Tuesday, February 24, 2004

BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia warms up to an Indian winter

Indian Summer Hits Wintry Russia

It is hard to imagine two things less similar than a scene from a Bollywood film and a Moscow street scene - particularly in winter, but as the BBC reports, India has never been in greater vogue, than it is now in Russia.

"Thousands of young Russians fill the few remaining places on beaches in India's southern state of Goa - and last weekend British-Indian rapper Panjabi MC packed one of Moscow's biggest venues. "One can't strangle this song, one can't kill it," proclaims a Soviet-era patriotic anthem. And "Mundian to Bach Ke" - which translates as "Beware of the Boys" - is that kind of song. Last summer it spread throughout Moscow, blasting from passing cars and kiosks that sell pirate CDs.

And inside trendy Moscow lounge bars with Indian designs, young people sip lassies - a traditional Indian yoghurt drink - and listen to artists like Nitin Sawhney and Badmarsh and Shri. Every week several charters - and many more regular flights - take off from snow-covered Moscow airports, for the white sand of Goan beaches.

For many young Russians, the Indian love affair could be the start of the equivalent of the '60s in the West - the time when people strove for full freedom from the constraints of traditional society.


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