Collaborative Project / Indian Project

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A magazine to promote integration and raise awareness for other cultures (especially within London). Although London is a multicultural city it is lacking integration. This issue is focused on the Indian culture. The magazine was created as part of a uni project on the theme of 'community', we imagined we were commissioned by Ealing Council (who would then distribute the magazine).


  • ONE MARCH 2013

  • 2ONEMARCH 2013


    Editor In Chief Betoul MahdeyDesign Helena MuellerPhotography Jemma Newman Gianluca MarinoWriting Lorna McColl


    Helen HasseLouis Sayers

    Sonal Patel

    Cover photo by Helena Mueller

    London is one of the most multi-cultural cities, yet it is poor in terms of having integrated communities. We need to raise awareness of different cultures, by introducing the crucial parts of particular cultures.

    Each season we will produce an informative magazine on different cultures. This issue is based on the Indian culture. Its an intriguing ethnicity that makes visually interesting images. Indians have many fascinating traditions that we ex-plored. Furthermore, as Indians are Londons largest non-white ethnic minority group, with a population of around 500,000, it is crucial that we recognise the culture and learn as much as we can about them. Places we explored include Brick Lane in East London, Alperton in North West London, Tooting in the South, and Southall (also known as Little India) in West London.

  • 3During the 300th Baisakhi celebrations in 1999 (one of many Indian festivals) in Anandpur Sahib they had these massive tents to hold thousands and thousands of people.

    Photo by Gurumustuk Singh (creativecommons)

  • 4ONEMARCH 2013

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    REGIONS OF INDIADifferent customs and traditions in India


    FESTIVALSHoli, Rangoli, and Diwali


    MEDITATIONControlling the state of mind


    INDEPENDENCE DAY& Indian freedom fight-ers - Singh and Gandhi


    BRICK LANEWhere London meets India


    NOT FAR FROM MUMBAILittle India in London


    RELIGIONPeace, justice and self-control


    SPICY, TANGY AND CRISPYCooking as an art form


    WHEN IN INDIAA travel story from India


    PALMISTRYMystic thrill, curiosity and fear


    FILM REVIEWSA couple of Bollywood film reviews


    INDIAN WEDDINGSPopular Hindu celebrations


    THE CITY OF THE DEADVaranasi is the spiritual centre of Hinduism


    CHICKPEA CURRYA home made recipe


    FASHIONColourful silks, glistening crystals, spectacular patterns


    CLOSINGThanks for reading!


    Left page: Holi Festival, see page 8. Photo by OnTheGoTours (creativecommons)

  • 6REGIONS of


  • 7The Indian culture will entice you in with its vibrantcolours, exiting traditions and unique lifestyle. There are many different customs and traditions depending on where the Indian community is located.

    West India inhabits many different ethnic groups, but one particular community is the Guajaratis. The language spoken by them is Gujarati, which is native to the state of Gujarat. In a Gujarati home non-vegetarian food and alcohol is completely for-bidden. They instead feast on wonderfully spiced pulses and vegetables accompanied by rice and assorted breads.

    Gujarati women traditionally wear beautifully embel-lished Indian jewellery consisting of bangles, rings, nose rings and necklaces. Usually, younger wom-en will wear western outfits compared to the older generation who mostly wear saris.

    Usually, men wear trousers and t-shirts, although, traditionally, males will weardhotis, be it every day, or on a special occasion. A kurta is worn on top.

    Punjab is located in the north-western region of India. Surprisingly, there is no set language of the Punjabi people, dialects differ depending on the region of Punjab the speaker belongs to, or were raised in. Their cuisine is specialized, too; Mah Di Dal and Saron Da Saag are dishes that are exclu-sive only to the Punjabi community and unlike the Gujarati community, Punjabs may eat meat if they please.

    An ethnic group from eastern India are the Oriya people, whom natively speak theOriya language which is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Odi-sha. The vast majority of the Oriyas areHindusand are known for their history ofSunworship.

    The Oriya people express themselves in a variety of ways but one popular form is through dance, particularly Odissi, a classical Indian dance. Oriya cuisine reflects the states location. Seafood is particularly prominent in their dishes and is eaten usually with rice.

    The most commonly spoken languages in India are Hindu (the official language of theRepublic of India), Bengali (native to the region of easternSouth Asia),Telugu (predominantly spoken in theSouth IndianstateofAndhra Pradesh), and Marathi (spoken inMaharashtraand parts of other nearby states.)

    Text by Lorna McColl, Illustration by Helena Mueller

  • 8Text by Lorna McColl, Photography by OnTheGoTours (creativecommons)

    The festival of colours, Holi is the Hindu festival that welcomes the arrival of spring, celebrating new life and energy produced by the season. The festival bridges the social gap and renews relationships. During the celebration, people hug and wish each other a Happy Holi.

    Celebrations last over two days and begin on the evening of the full moon, where bonfires are lit in the streets. People rub gulal and abeer on each others faces and cheer saying, bura na maano Holi hai. The children throw water balloons at passers-by and if anybody stares they shout, Bura na mano Holi hai!

    The next day, people of all ages go into the streets to witness and take part in street pa-rades and paint-throwing. A highlight for many is a tradition where both men and women take part in a mock battle against the other sex, the catch is that women always win, as men are not allowed to fight back.

    Holi is looked upon highly in the Hindu religion, the strict rules of separation between males and females are abandoned, and enjoyment is promoted in a relaxed and humoured atmosphere. Hindu legends are praised through the forms of dance and song.

