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Renuka Narayanan

Renuka Narayanan is a commentator and columnist on religion and culture.

Articles by Renuka Narayanan

Midway through the month of super-heroes: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

April in India is pretty amazing for how many famous birthdays from myth and history fall in it.

A scene from the highly decorated Anandi Lal Poddar Haveli in Rajasthan’s Shekhawati region, depicting Rama and Sita. In the old days, cultural literacy meant that you only needed to see an image in order to recall at least a dozen stories and moral messages.(Getty Images / iStock Photo)
Updated on Apr 22, 2017 08:04 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Never stop trying, said the Bodhisattva: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Every religion offers the same message: You do not hide your light under a bushel. Effort is never wasted.

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Apr 22, 2017 08:04 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

A call to artists and all epic depictors

Does the way we depict demons in mythology contribute to the frequent lack of respect for people who are racially different from ‘us’

(Shutterstock Image)
Updated on Apr 02, 2017 10:53 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Poor, brilliant and ambitious – a medieval maverick

Jagannath Pandit was an Andhra Brahmin is respected as one of the last hurrahs of the old Sanskrit tradition

A view of the Ganga at sunrise. Jagannath Pandit is still remember for his Ganga Leheri(SHUTTERSTOCK)
Published on Mar 25, 2017 10:04 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

A path through the forest of the heart

The allure of the gods

Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism.(Photo: Shutterstock)
Published on Mar 18, 2017 04:57 PM IST
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A rule for you and a rule for me: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Why are some men who behave obnoxiously towards women nevertheless awarded and celebrated?

A still from Guru Dutt’s 1955 film, Mr & Mrs 55, an utterly anti-woman affair that involved the basest stereotypes and a kidnapping ‘for love’, followed by the total capitulation of what had been a thinking heroine. Why is it that we let artistes get away with treating women so badly?
Published on Mar 04, 2017 08:22 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Flipping other kinds of crepe: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

The history of food is the history of cultural contact. At its most charming, human contact has culture sailing like a bird perched on the shoulder of commerce.

There are at least thirty kinds of desi dosas listed on foodie sources. While some are ‘traditional’ recipes, others seem to be born out of sheer exuberance, like the beetroot dosa(SHUTTERSTOCK)
Updated on Feb 26, 2017 10:49 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Sermons in stones, and good in everything: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Once, the most important garden in the Gangetic Plain was Jetavana, the Grove of Prince Jeta (Kumar).

The Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan are opening to the public on February 5.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Feb 05, 2017 09:56 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

A love letter to India about her farthest state: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

The outpouring regarding the jallikattu issue is of accumulated despair about the health of Tamil Nadu.

‘In my gradually evolving view, the uprising in Tamil Nadu is not so much about cattle or even Hindi. I see it as the outpouring of accumulated despair about the health of Tamil Nadu.’
Published on Jan 28, 2017 09:25 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

A search for dignity and self-respect

A school for grannies in Maharashtra is saving elderly women in the villages from facing embarrassment for being illiterate

It’s never too late to learn to read and write.(Shutterstock)
Published on Jan 21, 2017 10:17 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

The best of luck to Aristotle... and us: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Some values are enduring and come in handy as we struggle to stay grounded through our times.

I wouldn’t give up my old gods for new every thousand years.(Getty Images/Vetta)
Published on Jan 14, 2017 07:55 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

This year, show gratitude: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Irrespective of belief and unbelief, plot a personal plan, never mind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

The deities seem remarkably united on how we’re supposed to express gratitude - appreciate the good things, and be kind.(Getty Images/iStock Photo)
Updated on Jan 08, 2017 11:02 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

The boon from the goddess of good fortune

A classic parable explains how affection and loyalty among people is the best kind of good fortune

Love among members is the best fortune that a family can have.(Shutterstock)
Published on Dec 31, 2016 09:42 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Those lives unparalleled, spirits sublime: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Christmas, like Janmashtami, is beloved to us for its spirit of joyous welcome and positive transformation.

On Christmas Day, it is not submission we rejoice in, but righteous resistance.(ISTOCK)
Published on Dec 24, 2016 08:24 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

A haiku for beauty, health and hap

it’s not only our physical health but also our mental and spiritual well-being that trees profoundly affect

A bauhinia tree in bloom(Getty Images)
Updated on Dec 18, 2016 11:54 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Once again in Chennai, a collective sense of decency

Jayalalithaa’s funeral was a perfect example of the Tamil rule principle of adakkam or public self-restraint.

