News Activists carry posters as they shout slogans during a protest march against the gangrape and murder of a teenager, in India. The Indian politician has apologised after she said women invite rape.

She came under criticism from members of her own party who distanced themselves from her remarks

Chowringhee, By Sankar trans. Arunava Sinha

Near the end of Chowringhee, we hear a yarn from the old-timer Hobbs. This grizzled veteran of the Raj has memories of a Calcutta grand hotel, the Shahjahan - the story-stuffed centre of this banquet of a novel - that stretch back to "the eighth decade of the 19th century". Now, staying on in India after Independence, Hobbs remembers the career of an equally venerable bar manager, Sohrabji. This poor Parsi restored his fortunes by running raucous Calcutta drinking-dens. Hookers, soldiers and businessmen filled his pockets while he, sober and dutiful, would dream of his clever daughter's radiant future as a great professor. One day she turns up in the money-spinning dive and discovers, with horror, the tainted source of their respectable family life. Sohrabji's world collapses, while Hobbs's belief that "every brick in this hotel has a novel in it" is vindicated yet again.

Flood and Worsley fit to play

England injury doubts Toby Flood and Joe Worsley have both been passed fit to start against Scotland tomorrow.

Darjeeling – does the champagne of brews really need a new name?

Tea estates face shutdown unless they brand packaging as 'flavour of Gorkhaland'

Charm offensive: Why India’s snake men (and their serpents) are taking to the streets

A 1,000-year-old tradition is at risk as police start to take the law seriously and animal welfare activists want the music to stop. Andrew Buncombe reports from Delhi

Editor arrested for 'outraging Muslims'

Protests against Indian newspaper over article reprinted from <i>Independent</i>

Best for colonial splendour: Calcutta

From high-level trekking in Morocco's Atlas Mountains to rubbing shoulders with A-listers on Hollywood Boulevard, and from rural retreats off Tuscany's beaten track to jet-set hang outs for Moscow's super-rich, our writers have been to the ends of the earth to find a world of inspiration

Indian police arrest two men in Mumbai investigation

Indian police arrested two men accused of providing mobile phone cards to the gunmen in the Mumbai attacks, the first known arrests in the probe since the siege ended, police said today.

Parents pleaded with Indian media for help finding killer

Amid the heat and humidity of the monsoon season, Hannah Foster's parents sat in a packed room at the Press Club in Delhi and pleaded with the Indian media to help track down their daughter's killer.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/asian_confusion/index.html" target="_blank">Asian (con)Fusion: Bihar - the battle for survival</a>

Those who survived the floods in Bihar are now involved in a desperate batttle for survival

Tata halts world's cheapest car production after land protests

Violent clashes erupted in West Bengal today after India's top motor manufacturer announced it had ceased production of its revolutionary new 'Nano' car.

2,000 feared dead as floods swamp hundreds of Indian villages

Up to 2,000 people are feared dead after a river changed course, flooding hundreds of villages in the Indian state of Bihar. Stranded villagers were surviving on uncooked rice mixed with dirty water, as authorities struggled to deliver aid to the displaced millions after the worst floods to hit the eastern state in 50 years.

Indian villagers desperate as floods spread

It is a landscape of despair. The carcasses of dead animals lie adrift in the flood water, rotting and stinking. Entire villages in one of India’s poorest states have been washed away and millions of people have been forced from their homes by the worst flooding in the region for 50 years.

Thousands of tourists hit by Darjeeling unrest

Tens of thousands of tourists were left stranded in India's main tea-growing region yesterday as ethnic Gurkhas demanding their own state announced an indefinite general strike and closed down the entire area.

Picture Post: A cut above - Sony Photography Awards

In the digital age of mega-pixels and photo-editing software, it's reassuring to discover that a photographic genius can be discovered in anyone.

Picture Post: Cat overboard &ndash; West Bengal, 19.02.08

It is one of the deadliest creatures on the planet, capable of crunching through limbs with a single bite of its vice-like jaw, but look closely at the face of this majestic – and pregnant – royal Bengal tiger and it appears to be displaying not a deadly gnashing of its glistening teeth, but a triumphant smile.

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