, , , , , , , , , ,

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Oprah Winfrey posed in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, January 19.

Goodbye 2012. We enter 2013 with India reeling from the rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old on a bus in Delhi last month. The brutal crime and its aftermath continue to make headlines around the world, and readers are closely following our coverage on India Real Time.

Overall, the most popular stories on IRT last year focused on women. And Indian Americans. Other evergreen subjects included anything related to Pakistan and/or cricket.

Below is the list of IRT’s 10 most-read posts this year,* starting with the most popular.

Playboy pinup Sherlyn Chopra and India’s Changing Morals: When Richard Gere publicly kissed Shilpa Shetty on the cheek five years ago, many reacted angrily, seeing this as an insult to Indian morality. This attitude appears to be changing, judging by the response to Sherlyn Chopra, who is set to be the first Indian woman to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Sherlyn Chopra at a press conference in Mumbai, July 23.

‘Two-Finger’ Test for Rape Needs to End: This was one of many IRT posts following the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi and her subsequent death. Human Rights Watch highlighted the “two-finger test” as evidence that India has failed to take rape seriously, with women often taking the blame.

Why So Few Women Jog in India. In September, 10,609 people signed up to run in the fifth Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. Only 11.1% of them were women. This posts looks at what makes jogging in India so intimidating for many women.

The U.S. Loves the Kurti. Yes, the kurti is everywhere – it is becoming a versatile, sought after garment in the U.S., even among non-Indians. At the Olympics, even the mother of swimmer Michael Phelps was wearing one. Is it the Bollywood influence?

India Gives Oprah Thumbs Down. India as Westerners imagine it, one stereotype at a time. The talk-show star host got plenty of flak in India after the India-focused episode of her primetime series “Oprah’s Next Chapter” aired on television in July.

Women Are Asking for It. “They wear short skirts, their jeans are too tight and their necklines too low. Worst of all, they are out after dark – often unescorted. In other words, they are asking for it,” we wrote in this post. In the wake of the case of a teenager who was molested by 20 men on a busy street in Guwahati, we looked at the dangerous mentality of blaming victims of sexual harassment, not just their assaulters. This is particularly poignant now, as India comes to terms with the brutal attack on the 23-year-old woman in Delhi last month.

Why Indian Americans are Best at Bees. After giving the correct spelling of the word “guetapens,” 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati won the 2012 Scripps Spelling Bee. This was the fifth straight year that an Indian American won the spelling competition. Here’s why.

Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez congratulates Indian cricketer Virat Kohli after India’s victory, Sept. 30.

India Is Becoming Pakistan. The headline helped draw attention here. The post is actually about cricket. “Pakistan for long has been the most unpredictable of all top cricket nations, ruthlessly brilliant in one match, a shambles the next,” the post noted. At the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, India was proving just as hard to figure out.

Why Indian Americans Dominate the U.S. Motel Industry. Nearly half of the motels in the U.S. are owned by Indian Americans. A recent book by a U.S.-based sociology professor set out to examine how this happened.

Dubai’s Taj Mahal Gets Frosty Reception. A replica of the Taj Mahal is set to be built in Dubai. But this version of the world-famous monument of love will be bigger, and comes with a hotel and as well as a shopping area. This raised eyebrows among many in India.

*This list only includes regular posts. We left out live blogs and film review roundups. We have separate posts for Career Journals and our long-form, serialized investigations.