Sunday 4 November 2018

Raja Rao - Kanthapura - Bharat Ek Khoj

Raja Rao's Kanthapura - Televised by Shyam Benegal

Bharat Ek Khoj—The Discovery of India A Production of Doordarshan, the Government of India’s Public Service Broadcaster Episode 49: And Gandhi Came, Part I With Shabana Azmi as Rangamma, Om Puri as Patel Range Gowda, Ila Arun as Gangamma, Savita Bajaj as Venkamma, Pallavi Joshi as Ratna, Virendra Saxena as Rachanna, Piyush Mishra as Murthy, Irfan Khan as Bade Khan, Sudhir Kulkarni as Bhatt, and Bhavana Mukativala as Radhamma. Playback by Chandrakant Kale, Ranjana Joglekar, Jolly Mukherjee, Pankaj Mitra, Anand Kumar, and Shobha Joshi Excerpts from Kanthapura by Raja Rao. Nehru notes that when World War I started, politics in India was at a low ebb. This was chiefly because of the split in the Congress between two sections, the radicals and the moderates, and also because of wartime restrictions and regulations. And then Gandhi came. He was like a powerful current of fresh air that made Indians stretch themselves and take deep breaths. He seemed to emerge from the millions of India, speaking their language and incessantly drawing attention to their appalling condition. The sprawling photographs of Gandhi illustrate how he entered the Congress and made it a democratic, mass organisation. The peasants rolled in and the Congress assumed the look of a vast agrarian organ with a strong sprinkling of the middle class. Industrial workers too came in as individuals. The ensuing drama draws from the episodes of Raja Rao’s novel, Kanthapura, that is embedded in those traumatic times. Even the traditional Harikatha gatherings are redolent with the consciousness that Mahatma Gandhi has newly instilled. Gandhi is depicted as the new incarnation of Vishnu who has come to rid the British oppression. There is resistance to provide accommodation to the newly-posted village-official, symptomatic of the troubled times. The word spreads on the efficacy of spinning thread daily by the Charkha (spinning wheel) and the message of assimilating the Achhoots (the untouchables) is driven in against the prevailing notions of community discrimination. Like many a village in India, Kanthapura is agog with Gandhian spirit. The protagonists Kashinath and Murthy, and even the village women Rangamma and Ratna, are involved in lively debates on the socio-political issues, in the face of the police antagonism. Murthy, the staunch Gandhian, undertakes a 3-day fast for self-purification, barring a daily drink of three glasses of water. The villagers, including the Patel, commiserate with him, but Murthy, drawing his inspiration from Gandhi’s many fasts, is adamant. We hear Gandhi’s favourite Ramdhun for congregational singing: Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram… Gandhi’s ideas of truth, love, divinity and non-violence are animatedly discussed, alongside the need for daily spinning of cotton yarn as an act of self- reliance for weaving hand-spun clothes. Amidst the spreading ethos of Charkha distribution, Murthy is arrested. Commenting on such far-reaching impact of Gandhi on the village folks, Nehru avers that this astonishingly vital man, full of self-confidence and an unusual kind of power, standing for equality and freedom of each individual but measuring all this in terms of the poorest, fascinated the masses of India and attracted them like a magnet. Producer Doordarshan Language Hindi Credits Uploaded by Public.Resource.Org Based on Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India With Roshan Seth as Jawaharlal Nehru Om Puri as the Narrator Produced and Directed by Shyam Benegal Chief Assistant Director was Mandeep Kakkar Executive Producer Raj Plus Script by Shama Zaldi and Sunil Shanbag A production of Doordarshan

