101 Things to Do While in Delhi

Posted by Daniel Ratheiser • Monday, September 26, 2011 • Category: In Depth
Whether you come for business, education, or leisure, India's capital city Delhi offers you countless opportunities to spend your time. To help you make the most of this mega-city, we have gathered together over 100 interesting, fun, and often unconventional ideas into one handy guide. See how many you manage to tick off before you leave - that is, if you intend to leave behind the city's excitement at all…


ACTIVITIES:

1. Learn Hindustani, the lingua franca of the Indian Subcontinent (that covers the continuum of the standard registers Hindi and Urdu). For Delhi this is a real Must - and will make you enjoy the city all the more!

A haveli courtyard in Old Delhi
(c) by Varun Shiv Kapur
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/varunshiv/3968814237/]

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Urs at Ajmer: Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti Rules

Posted by Daniel Ratheiser • Friday, June 11, 2010 • Category: People and Places
The Urs celebrations of the great Muslim Sufi saint Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti at Ajmer are famous all over the world - not only among Sufis or other Muslims. Sufism (also referred to as tasawwuf) is the inner, mystical dimension of Islam, which focuses on direct knowledge of God and the experience of mystical union or direct communication with ultimate reality. One can hardly overemphasise the importance of Sufi Islam as the key channel for Hindu-Muslim interaction in South Asia throughout the centuries, which resulted in an extremely fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas, thoughts, sciences, and arts – and there is no place in South Asia where this is more evident than in Rajasthan’s Ajmer and even more so during the Urs festivities.

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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?

© http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/

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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.

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