Magazine article New Internationalist

Honest Bombshells: Anthropologist Unearths Awkward Facts

Magazine article New Internationalist

Honest Bombshells: Anthropologist Unearths Awkward Facts

Article excerpt

ALL Indian anthropologist Dr Kumar Suresh Singh and his team wanted to do was 'to record the life of our people as truthfully, as honestly as we can'.

So they set about producing a tremendous 46,000 - page document called The Life of the People of India which covers every rite, every custom, every habit and every single community in the country. More than 500 sociologists and 3,000 researchers were involved in the eight - year - long study of 4,000 communities.

But in doing so Dr Singh has unwittingly assembled what is being described in the Indian press as 'a bomb'. This, the country's most comprehensive survey, manages to expose the taboos and stereotypes of every community. Now Dr Singh is agonizing. How does he inform Sikhs that the practice they vehemently oppose -- smoking -- actually flourishes in the majority of their communities? How does he tell supposedly anti - alcohol Muslims that they shelter drinkers? …

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