WBEZ | India http://www.wbez.org/tags/india Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: ishi vest makes clothes based on fair trade, sustainability and equity http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-ishi-vest-makes-clothes-based-fair-trade-sustainability-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ishi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-6afee34c-e3f5-6d6e-9163-44784ffc9032">While on a trip to India, people kept asking <a href="https://www.facebook.com/harishivestwalla">Harish Patel</a> about the vest he was wearing. It made him &quot;think hard&quot; about </span>how his clothes came to be - from pollution - to the worker exploitation it takes to make them. So Harish co-founded &ldquo;<a href="http://www.ishivest.com/">ishi vest</a>&rdquo;, a clothing line that would guarantee what he wore would help provide a livable wage to the artisans that create them and also protect the environment. For <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, we talk with Patel about his business model that strives for fair trade, sustainability and equity.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/132232940&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe>Patel calls ishi &quot;Vests with Benefits&quot;:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">&quot;There&#39;s this joke in my family about how the young man who left India for Chicago at age fourteen to study hard and become the next Doctor Patel ended up... well,<a href="http://ishivest.com"> selling vests</a>.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">My story of transition, like the stories of most social entrepreneurs, is not accurately shared in a &ldquo;portrait-frame&rdquo; -- with me as an individual making all the right choices to get to where I am. Instead it is best shared in &ldquo;landscape format,&rdquo; with a whole lot of support and inspiration from friends, family, co-founders, mentors, and community members along the way.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">On that note, ishi is a story of both individual and community transformation. It is a story of &nbsp;a new kind of sustainable fashion start-up that is connecting communities in India and communities in the US, which share a desire to re-think consumption. To start caring about people and planet before profit.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">There have been a number of turning points for me on this adventure. One came after I returned from a powerful trip to India with a handful of traditional Indian vests. Total strangers kept coming up to ask where they could get a vest like mine. Conversations about fashion quickly turned to the disturbing process by which our clothes get made -- polluting rivers and harming workers across the globe. A simple clothing choice became an invitation to connect -- and inspire.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">After that initial spark, I quickly turned to my friends and co-conspirators, Rhea and Jackie, and together we began dreaming up how to create a hip, conscious clothing line that reminds us how our smallest choices can have a huge impact.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">We&#39;re still in &quot;<a href="http://www.ishivest.com/pages/about-us">startup mode</a>,&quot; but we&#39;re thrilled to see so much love for the product and the vision in just a few short months of launching. Our community campaign on Kickstarter brought in more than double our hopes in seed funding and encouraged us to grow and scale what we&#39;re doing to inspire even more people.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">This march, we will be adding Women&rsquo;s vest, new scarves collection and new Men&rsquo;s vest styles to our already existing Men&rsquo;s vest and Scarves collection.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-ishi-vest-makes-clothes-based-fair-trade-sustainability-and Global Activism: Bookwallah update on bringing books to Orphans in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bookwallah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seena Jacob is founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.bookwallah.org">Bookwallah</a> Organization. &ldquo;Bookwallah&rdquo; is a Hindi word that means &ldquo;book peddler.&rdquo; Her group works to give books and provide quality libraries to orphans in India. Seena is just back from India to give us an update.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123417608&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Seena on why this matters to us:</p><p>&ldquo;Why is this important, especially to people who may feel they aren&rsquo;t directly impacted? The world is globally connected and we learned that particularly during the Great Recession. But, if you know a child has suffered or has endured hardship such as HIV, abuse, living in brothels and you have a chance to make a difference in their lives -- bring hope, happiness, and smiles -- through the simple gift of a book-- does it matter where they live? A child is a child no matter where they live in the world. But, there are truly global challenges such as 793 million people who cannot read, 143 million orphans in the world who have undergone some major things in life. A [dollar] can go a long way in the developing world. So, to know that you can make a difference, be spiritually fulfilled in changing the life of one child, opening their world, should be a great motivator, particularly during this holiday season.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 09:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 India's economy and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-12/indias-economy-and-syrian-refugees-jordan-and-lebanon-108664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP313679455788.