    This year Holi will be celebrated on the evening of March 26th and throughout the following day.


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    Rangoli is a popular form of folk art from India. It consists of drawn images and patterns, usually created from brightly coloured powders. Traditionally, these powders are made from a mixture of rice flour and food colouring, although for convenience, coloured chalk powder or sand are commonly used.

    Indians sometimes use vibrant flower petals or spices for special occasions, such as Diwaliand birth-days.

    Rangoli is a symbol of religious and cultural beliefs and is thought to ward off evil. It is also said to bring good luck and fortune during the Hindu festival ofDiwali.

    Rangoli is drawn early in the morning by the women of the house, outside the home to welcome visitors with grace and elegance; but most importantly, to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi, who in Hindu mythol-ogy is known as the goddess of wealth and purity. Rangoli can also be found in places of worship, and even at workplaces and eateries.

    Some popular traditional Rangoli motifs consist of lotus flowers, fish, peacocks, foliage and human figures. The skill of creating Rangoli is taught from one generation to the next. Rangoli is seen as very important, as it expresses the womens prayers, painted from the heart into this decorative form of art.


    Text by Lorna McColl. Photography by Tleparskas (top), bmwguggenheimlab (bottom) (creativecommons)

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    Diwali is the festival of lights, one of the most important dates in the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated by Hindus all over the world, and prayers are offered to the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Diwali is an official holiday in India, symbolis-ing the victory of good over evil. In the calen-dar as we know it Diwali usually falls between October and November. The five day festival is filled with lots of light in the air, sweets being shared, and new clothes put on. Children play with firecrack-ers, light shows are put on in the streets, and ceremonies are held in temples.

    The spiritual meaning behind Diwali is the awareness of the inner light. Central to Hinduism is the idea that there is a pure,

    infinite and eternal spirit beyond the physical body and mind, which during Diwali is being revealed. Therefore the symbolism of the vic-tory of good over evil refers to the awakening of the clean inner spirit which is freed from all ignorance, and instead filled with compas-sion and the awareness that all things are connected. Hindus rejoice at this birth of inner light just as we celebrate our physical birth. While the way Diwali is celebrated varies from region to region the underlying idea is the same everywhere.

    Text by Helena Mueller, Photography by Paul Carvill (creativecommons)

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    M E D I T A T I O N

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    M E D I T A T I O N

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    MEDITATION controls the state of mind where only consciousness and awareness remains. As the level of control and concentration increases, the mind reaches the stage of ultimate peace. Meditation is a simple procedure that is difficult to master.

    Text by Lorna McColl, Photography by Nicolas DS (previous page), Glowform (this page) (- c.commons)

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    About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu. Hinduism incorporates many different tra-ditions, but one important custom Hindus practice, is the art of meditation. The act of being able to access the deeper part of their being and wash away any negative thought, stress or worry. Silence plays a big role in meditation. It is believed among Hindus that within silence, one can discover their inner strength and see the eternity of life. It takes years to master meditation, and gain what is ultimately achievable.

    There are three stages within medi-tation. The first preliminary stage is aimed at beginners, where one seeks to obtain concentration on a single object or thought. This teaches the beginner that they must be able to place all of their concentration on the one object only and nothing else.

    Being able to do that means they can clear the mind of all distractions that dominate their conscious being.

    The next stage is more time consuming. The object or thought at hand is thought about, but one must creatively think of different aspects of it, and see how it can be moulded into perfection. For example, for most if you were to see a seed

    that is all you would see. But if a Hindu meditating was to focus on a seed, they would see the seed, as well as a beautiful flower, and its life cycle from growing to dying, and formation of other plants pro-duced from the one flower.

    In the third stage, the mind unites with the object and the preserv-er and the perceived feels as one collective consciousness.

    Hindus will need to be taught by many teachers, but most are willing to commit the time and become dis-ciplined enough in order to achieve perfection within meditation.

    Osho is a well known Indian meditation master.

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    Gandhi during the Salt March in 1930, a campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest

    against the British salt monopoly in colonial India.

    Bhagat Singh

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    Indias Independence Day took place on 15th August 1947. The independence movement was led by the Indian National Congress and other governmental organisations under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Independence Day marks Indias liberation from British colonialism which lasted for more than 200 years and marks the new era of a free country. Independence Day is celebrated throughout the whole country on 15th August where a public holiday is issued and films on India's freedom fighters are shown.





    Mahatma Gandhi

    Text by Betoul Mahdey, Photo by Jurriaan Persyn (creativecommons)

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    Bhagat Singh was one of the major leaders of the Hindustan Republican Association. Singh was born in 1907 into a politically active family in Punjab. He joined the Indian independence movement at a young age.

    In 1928 Lala Lajpat Rai (an Indianauthor and politician) led a non-violent protest against the Commission in a silent march, but the police responded with violence which soon led to the death of Lajpat Rai.

    This event enraged Singh leading him to shoot a British police officer; John Saunders, who Singh mistook for the man that killed Lala Lajpat Rai.

    Singh was on the run from the Police, but was


    eventually found and held on remand for the death of Saunders.

    During the time on remand in prison Singh endured a voluntary 116 day fast demanding equal rights for British and Indian political prisoners. He ended up losing his appeal and was subsequently hung for his participation in the murder, aged 23 on 23rd March 1931.

    His legacy prompted youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence, and he continues to be a youth idol in modern India. Singh was considered one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement.

