Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'India'

A Family Affair

October 9th, 2013 · No Comments

The exploits of the various Indian sand mafias has long been a topic of fascination ’round these parts. As the subcontinent’s construction boom has lead to an escalation in sand prices, miners have become eager to accumulate the granular material by any means necessary. In practice, that means excavating any strip of land they wish, […]

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Next-Level Celebrity Activism

March 27th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Gujarati folksinger Farida Mir does not mess around when it comes to political activism. While her Western peers may content themselves with making bold statements in the media, Mir has no problem with getting her hands dirty—particularly when the lives of cows are stake. Just check out how far she recently went to protest […]

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The Not-So-Delicate Dance

January 8th, 2013 · No Comments

Scrambling like mad to deal with Wired and book-related duties as the week bleeds toward Humpday. Back tomorrow with something halfway spectacular about Chinese industrial espionage.

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So Close, So Far Away

May 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

Just about thirty hours to go ’til my book deadline. Furiously trimming adverbs and trying to inject much-needed moments of humor and profundity. Sit tight.

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Leopard, Leopard, Burning Bright

March 6th, 2012 · No Comments

The recent kidnapping of two Assamese forestry officials may have been peacefully resolved, but the caper hints at a deepening problem in India’s long troubled North-East. No, not the continued prevalence of insurgent groups that double as organized-crime outfits, but rather the bulldozing of woodlands that are the region’s foremost natural resource. The forestry officials […]

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Taking Advantage

October 19th, 2011 · No Comments

Apologies for not keeping up with Microkhan like I should these past few days. Just too wrapped up trying to make progress on the book, which is coming along in fits and starts that occur all-too-rarely. I’m now challenging myself to have 25,000 words done before Halloween; otherwise, I fear that too many nights of […]

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Thuggee Slang

August 15th, 2011 · No Comments

It’s always interesting to note how much criminal slang, which is designed to defy common comprehension, eventually finds its way into the popular vocabulary. I believe this is a testament not only to the (arguably lamentable) glamour of transgression, but also to the accidental linguistic genius of those who rob and maim for a living. […]

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Witch Hunting in Assam

June 29th, 2011 · No Comments

So far this year, Microkhan’s coverage of sorcery-related violence has focused primarily on Papua New Guinea, where efforts at legal reform have done little to reduce the bloodshed. Now comes word that my beloved Assam, one of the primary settings for my first book, is dealing with a similarly tragic wave of killings. The latest […]

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The Scope of the Slithery Problem

April 22nd, 2011 · 4 Comments

One of the great riddles of epidemiology is the toll of snakebites on India. Various studies over the years have estimated the annual death toll anywhere from 1,300 to 50,000. Until recently, the most convincing analysis out there, based on data from local hospitals, put the number of fatalities at roughly 11,000 per year. But […]

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The Scent of Perfume in Biloxi

April 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Since I know first-hand the terrible things that young men are capable of when deprived of romantic companionship for too long, I fear for the future of India. The country’s gender ratio is skewing way too male these days, which means that tens of millions of 21-year-old men will one day find themselves coming up […]

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Beware the Piper

February 22nd, 2011 · 6 Comments

One of the core tenets of the scientific method is total transparency. An experiment cannot be trusted if it can’t be replicated, so every step in the process must be documented and described for the masses. Those who resist these guidelines are often guilty of chicanery. Thus the good people of Srinagar, Kashmir’s gorgeous capital, […]

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“Champ of the Ivories”

February 4th, 2011 · 7 Comments

I have done my earnest best to keep self-promotion to a minimum on Microkhan, while also refusing ads in order to preserve the pristine reading experience you’ve (hopefully) come to know and love. But, alas, I’m going to ask you to endure a bit of jersey-popping on this cold winter morn, as I try once […]

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Monroe

January 31st, 2011 · 2 Comments

In transit back from a Now the Hell Will Start reading in Monroe, N.C.—birthplace of Herman Perry, the book’s main character. More tomorrow; in the meantime, check out the above—a tribute to Teddy Weatherford‘s heyday in Calcutta, when “The Seagull” starred at the Grand Hotel. It’s the handiwork of close pal and fellow traveler Susheel […]

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The Importance of Good Design

January 13th, 2011 · No Comments

A salient reminder that engineering details really matter, from the august (and 141-year-old) pages of The Field Quarterly Magazine and Review: The Hindustani howdah often requires six men to place it on the elephant’s padded back. The Siamese “shing kha” can be easily lifted by two persons, and this while the elephant is standing—a great […]

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The Magnificient

September 28th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Given my longstanding fascination with North-East India, one of the primary settings for my 386-page labor o’ love, I’ve been following Mary Kom’s boxing career for a good while now. The 27-year-old mother of twins just won her fifth world championship, a feat that earned her a true hero’s welcome in her native state of […]

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Eternal Students at Bovine University

September 20th, 2010 · 3 Comments

According to the criteria laid out by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his celebrated Four Freedoms speech, life is a mixed bag for millions of Indian cows. On the plus side, they are not confined to grim facilities that exist solely to turn their bovine inmates into hangar steaks. But though free-roaming Indian cows are spared […]

