Yoga Yug

--Hari Kunzru decided not to go to the Maldives, after finding out the island is run by a questionable leader:

At the meeting I heard reports of torture, imprisonment and disappearances in these 'paradise' islands. Since 1978 it's been ruled by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. You can check him out, hob-nobbing with the British High Commissioner, former US president Bill Clinton, and other notables on Gayoom was elected for a record sixth five-year term in 2003 - though there were no other candidates - thus making him Asia's longest serving leader. His unprecedented popularity is assisted by his control over the Maldivian media and his practice of imprisoning people who criticise his regime. Government jobs and tourist revenue go to his cronies. Do the maths: per capita GDP is the highest in South Asia but nearly half of the population live on less than a dollar a day.

See my earlier post on Hari Kunzru's writing here.

--The Literary Saloon has been providing consistent coverage of the case against Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk (which will go before a judge in December). In their latest post, they have links to articles where Pamuk himself is quoted speaking about why he felt it important to mention the Armenian genocide. An earlier post also had a link to an Op-Ed by Salman Rushdie in the London Times.

--The winning essay in the Indian Express' essay competition on secularism is by Shashi Warrier, and is available here (more on it soon).

--Dilip D'Souza, one of the judges for the Indian Express competition, also posts other shortlisted essays in the competition here and here. (I linked to Uma's essay last week)

--B. K. S. Iyengar, one of the chief proponents of the exercise regime known as Yoga, is visiting the U.S., where he is apparently only a notch less famous than the Dalai Lama. Click on the link; the picture at Rediff is sure to cause a chuckle.

--Also visiting the U.S. are Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, and a long list of Bollywood stars. They are filming a big Karan Johar picture in New York, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, which I'm sure will be as unexciting and overblown as every other Karan Johar movie (and sadly, I must admit that I've seen quite a few of them!). Rediff is apparently now paying U.S. based paparazzi to get 'snaps' of them. You know you've arrived when...