All posts tagged: culture

Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by the photographer Duncan Rawlinson. Duncan.co

5 Steps to Simplicity Lessons From Burning Man

Burning Man (BM) is an annual week long gathering in the hot and sulfuric sandy world of Black Rock Desert, Nevada.  This year about 68k burners entered the playa.  People who are part of the BM community and are returning to the festival refer to ourselves as burners and first time burners are called virgins. There are several other names for other sub groups like people that live in luxury and are high-maintenance are many times referred to as “sparkle ponies”.  I definitely tried to avoid being termed a sparkle pony, having only a small tent and bringing only very limited things with me. This year (2013) was my second burn. I had my first burn back in 2011 thanks to David Weekly who gifted me a ticket and introduced me to Burning Man.  I had always lived with the burner culture around me throughout college, having studied in San Francisco,  we would go to crazy fire show filled fundraisers for some of the coolest camps on the playa during spring while other college students were busy with frat …

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Social Media & Citizen Activism Powering India’s New Freedom Movement [UPDATED]

In 1947, India earned its independance from 320 years of British occupation and rule. This was the culmination of several important events that took place starting with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the arrest of Lokmanya Tilak in 1908 and the uprising escalating over the years, into the Quit India Movement in August 1942. In 1880, Lokmanya Tilak recognized the need for an independent newspaper and magazine focused on the efforts to liberate India from British administration. He started his own newspaper (The Kesri) and published articles about various movements taking place across the country. Information and leads came to him via friends in activist organizations all over the country. In 1905 the British Government, wanting to crush the freedom of expression which was now threatening their establishment, arrested Tilak and convicted him under the charge of sedition to 6 years of rigorous imprisonment on the Andaman Islands where political prisoners and troublemakers were detained. The Andaman Cellular Jail was supposed to be the Alcatraz of colonial SE Asia, impossible to escape from, with inmates …

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Relief Riders: Combining Adventure Travel with Humanitarian Causes

Relief Riders International is a one-of-its-kind adventure travel company that leads relief missions on horseback. Participants travel for 14 days on horseback riding village to village, through the beautiful desert landscapes of India and Turkey, while delivering aid to remote communities that lack basic medical facilities and opportunities to make a living. Back in 2003, Relief Riders founder Alexander Souri dreamed of combining his passion with giving back to society. From this desire, Relief Riders was born. The first Relief Ride kicked off in 2004 and since then, riders from all over the world have ridden through India, and now Turkey to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need. To date, their efforts have provided relief to over 16,000 villagers. Alexander of course knows a lot about horses, and provides detailed information via the Relief Riders website about the horses chosen for each ride, their history and temperament. Participants can usually choose between 2 to 3 rides that take place every year. Each ride is approximately 14 days long and takes place in a different …

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PluggedIn : Teen Bands Creating Change Through Music

PluggedIn is a non-profit organization that teaches teenagers how to be in a rock band. And at the same time, use their music to make a positive change within society. Performing in a band allows teenage musicians to be creative, make friends, grow musically and have fun. The bands perform concerts to raise money for charity. PluggedIn started in Needham Massachusetts, as a resource place for teenagers to come together as a band. Starting with 5 students in 1 band in 2002, PluggedIn now consists of 90 students in 25 bands, and has helped raise thousands of dollars for charities all over the world. Music for a Cause At the beginning of each program, PluggedIn students get together at an event called “Charity Night” and present to each other charitable organizations and causes that are important to them. Students explain how they learned about the cause, what needs are met by the charity and why they feel it is important to support them. At the end of the evening, students vote to choose the charity …

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IPaidABribe : Anonymously Report all Bribes You Pay

IPaidABribe.com (IPAB) is an initiative to tackle corruption in India – a country currently ranked as 70th on the list of the least corrupt countries in the world. For the first time ever, India now has a web platform where people can report corruption incidents and bribes they’ve paid. This data is used to analyze corruption trends, lobby government bodies into taking action against officials, or change procedures encouraging corruption within government departments. The data also helps to determine which government services are most corruption prone. Reporting Corruption made Easy On the IPAB website, you can register old and recent bribes paid. Users can report the nature, location, frequency and amounts of bribes paid or demanded. By sourcing bribe reports from millions of Indians on the website, Janagraaha, the organization behind the initiative, is able to map bribes occurring across cities. In order to report an incident, citizens are encouraged to visit the IPAB website and complete an online form. All reports are collected anonymously. IPAB does not store the name or contact details of …

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Culture Aangan Homestays : Promoting Rural Development via Tourism

Culture Aangan makes use of Cultural Tourism to create a sustainable livelihood for rural communities. Visitors to Culture Aangan home stay’s get a great, first hand look at village life in a rural setting. Rural communities are benefited from promoting cultural tourism by creation of economic opportunities that previously did not exist. Aangan, literally means “courtyard”. An Aangan has always been central to the life of a village family, as a space to meet, perform ceremonies, dry food and bond as a family. Culture Aangan adopts this concept to provide visitors with a first hand experience into rural life, yet ensuring that basic traveler comforts are met. The beginnings In May 2005, Culture Aangan founder, Rashmi Sawant began work on a project with the goal to connect city dwellers with life in the villages of rural India. The experience involved staying with a rural family and getting to know a way of life that is vastly different from city lifestyles. At the same time, travelers made a contribution to the local economy of the village. …

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Routes2Roots : Promoting Peace via Music and Cultural Exchange

Routes2Roots is a non-profit organization that aims at building peace between South Asian countries through art, music and cultural exchange. Countries of interest include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Afghanistan. Preeti Parekh caught up with Routes2Roots founder Rakesh Gupta over a phone call. The excerpt of their interview follows: Preeti: What motivated you to start Routes2Roots? Rakesh: India is a large country. It has strained relationships with its neighbors, mainly Pakistan. However, for centuries before this one, we have shared a common history and culture. We decided to bring together people, cultures and values across South Asian countries, in particular India and Pakistan. Via these exchanges, we hope to promote greater harmony, understanding and brotherhood between nations. Preeti: And how exactly do you achieve this? Rakesh: We organize events that showcase talent and culture from both countries that participate. The events introduce talent from the fields of film, fashion, sports and music. We identify and promote known and upcoming artistes/performers and cultural workers from South Asia. Also we do not charge …