Tag Archive | India

Still in short supply, iPhone 5 heads to India then China

That Apple plans to fill orders in those two populous countries at the same time that it’s still weeks behind fulfilling orders in the U.S. and elsewhere leaves little hope that Apple will catch up on backorders anytime soon.

The iPhone 5 may be fresh out of stock almost everywhere, but Apple is continuing its plan to bring the device to more countries.

Apple’s newest smartphone is reportedly set to go on sale in India on Nov. 2, according to a report in India’s Economic Times on Friday. But it’s not the only big country Apple’s planning to launch in soon: on Apple’s earnings call on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook told investors that the device would hit China sometime before the end of the year. That Apple plans to fill orders in those two populous countries –at the same time that it’s still weeks behind fulfilling orders in the U.S. and elsewhere — leaves little hope that Apple will catch up on backorders anytime soon.

The Economic Times report claims that the iPhone 5 launch had been pushed back in India, but that Apple is beginning to stock iPhone 5 inventory at several retail partners in the country in time for a launch next week. “A November 2 launch is certain and the stock is expected to start arriving at the master distributors Redington India and Ingram Micro within next two to three days” and pre-ordering will kick off in the next day or so, according to unnamed sources quoted by the Times.

A month after launch the iPhone 5 is for sale in 31 countries. But the wait is three to four weeks for a new device at many carriers and retailers, including Apple itself.

There are two issues plaguing iPhone 5 supply: intense demand coupled with a tricky manufacturing and building process. The company sold 5 million of the phones the first weekend it was available, but could likely sell more if it wasn’t having trouble getting them out of the factories in China. The builder of the iPhone 5, China’s Foxconn, says it’s the “most difficult device Foxconn has ever assembled.” The complicated design reportedly requires extreme precision when it comes to assembly.

Even when asked directly, Cook refused to say on the earnings call yesterday whether Apple would bring its iPhone supply in balance with demand by the end of 2012, which coincides with the all-important holiday sales period:

I’m not projecting whether supply/demand will balance, I’m saying I’m confident we’ll be able to supply quite a few [iPhone 5 units] during the quarter. But I can’t tell when that balance occurs, i can’t say. Demand is very robust.

That answer was certainly not a “yes.” The holidays plus India coming on board will be one challenge, but China is an even bigger beast. The country and its surrounding region represented 15 percent of Apple’s revenue in the last fiscal year, or about $24 billion. Apple’s products are in extremely high demand there — this is the country, after all, in which customers rioted and threw eggs at an Apple Store when it didn’t open on time for iPhone 4S sales earlier this year.

Apple has repeatedly reminded us that this is the company’s fastest rollout of a product yet. But that rollout hasn’t been without problems that could potentially sour customers on the brand if forced to wait weeks or months for something they’ve paid for. Granted, having outsize demand for your latest product is a problem most companies would kill to have.

SADHUS, HOLY MEN OF INDIA, BY TUHIN SUBHRA DEY

Sadhus are sanyasi, or renunciates, who have left behind all material and sexual attachments and live in caves, forests and temples all over India and Nepal. A Sadhu is usually referred to as Baba by common people. The word baba also means father, grandfather, or uncle in many Indian languages. Sometimes the respectful suffix -ji may also be added after baba, to give greater respect to the renunciate.

TOWARDS INFINITY…

Sadhus are not unified in their practices. Some live in the mountains alone for years at a time, eating only a few bananas. Others walk around with one hand in the air for decades. Still others partake in the religious consumption of charas (hand-made cannabis hashish) and contemplate the cosmic nature and presence of God.

FRIENDS

A Sadhu and his disciple.

GARI BABA

Gari means car in Hindi. Every year he comes with a brand new car at Ganagasagar fair, don’t ask me about his car license, after all he is a Sadhu..;-)

MAKEUP

Shot in Rash mela (fair) festival in Kolkata , India. The Rash Mela is held every year to let the people indulge in the festivities involving the Rash Yatra Festival. Many fairs are organized around the state of West Bengal, including some in the capital Kolkata, but the greatest of them is the annual Rash Mela in Cooch Behar.