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Thursday&#39;s edition of Worldview, we assess the state of India&#39;s economy with Sumit Ganguly. Ray Offenheiser of Oxfam America tells us about conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F110081800&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/income-inequality-india-s-economy-and-syrian-refug/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/income-inequality-india-s-economy-and-syrian-refug.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/income-inequality-india-s-economy-and-syrian-refug" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: India's economy and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 12:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-12/indias-economy-and-syrian-refugees-jordan-and-lebanon-108664 A new potential path forward in Syria, women's issues in India and Chicago youth clean up city http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-10/new-potential-path-forward-syria-womens-issues-india-and-chicago-youth <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP41580686969.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>George Lopez joins us to talk about a potential diplomatic path forward with Syria. We talk about women&#39;s issues in India. Plus, we get to know Nicole Brandon, founder and president of Project Y.E.S. (Youth Earth Savers).</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109750361&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-analyzing-a-potential-path-forward-in-sy/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-analyzing-a-potential-path-forward-in-sy.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-analyzing-a-potential-path-forward-in-sy" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: A new potential path forward in Syria, women's issues in India and Bangladesh and Chicago youth clean up city" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 10 Sep 2013 10:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-09-10/new-potential-path-forward-syria-womens-issues-india-and-chicago-youth Global Activism: Family planning and public dialogue in Jharkhand, India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-family-planning-and-public-dialogue-jharkhand-india-107612 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ga india.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>How comfortable are certain Indian tribal communities with talking about family planning in public settings? <a href="http://www.sarahcolekammerer.com">Sarah Cole Kammerer</a> calls herself a &quot;Humanitarian Photographer&quot;, that&rsquo;s why she set out to answer this question almost a year ago as part of a Fulbright Scholarship. For <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, Kammerer joins us to discuss her work and the family planning priorities that tribal communities in Jharkhand, India set forth.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F94695127&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 30 May 2013 09:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-family-planning-and-public-dialogue-jharkhand-india-107612 Obituary for a man I knew for 10 minutes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/obituary-man-i-knew-10-minutes-107233 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flickr_Fuzzy%20Gerdes.jpg" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="File: Chicago sunrise. (Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes)" />Last week I got to meet a man in the last six hours of his life, although I obviously didn&rsquo;t know that at the time. I don&rsquo;t remember his name or where he was from, but I believe he was born in India. I shook his hand and looked at his face.&nbsp;He was visiting my roommate, dressed in a comically oversized suit and a cheap bowtie. He looked like he was dressed to perform at a child&rsquo;s birthday party, the kind of man who might be secretly versed in magic. With golden apple cheeks covered in whiskers, he had the kind of warmth that sticks with you, like someone out of a Bob Hope movie.</p><p>He and my roommate searched for a particular brand of cigarettes on the streets of Devon all day, and as they waited for the elevator, they were going upstairs to her boyfriend&rsquo;s place in retreat. They found out the cigarettes are illegal here, even though her boyfriend swore you could buy them on the street. I said goodbye to him as the elevator doors opened. I never saw him again. His bags are still in my apartment; his military duffle rests against my couch and his books linger on my table.</p><p>Shortly after meeting me, he fell out from the fourteenth story of our Edgewater apartment complex. The selling point of our building, which is otherwise the sort of economy buy that attracts college students and recent immigrants, is the view: a panoramic gaze upon the shores of an endless crush. On quiet days, I like to sit on my windowsill and watch the cold fabric continually wrinkle toward me, as if it were an invitation to meet. When he saw the lake and the sunrise that bursts into our apartment every morning, he decided to poke his head out to take a look.</p><p>My roommate described him as an adventurer, a &quot;reckless Lisbon type&quot; who wasn&rsquo;t afraid of anything, even something as unbeatable as gravity. He reminded me of Shakespeare&rsquo;s Mercutio, the type who narrowly stays out of trouble until it eventually finds him. My roommate trusted him to continue his record of narrow escape and went to the restroom. When she came back, he was gone. She figured that he went up to the roof to get a closer look and took her boyfriend with her to go get him, just in case. He wasn&rsquo;t there either. She was the one who found him on the sidewalk. I can still see the mark he left behind.