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    Mohandas Gandhi is commonly considered the father of the Indian nation. He was the leader of the Indian Nationalist movement against British rule and conducted non-violent protests achieving both social and political progress. Born in 1869 in Gujara, Gandhis first occupation was as a barrister in an Indian law firm in Durban, South Africa. The treatment Gandhi witnessed towards the Indian immigrants horrified him and prompted him to fight for them to help them attain basic rights. The influence of Hinduism, Jainism and Christi-anity (as well as famous writers including Tolstoy and Thoreau) helped Gandhi create Satyagraha, meaning truth force. Satyagraha is a non-violent way to protest against wrongs. The technique works by winning over the opponents minds


    and hearts and then influencing them with your point of view. In 1914 Gandhi made a spectacu-lar breakthrough, the South African government conceded to most of the demands put forward by Gandhi on behalf of the Indian immigrants. In 1924 Gandhi withdrew from politics, devot-ing time to help the Hindu-Muslim relations. On 30thJanuary 1948 Ghandi was shot dead by a radical Hindu nationalist in Delhi. Gandhis non-violent movement has influenced millions both in India and across the world, his nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, ex-panding womens rights, building religious and ethnic amity, increasing economic self-reliance has helped make him one of the greatest ever advocates of peace and freedom.

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    The intense smell of burning incense and spice infused cur-ry entices you into the colour-ful street of Brick Lane in East London.

    During the 17th century Hugue-not (French) refugeesemigrated

    to Brick lane, followed by Irish weavers, Ashkenazi Jews and, in the last century, a mixture of Bangla-deshis, Indians and Pakistanis. Skills brought by these communities turned Brick Lane into a central place for tailoring and weaving materials for the clothing industry.

    These days, Brick Lane has moved on from the clothing industry to the world of Asian food. Brick Lane has become famous for its large choice of Indian restaurants, but you can find Bangladeshi


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    and Pakistani cuisine here, too. These restaurants offer visitors a large choice of food, ranging from the famous Indian Chicken Tandoori dishes to the Pakistani specialty of Lamb Acharia.

    There are also an influx of Indian sweet shops lo-cated in Brick Lane, welcoming residents and tour-ists with the sweet smell of treats such as Peera (a soft fudge) and a coconut flavoured ball-shaped sweetnamed Ladu. Both of these sweets are enjoyed by Indians at special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays and the Hindu festival of Diwa-li. These sweets and many more can be found in Rejmahal Sweets (57 Brick Lane).

    Modernisation has hit this street hard in the past years and many business owners in Brick Lane agreed that this street has moved away from its former heritage, to a place aimed at pleasing tour-ists.

    Sam who works at Rejmahal Sweets (a family run business) was brought up in Brick Lane and has seen this change first hand, Brick Lane used to sell garments and materials, now people come from afar for a curry and a night out. Although people who work here are still of the same Asian community, it is less cultural, and the traditions and magic of what it used to be, has disappeared - its turned into a tourist attraction.

    Contrasting to the restaurants and sweet shops is Sangeeta (22 Brick Lane), a traditional Muslim and Indian music store, run by Shahan Shah, 32. Shanan states, I combine Sangeeta with my mu-sic promoting agency, Sinx. The organization Sinx is aimed at youths, unlike Sangeeta which draws in an older crowd. What we are trying to do is build a bridge between these two groups. Shanan encourages young people to work with the older generation within the music industry and is keen to mix the two generations together. Shaman believes neither the old nor young usually support what each do as modernisation has created such a vast difference between them both.

    Brick Lane has become the home to many different cultures over the past 400 years and perhaps it will

    keep changing. What is clear is the people both living and working in Brick Lane today are part of a tight-knit community, who strive to keep a well presented street, and are trying hard to maintain their traditions in a location centred around tourist activity.

    Text by Lorna McColl, Photography by Helena Mueller

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    In Indian culture, cooking is considered an art form. Traditionally mothers teach their daughters the skill of making family recipes from a young age. In Indian families, mealtimes are regarded as important occa-sions to bond with relatives. Meals commonly consist of staples like breads, rice, meat and vegetables, but are pronounced with beautiful arrays of sweet aromatic spices. Usually served alongside are stunning assortments of Indian snacks that compliment the main meals.

    A moreishly mouth-watering snack is the Sa-mosa Chaat. It has a delightfully crisp pastry shell which encloses soft spiced potato in the middle. Traditionally, this snack is topped off with a com-bination of yogurt, mint chutney, onion, chickpeas and sev (tiny pieces of crunchy noodles.) Chaat spice is sprinkled on top to finish off this classic snack. A perfect accompany for any Indian meal.

    A popular Indian street food snack is pani puri. Pani

    puris are little balls of deep fried flour and semolina

    with a hollow middle that hold a wonderful mixture of

    mashed potatoes, peas, chopped onions, sweet chut-

    ney and coriander. They are then dipped in aromatic

    mint flavoured water. The stunning flavours incorporat-

    ed together in this lovely snack explode in your mouth

    as you experience the assortment of crisp, tangy and

    spicy tastes.

    If you walk into any traditional Indian restaurant at lunch time you are bound to witness plates of crispy potato bhajis, also referred to as Maru na Bhajia.

    The sliced potatoes are seasoned with a pungent mixture of spices which include turmeric, carom seeds, chilli powder and ginger, which are then fried in sizzling hot oil. Similar to English fried pota-toes, but these particular potatoes pack oomphs of delicious aromatic flavours, guaranteed to entice your taste buds.

