Madhu Bazaz Wangu | Blog
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FEATHERED QUILL BOOK REVIEW INTERVIEW

Feathered Quill's Lynette Latzko Interviews Author Madhu Bazaz Wangu FQ: Most Westerners are not familiar with Indian culture and practices, especially ones that have been outlawed quite some time ago like suttee. What did you hope to accomplish when you began writing The Last Suttee? WANGU: I wanted to let people of India and the world know that rituals like suttee and similar social traditions, that suppress women, continue to persist in many cultures. I wanted to write socio-economic and cultural reasons of the ritual, put it within the context of modern India and give voice to the ritual murder of a widow. Even one such horror is one too many.FQ: I read a bit about the suttee of Roop Kanwar in 1987, and was surprised to discover that eleven people were...

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Tokyo, Japan

“Travel is not about collecting passport stamps but keeping your eyes open.” Pico Iyer   Tokyo, Japan We had all these images about Tokyo. In reality, it turned out to be quite different and still the same. Our hotel, Mandarin Oriental, was in the heart of Tokyo. The view from our room was of a concrete jungle sprinkled with skyscrapers. It looked terribly crowded yet strangely quiet.   It was not one of the prettiest cities we had visited but has fabulous restaurants, unparalleled mass transit system, exquisite gardens, and it was impeccably clean. There were no trash bins on the roadside. People carried their trash with them to dispose it off at home or office. Two noteworthy features: first a sense of surprise when among the grey skyscrapers appeared stone lanterns, tori...

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Kyoto, Japan

KYOTO   “Asia is not going to be civilized after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia and she is too old.” Rudyard Kipling   From the gold city of Kanazawa, we rode to Kyoto by Japan Railway Thunderbird Express. Kyoto was Japan’s capital for over 1,000 years before Tokyo took its place. Kyoto is the city of Zen temples and tea ceremony, of glorious imperial gardens, and also sprinkled with art museums and modern cafes. It’s the yin of the country.   Our first stop was the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), the retirement villa of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After his death in 1408, the building was turned into a Zen temple according to his will. Constructed out of wood in the middle of a large pond, its top two floors are completely covered...

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Matsumoto, Takayama & Kanazawa: JAPAN

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” James A. Michener Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto Castle is one of the most complete and beautiful stone castles in Japan. First build in 1504, during Edo Period Shogunate (1600-1868) who established Matsumoto Domain. For 280 years, until the abolition of feudal system, the castle was ruled by 23 consecutive lords. From far the castle looks like a black bird spreading its wings. Climbing the sixth-floors was strenuous due to the irregular height of the steps. They were made in such a way so that the enemy, encumbered with their regalia, would find it hard to ascend. The interior was constructed with wood, stone and mud. Each floor had a display of weapons, pictures or...

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Hakone, Japan

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." Mark Twain A month ago, I celebrated my birthday in Hakone, Japan. Thank you all for posting affectionate and loving birthday messages! They enhanced my stay in enchanting valley of Hakone that boasts of two dozen museums and numerous mineral springs. In magnificently beautiful Hakone National Park we walked along the shores of Lake Ashi. We sailed with a view of Mount Fuji (12,389 ft.) with its subtly slant snow peak. Mt. Fuji has inspired poets and painters through centuries and is one of the most visited pilgrimage centers in this island country. It played hide and seek with clouds and mist throughout our stay. We got a glimpse of Mt. Fuji the day we were to leave. We could also see it from the...

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A Literary Event

Celebrate @wqed.edu young writers @passagesandprose 10/7, 10 am - 4 pm at @thetwentiethcenturyclub. www.passagesandprose.com  #reading #writing #literacy #authors #books #illustrators #AmazingAuthorsAndTheirBooks ...

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Passages & Prose Literary Event

Getting Excited about the Annual Literary Event: Passages & Prose. Would love to see some Mindful Writers and Pennwriters at the Passages & Prose Literary Event! Please mark your calendar for October 7, 2017. http://lillieleonardi.com/passagesandprose/main-stage-authors/     ...

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Why I Wrote the Novel, THE LAST SUTTEE

Why I Wrote the Novel, THE LAST SUTTEE On the morning of September 5, 1987, I was going through the Hillman Library card catalogue at the University of Pittsburgh when a friend stopped by. She told me something I would never forget. She said that an eighteen-year-old Indian woman, named Roop Kanwar, had immolated herself on the pyre of her dead husband. I was dumbfounded. Suttee in the twentieth century? It couldn’t be. But The New York Times confirmed the news. The ritual, known as suttee, was witnessed by the townspeople and thousands more came to see it from nearby villages and towns. When the news was leaked the following day, the town was swarmed for days by Indian and international journalists. I was stunned and speechless, my legs laden...

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Art and Inspiration: An Evening With Creative Minds

My heartfelt thanks to Art and Inspiration Group (Shaler North Hills Library), under the leadership of the renowned painter and sculptor William Rock, for inviting me last night to speak about meditations for creative minds. The discussion with the group of sculptors, artists, poets, writers and photographers was lively, enriching and thought provoking. What an evening! ...

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