</p><p>After the incident, I didn&rsquo;t see my roommate for days and wondered where the visitor had gone. She mentioned he would be staying with us. Was he too busy exploring? Were the sights that intoxicating he couldn&rsquo;t resist staying out all the time? On Monday morning, a neighbor approached me to tell me she had seen an ambulance earlier that day. She wondered if I had seen it too, or if the white sheet was a ghost only she had witnessed. I confessed I hadn&rsquo;t seen or heard anything and quickly dismissed it, sure everything was fine.</p><p>I went outside to look and the ambulances were still there, cleaning up the scene. I was still sure everything was fine. I never thought to connect the two events, until I got the news. I haven&rsquo;t been able to stop thinking about that moment since, my casual ignorance of how precious and fragile life is. I&rsquo;ve spent the time since reflecting and trying to take it in, mourning a man whose name I can&rsquo;t remember off the top of my head. Writers often want to put a period on things and give a closure to our lives. We want to celebrate the living and eulogize the departed to give their lives meaning. It&#39;s what we are born for.</p><p>I can&rsquo;t give his life meaning, because I hope it already had that. I hope that, as he fell, he had the time to pray (if he is a person who prays) and settle up his tab on good terms with the proprietors. I hope he had the time to reflect and make amends in his heart where forgiveness was needed and that his mind was clear enough to leave one final thought, something you would want to write down for later. I hope he got one last look at that view.</p><p>We live with a third girl, who we&rsquo;ll call Ann. In the last few days, she has found comfort in faith, revisiting the spirituality that helps the world make sense during times like these. But I don&rsquo;t believe in God. I believe in us. I believe in our power to find light in the darkness and create meaning out of chaos. Humanity is my faith, even when its tested in moments like these. Humanity brings me back to the light.</p><p>I keep thinking of a man I met on the train a few weeks ago. He was coming from Panama to visit his mother for Mother&#39;s Day. He&#39;s traveled the world and found one constant.</p><p>&quot;They always say the world is a terrible place and people are out to get you,&quot; he told me. &quot;But the one thing I&#39;ve learned is the world is good. The world is good. The world is good.&quot;</p><p>Even as I can&#39;t help but mourn for the visitor and for his family&#39;s loss, I have to remember this. The world is good.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 11:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/obituary-man-i-knew-10-minutes-107233 Global Activism: Bright Hope International gives aid and comfort to the extreme poor http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BH_Haiti_fixed_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F86395084&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><strong>Join Worldview on Saturday, 4/6/13 for WBEZ&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">6th Annual Global Activism Expo</a>, hosted by the UIC Social Justice Initiative.</strong></em></p><p><a href="http://www.brighthope.org/">Bright Hope International</a> helps faith communities provide aid and assistance to the extreme poor in some of the world&rsquo;s most devastated countries. The group aligns many of its programs with the UN Millennium Development Goals. Some of Bright Hope&#39;s primary goals are in: extreme poverty and hunger eradication; universal primary education; combating infectious disease and promoting environmental sustainability - all this with a focus on gender equality, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Bright Hope recently started a program to rescue girls from the sex trade in northern India.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll talk with Bright Hope&#39;s CEO and president, C.H. Dyer about the group&#39;s work. Dyer has encountered a number of memorable people in his travels:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine Nkandu is a single mother of six from the rural area of Samfya, Zambia. She is thriving after being given the opportunity of a microloan through Bright Hope in 2009. From three years on the program, Justine increased production of beans by 300%. Last year, she harvested 84 gallons of peanuts and used the profits from her farming business to build a house and iron sheets for her roof. &ldquo;My vision is to save money for my children&rsquo;s education before they reach high school, and to maintain food security for my family,&rdquo; she said.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine now feels that she has made enough capital to stand on her own and has requested that the leadership from her church allow her to step aside from the microloan program so that others may benefit. &ldquo;My family no longer worries about where our next meal will come from. We are not poor anymore. Now we can bless others. I thank the Lord for giving me knowledge and wisdom to make me reach this far in sustaining my livelihood and my family,&rdquo; she said. Justine is expecting to double her harvest of peanuts, cassava, and maize this year.</p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 07:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor Global Activism: LIFT-USA making a difference for families in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-lift-usa-making-difference-families-india-106354 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/LIFT_0.