    The ultimate finish to any Indian supper is a steaming hot mug of masala tea. Cinnamon,car-damom, fennel and ginger all play a part in add-ing a special twist to this wonderfully aromatically spiced indulgence. Inhaling and consuming this superb array of brewed spices is guaranteed to help relax and unwind even the tensest of people.

    The Indian culture is renowned for its original take on mixes of both spices and flavours. Its these snacks and dishes that entice millions of Indians and non-Indians to enjoy the wonders of this spectacular cuisine.


    Text by Lorna McColl, Photography by Betoul Mahdey, Helena Mueller

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    Sonal Patel enjoys her pani

    puri in one of the leading Indian

    restaurants, Sakoni, Alperton.

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    Top left: Vegetable curry with

    rice is a well-known com-

    mon Indian dish in London.

    This dish is also served with

    chapatti bread and riata

    sauce which is an Indian

    yogurt mix.

    Top right: Samosa Chaat

    is a saucy appetiser/snack

    that has a rich minty yogurt

    topping. The dish contains

    about four vegetable samo-

    sas soaked in the strong

    flavours of the yogurt sauce.

    Bottom left: Pani Puri is a

    popular snack served in the

    streets of India. This sa-

    voury dish is dipped in minty

    flavoured water with a rich

    mixture of mixture of mashed

    potatoes, peas, chopped

    onions, sweet chutney and


    Bottom right: Crispy fried

    potato Bhajias is an Indian

    authentic dish preferably

    served with a spicy sauce.

    Bhajias are similar to potato

    wedges seasoned with a

    pungent mixture of spices.

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    Text and Photos by Louis Sayers

    Always wanted to go to India? Or ever wondered what its like over there? One of our contributors talks about his experience in India, when he travelled there with his company to train as a graduate


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    Straight out of uni I had just arrived in Europe from New Zealand. I was in search for work. With -250 in my bank and another 250 I could borrow I needed some money fast.

    I searched for a job, thinking that I was so desper-ate Id take anything I could get. I then found an advertisement on linkedin. It was for a software consultancy role - they were looking for junior de-velopers at a company named ThoughtWorks, and they said that they send all of their new graduate developers to India for 6 weeks of training. This got me hooked, I wanted the job so bad that I trained myself up for the day long interview and managed to get the job.

    Next thing I knew I was on a plane to India. A 10 hour flight is quite long, but not so long as the 24 hour flight time it took to get to Europe from New Zealand! I didnt sleep a drop. I really enjoy watch-ing movies, and on a 10 hour flight, theres not much more for you to do. When me and my other graduate colleague stepped out of the baggage area, we were greeted by an Indian chap who took us to a van to put our belongings in.

    We headed for the Diamond District in Banga-lore, or Bengaluru as they call it natively. The car ride was exhilarating. We zoomed past motorbikes with women dressed in their saris sitting on the back. We passed a tire which lay in the middle of the road, and then a cow which walked down the highway. The driver honked as he went past oth-ers - I had never seen a horn being used so much. Being driven in a car was like being on a theme park ride.

    We arrived at the Diamond District. Our apartment blocks were 9 stories high, and we were directed to our serviced apartments to unpack our belong-ings. Our bedrooms had shiny stone tile floors, and air conditioners in each of the three bedrooms of the apartment - something which I got used to using every night. The rest of the apartment was spacious and we had a good view of the swim-ming pool below (although it turns out that it was

    empty as it was just after monsoon season).

    Our training at ThoughtWorks was like being back at uni. There were some differences though, for example we got fed breakfast and lunch at work. For breakfast Id have an omelette - which always had chilli powder in it, or chapati which looked like a pancake, but was meant to be a savoury dish. Lunchtime had a variety of dishes, but nothing like the curries that you would get at Brick Lane - to me the dishes didnt taste as good. There was one dessert which was kind of like rice pudding which tasted quite good, and one day of the week theyd have some chicken in one of the dishes which ended up going pretty fast!

    I guess food is one of the things about In-dia which is so different. There are smor-gasbord places that you can get all you can eat for the equivalent of 10 pounds or so. These places literally have every-thing that youd want to eat - ranging from pizza, fish, pasta, curries to pancakes, fruit salads and cakes. Of course we did venture out and try traditional indian food as well - such as pani puri - which are round crispy deep-fried shells which you put a hole in and fill with var-ious liquid fillings, chapati - the pancake like things which can have savoury chickpea fillings, or sweet and salty Lassis - a yoghurt drink.

    The food in India is something I could talk lots

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    about - as we did eat out a lot (seeming it was so cheap) and it can be quite an experience. If you are wondering, yes I did get physically sick from it - can you believe on the first friggin day! and my stomach at other times did make strange sounds... Western food wasnt too hard to find, although it was more expensive than what youd pay for it over here.

    Outside of working hours we were free to roam about and explore where we could. Unfortunately I didnt have all that much money, so I didnt get to travel to Goa, or see the Taj Mahal like the others did. I did however go to Hampi, Mysore, and we also took a trip out to the countryside and camped out next to a river. Hampi was pretty amazing. Back in the day there was apparently Royal Indian blood living in the area. They built a bathing house for the queen to bathe in, and all sorts of stone constructions including a musical temple where there were small pillars which were constructed to make different notes when you tap on them.

    Tourists used to be able to go and tap on the pillars themselves, but it was soon banned and we had to pay one of the guards a couple hundred rupees (~6) to hear what the pillars sounded like.

    Thats one thing that you quickly learn about India. Its a bit corrupt... Basically if you get into trouble, or want something then you can pay for it. I found this out again when I took a photo in a palace (where you werent allowed to take photos) and got caught out by a guard. I ended up paying a few hundred rupees (~5) to get the guard off my back.

