Archive for the ‘India’ Category

India Reaches Mars

September 24, 2014

India Reaches Mars

India’s Mars Orbital Mission (MOM), the unmanned probe also known as Mangalyaan, launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5th, and went into orbit around Mars last night. India’s project cost under $80.3 million, lots less than NASA’s $455 million Maven Mars probe.


India Goes to Mars!

December 2, 2013

India Goes to Mars!

India’s Mars Orbital Mission (MOM), also known as Mangalyaan, has left Earth orbit en route to the Red Planet. The unmanned probe, launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5th and is scheduled to reach and orbit Mars in September, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). India’s project cost $80.3 million, less than a sixth of NASA’s $455 million Mars probe. You can follow India’s Mars mission on Twitter: @Mangalyaan1


Typewriters in India: A Matter of Form(s)

September 2, 2011

Typewriters in India: A Matter of Form(s)

Among the many antiquities preserved in India is the manual typewriter. No artifact, it remains a vital part of daily life. While lack of rural electrification is a factor, this is chiefly a result of the Raj, the era of British colonial occupation. When the British withdrew, they left behind an entrenched bureaucracy and an ocean of official paper forms. The only way to legibly fill in paper forms: typewriters.


Sarah Palin in India

March 19, 2011

Sarah Palin in India

Former Alaska Temp-Governor Sarah Palin recently addressed a dinner meeting of India’s top thinkers and celebrities at the India Today Conclave. India Today Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie respectfully introduced Mrs. Palin as “the sexiest brand in Republican politics.” Intellectuals in the audience were delighted with her presentation, “My Vision of America,” as it was an object lesson in why India is overtaking the U.S.A. as a world power. Bollywood entertainment executives were likewise entranced, since political stand-up comedy is nowhere near that outrageous in South Asia.


Palin Goes to India

February 26, 2011

Palin Goes to India

Former Alaska Temp-Governor Sarah Palin will travel to India to speak at an intellectual gathering next month. Her address: “My Vision for America.” In judging her “Vision,” we hope the audience will take note of her big, thick glasses.

Mrs. Palin will be following in the sandaled footsteps of the Dali Lama, one of the many distinguished world leaders to speak at the “India Today Conclave” in previous years. Why would organizers pay the $100,000 speaking fee of our Tea Party Sweetheart? Perhaps as an object lesson in American decline. The theme of this year’s Conclave is “The Changing Balance of Power.”

 Bonus Feature! Ask Sarah a question.

 Short link:

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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White House Soup

November 8, 2010

White House Soup

The White House Soup of the Day for October 27, 2010, via MSNBC and FishbowlDC:

Dal Qureshi (delivered to the working White House press in India). 


Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Sandra Samuel, Righteous Among the Nations

December 2, 2008

Sandra Samuel, Righteous Among the Nations

Sandra Samuel landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport yesterday with toddler Moshe Holtzberg and the child’s grandparents. The plane also carried the bodies of Moshe’s parents and four other victims of the terrorist attacks on the Chabad House in Mumbai.

Ms. Samuel, 44, was an employee of Chabad House. Her duties included caring for Moshe and cooking under the supervision of Rabbis Leibish Teitelbaum and Bentzion Kruman, who were killed in the attack. Until a few days ago, the Indian citizen had never owned a passport.


Mumbai or Bombay?

November 29, 2008

Mumbai or Bombay?

Mumbai or Bombay?

When Portuguese explorer Francisco de Almeida sailed into the harbor of the islands off India’s West Coast in 1498, he called the place Bom Baia (Good Bay). After decades of skirmishes and battles, the Sultan of Gujarat ceded “Bom Baia” to Portugal in 1534, and a “factory” or trading town was established (previously, the closest town was Thane).

Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza married Charles II of England in 1664 and brought him Bom Baia as part of her dowry. The Crown leased it to the British East India Company four years later. Under the British, Bom Baia became “Bombay. ” 


Jews and India

November 28, 2008

Jews and India

The ongoing terrorism and tragedy in India’s financial capital, the west coast port city of Mumbai, may motivate Americans to learn something about India, its visitors, and ethnic minorities.

Assorted facts:

Nariman House, site of recent terrorism, is named after Parsi social activist and politician Khurshed Framji Nariman, not a Jew. The structure at 5 Hormusji Street (opposite 4th Pasta Lane) in Colaba, Mumbai, was purchased in 2006 by Chabad-Lubavitch of Crown Heights in New York City’s Brooklyn, one of Orthodox Judaism’s Hasidic movements. The facility was run by Brooklynites Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. At this time it is thought that the Holtzbergs are dead but their son Moshe, a toddler, was rescued by his nanny.

Visitors to the Mumbai Chabad House are largely young Israeli back-packers on their way to the beaches of Goa and other resorts and sightseeing destinations. While other building tenants include Jewish charities such as ORT, the identity of the Chabad House managers and their clients explains the chief value of the building to terrorists upset with Israel and America. The backpackers are either young Jewish Americans or young Israeli Jews, secular or conventionally-Orthodox, many on leave from their required military service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Ironically, young ultra-Orthodox Hasidim, yeshiva students, are exempt from IDF service, and yeshiva graduates may legally do outreach work in “Chabad Houses” as an alternative to military service. 

At any given time in today’s India, foreign Jewish tourists and Jewish high tech and financial services workers from the USA, Israel, and Europe greatly outnumber native-born Indian Jews.

There are about 5,000 native-born Jews among India’s billion people. 40 percent of India’s remaining native-born Jews are said to live in Thane, outside Mumbai, second-largest city in the world (population: 23 million).



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