THE FLUTE PLAYER AND HIS FAN

At Gangasagar transit camp.

ANGER

An angry sadhu at a transit camp of Gangasagar Fair.
WORSHIPING

Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed to one or more deities. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.

Why Are Indians So Entrepreneurial In The U.S.?

A recent study exposed an alarming trend in the tech industry. Immigrant entrepreneurs, who in recent years have launched half the startups in Silicon Valley, are founding drastically fewer companies. Except for one group: Indians. What makes entrepreneurs from India so different?

The startup study was sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and conducted by Vivek Wadhwa, who’s the director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University. His data showed that the number of immigrant-founded startups in Silicon Valley has fallen from 52.4% to 43.9% since 2005, a drop that Wadhwa calls “shocking.”

Indian Startups Buck The Trend

But another statistic surprised Wadhwa as well: the number of startups founded by Indians is actually climbing. Against the decline in immigrant-founded startups – and our ever more xenophobic immigration policy – Indians are still launching startups.

“The data showed that Indians are defying gravity and starting more companies,” Wadhwa says. “The number of Indian startups went up from 26% to 33% of all immigrant startups.”

The immigrant founders surveyed in Wadhwa’s study hail from 60 different countries – but a full third of them are from India. What gives? Why are entrepreneurs from the subcontinent such overachievers?

Wadhwa says one reason is that Indian entrepreneurs have a very strong support network here in the U.S. Thirty years ago, when Indians began building momentum in Silicon Valley, that first generation of successful startup founders worked hard to help those who followed. They built organizations and created a U.S. ecosystem of successful Indian entrepreneurs – and, crucially, angel funders – to accelerate newcomers.

“It was a very conscious effort put in place by several dozen successful entrepreneurs,” Wadhwa says.

Indian Startups Are Cool

Another factor is the societal value placed on entrepreneurial endeavor. Indian kids think it’s cool to start companies. They don’t grow up aspiring to be the next Justin Bieber. They want to be the next Sabeer Bhatia.

Who?

The founder of Hotmail. “He’s a rock star in India,” Wadhwa says.

How did that happen? Wadhwa gives a brief history lesson. Just a few decades ago India was going nowhere. “The economy was stagnant, India was known as a country of beggars and snake charmers,” Wadhwa says. “Pessimism abounded. India was basically a loser of a country. Suddenly you had these people coming to Silicon Valley making extraordinary amounts of money. This caught the attention of people back home. The media was shocked that Indians could be so successful. Kids started dreaming of coming to Silicon Valley and creating companies like Hotmail.”

So OK. That’s how the Indian community pulled itself to success in Silicon Valley. What’s with other immigrant communities? Why haven’t they done the same?

Can Other Immigrants Emulate The Indians?

Wadhwa thinks Indians benefit from their heritage, which suits them better than many other immigrants to making it in America. They speak English. They come from a democratic society. More than that, they have a serious independent streak.

“Just like here, Indians are free to speak out against the government,” Wadhwa says. “There is a history of breaking the rules, just like here. Culturally, Americans and Indians are similar and that gives Indians a big advantage when they come to America because they fit right in.”

Compare that to the Chinese experience, he suggests. “In China you’re terrified of authority, you dare not speak out against the government because you’ll be taken away the next day. There is a culture shock from that perspective – people who come from authoritative regimes are afraid of defying authority. But to be an entrepreneur you need to defy authority, you need to break all the rules, you need to take a risk.”

The Indians Are Going Home

Now, a lot of Indian entrepreneurs are taking their risks back home. Although his recent study shows Indians are still starting a lot of companies in Silicon Valley, lately Wadhwa has noticed a change. U.S. immigration and employment laws have grown so unfriendly that even the indefatigable Indians are getting discouraged.

“The tide has turned,” Wadhwa says. “Many people could not get their visas to stay here after they graduated from U.S. schools so they went back to India to start their companies, taking their values, experience and education with them. Taking their money with them.”

Result: the tech startup culture in India is booming. Yes, ours is too. But for how long? Wadhwa wonders.