 Part 2
Nehru notes that against the all-pervading fear amongst Indian people of the British Raj, Gandhi’s quiet and determined voice was raised, ‘Be not afraid’. Suddenly, the black pall of fear was lifted from the people’s shoulders. To the ordinary village folks, it made all the difference. The song picks up the refrain that the Congress would hereafter rule in the rural front and initiate Rama Raj by abolishing Ravana Raj of the aliens. While Murthy declines to appoint an advocate to plead for him, Rangamma’s visit to the town to look for a defence lawyer is in vain. She returns with the news that Murthy has been sentenced to a three-month imprisonment. Rangamma and Ratna now pick up the cudgel and begin organising the female front of volunteers after the model of Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. They resolve not to fight back, even if beaten. There are mild protestations from the ilk of Narayan not to allow their female folk go in for public demonstrations. News comes that Murthy is released, but the nightmare is not over. The tidings of the Dundee March and Salt Satyagraha trickle in to enthuse the villagers no end. People decide to observe Maun (silence) to strengthen the Congress. There is tumultuous singing of another favourite Bhajan of Gandhi, by Narsinh Mehta: Vaishnavajanato Tene Kahiye… Further news trickles in that the police has lathi-charged the corps of volunteers at Mahatma’s prayer meeting. This only steels the people’s resolve not to pay tax and offer passive resistance. A new phenomenon is women taking out processions and picketing in front of liquor-shops to stop their men folk from alcoholism. The tax-evasion campaign takes an ugly turn, with the police auctioning off the landed property of the defaulters in Kanthapura. Women, under the guidance of the hiding men, put up resistance, but the police open indiscriminate fire killing many and injuring several. There is chaos now from a failed resistance, with people leaving Kanthapura en masse for Kashipura near Mysore and leaders like Murthy, Rangamma and Ratna imprisoned for six months. There is also news trickling in that at the apex, Nehru and Gandhi do not quite agree on non-violence. Nehru observes that, by 1930, Gandhi seemed, to his countrymen, able to link the past with the future and to make the present appear as a stepping-stone to the future of life and hope. Thus he affected a vast psychological revolution not only among those who followed his lead, but also among his opponents and those neutrals who were still ambivalent. Producer Doordarshan Language Hindi Credits Uploaded by Public.Resource.Org Based on Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India With Roshan Seth as Jawaharlal Nehru Om Puri as the Narrator Produced and Directed by Shyam Benegal Chief Assistant Director was Mandeep Kakkar Executive Producer Raj Plus Script by Shama Zaldi and Sunil Shanbag A production of Doordarshan

Thursday 25 October 2018

Digital Humanities: Introduction

Basic Introduction: Digital Humanities

The Dept. of English, KSKV Kutch University, Bhuj (Gujarat - India) organised one day symposium on the Future of English Studies (on 19th oct 2018). There were four talks on various topics like Comparative Literary studies (Prof. Kamal H Mehta), Literary Theory and Criticism (Prof. Sanjay Mukherjee), Interdisciplinarity and English Studies (Prof. Ravesinh B Zala) and Digital Humanities (Prof. Dilip P. Barad).

This audio track is raw recording of the talk on Digital Humanities.
In an elementary introduction to Digital Humanities, the speaker talks about:
1) Nomenclature of Digital Humanities
2) Function of Digital Humanities
3) Nature and Scope of DH
4) Necessities for the study of DH
5) Brief History
6) Research Questions which DH attempts to explore.

Monday 10 September 2018

Shashi Tharoor and Dark Era of Inglorious Empire

Speech at Oxford Union:

Looking Back at the British Raj in India: The University of Edinburgh

Exclusive Interview By Karan Thapar On His Book 'An Era Of Darkness'

About British Colonialism In India In His New Book 'An Era Of Darkness'

The Black Prince 

is a 2017 international historical drama film directed by Kavi Raz and featuring the acting debut of Satinder Sartaaj. It tells the story of Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire and the Punjab area, and his relationship with Queen Victoria.

The story revolves around the young prince as he attempts both to regain his throne and reconcile himself with the two cultures of his Indian birth and British education. (Wikipedia)

Victoria & Abdul 

is a 2017 British biographical drama film directed by Stephen Frears and written by Lee Hall. The film is based on the book of same name by Shrabani Basu, about the real-life relationship between Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim. It stars Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard, Tim Pigott-Smith and Adeel Akhtar.

The arguments presented by Shashi Tharoor are based in real research and facts. They are not concocted from hearsay talks or tea-stall gossips.

