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Hampi – History, Mythology, You

Hampi is the modern town that sits by the ruins of the City of Victory, Vijayanagara, capital of the once mighty Vijayanagar Empire. Local tradition also says that it is the site of the Kingdom of Monkeys, Kishkinda, and birthplace of Hanuman, the monkey god. In fact, every guide will tell you that the landscape of broken rocks is nothing but what is left after the terrible battle between brothers Vali and Sugreeva over the kinship of Kishkinda.

This is also typical of the Indian habit of conflating history and mythology, making Hampi the perfect Indian destination where the past lives on. read more

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Part of a Billion

Last week, a census taker visited us, and for the first time, included us in the National Census of India.

The only previous memory of being included in the census was in the 1981 census, when I was staying with my grandparents in Bangalore for the summer holidays. My grandmother was sitting on the stone step outside the front door, removing adulterants from rice, when the census taker visited. My grandmother being a teacher herself, she got into a conversation with the census taker, who was also a teacher. I was playing nearby, and remember being part of the conversation, though I doubt whether I made any insightful contributions, being all of six years old then. read more

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