“We’re exporting our prosperity,” he says. “Even though Indian entrepreneurs have had tremendous success here, their numbers could be even stronger. We could have tens of thousands more startups.”

Instead, the top Indian graduates from U.S. universities are going back to the sub-continent. “Gladly returning home,” Wadhwa says. “Every year I see this more and more. There is a gradual but noticeable change in attitude. Many don’t even think of staying.”

A Vibrant Collection of Photos from India

Earlier this year, photojournalist Kevin Goss-Ross took a family vacation to India; he shares with us the fascinating story of his travels along with a gorgeous collection of photographs to document his journey. The artificially lit photographs were featured in an exhibition called “Life and Death Between Chai.” Freelance photographer Goss-Ross prefers the use of artificial light because most of his photos are imagined in his head beforehand so they are purposefully and meticulously staged. Currently residing in Durban, South Africa, Goss-Ross is greatly influenced by music.

In the narrative that goes along with Kevin Goss-Ross’ Ten Rupees photos, he said:

In a society where Karma is supposed to be king the people are shameless in trying to screw over foreigners as well as each other. For some it’s like a hobby or a sport. In my ignorance and a rare bout of positivity I had hoped that Hinduism at its origins would be the one religion still untainted by the greedy paws of Mammon. I’d hoped that I’d finally find a religion free from TV evangelist bullies. The holy men will jabber about their life of abstinence from anything worldly: no wife, no family, and no property but will try to lighten your wallet at every opportunity with promises of enlightenment or yoga lessons. They are masters of sidestepping worthy questions with unrelated, pre planned answers which might sound vaguely intelligent to anyone who is less jaded.

Magnificent Indian Temple Carved from One Giant Rock

When most of us were growing up, we learned about a handful of man-made wonders of the world such as the pyramids in Egypt, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Great Wall of China. One that may have slipped right past you may have been theKailashnath Temple in Maharashtra, India.

The Kailashnath Temple is most remarkable because it is a megalith carved out of one single rock. Carvers started at the top and excavated downward, exhuming the temple out of the existing rock. The traditional methods were rigidly followed by the master architect, which could not have been achieved by excavating from the front.

Dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, the temple was built between 756-774 CE by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I and measures about 60 feet tall and 200 feet wide. All the carvings are done on more than one level. Originally flying bridges of stone connected these galleries to central temple structures, but they have since fallen. The base of the temple has been carved to suggest that elephants are holding the structure aloft.


Deep blue ocean


Pratheepp


Shabnam Sirur


Kris Kumar


Sanjay ach


Shabnam Sirur


Shabnam Sirur

Khakis: A Heat Stroke of Genius

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Salutes the Armed Forces.

The British Army’s fancy scarlet tunic looked sharp, but was agonizingly uncomfortable in the heat. The soldier’s warm-weather option was a dazzling white uniform -spiffy but impractical for daily use. How to solve the problem?

JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY

Legend has it that a British colonial officer dabbled with the idea of creating his own lightweight, light-colored clothing to wear while he was stationed in India. What began as an off-duty ensemble evolved into military attire when it proved to be more comfortable and sensible than the existing uniform.

That officer was Lieutenant Harry Lumsden, the son of a British colonal. After schooling in England and Scotland, by age 17 Lumsden was serving in the infantry in India. In 1846, when he was just 25, he was tapped for the duty that would lead to his greatest claim to fame.

Serving in Peshawar in what was then northwestern India (now Pakistan on the Afghanistan border), Lumsden was given the task of forming the Corps of Guides, a new regiment of infantry and cavalry soldiers. The 300 handpicked men were to serve as guides and scouts as well as fighting forces. Irregular cavalry regiments such as the Corps of Guides were allowed to wear what they wanted, within reason. Lumsden had an idea about what that should be. He’d been experimenting with loose-fitting cotton garments patterned after the local men’s attire and dyed a muddy tan color, which hid the dirt and made the wearer less conspicuous in the dusty landscape of the battlefield. Locals dubbed the dudskhaki, from the Hindi and Urdu word khak, meaning dust. Fellow British soldiers started calling the Corps of Guides the “mudlarks” because of the muddy color of their uniforms.

