s ‘Dying’ Irani Cafés

From the BBC series 'India on a Plate', about the Irani cafés of old world charm in Mumbai that used to be hugely popular. Published June 29, 2016

What Indians Have Done to World Cuisine

Fourth article in the BBC series 'India on a Plate', on the popularity of international and in particular Chinese food in India. Samar Halarnkar writes on BBC on June 27, 2014.

Thousands in Four Shades of Blue

On July 9, 2016, thousands of people stripped and painted themselves blue for a Spencer Tunick art installation in Hull, England.

India my Love

Video of stunning photos by Shmulik Balmas.

Make Me A German

BBC Two documentary about a young British family's move to Germany to find out how it is the Germans can work fewer hours than the Greeks and still live in Europe’s economic [...]

The Story of India as Told by a Humble Street Snack

Third article in the BBC series 'India on a Plate', on the history and popularity of the samosa. Justin Rowlatt on BBC, June 23, 2016.

Europe’s Most Common Surnames

Czech artist and linguist Jakub Marian researched just how frequent European surnames are and created a colourful map. We were surprised to see so many Newman's listed!

Cooking the World’s Oldest Known Curry

Second article in the BBC series 'India on a Plate', on the diversity and vibrancy of Indian food. Everyone eats, writes Soity Banerjee on BBC, June 22, 2016.

Native American Proverbs that Touch the Soul

21 proverbs from various native Indian tribes selected by Alexa Erickson of Collective Evolution; published on May 20, 2016 on SOTT.

Why India is a Nation of Foodies

First article in the BBC series 'India on a Plate', on the diversity and vibrancy of Indian food. By Ritu Agarwal on BBC, June 21, 2016.

Biancoshock: ‘WEB 0.0’

A series of artistic works, mixing technology with tradition shown in a video.

From One Second To The Next

A documentary by well-known film producer Werner Herzog, notably 'Fitzcarraldo', and 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God', is part of a campaign by AT&T to raise awareness about smartphone [...]