    The Hampi trip also included visiting the Monkey temple. This is where all the monkeys love to hang out, waiting for people to give them bananas. I didnt have any bananas but managed to trick a couple of monkeys into thinking that I had one by holding a banana skin. They quickly learnt though, and no other monkeys tried after the first two.

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    Thats one thing that you quickly learn about India. Its a

    bit corrupt.

    Back in the city we had other kinds of adventures. Travel was always done on Rickshaws - which are effectively motorbikes with a cart built around them. Drivers would often try to overcharge us by saying a number up front which was 3x what we should have paid. We constantly insisted on them using their meters (which theyre supposed to use), and would tip them if they did to encourage that be-haviour.

    Beggars do approach you in the street. For some reason they always came to me. Please sir, baby sir, money sir... it was as if they had all been to beggar school - they all said the same thing. Hav-ing watched slumdog millionaire, I knew that giving money to them wasnt the right thing to do. There are initiatives in India to help the poor however. We went to one of these schools Sukrupa, and got a look at what people were doing to help.Sukrupa was a woman who set up a school for kids that otherwise would not have been given a proper education. They told us of the challenges they had - how the government had public schools but that teachers were absent most of the time, and that parents didnt even know how to do a signature, and at first would use their thumbprint when they came to parent/teacher meetings.

    One of the great things we got to experience at Sukrupa was breakfast time. We were crammed into a room with 80 or so kids, and helped with handing out breakfast portions of sweet rice and chapati. It was great to see how these kids were keen to get to school, and that they had equip-ment - even a few computers - although the kids

    did have to sit on the ground for their lessons. We gave them some money (after all they did give us breakfast!), and left with an unforgettable experi-ence of being with all those happy kids.

    Six weeks in India passed so quickly, and its easy to forget that it even happened now. The trip was a great one and all I really remember was the fun times that we had. India is a great country - its a bit dirty with all the rubbish lying about, but the countryside is green and beautiful, and I feel like I only touched the surface of what India has to offer. Its something Ill treasure forever, and I look forward to going back and having more experiences some day.

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    Text and Photography by Gianluca Marino

    Palm reading is a subject that invokes a sense of mystic thrill, curiosity and even fear within all. Highly prevalent throughout the world, palmistry has roots that can be traced to its most ancient country, India. Palm reading comes in different types and among them Indian palmistry is known to be the oldest with a record of practice spanning nearly 3000 years.

    So what is Indian Palmistry?

    The science of reading, deciphering meanings for analysing potential abilities, inherent nature and predicting the future is known as Palmistry. Indian Palmistry, otherwise known as Samudri-ka, is a type that has been practiced in India for thousands of years to help individuals explore their hidden potential and guide them towards their goals.

    Palm reading or palmistry is considered to be the science of understanding the past, pres-ent and future of a person by analyzing the cushions and lines of their palm. Every hand is unique and reflects the nature of a person. The mounts of the palm show the strengths and weaknesses whereas the marks and lines in their palm usually describe a vivid picture or events that have taken place in their lives. However, the readings palm-readers get may change from time to time depending on plane-tary alignment and their energies. With a careful examination of all these factors and years of astrological studies, palm-readers can help sat-isfy that lifelong urge youve always had to know what the future holds for you.

    P A L M I S T R Y

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    The aroma of Indian spices along with the beat of Bombay welcomes visitors into Little India, Southall. A town that holds the flavours of

    the Indian culture in London. Even though, Southall accommodates a patchwork of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Af-ghans the most populated community are Indiwjabi Sikhs were

    hired to work for an English businessman.

    Text by Betoul Mahdey, Photos by Jemma Newman, Gianluca Marino, and Helena Mueller, Rani Sanghera (opposite page, creativecommons)

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    The Broadway is the main street in Southall as well as one of the most densely populat-ed spots in the country. Indian shops stretch along the street in the dis-tance as women walk in colourful bright saris with men in turbans.

    Southall offers many a home. Its a home away from home Kiran Shah, 24, proudly says. Kiran is a British born Indian who grew up working in a family instrumental shop in Southall. For insiders, Southall is where family and home come together.

    For outsiders, its another world that awaits its visitors to explore and soak up the scenes of India. With signs welcoming people in English and Pun-jabi, Southall carries a journey to discover from restaurants, tailors and fabric shops, spice and food markets, Indian pubs, corn kiosks to ba-zaar-style shopping malls.

    Part of the Southall experience is visiting the re-ligious monuments. There are Sikh and Hindu temples as well as several mosques and churches. People of many faiths live, work and pray in close quarters.



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    1. Banwait Brothers & Co - Fashion plays a big role in the Indian community. Banwait Brothers & Co sell a wide range of colourful pure silk saris and beautiful hand embroidered fabric including a bridal section on the first floor (020-8574-2635, 75-77 The Broadway). It feels the closest to home, Im from the Pun-jabi community in Southall, Jarnail Banwait, 52, says. Bollywood Designer Shoe store sells Mojaris (men) and Juttis (woman) Indian sandals (020-8843-2211, 84 The Broadway).

    2. Nirala Sweets - Golden rings made from flour, dipped into simmering caldron of oil and covered in dripping sugary syrup is one of the main reasons that attracts people to Southall. Jalebi is an Indian sweet that is eaten in cultural or religious occasions. Nirala Sweets on The Broadway offers a variety of Asian sweets including jalebi.