DUSTING OFF SOME FACTS ABOUT KHAKIS

Lumsden achieved that characteristic mud color by dunking the fabric in mud. In another version of the tale, he took his clothes to the local bazaar and had them colored with a dye made from the local mazari palm. When khaki caught on, Lumsden tried unsuccessfully to obtain drab uniform fabric from England. So he had the dying done locally, either by soldiers themselves or by civilians. While other regiments scoffed at the mudlarks initially, they soon adopted khaki as well, especially during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which took place primarily during the summer months. Even then, the troops were left to color their own garments using mazari, coffee, tea, or even tobacco juice.

Fortunately, the rise of khaki uniforms coincided with the growth of the textile industry and the use of synthetic dyes. Khaki wasn’t the first synthetic dye color developed in England -that distinction goes to aniline purple, better known as mauve, which was patented in 1856- but a patent for khaki dye was registered in England in 1884. It wasn’t long before the British discovered it made more economic sense to import dye from Germany (which was leapfrogging ahead of other nations in the synthetic dye game). And that’s where thing became awkward: By World War I, the British army was importing all the khaki dye for its uniforms from Germany, whom it happened to be fighting in the Great War. Color them embarrassed. (Before Americans start feeling smug, consider this: about 90 percent of the khaki dye used for U.S. uniforms in World War II was produced by the General Aniline and Film Corporation -better known as GAF- a German-owned company until the U.S. seized it in 1942.)

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

The U.S. military began wearing khaki during the Spanish-American War of 1898, but it didn’t work for all purposes. In Guadalcanal’s tropical jungles during World War II, khaki was deemed too conspicuous, so Army and Marine combat troops were issued green twill fatigues that blended better with their surroundings. The same was true for ground troops in the Vietnam War.

Of all the branches of the U.S. military, the Navy may have the closest association with khaki. It was first worn by Navy aviators in 1912, and a short time later, regulations required that ships carry enough khaki dye for “two suits of clothing for each man of the landing force,” so the men could dye their “undress” white uniforms “when, in the opinion of the commanding officer, it is advisable to do so.” (Generally, that would be when white uniforms would be dangerously obvious to the enemy, or when they became unduly soiled.) Khaki uniforms became standard issue for sumariners in 1931, but khaki is best known as naval officer’s attire, so much so that the word “khaki” became a euphemism for “officer.”

KHAKI COMES HOME

It didn’t take long for military-style khaki to become a fashion statement on the home front. After the Second Boer War in South Africa, which ended in 1902, shops in England began showing khaki clothing and accessories for dapper Victorian gents, who liked its sportsmanlike, heroic connotations. In America, the hard-wearing khaki that served U.S. soldiers so well in World War I was adapted for Depression-era civilian work clothing. In the 1940s, movie stars like Katherine Hepburn and John Wayne wore khakis on-screen and off; in the 1950s, khakis were standard issue for young American males, from the Leave It To Beaverboys to James Dean.

In spite of changing fashion trends, khaki hung on in civilian life, with a reputation that ranged from conservative or square in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to preppy in the early 1980s, to fashionable in the mid-1980s, when the Levis Dockers brand was introduced and the rise of casual Fridays for office workers made khaki sales skyrocket.

Meanwhile, the miltary’s endorsement of khaki continues. In July 2008, the U.S. Navy introduced a new khaki dress uniform inspired by the dress khakis worn from World War II through the Vietnam War, which officers may wear in place of formal dress blues, dress whites, or service khakis. And a new service uniform was introduced for enlisted personnel, with a khaki shirt and black trousers. The idea, Navy spokepeople explain, is to reduce the number of uniforms a sailor has to carry when deployed. Whites are fine for the tropics, and dress blues work well for cooler climates, but khaki goes with everything, everywhere -and that’s the point.

Here’s That Indian Facebook PSA Campaign

TBWA New Delhi released a strange series of Facebook PSAs “issued in interest of facebookfans.”

