Getting to Know Delhi's Multiple Faces

Posted by Peter Beland • Saturday, May 29. 2010 • Category: Crossing Cultures
"Medieval mayhem, opulent metropolis, stately maiden aunt: give it a chance, and this unruly capital will capture your heart. Yes, it's crowded, aggravating, polluted, extreme, and hectic, but hey - nobody's perfect."
- Lonely Planet India, 13th edition

These were some of the first words I read about Delhi. A city officially of 15 million inhabitants, but in reality more like 20 million. A city of djinns and city of dreams for the capital's millions of migrant workers. Mega malls and glittery condos take root next to fields of marigolds where sari-clad farmers lay out their produce on nearby roadsides, hoping to attract Delhi's middle-class suburbanites on their way home from work. One of the world's most polluted cities, it boasts more parks than most Western capitals.

© Photo by Knowledge Must

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Guidebook: Volunteer in India

Posted by Daniel Ratheiser • Wednesday, May 26. 2010 • Category: Global Career
We are happy to announce the publication of our new guidebook ‘Volunteer in India - A Guide by Knowledge Must’, which is available for free download from our website at

We made it a point to cover all important aspects of working as a volunteer in India. Life for international volunteers will be so much easier once they figured out the logistical requirements and the Indian cultural environment. In addition to answering the most pressing questions, the guide features valuable insights ranging from logistics such as visa procedures and accommodation arrangements to cultural background information and inspiration for how to spend one's leisure time.

After the success of the guidebook 'Internships in India', this is the second of a series of guides that we publish to help students, graduates, and professionals realise their international ambitions and make their life easier. Next in line will be the guides 'Study in India' and 'Work in India', both of which are currently in production stage.

We make this guidebook available to you for your free individual, non-commercial usage.

Please DO share it with others!

© Knowledge Must

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France and the "Heirs" of North African Immigration

Posted by Angélique Vassout • Saturday, May 22. 2010 • Category: In Depth
In the past few years, the immigration debate in France has become more and more impassioned. A new ministry name, “selective immigration”, plans for new laws, changes in the Nationality Code and debates about deportation are the media’s daily bread. However, in France, this debate can’t be separated from the particular experiences of the several previous waves of immigration (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, African) and especially of the North African immigration. Arab people, Islam and French suburbs are nowadays unavoidable topics in the immigration debate.

And as usual, you will never hear of the positive aspects (e.g. cases of successful integration), only of the problems that fuel the debate and grab attention. Very recently, for example, the controversy regarding the ticket given to a French Arab woman driver wearing a burqa led to a new project to revise the Nationality Code to remove the French nationality of her husband (acquired by marriage) who is suspected of polygamy and social benefits fraud. The extreme-right parties happily jump on these kinds of stories to demand the strengthening of laws against immigration.

Let’s try to rebalance the debate... What is the reality of the North African immigrants and their ”heirs” (as the European Union sometimes refers to them) in France today?


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Bangladeshis Take Culture Seriously

Posted by Maher Sattar • Saturday, May 15. 2010 • Category: People and Places
My mother once showed me an old newspaper photo of a man with his face thoroughly beaten into an unrecognizable pulp. Giggling, she told me that the man was my father.

I looked over at the portly clean-cut man sitting across the breakfast table, wearing a starched white shirt and a navy-blue blazer. He averted his gaze, managing to look sheepish, amused, and defiant all at once.

The story of how my father fell victim to the infamous Bangladeshi Gonopituni (public beating), briefly, is this. In the springtime of his life, Shafat Sattar went to see a performance of his favorite singer, Mitali Mukherjee, at BUET, a famous engineering institute in Dhaka (“Porir moto gola – she had the voice of an angel”, he comments wistfully). He was disappointed. The music, the tune, the beats, it was all wrong. The next day, fuming, he marched up to the composer responsible for this disaster to demand an explanation, an apology, some sort of penance. He was not satisfied with the answer, and promptly did what still, today, strikes him as the only thing he could have done.

He slapped the composer, a student of BUET – in the middle of the BUET cafeteria. What followed is fairly predictable. A minor scuffle ensued, which swiftly turned into the entire BUET campus attempting to deconstruct young Shafat Sattar’s face. “The bugger,” he observes now with an objective air, “deserved it”.

* * *

Robindronath Thakoor (RabindranathTagore)

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Living in India as a Western Woman

Posted by Esther Motullo • Monday, May 10. 2010 • Category: Crossing Cultures
I came as a woman to India, my choice of destination for fulfilling the next endeavors…

… and guess what, I’m still in India and believe or not: I am still a woman!

What is it like to be a woman from Germany living in India? What a simple and complex question at the same time! Let’s begin with the daily routine, pulling the bicycle out of the garage, preparing for the regular ride to work. This seemingly not worth mentioning act is today welcomed by a burst into heart full laughter of the by now well-known neighbor. Shortly after he asks in Hindi at least for the third time, what in the world I’m up to. Despite all the attempts of the most obvious explanations, ranging from the enjoyment of riding a bike, exploring the new city, saving money, looking for an exercise - to mention a few - he still seems to bang his head on what to make of this shockingly awkward picture. I will come across this almost paradigmatic reaction several times more on my way to work. I don’t mind, not the least, because it adds a significant amount of entertainment to my daily routine. I am grinning over some of the ones out there, bumping into each other or on good days crashing into street lights while staring towards the cycle lane.

© by Biswarup Ganguly

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The Vibrancy of Civil Society in Pakistan

Posted by Peter Braun • Sunday, May 2. 2010 • Category: In Depth
The information and news about Pakistan these days show us a dark picture of the country and there doesn’t seem to be too much reason to believe in the improvement of the country’s uncertain future. Our stereotypes about Pakistan, media images and public opinion often lead to false conclusions. To many observers politics in Pakistan seem more and more infiltrated by radical beliefs, religious fundamentalism, corruption, the military or authoritarian leadership.

© Knowledge Must

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