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    3. Bollywood Designer Shoe Store - Mojaris (for men) and Juttis (for women) are originally Panjabi. The traditional Indian sandals are uniquely crafted and are usually made from leather. They come in vari-ous colours with embroidered embellishments. Bollywood Designer Shoe Store are located on 84 The Broadway, (020-8843-2211).

    4. JAS Musicals Limited - Music is a very important aspect in the Indian culture. Music and spirituality work together, Raga is a type of Indian music that is based on different times of the day or seasons, Kiran explains. JAS Musicals Limited is an Indian instrumental store based on The Broadway (020-8574-2686, 124 The Broadway).



    5. Corn Kiosks - A man sells steamed corn in a cup on The Broadway, Southall. The Corn in a cup vendors have taken London by storm and are now available on most busy high streets including Southall.

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    When a young boy Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) finds out he is in adopted, it turns his care-free life upside down. He finds himself feeling in-debt to his parents, showing endless amounts of gratitude and ultimate loyalty to his family. In time, Rahul falls in love with an animated young outcast named Anjali Sharma (Kajol Devgn), a girl belonging to a lower social standing than him and his family. This causes Rahuls father to become enraged. Rahuls father Yashvardhan Yash Raichand (Amitabh Bachchan) desires his son to marry Naina Kapoor (Rani Mukerji) yet he still marries Anjali against his fathers wishes. Yash soon after disowns his son, never wanting to speak or hear from him ever again. A distressed Rahul feels the best thing to do is to move away to London with his new wife and her young sister, Pooja (Kareena Kapoor.) Back in India, Rahuls brother Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) is finding it hard coping with the divided family and sets out to re-unite his brother and his old fam-ily back together again. However, trouble is set

    ahead, when an unfortunate incident puts addition-al pressure on this familys complex situation and we stride alongside Rohan and witness his journey, to try to reunite the family, in order to make them what they once were.

    The story is gripping, and at times a real tear jerker. But overall, we witness magical moments between the cast, and their talent in the fields of acting and choreographed dancing, which all shine through.

    Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - Sometimes happiness, sometimes sadness


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    An emotional and poignant start commences this 1998 film, directed by Karan Johar. We are intro-duced to Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) and his wife Tina (Rani Mukherjee) who has become seriously ill as a result from labour and will soon die. In the few hours Tina has left to live, she writes eight letters to her newly born daughter, Anjali. One to be giv-en at each of her first eight birthdays.

    This emotive tone is flipped over, as we move eight years into the future, to witness a happy and cheerful daughter and her relationship with Rahul, her loving and caring father. We see Anjali (Sana Saeed) open her last letter from her mother on her eighth birthday where we learn that her mother is encouraging her to try to set her father up with his old best friend from college, Anjali.

    We go back in time, and watch a young Rahul and Anjali at College, and witness how their close

    friendship grew. We see the sparks of romantic feelings between them both. Although these feel-ings lie dormant from each other, until a new girl, Tina joins there group. Rahul falls for Tina, so Anjali strays away from her tom boy self, and becomes more like Tina, in an attempt to impress Rahul, as she realises her true feelings for him. We start to empathise more with Anjali, until she disappears as a consequence of finding out that her old best friend has fallen in love with Tina. Believing there is nothing she can do to stay close with her old best friend; she ends up leaving college, with her terminated love story.

    The film is juxtaposed with a beautiful mix of Bolly-wood dancing, enticing music, and acting.

    The Indian community regard family as one of the most important things in life. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a prime example of how significant family is in the Indian culture.

    Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - Something Happens

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    Text by Lorna McColl,Photography by Sonal Patel

    Beautiful colours, unique traditions and stunning decorations

    are only part of what makes an

    Indian wedding. The most popular type of

    wedding among Indians is a Hindu celebration.

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    Left side: Sacrificing

    the sacred fire is part

    of the Indian traditions

    done by the bride and

    groom. Both hands of

    the bride are placed

    into the grooms where

    her brother then places

    rice into both of her

    hands. Both, bride and

    groom then offer the

    rice to the sacred fire.

    Right side: Hindu wed-

    ding ceremonies involve

    many interesting rituals

    that have to be per-

    formed by the bride and

    groom. Artistic henna,

    also known as Mehendi

    patterns decorate the

    brides hands and feet

    as part of the Indian


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    Weddings among Hindus mark the start of the second and the most important stage of life called the Grihistha Ashrama which involves setting up a new family unit.

    At a Hindu wedding ceremony there are different rights the couples must go through before they can be officially married. Some stages include formally introducing the families, the presenting of gifts, drinking special drinks, the lighting of a fire, exchanging vowels and climbing over rocks. All stages symbolise a special tradition and are done to prove the love between the bride and groom.

    A very important aspect of an Indian wedding is the

    clothing. Rich colours are worn, and commonly the bride will wear a red, white and gold sari, adorned with gold jewellery and a floral garland. These co-lours represent purity and fertility. The groom usual-ly dresses in a white shirt with gold embellishments and either trousers or a sarong. The groom may wear a turban known as a Safa and/or a necklace called a Kantha.

    The Indian wedding is full of exiting rituals, magnifi-cent food, and stunning dancing which keep family and friends entertained for over several days, and ends with the elders and the priest blessing the couple for a long and prosperous married life.

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    Text and photos by Helen Hasse

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    Varansi is unlike any other city along the Ganges river in India. It is the spiritual centre of Hinduism. It is a holy place that every Hindu is meant to visit once in a lifetime. It is a place where blessings are bestowed. And it is a place where the bodies of deceased Hindus are burned.