Listen to Dr. Shidhanshu Trivedi. Even though he is doctorate degree holder in Mechanical Engineering, all his arguments are based on hearsay talks and not based on hard facts. This speech is one of the best example of misplaced postcolonial argument. One should be proud of one's cultural identity. However, our perception of our culture shall be based on real life lived experience. The difference in Shashi Tharoor's highly academic post colonial argument and that of Dr. Shidhanshu Trivedi's fake rhetorics is very clear.
The popular resistance of post colonial subject results in reply words, like tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.

Points to ponder:

Thursday 6 September 2018

Teachers Day 2018

Teacher's Day 2018

On 5th September, 2018, Home School / Ghar Shala Sanstha organised an evening talk  with the teachers of the group of schools. In this speech the speaker talks about the difference between academic guru and spiritual guru; Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the scholar teacher and plagiarism & Knighthood controversies; and role and significance of teachers in the era of Google Guru and Artificial Intelligence.

The Letter
The School Management offered this meaningful thanks-giving letter to all the teachers of the school:

Thank You Teachers..
Since Its inception in 1939,the Gharshala Sanstha has been nurturing students in its uniquely “GHAR” like environment. It happens only because this school gets teachers the way teachers should be.
Today happens to be “Teachers' Day”. Dr. Radhakrishan, the first vice presedent of India and the second president of India, happned to be a school teacher and his birthday is celebrated as  “Teacher’s Day”. It’s wonderful compliment to the teachers of the nation that our president was actually a school teacher.
In the Indian culture, we have always recognized a teacher as a very important part of one’s life to the extent we said: “ Acharya Devo Bhava” which means a teacher is like god.
In the making of an individual human being, or in the making of a society, or a nation or even in  the making of a world at large, a teacher has a significant role. In the process of enhancing abilities and developing interest in a particular subject-definitely a teacher has a big role. For many children, which teacher is teaching what subject determines whether they love that subject or hate it. The subject gets identified with that person. If the teacher is inspiring enough then the subject suddenly becomes interesting.
In current times  people tend to think that the significance of a teacher has come down, because everything that a teacher can say, the internet can say too. No, the significance of a teacher has gone up manifold. Now that the burden of delivering information is taken away, a teacher’s  job becomes mainly to inspire and enhance a student as a human being- which has always been the main task.
When you work with children who are that part of humanity which is still in the making, what you make of them is in your hands. It is one of the greatest  responsibilities and privileges that a human being can have: to actually shape another life is a tremendous privilege. So, when such a privilege is being vested in somebody’s hands, it’s very important that the highest calibre of minds, the highest integrity and inspiration goes into that.
Seeking  learning with love is the most innate longing with every student.
And Teacher has the ability to respond to this innate urge.
Happy Teaching.
Happy Teacher’s Day.
Thank You.

Photos of the Day:

Saturday 25 August 2018

Talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie born on 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian novelist, writer of short stories, and nonfiction.[3] She has written the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014).
In 2008, Adichie was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [who] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature".[4] Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.[5] (Wikipedia).
Read more about the author in Encyclopedia Britannica
Official Website of Chimamanda.
She is an excellent speaker.
Listening her is an amazing experience.

1) Talk on importance of Story / Literature

In this talk - Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

2) We Should All Be Feminist

3) Talk on importance of Truth in Post-Truth Era

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Train in Train to Pakistan

When we look symbolically at 'train in India, Indian literature & films', we find train as a microcosm of Indian society. The class division in railway system is symbolic of caste division; the luxury salon / AC coaches and general / non AC coaches is symbolic of rich-poor divide; and the two parallel rail-roads on which the train moves on, and are never going to meet, is symbolic of fractures and fissures of Indian dividedness.
Train is Khushwant Singh's 'Train to Pakistan' can be read with deeper implications.
Click here to listen a brief talk on 'Train in 'Train to Pakistan''. (38 Minutes)

Friday 3 August 2018

Mobile Learning - Improve English Language Skills

Mobile Learning

There is no need to define Mobile Learning. Even the kids in every nook and corner of the world know it very well. If you still have a question, What is Mobile Learning?