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85363322&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Reese Mugerditchian heard Father Jamels James on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, in 2010, talk about his group, Leading India&#39;s Future Today <a href="http://lift-foundation.org/">(LIFT)</a>. The NGO provides education and leadership training for children from various religious and social castes. It changed her life. Since then, Reese has been to India several times to work for LIFT. Mugerditchian and Dan Quinn, director of Operations for LIFT USA, are back from recent India trips.</p><p><em>You can see Reese and hear more about the work of LIFT and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/LIFTUSA">LIFT-USA</a> at the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">2013 Global Activism Expo</a> on Saturday April 6th at the UIC Forum. </em></p><p>Reese said the Expo had a profound effect on her:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">&quot;In 2011 while driving to an appointment I listened to an interview Jerome McDonnell had with Fr. Jamels James. I&#39;ve always had a passion for the children of India and dreamed of getting involved with an organization there. Something in that interview spoke to me. Luckily the [Global Activism] Expo was coming up and LIFT was planning on being there. After the Expo I attended a LIFT meeting. Fr Jamels asked me what had motivated me to come to the meeting, I told him I wanted to volunteer in India. And just like that he extended the invitation for me to visit LIFT. I&#39;m not sure what I expected from my trip, I knew I wanted to volunteer, lend a helping hand - find a way to contribute in a meaningful way. I found so much more. The students of LIFT are amazing young adults. They are fiercely dedicated and joyful even though their lives have given them every opportunity to give up. These children are talented leaders and are making such a wonderful impact on their community. I really believe that they will be part of a great social change in India. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for worldview and WBEZ. Your program is doorway to the world for all of us dreaming to get out there and make a difference. I have since been to LIFT 4 times. Each visit allows me to connect with more of the children, learn their inspiring stories, and encourage them to continue their hard work.&quot;</p><p><em>Here&#39;s a <a href="http://vimeo.com/33763345">video</a> of two LIFT students talking about the program.</em></p></p> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-lift-usa-making-difference-families-india-106354 Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-01-03/kochi-muziris-biennale-2012-104675 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_6290.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 is India's first contemporary visual arts festival.(Siri Bulusu)" />India&#39;s tradition of colorful, extravagant festivals is well known around the world. In recent years, literary and film festivals have been making the headlines drawing international attention (including the likes of Oprah) to the new, modern India.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The <a href="http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org/">Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012</a> is India&#39;s first contemporary visual arts festival, aiming to bring the burgeoning modern art scene into the mainstream. Held in the south Indian city of Kochi, the three month long festival features both local and international artists. The festival centers around the theme &quot;Kochi-Muziri&quot; drawing a link between the modern city of Kochi and its neighbor Muziris, an ancient sea port lost after a catastrophic flood in the 14th century.&nbsp;</div></div><p>While south India lacks a reputation for its art scene (that reputation is held strong by West Bengal), many of India&#39;s notable artists originated there such as singers SP Balasubramaniam and S Janaki. British musical artist M.I.A is also of south Indian descent. But even so, the regions inherent talent seems to move out to places like Bombay or Calcutta, places where there is a venerable art scene.</p><p>&quot;Visual art has always been sidelined [in Kerala],&quot; says Bose Krinshamachari, President of the Kochi Niennale Foundation and artistic director of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. &quot;There is no museum culture, no cultural policy to support artists, no professional spaces or collectors. The most interesting artists are Keralites who have moved out of Kerala to the rest of the world.&quot;</p><p>&quot;There are 4 million Keralites living outside of Kerala,&quot; he said, &quot;We needed to do something that would put focus on the state culturally and benefit economically.&quot; Having traveled extensively abroad, Bose felt that a Biennial (an art exhibition held every other year) would realize their vision for Kerala.</p><p>Tucked away in various heritage buildings around Kochi, the art of 80 artists from 24 countries is currently on display. I visited the main exhibition site in the Aspinwal House, located right on the edge of India&#39;s west coast. Dispite having lived in India for nearly two years, I was expecting the exhibition to feel cold and sterile, much like the museums and galleries I would visit in Chicago or even around India.&nbsp;</p><p>What I found was far to the contrary. Several artists were standing alongside their pieces, engaged in conversation with both locals and foreign travelers. Children ran all around the worn-down warehouse which housed most of the paintings and small groups gathered together around particularly engaging video installments. Perhaps most delighting was an old tree which had rope swings tied to it for the public to enjoy.