    Here is story about the dead and the living sharing one city.

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    I went to Varanasi after I had just turned 18 and fin-ished school. With no clearer idea than doing some-thing creative in my future, living in an artist residen-cy at the Kriti Gallery seemed like a good idea. And it was!

    Varansi, known as Banares to Indians, is the spir-itual centre of Hinduism. Located on the Ganges River, it is a holy place that every good Hindu is meant to visit once in a lifetime. Bathing in the Gan-ges is believed to bestow blessings on her or him. Banares is unlike any other city along the Ganges. Here, the bodies of deceased Hindus are burned in order for reincarnation to take place. Their families

    and friends carry bodies wrapped in colourful cloths to the Ghats, the famous riverbank; sometimes they will do a pilgrimage to Banares from thousands of miles away. Furthermore I learned that it is impor-tant that only men are present at the burning site. The family will have to pay for the wood used in the burning process. The more money is paid, the more thoroughly the body will be burned down to ashes. These will then be cast into the Ganges: a river in which people bathe daily.

    A local teenage boy told me that around 300 to 400 bodies are burned in Banares three burning sites everyday. The smell of burnt flesh struck me

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    as soon as I got off the plane a smell I had never experienced before and so far havent encountered anywhere else in the world. It makes you feel nau-seous: the air is thick and bloody. Combined with the smog, it seems tempting to get back onto the plane straight away. I got used to it after two days. Right until Eid Al-Adha took place, where the large Muslim community sacrificed hundreds of sheep on the streets. The smell of burnt human flesh mixed with that of animal blood made me nauseous all over again.

    On my first visit to the Ghats and the burning sites just after my arrival, I made my way through the nar-

    row and crowded alleys. Something touched me. This surprised me because body contact is rare in Indian culture, especially since as a white person I was regarded as being of a high caste. When I looked for what it was, I discovered the hand of a dead woman hanging from a stretcher and being carried to the burning site. I turned around and went home: no more Ghats for me that day.

    Now, I realize that I might get across as telling a hor-ror story about a horrible place. In fact, Banares is beautiful. No, you cannot see the sky because of pollution and neither is the evil bull living in the alley at the east side of the Ghats a pleasant encounter.

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    Banares is a place where you think about things in a different way. You cant help but think about death, because that is the first thing you smell in the morning and corpses happen to pass by your win-dow everyday. I met a Western woman in Banares, whose mother had just died from cancer. Filled with grief, she came to Banares and stopped grieving. She said it was the best thing that ever happened to her.

    Shinta, the cook at the residency, took me home one afternoon to meet her daughters who were my age. Crammed in three different Rickshaws, it took us about 45 minutes to the house. Her house

    has one small bedroom, where the two daughters, her husband and Shinta sleep all together in one bed. In a second tiny room, she has a kitchen, something almost luxurious. She shares the toilet in the yard with 50 other neighbours. Yet, Shin-ta is relatively fortunate. She has a well-paid job and is in contact with foreigners daily, who give her gifts or extra money at the end of each stay.

    I met both daughters and her husband. He is unem-ployed and sees no reason to change that. He said it is fine if she works as a cook six days a week. He sees no need for him to work as well.

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    Her daughters showed me around university. It was a surprisingly large institution, one in which it is recommendable to take a Rickshaw to get from one building to the other. Shinta had told me, in the language mixed of signs and English that we had developed, that her daughters both studied English language. I knew they tried; yet we werent able to exchange one simple sentence. Still, I liked them!

    Banares is a place which not many foreigners visit. It even occurred one day that in the weaver quarter, a child started crying at the sight of me. Navneet, my local friend, told me it had never seen a white person before. This is Banares charm: it is a big city

    with one million inhabitants and yet it isnt as vastly travelled compared to the rest of India, seemingly one of the must-do countries on every travellers list.

    I came there to find something and I found photog-raphy along the way. And I can proudly say that I have travelled somewhere far by myself. I think there couldnt have been a better place than Banares for this! One day Ill go back.

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    Middle left: In the Mandir temple of Southall,

    statues of Rama, the seventh avatar of the

    god of peace and truth Vishnu, and his wife

    Sita stand on a stage for Hindus to worship.

    Bottom left: It is believed in the Hindu religion

    that once the worshipers ring the bell of the

    temple, evil spirits leave. Additionally, it brings

    the attention of the gods to the worshippers

    as they pay tribute.

    In India, spirituality and religion are two important aspects of everyones daily life. This history of India introduced many religions including Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. The dominant religion in India is Hin-duism. All religions preach peace, justice and self-control.

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    India is the birth-place of many different religions. Most of the Indian culture re-gards themself as Hindus.Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. It is seen as a way of life, based on understanding natural and everlasting prin-ciples. Hindus usually worship gods as an individual act, as one must make a personal offering to the deity, such as sweets, fruit, flowers or incense.

    Native to the Indian subcontinent is Buddhism. It is a tradition that concentrates on personal spiritual development.Buddhists strive for a deep understanding of the true nature of life and do not worship gods or deities. Buddhists strive to reach Nirvana, by following the teachings of Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC.

    Another ancient religion from India is Jainism. This religion teaches its followers to live a life of self-control and non-violence, in order to obtain liberation and bliss.Jains believe that everyone from plants to animals have a living soul; each soul is of an equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion.

    During the 15thCentury Sikhism was founded. Most Sikhs livein the Punjab province of India.Sikhism is amonotheistic religion, they believe in only one god. Sikhism stresses the importance of doing good actions rather than simply carrying out rituals, to achieve a better way of life for them and for others.

