India Ink Vol. 6: A healing bindi, films in Hindi, and other stories that don’t rhyme

The top stories on India and beyond, every Friday afternoon.

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Read of the week

In 1965 young mathematician Lester Brown traveled to India to evaluate a draft of the country’s latest five-year plan for agriculture. But he kept noticing a strange pattern–lakes running dry, diesel pumps working overtime to irrigate crops, complaints of isolated, localized droughts–and he realized something bigger was about to happen. Farmers were going to fall short, and widespread famine was imminent.

Bloomberg Business eloquently and movingly describes how the audacious Brown convinced President Lyndon B. Johnson to mobilize one of the largest food aid shipments in history, and help lay the groundwork for the Green Revolution that would change Indian agriculture forever.

+ Energy: “India has led the world in bringing power to the people, but still leaves the most people in the dark.” In other words, no country in the world is doing a better job of increasing electricity access–but there’s still a long way to go. (via WSJ India Real Time)

+ Entrepreneurship: 20 must-watch Bollywood movies for entrepreneurs. Now you know what you’re doing this weekend. (via YourStory)

Everybody’s talking about Rahul Yadav, the 26-year-old CEO of Housing.com, one of India’s most successful and dramatic young businessmen. Love him or hate him, the man speaks his mind and cuts a compelling figure in this condensed version of his Reddit AMA. (via Tech In Asia)

+ Health: Special bindis (the red dots Indian women put between their eyebrows) are being sold in India as a treatment for iodine deficiency. “Each bindi is coated with about 150–200 micrograms of iodine that is absorbed through the skin. The effectiveness varies among individuals and depends on factors such as skin thickness and perspiration level.” A solution or a stopgap? (via Yahoo News)

+ Housing: How can there be both a massive housing shortage, and “around 12 million completed houses…lying vacant across urban India”? BBC News explains.

+ Water: Gizmodo breaks down why everyone should stop drinking bottled water, immediately. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for foreigners visiting India, and many other people living in and visiting developing countries. But ridding the world of single-use water bottles is a dream to work toward.