- Login | Register
- Current Issue
- Most Read
- Back Issues
A total of 1.4 million people from India travelled to the US on various visas in 2016 and of which more than 30,000 people
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced that tourists and businessmen from India and 17 other countries can v
Dubai's Emirates airline today announced it will provide a free packing-and-handling service for passengers on flights hit
Seeking to attract Indian tourists, Israel plans to ease visa norms for India and has hiked its marketing budget for the c
Central government employees found misusing Leave Travel Concession (LTC) will face disciplinary action, the Department of
US President Donald Trump has expressed confidence that his administration will win the legal battle over the controversia
Air France has blocked 15 passengers from Muslim countries from traveling to the US because they would have been refused e
US President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens from mainly Muslim countries is illegal and "mean-spirited", the United
Cashless system will be promoted in the 31st International crafts fair which would be held at Surajkund in Faridabad distr
With the recovery of four more bodies, the toll in boat tragedy in river Ganga here climbed to 24 today while Chief Minist
Separate e-mails from many folks, including the above, latest JPEG attachment from Rajesh Raina, Jr. who insisted that it be placed on record.
William Dalrymple in the Guardian:
...Such are the humiliations of the travel writer in the late 20th century," I wrote in my diary that night. "Go to the ends of the earth to search for the most exotic heretics in the world, and you find they have cornered the kebab business at the end of your street."
This sort of disjuncture is something I have become used to in the course of working on my first travel book for 15 years, which looks at how India's diverse religious and mystical traditions have been caught in the vortex of rapid change that has recently engulfed South Asia. Last November, for example, I managed to track down a celebrated tantric at a cremation ground near Birbhum in West Bengal. Tapan Goswami was a feeder of skulls. Twenty years ago he had been interviewed by an American professor of comparative religion, who went on to write a scholarly essay on Tapan's practice of spirit-summoning and spell-casting, using the cured skulls of dead virgins and restless suicides. It sounded rich material, albeit of a rather sinister nature, so I spent the best part of a day touring the various cremation grounds of Birbhum before finally finding Tapan sitting outside his small Kali temple on the edge of the town, preparing a sacrifice for the goddess.
The light was beginning to fade; a funeral pyre was still smoking eerily in front of the temple. Tapan and I talked of tantra, and he confirmed that in his youth, when the professor had interviewed him, he had indeed been an enthusiastic skull-feeder. Yes, he said, all that had been written about him was true, and yes, he did occasionally still cure skulls, and summon their dead owners, so as to use their power. But sadly, he said, he could not talk to me about the details. Why was that? I asked. Because, he said, his two sons were now successful ophthalmologists in New Jersey. They had firmly forbidden him from giving any more interviews about what he did, in case rumours of the family dabbling in black magic damaged their profitable East Coast practice. Now he thought he might even give away his skulls, and go and join them in the States.
Living in India over the past few years, I have seen the country change at a rate that was impossible to imagine when I first moved there in the late 80s...