    In London, Temples like the Mandir in Southall and the Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir in Alperton are not only frequented by the Hindu community but by the general public. Both temples are open to those of other faiths and are seen more as landmarks by their local councils. Since opening in 2010 the Shri Sanatan Temple has grown to become one of the most popular north London attractions with thousands of tourists visiting each month.

    Left page, big photo: The statue of Sai Baba

    of Shirdi in Alperton temple is placed in the

    middle of the gods for worshippers to bless

    and pay tribute. Sai Baba of Shirdi is a spiritu-

    al man with godly powers.

    Text by Lorna McColl and Gianluca Marino, Photography by Betoul Mahdey and Helena Mueller

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    We want to keep this recipe open and easy to make adjustments to, so you can adapt it until youre happy. Change ingredients, spices or even the whole dish. Add italian herbs instead of curry if you want, take away the pancakes and have naan bread or rice with it instead, or sprinkle some cheese on top if you like. Whatever takes your fancy, anything is possible. Heres our version:

    For the chickpea curry:

    chickpeas (1 can/pack)chopped tomatoes (canned)2 tbsp Sour Creamcurry, garam masala, oregano, coriandersaltchopped onionolive Oil

    For the pancakes:

    flour2 eggsmilkwaterpinch of salt

    home made chickpea curry a European version of curry

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    One. Heat up some olive oil in a big frying pan, add the chopped onion and fry for a bit until the onion is getting slightly brown.

    Two. Add the tomatoes and the chickpeas and bring to the boil. Add some salt and spices - curry, and garam masala for an Indian taste. Add some oregano for a more Italian/Western/mild taste. Keep tasting the curry until its your preferred flavour.

    Three. Simmer the curry until most water is evaporated and add the sour cream. Keep mixing and simmering until the mixture is thick and creamy.

    Four. For the pancakes sieve the flour, and mix with eggs, milk, water and salt using a whisk.Make sure you mix it well so that no lumps form. The mixture should feel quite liquid and runny in order for the pancakes to turn out very thin, like crepes.

    Five. Heat up some oil or butter in a frying pan and pour some of the mix-ture into the pan. Slightly tilt the frying pan for the mixture to spread, or use a spatula to spread out the mixture very thinly.Give it a bit of time, until slightly brown, then flip the pancake, and fry on the other side.

    Six. To keep the pancakes warm you can heat up the oven a bit, and put the pancakes in on a plate. Be safe when taking out the plate - it will be hot, so dont burn yourself.

    Put some of the curry onto a pancake, wrap it up, and enjoy!

    Photography by Helena Mueller

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    Text by Betoul Mahdey and Lorna McColl, Photography by Helena Mueller, Jemma Newman and Betoul Mahdey

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    The types of clothing for women vary depending on the local cultures of the different regions and climates in India. In the north and east, women dress in saris. A sari is a colourful, occasionally embroidered, long sheet of fabric that is wrapped around the body with a matching blouse underneath. One of Indias fashion capitals is Bombay. Silk saris with embellishments are usually worn in special occasions such as weddings.

    Rich coloured silks, and eye catching makeup are just a couple of things that play a part in Indian beauty. Different festi-vals, celebrations and dances call for different make up, colours and materials to be worn. Indians are not shy in sporting the most striking, yet divine colours. The culture is known for its truly unique dress style and stunning appearance.

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    The salwar kameez, also known as the trouser suit or Punjabi suit, is the traditional clothing for Punjab and Kashmir women. It is the common traditional clothing worn in the North West parts of India. The sal-war, the loose trousers which is narrow and gathered at the ankles, is worn with a tunic top which is the kameez. The salwar kameez is often worn with a veil called dupatta that covers the head and drapes off the shoulders.

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    A Sherwani is Indian traditional clothing for men. The Sherwani consists of a long coat, below the knees in length and fastened with buttons. It has a high up collar and is worn with trousers called Churidars. The Churidars are loose at the hips and thighs and get narrower around the ankles. In wedding ceremo-nies, the groom usually wears a Sherwani. It sometimes has a scarf and usually comes in cream, gold or a light ivory colour. It also may be embroidered with gold or silver.

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    S ince ancient times, Indians have used makeup to define and enhance features. It has become a crucial part of the Indian culture and daily life. One of the oldest forms of Indian makeup is kohl. Kohl is an eyeliner that is generously applied to both lower and upper eyelids to define the eyes.

    South Indian Bharatnatayam dances draw attention to their facial expressions whilst danc-ing. By using Kohl, it is believed to entice the audience with its striking effect. Another form of makeup, exclusive to the Indian culture is the Bindi. Traditionally, married Indian women would wear a red dot (a bindi) in the middle of the eyebrows, with a vermil-ion (a red line drawn on the parting of the hair), and this would mean she was married. It was believed that by wearing a bindi you are representing the third eye which will pro-tect you from demons and bad luck. These days females will frequently wear them stuck on as fashion accessories in vivid colours accompanied with sparkling diamantes, wheth-er they are married or not.

    Asiana and Asiana Wedding magazine are, both internationally and in the UK, the biggest selling fashion and bridal maga-zine targeted at the Asian community.

    Each season the magazines are released, promoting a beautiful array of traditional Asian dresses and stunning jewellery, as well as inspirational bridal fashion. The latest celebrity gossip, health, beauty and career advice are also given. Asiana tar-gets the modern woman, who still wants to incorporate aspects of traditional Asian living alongside a fresh and contemporary lifestyle.

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