&nbsp;</p><p>Meera Sawkar, an American native noted the unique atmosphere for the exhibition. &quot;Usually when you see these sort of audio and visual installations or paintings its in a really sterile, pristine environment. The industrial or barn like structures were a really unique backdrop for this modern art which used all these different technologies.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a very interesting way to view art when you&#39;re both inside and outside and wandering through a historical heritage center.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I came to Kochi to enjoy my New Years. I just found out about the festival walking by,&quot; says Kerala native Anish Rahman . &quot;It is my first experience seeing anything this big and I like seeing so many foreigners enjoying also. It&#39;s really fantabulous,&quot; he finished with a smile.</p><p>While the content seemed similar to that which we see in western art exhibitions, they all included something which kept my focus in India. One video installation called &quot;Pushing&quot; by a Chinese artist that forced my own memories of crowded train platforms.&nbsp;</p><p>Another piece by Italian artist Guiseppe Stampone was a made-over auto-rickshaw (my regular mode of transportation around Bangalore) with speakers attached to the top playing Marylin Monroe&#39;s &quot;Bye Bye Baby&quot; on a loop.</p><p>My favorite was an audio installment by an Australian artist. A powdered spice mixture was placed on the ground next vessels connect to a speakers. Next to that, a sign that said &quot;place the spices in the vessels.&quot; People of all ages would crouch on the floor, scooping spices into their hands and listening eagerly at the sounds the machine created.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I loved that you can touch and feel and hear the art.&quot; added Sawkar. &quot;it was really refreshing that it incorporated elements that were physical and that people were allowed to interact with the art. It&#39;s Indian.&quot;</p><p>Bose Krinshamachari is pleased with the responses to the Biennale. &quot;The local people are the ones who should enjoy this first and foremost. Whether they realize this is the most significant artistic movement in South India&#39;s history is secondary.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 11:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-01-03/kochi-muziris-biennale-2012-104675 Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar dies at 92 http://www.wbez.org/news/indian-sitar-virtuoso-ravi-shankar-dies-92-104339 <p><p>NEW DELHI &mdash; With an instrument perplexing to most Westerners, Ravi Shankar helped connect the world through music. The sitar virtuoso mentored a Beatle, became a hippie musical icon and spearheaded the first rock benefit concert as he introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over nearly a century.</p><p>From George Harrison to John Coltrane, from Yehudi Menuhin to David Crosby, his connections reflected music&#39;s universality, though a gap persisted between Shankar and many Western fans. Sometimes they mistook tuning for tunes, while he stood aghast at displays like Jimi Hendrix&#39;s burning guitar.</p><p>&quot;My Dad&#39;s music touched millions of people,&quot; his daughter, musician Norah Jones, said in a statement. &quot;He will be greatly missed by me and music lovers everywhere.&quot;</p><p>Shankar died Tuesday at age 92. A statement on his website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home with his wife and a daughter by his side. The musician&#39;s foundation issued a statement saying that he had suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week.</p><p>Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also confirmed Shankar&#39;s death and called him a &quot;national treasure.&quot; Ringo Star Shankar&#39;s death &quot;a great loss musically, spiritually and physically.&quot;</p><p>Labeled &quot;the godfather of world music&quot; by Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.</p><p>&quot;He was legend of legends,&quot; Shivkumar Sharma, a noted santoor player who performed with Shankar, told Indian media. &quot;Indian classical was not at all known in the Western world. He was the musician who had that training ... the ability to communicate with the Western audience.&quot;</p><p>He also pioneered the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh. To later generations, he was known as the estranged father of popular American singer Norah Jones.</p><p>His last musical performance was with his other daughter, sitarist Anoushka Shankar Wright, on Nov. 4 in Long Beach, California; his foundation said it was to celebrate his 10th decade of creating music. The multiple Grammy winner learned that he had again been nominated for the award the night before his surgery.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s one of the biggest losses for the music world,&quot; said Kartic Seshadri, a Shankar protege, sitar virtuoso and music professor at the University of California, San Diego. &quot;There&#39;s nothing more to be said.&quot;</p><p>As early as the 1950s, Shankar began collaborating with and teaching some of the greats of Western music, including violinist Menuhin and jazz saxophonist Coltrane. He played well-received shows in concert halls in Europe and the United States, but faced a constant struggle to bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.</p><p>Describing an early Shankar tour in 1957, Time magazine said. &quot;U.S. audiences were receptive but occasionally puzzled.&quot;</p><p>His close relationship with Harrison, the Beatles lead guitarist, shot Shankar to global stardom in the 1960s.</p><p>Harrison had grown fascinated with the sitar, a long-necked string instrument that uses a bulbous gourd for its resonating chamber and resembles a giant lute. He played the instrument, with a Western tuning, on the song &quot;Norwegian Wood,&quot; but soon sought out Shankar, already a musical icon in India, to teach him to play it properly.