Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Politics of Swine Flu

India has a population of approximately 1.3 billion people with the "killer virus" reportedly having claimed 51 lives so far. While each death is disturbing and tragic, a few fatalities, scattered across a country of 1.3bn people, do not amount to a pandemic.

Media has created a mass hysteria because of which the government is allocating precious resources to control the spread of a virus which, in 90% of cases, is cured without any medication at all. Schools, colleges, shopping malls and multiplexes across India's major cities have been shut down. Millions of Indians have marked India's 62nd Independence day by being at home. People have been walking with masks on the streets. Travelers coming from all over to India are being checked at airports for any flu like symptoms.

Malaria and tuberculosis in India kill thousands of people every year. AIDS is a bigger problem in India. But these diseases are more rampant in socially backward areas, a part of India which our media refuses to provide adequate coverage.

Not only India, but other emerging economies like Mexico have reacted similarly to the Swine Flu fears. In April Mexico shut down schools, museums, libraries and state-run theaters across its overcrowded capital Friday in hopes of containing a swine flu outbreak .

As countries around the media get more integrated due to globalization, this may be the norm and we are most likely going to see this kind of stance taken by countries just to prove to the others that they are taking appropriate steps to curb global diseases.I hope that the media also focuses on a country's internal health problems so that respective governments take steps to allocate similar resources.

For more details on Swine Flu in India further details can be obtained at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wines in India

Not many people around the world are aware that India has a fast growing wine industry and lot of new wine drinkers.Most wine made in India is consumed there. And as wine publications, wine clubs, competitions and tasting dinners have taken hold, gradually, Indian wines with notable finesse are becoming available and appreciated.It is estimated that in the next 10 years there will be 300 million upwardly mobile Indians who can afford wine and for whom it will be a lifestyle choice.Today the country's erstwhile whiskey-drinking elite are cultivating a taste for wine.

During British colonization, wine became more and more familiar throughout India. The first vineyard was planted in Surat in 1612 by Britons, while "a number of Indian wines were exhibited and favourably received by visitors to the Great Calcutta Exhibition of 1884.
In the 19th century, with the invention of Indian pale ale, beer began to overtake wine consumption, at the same time brandy, whisky and soda, once widely accessible, were recognized as drinks of choice.

Additionally, around the 1860s, when the Schweppes company began marketing its anti-malaria tonic, gin began to gain currency as the best means for making tonic palatable.
At the beginning of twentieth century, cocktails became a fad worldwide, and even today in India, cocktails, whisky soda, rum and brandy are far, far more widely consumed than wine.

Wine was the chosen drink of the Mughal dynasty and the British helped make it popular,the industry's defining moment came in 2002 when the government eliminated restrictions on wine imports. A flood of foreign labels entered the market, and although taxes remained high, a greater range was made available to the Indian connoisseur.

The Indian White wine and Indian Red Wine

The white wine is called Chhabri and it is made predominately from Chardonnay with Ugni Blanc and Thompson Seedless blended together to round out this quite attractive wine.

The red wine is called Anarkali and it is made from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Bangalore Purple which increases the nose and quite firm palate. You might well think you are drinking wine made from Cabernet Franc.

List of Vineyards and Wineries in India

ND Wines - India
Dajeeba - India
Champagne Indage Limited - India
Grover Vineyards - Bangalore, India
Coasta & Company - Goa, India
Sula Wines
Bluestar Agro and Winery (India) Private Limited
Bliss Wines