Did you know that, unless used wisely, your “Like” could:

  • “Ignite a riot.”
  • “Hurt someone’s feelings.”
  • Or “lead you into DANGER”?

Although Facebook bullying is clearly prevalent and problematic, the campaign appears slightly excessive.

Earlier this month a very different approach to controlling people’s excessive Facebook activity swept the internet: Unbaby Me. The chrome extension turns Facebook friends’ baby pictures into photos of bacon. (Or sunsets, or cats.) And it only took two weeks to develop.

The Brick Makers of Andhra Pradesh

A brick maker in Medak, in Andhra Pradesh

It’s hot, smoky, dirty work, and it’s backbreaking to boot. The families who slog away here at this brick kiln spend their days with their hands steeped in clay or lugging heavy loads of bricks, surrounded on all sides by the stacked product of their labor.

A child sets the bricks out to dry.

The hot and grimy brick factory environment is a far cry from the green fields and rural surroundings from which many of the workers originate, in the state of Orissa, on India’s eastern coast.

Women climb stairs carrying heavy brick loads on their heads.

Explaining the background behind this set of pictures, photographer Venkat Prakash recalls how he was traveling from his home in Hyderabad, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, to the town of Medak, which lies about 80 kilometers away. On the way, he saw many brick factories, and was intrigued enough to stop at one such site and take these photographs.

Child labor is common at the brick works.

Brick making is an ancient profession that has been fundamental to many civilizations. Without the basic unit of construction that is the brick, we would be without the many buildings and monuments that fill, or have filled, our cities both past and present.

Filling the brick moulds

The Harappans made their bricks out of clay and by hand – utilizing the manual labor of the poorest classes – and not much seems to have changed. Today, many of the brick workers in Andhra Pradesh (like those shown in these photographs) are migrants from the neighboring state of Orissa.

Digging up sand

In India alone, people have been making bricks for thousands of years. One of the earliest known urban civilizations, the Indus Valley Culture of Harappa in northwest India, has left many examples of millennia-old brickwork as well as the kilns that were, in all likelihood, used to fire them.

A handful of black sand

It is estimated that almost 2 million people leave Orissa looking for work each year, so for the owners of the brick-making factories cheap labor is plentiful. Of course, this is something the more unscrupulous contractors look to exploit.

To keep it from sticking, the clay is covered in sand before being placed in the mold.

The reasons for this huge exodus from Orissa (or Odisha, as it is officially spelled) are largely economic. Despite the state’s wealth of natural resources, as of the year 2000 there were twice the number of people living below the poverty line in Orissa than the average for the rest of India.

Smoothing the clay in the mould

Orissa is also the Indian state on which climate change is believed to have had the greatest impact, suffering droughts and floods with increasing regularity. These extreme weather events cause the loss not only of life, but also of livelihoods – and this is especially pronounced for those who cultivate the land.

A child watches as his father works.

Unable to rely on their traditional occupations, many people from Orissa are being forced to seek work outside their home state. And as the climate continues to change, the situation is only likely to worsen.

Coating the brick clay in sand

According to one report, “People from western Orissa, particularly Bolangir, travel to Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru in early summer to work in brick kilns where they are subjected to serious exploitation by the owners and contractors.”

A family at work

“Even women are not spared,” the report continues. “Almost every day there are reports of exploitation and torture of migrants from Orissa’s KBK (Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi) region.” In 2000, it was estimated that there were 100,000 brick kilns in India, but the number is likely to be significantly higher today.

A child sits in the sand.

There are two kinds of kilns noted for their use in India. One is the Bull Trench Kiln and the other the Clamp – a kiln type that has been used for the last 6,000 years. Both, however, involve hard work in difficult conditions, and both rely on fires that burn wood, coal or even other fuels like garbage, producing a thick, polluting smoke. It is estimated that kilns without chimneys in India burn 200 tons of coal per million bricks produced.

A square hole where clay has probably been removed

If they are lucky, the workers are paid around 277 Rupees ($5) for every 1,000 bricks made – an increase from the 180 Rupees ($3.20) they received for the same amount of work until very recently. Yet it’s still a deplorably low rate of pay that encourages the workers to toil long hours and recruit as many family members as possible, including children, into the job.

