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September 22, 2008

Scenes from India

India is home to over 1.2 billion people of wildly varying religions, cultures and levels of wealth. Only 61 years since declaring its Independence from English rule, modern India is still defining itself, sometimes against the friction inside and outside of its borders. Recent newsworthy events in India include vast Monsoon flooding, conflicts in still-disputed Kashmir, and religious clashes between Hindus and Christians - and celebrations conducted by Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and more. Though there's no possible way for these images to be comprehensive, here are some recent photos of scenes in India. (34 photos total)

Devotees carry a statue of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, for immersion in the sea, on the last day of "Ganesh Chaturthi", in Mumbai September 14, 2008. Clay statues of Ganesh are made two to three months before this popular religious festival in India. The idols are taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing and singing, to be immersed in a river symbolizing a ritual sendoff on his journey towards his home. (REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe)

A devotee watches an idol of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, sinking, after it was immersed in the Sabarmati river on the last day of "Ganesh Chaturthi" in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, September 14, 2008. (REUTERS/Amit Dave) #

A rhinoceros which strayed in Kalcheni village, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Gauhati, India, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, hides from wildlife officials. More than 100 wildlife officials tracked the animal using its radio collar after it strayed from the Assam state's Manas National Park on Sept. 1, but could not capture it until Sunday, fearing that if they tranquilized it in the marshy area it could drown. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath) #

An artisan gives finishing touches to an idol of the Hindu Goddess Durga at a workshop in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri September 20, 2008. The idols will be used during the Durga Puja festival, a popular religious event for Hindu Bengalis. In Hindu mythology, Durga symbolises power and the triumph of good over evil. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #

People carry earthen water pots as they take part in a Jhulelal Chaliha procession in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad September 6, 2008. Thousands of people took part in the 40 day long fasting festival of the Sindhi community, Jhulelal Chaliha, that ended on Saturday with a colourful procession of earthen pots carried by male and female devotees on their heads. (REUTERS/Amit Dave) #

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier holds position inside a bulletproof vehicle during an encounter at Chinor village on the outskirts of Jammu August 27, 2008. Suspected Muslim militants who slipped across the border from Pakistan into Indian Kashmir killed at least two civilians and an army officer in the Hindu-majority region of Jammu earlier that day, police said. (REUTERS/Amit Gupta) #

Protestors challenge the police during a victory rally in Jammu, India, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. Hindus on Sunday suspended their two-month-old protest over allotment of land to a Hindu trust to build facilities for pilgrims in the Indian portion of Kashmir, which had triggered some of the worst violence in the region in more than a decade, officials said. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) #

A policeman throws stones at protestors during a victory rally in Jammu, India, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) #

Catholic nuns from the Missionaries of Charity order sing hymns for a special prayer during the eleventh anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata September 5, 2008. Mother Teresa was a Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun who died in 1997, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003 at the Vatican. (REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw) #

A damaged church, seen in the village of Raikia, India, after it was allegedly stormed by Hindu fundamentalists, on August 31, 2008. Indian authorities insisted they had halted deadly clashes between Hindus and Christians in the east of the country that have exposed it to stinging criticism. At least 10 people have died and thousands have fled their homes as a result of the violence in the coastal state of Orissa, with the Catholic church accusing police of failing to protect defenceless priests and nuns. (DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Theyyam dancer waits to perform during festivities marking the start of the annual harvest festival of "Onam" in the southern Indian city of Kochi September 2, 2008. The 10-day long festival is celebrated annually in India's southern coastal state of Kerala to symbolise the return of King Mahabali to meet his beloved subjects. (REUTERS/Sivaram V) #

Monsoon rains have caused a great deal of flooding throughout low-lying regions of India. Here, villagers wade through a flooded road near Mithapur village, 67 km (42 miles) west of Ahmedabad, September 19, 2008. (REUTERS/Amit Dave) #

A man is airlifted onto an Indian Air Force helicopter at a flood-affected village in the eastern Indian state of Bihar September 3, 2008. The floods have forced more than three million people from their homes, destroyed 250,000 acres of farmland and killed over 150 people. (REUTERS/Indian Defence Ministry) #

A flood-affected man waits for food in a flood relief camp at Jankinagar village of Purniya district in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, September 6, 2008. Authorities battling a massive deluge in Bihar had issued public warnings of more floods to come and asked villagers not to return home from temporary shelters yet. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #

Refugees from flooded areas extend their hands to fetch food packets distributed by National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel at Raghunathpur area, Madhepura district of India's northeastern state of Bihar, on September 5, 2008. Rescue workers in flood-hit northern India have brought over 800,000 people to safety, but tens of thousands more were still believed to be trapped, officials said. (DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Workers arrange bottles of drinking water before an air-drop in flood-affected areas at Purniya air force station in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, September 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #

Muslim women react to the camera at a makeshift flood relief camp in Araria district town in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, September 7, 2008. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #

A Hindu woman has her hand painted with henna during the Teej festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad September 2, 2008. Hindu women fast and pray for the good health and long life of their husbands during the Teej festival. (REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash) #

Forestry workers look on as a male Royal Bengal Tiger leaps off a boat into the water after being released back into the wild in The Chamta Forest District of The Sunderbans, in India, on September 4, 2008. The tiger was declared fit for release by veterinarians after it was recently rescued from a nearby village. (HO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A mask is shown being put on the back of honey collector Madhusudhan Mondal's head, in Bali, a village in the Sundarbans, India, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008. The Sundarbans forest, a remote tangle of unforgiving islands dangling off the eastern edge of India, is home to perhaps the world's largest population of tigers, prone to attacking humans, as well as 4 million people who are among the poorest in India. Locals believe that tigers do not attack humans from the front and wear masks on the back of their heads in the hope of warding them off. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh) #

The Satellite Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, India's first moon mission craft is seen from behind glass at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) center in Bangalore on September 18, 2008. Chandrayaan-1, which has almost reached its final stages of preparation before its shipment to its launch centre at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), in Sriharikota.(DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A view of the illuminated Golden Temple, Sikhs holiest shrine, in Amritsar, India, Monday, Sept. 1, 2008. This year, Sikhs mark the 404th anniversary of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred book of the Sikhs. (AP Photo/Aman Sharma) #

Indian Hindu devotees pay their respects after pouring milk water onto an idol of Hindu God Lord Krishna at the Shivala temple in Amritsar, on August 24, 2008, on the occasion of the "Janmashtami" festival, which marks the birth of Lord Krishna. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebrations of the festival all over northern India. (NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hindu devotees, try to form a human pyramid to break an earthen pot filled with honey, milk and curd, as part of festivities to celebrate Janmashthmi, or the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #

Young Indian devotees of Hindu God Lord Krishna attempt to make a seven-tier human pyramid in the 'dahi-handi' (curd-pot) contest in Mumbai on August 24, 2008, as part of celebrations of "Janmashtami" which marks the birth of Hindu God Lord Krishna. Scores of Hindu devotees of Lord Krishna partake in the dahi-handi celebration during which a large earthenware pot is filled with milk, curds, butter, honey and fruits and suspended from a height of between 20 to 40 feet. Sporting young men and boys come forward to claim this prize by constructing a human pyramid till the pyramid is tall enough to enable the topmost person to reach the pot and claim the contents after breaking it. (PAL PILLAI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Engineers prepare to roll-out the Spark, one of General Motors Corp's passenger vehicles, at the company's new plant in Talegaon, about 160 km (99 miles) northeast of Mumbai September 2, 2008. General Motors Corp's most important priority is to turn around its North American business and it will continue investments in emerging markets, its chief operating officer said on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe) #

A relative of a bomb blast victim sits next to their body at a cremation ground in New Delhi September 14, 2008. Police officers trawled slums and criminal hideouts in India's capital on Sunday rounding up suspects after serial bombings in the city a day earlier killed at least 21 people and wounded nearly 100. At least five bombs exploded in quick succession in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi on Saturday night. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi) #

A woman works in a rice paddy near Singur, about 50 km (31 miles) north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata August 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Parth Sanyal) #

Activists of the People for Animals (PFA) an NGO hold two Dwarf tortoises, which were rescued from a resident in Guwahati on September 18, 2008. The pair were later released into the the Dighalipukhuri pond in Guwahati, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of Assam. (BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images) #

People fish for wood for domestic use at the Naraj barrage on the Kathjodi River in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, Friday, Sept. 19, 2008. The flood situation in Orissa worsened as the government launched a massive evacuation operation to shift the residents of low-lying areas to safer places, according to a news agency. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout) #

Kashmiri Muslim protesters shout pro-freedom slogans during an anti-India protest in Srinagar September 19, 2008. Thousands of Muslims demonstrators shouting anti-India slogans took to streets in Kashmir's main city on Friday and resumed protests against New Delhi's rule in the disputed region. (REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli) #

A bull and other pedestrians walk past a computer supermarket in New Delhi September 19, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Performers dressed as tigers take part in Pulikali, or tiger dance, during festivities in Trichur city, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, September 15, 2008. The ceremony was organised to mark the end of the annual harvest festival, "Onam". (REUTERS/Sivaram V) #

A model presents a creation by Indian designer Anamika Khanna on the fourth day of the HDIL India Couture Week in Mumbai on September 19, 2008. India is hosting its first ever haute couture week showcasing over six days, 11 leading designers in a celebration of the country's rich heritage in bespoke fashion. But unlike the bank-breaking, impossible-to-wear creations on show twice a year in Paris that are not even intended for the high street, Indian couturiers say they are offering wearable made-to-order clothes at a realistic price. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images) #