quick reads

The big news: SC upholds death term for ‘barbaric’ 2012 Delhi gangrape convicts, and 9 other stories

Other headlines: India launched the Saarc satellite from Sriharikota, and the president approved an Ordinance to tackle banks’ non-performing assets.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Supreme Court upholds death sentence for all four convicts in 2012 Delhi gangrape case: The bench said their crime was ‘barbaric’ and that it had taken into consideration the seriousness of Singh’s injuries.   
  2. India launches its communications satellite for South Asia, which Pakistan had snubbed: Experts say this is the first time India has launched a satellite with a clear foreign policy agenda, as against a commercial, defence or scientific one.   
  3. President approves ordinance that gives RBI, public sector banks more power to tackle bad loans: The new law gives the central bank the freedom to relax some guidelines if required, so the money can be recovered faster.   
  4. CIA, South Korea tried to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, says North Korea: The ministry said US and Seoul were supporting a ‘terrorist group’ which had planned to stage an attack against the leader using ‘bio-chemical substances’.
  5. State-level tax check posts will not be operational from July 1 under Goods and Services Tax: Excise collections points will remain as they are related to taxation on alcohol, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said. 
  6. Pakistan rejects bill aimed at increasing marriageable age of girls, calls it ‘un-Islamic’: The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2016, proposed to increase the minimum age from 16 to 18 years.  
  7. Violent protests erupt in Balochistan after a Hindu allegedly shares ‘blasphemous’ content on WhatsApp: A 13-year-old boy was killed during clashes between an angry mob and the Hub City police. 
  8. China’s first indigenous passenger jet completes maiden flight: The C919’s launch marked the country’s entry into the aviation sector dominated by Boeing and Airbus.   
  9. Pakistan International Airlines suspends weekly Mumbai-Karachi flight from May 11: An airline official said commercial factors, in addition to cross-border tension, could be the reason behind the sudden suspension.   
  10. Kannada actress Rekha Sindhu killed in a car accident on Chennai-Bengaluru highway: Her driver is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel on Friday morning, police officials said.   
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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.