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Just two years after the 2008 Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire” renewed the Western fascination with India, The Commonwealth Club is presenting a closer look at Indian culture in their August series of special lectures this year.

India NOW will feature topics ranging from Bollywood and yoga to economic development and remarkable innovation to religion and culture. Despite its global significance, the world’s second-most populous country remains largely a mystery to many Americans. With its vast array of religions, languages, ethnic groups and traditions, India defies easy classification.

The Club will welcome a number of prominent India experts from various fields, including academia, business, government, and the arts. With a host of speakers, panels, films, and exhibits, the series will shed light on India’s complexities and explore its rich diversity.

“Very few Westerners have a true understanding of this enigmatic country—a nation fraught with contrasts and contradictions.  On one hand India is overcrowded and poverty-stricken. But India also boasts a thriving economy and extraordinarily wealthy and educated upper class,” says Gloria Duffy, president and CEO of The Commonwealth Club.

“We hope to explore some of these ostensibly conflicting realities,” she says.
The series organizer, Carol Fleming, says, “India is a land of paradoxes: it contains a populace vastly divided along socioeconomic and religious lines. We hope to understand the many challenges India will encounter as it continues to grow in both population and wealth.”

Topics: Aug. 1 cosmic comic; Aug. 3 investing, Aug. 8 yoga and the Bhagavad Gita, Aug. 9 bio-diversity and agriculture, Aug. 10 Muslims in India, Aug. 11 economic growth and entrepreneurship, Aug. 17 growing up queer in India, Aug. 18 sustainable water supply, Aug. 22 Islamic and Hindu art, Aug. 24 Bollywood, Aug. 25 Indian diaspora, Aug. 29 medical innovations, and Aug. 31 India as a rising superpower. Please check IC calendar listings for details on individual programs.

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