A female brick worker from Orissa

According to Indian national newspaper The Hindu, brick workers literally “sell themselves” to the kiln operators. An article relates how “they are brought here in ‘units’ of seven to nine persons including men, women and children”. The report added that around 50,000 Rupees ($ 900) were paid up front to each unit of seven-plus people.

The pattern seems to be that these laborers will come for the dry months, returning to their farms for the monsoon – if, that is, the rainy season arrives that year. “When I asked, ‘How many days will you work here?’ they told me they will work [the] full summer here,” says photographer Prakash of the brick workers he talked to and whose photographs are shown. “Once [the] rain starts they will [go] back [to] their home towns and do their regular jobs,” he adds.

A smiling brick worker

Because they live on the margins of society, the brick workers are limited in terms of opportunities to improve their lot. Quite often illiterate and speaking a different language to that spoken in the region where they find themselves working, they are at the mercy of the kiln owners and managers.

Rolled-up cloth used to cushion the head when carrying bricks

In Orissa, it was reported that a man died in suspicious circumstances after being beaten by the kiln owner and his employees. The family was given 1,000 Rupees ($18) in compensation, and the man’s wife was told to sign a document she couldn’t understand. Having since returned to their village amidst other claims of mistreatment, the family is too afraid to begin complaint proceedings.

A young boy worker

Yet, despite all the hardships the workers face, Venkat Prakash was surprised to find those he encountered were apparently content with their lot. “When I approached them to take photographs, they [were] really friendly and allowed me to take photographs,” he told us. “When I saw these people, they [were] really happy with what they are doing.” Prakash says he was surprised by the smiles and cheerful attitude of the brick workers.

 

 

Gotmar Mela – India’s Centuries-Old Stone Pelting War

Photo: sarangtopare

For over three hundred years, the residents of Pandhurna and Sawargaon, two Indian villages located on the banks of the river Jaam, have been engaging in a bizarre stone-pelting ritual called Gotmar Mela that leaves hundreds critically injured and even dead.

The stone war of Gotmar Mela, as its sometimes referred to, takes place every year, on the second day to “Bhadrapad’ (the new moon day). A tree trunk is fixed in the middle of Jaam River, and a flag tied on top of it. On the day of the bloody event, people from Pandhurna and Sawargaon gather on each of the river banks and arm themselves with stones. The bravest of them run towards the tree and try to climb high enough to grab the flag, while the mob on the other side tries to prevent them from doing so by showering them with large stones. The village who manages to snag the flag is declared winner. The rules of Gotmar Mela are pretty simple, but who ever takes part in it knows full well it might be the last thing they do, as hundreds are critically injured and even killed, each year.

The stone throwing ritual kept alive by the people of Pandhurna and Sawargaon is definitely one of the bloodiest traditions on Earth. The local administration has tried to convince villagers to give up on their violent celebration, and even tried to impose a ban, but they backed down under pressure from both communities. Back in 2001 and 2002, they tried to talk them into using rubber balls instead of stones, but neither of the villages agreed. Every year, after doing their best to stop Gotmar Mela from taking place, the local administration simply leaves the dangerous site of the event and tries to provide swift medical attention to the injured. This Saturday, 329 people were hurt during the stone war, and seven of them are still in critical condition. But, as weird as this may sound, 2012 was a good year, considering in 2008 there were 800 injured and one dead.

Photo: sarangtopare

According to local legend, the ritual of Gotmar Mela was inspired by the story of Pandhurna’s ruler, who, upon hearing about the beautiful daughter of the King of Sawargaon, crossed the river and abducted the girl. When the villagers of Sawargaon heard the news, they chased the abductor who had by then crossed the river, and started pelting him with stones. Pandhurna’s dwellers also gathered on the river bank and protected their leader by throwing stones at the other side, allowing him to safely reach his palace. To this day, the tradition was kept alive as a bloody stone throwing game known as Gotmar Mela, but also by grooms of each village who try to win brides from the other side.