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There She Is, Miss Mizoram

August 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Up to the jawline with work this p.m., so please forgive the video quickie—a look back at the mid-’80s beauty pageant scene in the North-East Indian state of Mizoram. Safe for work, unless your boss objects to one-piece swimsuits. Note the judges’ archaic emphasis on body measurements—perhaps The Feminine Mystique had not yet been published […]

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Jyoti Devithe is Not a Happy Camper

July 29th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Full context here. Devithe, a legislator in the Indian state of Bihar, probably had her heart in the right place, since massive, endemic corruption can be tough to tolerate. But it’s rarely advisable to take a page from the Taiwanese parliamentary playbook.

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Twilight of the Encounter Specialists?

July 6th, 2010 · 5 Comments

The man to the right is Pradeep Sharma, once renowned as one of Mumbai’s top “encounter specialists”—that is, a cop whose not-so-secret mission is to assassinate underworld figures. Though these killings are said to take place during chases or confrontations gone awry, the Indian public knows full well that they are usually the product of […]

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A Feat Worthy of Zatoichi

July 1st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Count us among the many millions who are counting the seconds until The RZA’s directorial debut, Wu-Tang vs. The Golden Phoenix, hits the big screen. In the meantime, we must sate our martial-arts jones with less cinematic fare, starting with this 13-year-old account of Manipuri swordfighting. The denizens of the Indian province have long been […]

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Asha on the Beach

June 17th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Once again, a fresh track has led us to discover a gem from distant shores. In this case, Gonjasufi’s haunting “Sheep” inspired us to seek out its source material, “Yeh Hawa Yeh Fiza” from the 1983 Bollywood classic Sadma. To our great delight, the singer is one of our all-time favorites, Asha “The Enchantress” Bhosle, […]

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A Proud Tradition Betrayed

June 15th, 2010 · No Comments

To our tremendous relief, the 65-day blockade of Manipur appears to be over, thereby allowing much-needed food and medicine to flow into the Indian state. (Microkhan’s backgrounder on the crisis can be found here.) Now, perhaps, the local government can focus on what strikes us a problem of only slightly lesser importance: the long decline […]

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Manipur on the Brink

June 9th, 2010 · 1 Comment

A grim report from North-East India, where Manipur has been under seige for two months: Manipur faces an acute shortage of food and medicines with supplies of essentials cut off for the 60th day Wednesday following an indefinite economic blockade by several tribal groups. “The food crisis is simply acute and also there is a […]

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The Organ Trade Equation

May 20th, 2010 · 6 Comments

As we jam on our monthly Wired column deadline, we thought we’d give y’all something to chew over—a interesting snippet pulled from this excellent Discover piece about the kidney black market in India. Given our philosophical leanings, we generally find ourselves arguing for the legalization and regulation of kidney sales. But then we come across […]

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Thugged Out

May 6th, 2010 · 2 Comments

A treasured Friend o’ Microkhan recently directed us toward this insightful yet depressing Foreign Policy piece, about the seemingly endless nature of Africa’s various armed conflicts. The author makes a convincing case that we do ourselves a disservice by trying to understand these ultra-violent clashes as wars, since one side usually has no interest in […]

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The Real World Cup

April 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Look, we’re as excited as the next khan about the forthcoming FIFA World Cup—if Paraguay wins it all, we stand to make a pretty penny. But our enthusiasm for soccer’s top tournament pales in comparison to the love we feel for the Kabaddi World Cup 2010, currently taking place in Punjab, India. Longtime readers already […]

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Even Nilgais Get the Blues

March 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Nature just hasn’t seen fit to color many terrestrial animals blue, which is why the mere mention of the concept usually makes us think exclusively of fictional beasts. But as it turns out, blue bulls are rather common in India, and they have recently been causing serious problems: Led by Una district committee of Himachal […]

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Chasers Versus Runners

February 9th, 2010 · No Comments

Our affection for the Indian sport of kabaddi is well-known around these parts. But our taste in the athletics of the subcontinent doesn’t always run toward the brutal, as proven by the soft spot we’ve recently developed for kho-kho, which can perhaps be best described as a formalized version of freeze tag. We won’t pretend […]

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The Commandos Take Nagaland

February 1st, 2010 · 5 Comments

It should go without saying that we do our best to keep apprised of the goings-on in North-East India, a place near-and-dear to our hearts. (Yeah, we have multiple hearts—what of it?) We were thus chilled to learn recently that the esteemed province of Nagaland has been invaded by Mary Kay Cosmetics. And the grand-dame […]

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“Like When We Used to Climb the Rope in Gym Class…”

January 27th, 2010 · 3 Comments

If you’ve heard of the traditional Indian sport of mallakhamb, it’s likely in relation to its supposed role in the creation of modern pole dancing. But there’s an offshoot of the sport that involves rope tricks rather than pole stands, and it’s quite a sight to behold (see above). While mallakhamb may be little know […]

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