</p><p>The pair spent weeks together, starting the lessons at Harrison&#39;s house in England and then moving to a houseboat in Kashmir and later to California.</p><p>Gaining confidence with the complex instrument, Harrison recorded the Indian-inspired song &quot;Love You To&quot; on the Beatles&#39; &quot;Revolver,&quot; helping spark the raga-rock phase of 60s music and drawing increasing attention to Shankar and his work.</p><p>Shankar&#39;s popularity exploded, and he soon found himself playing on bills with some of the top rock musicians of the era. He played a four-hour set at the Monterey Pop Festival and the opening day of Woodstock.</p><p>Though the audience for his music had hugely expanded, Shankar, a serious, disciplined traditionalist who had played Carnegie Hall, chafed against the drug use and rebelliousness of the hippie culture.</p><p>&quot;I was shocked to see people dressing so flamboyantly. They were all stoned. To me, it was a new world,&quot; Shankar told Rolling Stone of the Monterey festival.</p><p>While he enjoyed Otis Redding and the Mamas and the Papas at the festival, he was horrified when Hendrix lit his guitar on fire.</p><p>&quot;That was too much for me. In our culture, we have such respect for musical instruments, they are like part of God,&quot; he said.</p><p>In 1971, moved by the plight of millions of refugees fleeing into India to escape the war in Bangladesh, Shankar reached out to Harrison to see what they could do to help.</p><p>In what Shankar later described as &quot;one of the most moving and intense musical experiences of the century,&quot; the pair organized two benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden that included Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr.</p><p>The concert, which spawned an album and a film, raised millions of dollars for UNICEF and inspired other rock benefits, including the 1985 Live Aid concert to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia and the 2010 Hope For Haiti Now telethon.</p><p>Ravindra Shankar Chowdhury was born April 7, 1920, in the Indian city of Varanasi.</p><p>At the age of 10, he moved to Paris to join the world famous dance troupe of his brother Uday. Over the next eight years, Shankar traveled with the troupe across Europe, America and Asia, and later credited his early immersion in foreign cultures with making him such an effective ambassador for Indian music.</p><p>During one tour, renowned musician Baba Allaudin Khan joined the troupe, took Shankar under his wing and eventually became his teacher through 7 1/2 years of isolated, rigorous study of the sitar.</p><p>&quot;Khan told me you have to leave everything else and do one thing properly,&quot; Shankar told The Associated Press.</p><p>In the 1950s, Shankar began gaining fame throughout India. He held the influential position of music director for All India Radio in New Delhi and wrote the scores for several popular films. He began writing compositions for orchestras, blending clarinets and other foreign instruments into traditional Indian music.</p><p>And he became a de facto tutor for Westerners fascinated by India&#39;s musical traditions.</p><p>He gave lessons to Coltrane, who named his son Ravi in Shankar&#39;s honor, and became close friends with Menuhin, recording the acclaimed &quot;West Meets East&quot; album with him. He also collaborated with flutist Jean Pierre Rampal, composer Philip Glass and conductors Andre Previn and Zubin Mehta.</p><p>&quot;Any player on any instrument with any ears would be deeply moved by Ravi Shankar. If you love music, it would be impossible not to be,&quot; singer Crosby, whose band The Byrds was inspired by Shankar&#39;s music, said in the book &quot;The Dawn of Indian Music in the West: Bhairavi.&quot;</p><p>Shankar&#39;s personal life, however, was more complex.</p><p>His 1941 marriage to Baba Allaudin Khan&#39;s daughter, Annapurna Devi, ended in divorce. Though he had a decades-long relationship with dancer Kamala Shastri that ended in 1981, he had relationships with several other women in the 1970s.</p><p>In 1979, he fathered Norah Jones with New York concert promoter Sue Jones, and in 1981, Sukanya Rajan, who played the tanpura at his concerts, gave birth to his daughter Anoushka.</p><p>He grew estranged from Sue Jones in the 80s and didn&#39;t see Norah for a decade, though they later re-established contact.</p><p>He married Rajan in 1989 and trained young Anoushka as his heir on the sitar. In recent years, father and daughter toured the world together.</p><p>The statement she and her mother released said, &quot;Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as part of our lives.&quot;</p><p>When Jones shot to stardom and won five Grammy awards in 2003, Anoushka Shankar was nominated for a Grammy of her own.</p><p>Shankar himself won three Grammy awards and was nominated for an Oscar for his musical score for the movie &quot;Gandhi.&quot; His album &quot;The Living Room Sessions, Part 1&quot; earned him his latest Grammy nomination, for best world music album.</p><p>Despite his fame, numerous albums and decades of world tours, Shankar&#39;s music remained a riddle to many Western ears.</p><p>Shankar was amused after he and colleague Ustad Ali Akbar Khan were greeted with admiring applause when they opened the Concert for Bangladesh by twanging their sitar and sarod for a minute and a half.</p><p>&quot;If you like our tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing more,&quot; he told the confused crowd, and then launched into his set.</p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/indian-sitar-virtuoso-ravi-shankar-dies-92-104339