People had predicted ritos at the funeral of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Instead, as with the floods in Chennai, what we saw was a lesson in dignity and restraint.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Dec 11, 2016 09:55 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Ancient wisdom to fight against pollution: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

How on earth did they know back in 1,000 BC that sansevieria would reduce pollution at the burning grounds?

At the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. We’ve been using plants like the sanseviera to clean our air since about 1,000 BC. Maybe it’s time to bring them home again.(AFP)
Updated on Dec 03, 2016 08:35 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Thank you for the food we eat: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

If all things belong to the Creator, then to eat without acknowledging the provider is equal to theft, say our sages and saints.

When we offer food to a deity, it does not mean we expect ‘God’ to eat it. It just means we acknowledge that the food is a gift.(Getty Images/iStock)
Updated on Nov 27, 2016 10:33 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

The truth is, truth has many faces: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

There are two sides to the demonetisation debate, but then there are at least two sides to all things.

The Khon Thai dance represents one of the many versions of the Ramayana.(Getty Images)
Updated on Nov 20, 2016 09:45 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: Please do as you would be done by

Our Constitution mandates equality between men and women, castes and communities. Are we there yet?

Isn’t it quaint, and convenient, to expect Donald Trump to personify liberal perfection, when we don’t?(AP)
Updated on Nov 13, 2016 08:54 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: A personal bond with health and sunshine

At the core of the Chhath Puja festival is the idea of acknowledging the sun as the source of life and health.

The dawn is personified as Chhatthi Ma, the term coming from the Sanskrit ‘Shashti’, meaning ‘the sixth day’, in this case of the Indian lunar month of Kartik.(iStock / Getty Images)
Updated on Nov 06, 2016 10:07 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: A cottage of leaves by the lotus lake

The manner in which Ram, Sita and Lakshman built their home in exile can be a lesson to us all.

Building a home, any home, requires love, trust and delicacy. It’s an exercise in giving each other space.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Published on Oct 29, 2016 07:30 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: Dipavali as a time for the traditional

This is how jalebis with rabri are described in London’s oldest Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy’s, which turns 90 this year: ‘crispy lattice swirls with Indian clotted cream’. Such random thoughts have a way of popping into one’s head between Dussehra and Dipavali.

The festival of lights is also a festival of mithai, jalebi and rabdi, and other things sweet. But did you know there used to be a right way, even for gorging?(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Nov 04, 2019 04:27 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Dussehra with a difference: No smoke or fire but so much fun

The spirit of Dussehra past lingered with a twist, with a laser Ramayana on a large screen with excellent images and sound

Effigies of Ravan and Kumbhkaran being set on fire during the Dussehra celebrations in Delhi on Tuesday.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 16, 2016 10:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

SheBaba by Renuka Narayanan: All we need is love – but whose, exactly?

The idea of everything being an illusion, even love, is actually deep Advaita.

The break-up of Brangelina brings to mind the saying, ’Ram naam saga, baki sab daga’, meaning, ‘Only God’s name is truly ‘ours’, all else is a hoax [an illusion]’.(Mario Anzuoni / Reuters File Photo)
Updated on Sep 25, 2016 10:28 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

SheBaba by Renuka Narayanan: Trampled, trodden under in the name of God

Do we go templing as a socio-religious combo pack?

We cannot know what God thinks of it all, but festivals are a good time to at least attempt to know ourselves.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Sep 18, 2016 11:06 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Take a moment to think about how words said out of thoughtlessness can hurt

Too much political correctness can be a pain, but it’s worth being a little careful if it means one can escape the sin of unintentionally wounding others

If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have a disability of some sort. So be nice about those whose affliction just happens to be more visible.(iStock Photo)
Updated on Jun 26, 2016 11:19 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Death of a river is the death of an ecosystem

In human terms the death of a river or a lake or a sea is as though somebody important in the family, somebody central to its well-being, has suddenly died.

Respecting water has everything to do with believing in God.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 04, 2016 08:52 PM IST

Two otters and an expectedly wily jackal

The moral of a Jataka tale that still rings true.

Locals line up their boats at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT photo)
Published on Apr 24, 2016 02:31 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Yamuna: A very foolish, humane and loving river

Over the years I built up an impression of a charming, wistful sweetness about the Yamuna compared to her grand sisters.

Dear Yamuna, you deserved better from modern India.(iStock Photo)
Updated on Mar 20, 2016 03:17 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By
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