Mobile phones are so smartly designed and in the continuous process of improving its smartness that it can be a very easy and handy device to learn anything, anytime, anywhere. In a real sense, smart mobile phones are breaking the barriers of 'time and space'. Such devices make us realise the truth of Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. Mobile Learning is one of the world flatteners .

Mobile Learning - English Language Skills

With the fourth generation advancements in technology enabled language laboratories, it is no longer a secret that all skills (Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading) can easily be mastered through mobile devices like Phones or Laptops or Tablets or Phablets. With the advancement is Artificial Intelligence and inventions of VCD (Voice Command Devices), it is increasingly becoming easy to learn and master language skills with the help of smart mobile devices. Amazon Dot and Google Home are amazing Voice Command Devices which can be useful in an unbelievable way to improve language skills like Speaking and Listening.
All the mobile applications meant of communication are useful for improvement of all four basic language skills.

Best Mobile Apps for English Language Learning

Even though all communication apps can be used by teachers to teach language skills, there is always a need for self-learning mobile applications. In a way, there is nothing wrong in such demands. Technology and its artificial intelligence has to work on its own to make learners independent from the teacher.
Here are a few links which may help learners to make their own choices for the mobile app which may best suite their need:

Sunday 29 July 2018

William Shakespeare: Cracking the Code

The quality and quantity of William Shakespeare's plays and sonnets keep on surprising n shocking people. All readers of literature are awestruck at the literary creation by the one who knew nothing about Greek and Latin, and was by and large uneducated.

The skepticism gives birth to alternative theories n histories.

Emmerich's Earl - Edward de Vere - and William Shakespeare

Roland Emmerich's Anonymous (movie) imagines that it was Edward de Vere , Earl of Oxford who wrote the plays.
Watch this video to see on why Roland Emmerich believed that the identity of Will Shakespeare is a fraud:

Cracking The Shakespeare Code

Here is yet another thought provoking documentary  by Petter Amundsen and historian Dr. Robert Crumpton which tries to prove that Francis Bacon was the original writer.
The 'process' of their research is very interesting. Don't just look at the 'product' (end result). Carefully observe the 'process'. Even if we do not agree with the conclusion, the process of research is noteworthy.

Part 1:

Part 2

Part 3

Did Shakespeare write his plays?

Like Emmerich and Petter, many people question whether Shakespeare really wrote the works that bear his name – or whether he even existed at all. Could it be true that the greatest writer in the English language was as fictional as his plays? Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams show how a linguistic tool called stylometry might shed light on the answer. Lesson by Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams, animation by Pink Kong Studios.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Memorabilia 2017-18

Memorabilia 2017-18

From the Desk of the Department

Milan Kundera has rightly observed that it is difficult to understand ‘Memory’ unless we apply mathematical approach. So, the ratio between the amount of time lived and the amount of time from that life that is stored in memory is something significant. No one has ever tried to calculate this ratio, and in fact there exists no technique for doing so; yet without much risk of error one could assume that the memory retains no more than a millionth, a hundred-millionth, in short, an utterly infinitesimal bit of the lived life. Except an imaginary device like ‘Pensieve’, it is not possible to preserve ‘events’ in ‘memory’ as it happened. However, there are dangers of having Pensieve and so not all Witches / Wizards in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter world kept it. It was Dumbledore who kept Pensieve.
This Memorabilia is something between Kundera’s mathematical approach and Dumbledore’s Pensieve. The Memorabilia 2017-18 retains and recreates infinitesimal bit of students and teachers lived experience in the Department of English, M.K. Bhavnagar University. At the same time, it is not as magically powerful as Pensieve wherein one can have a peep inside the dark memory which is to be hidden, ashamed off, holds super secrets and protects the privacy of those mentioned in it. Nevertheless, the Memorabilia 2017-18 has something more than what Milan Kundera refers as ‘infinitesimal bit of memory’ and something less than the power of storing dark memories by Pensieve. After all, we have to be ‘politically correct’ and hence abstain from ‘documenting’ dark-secretive memories even at the cost of imperfections.
Looking back at the memories created by the students of Batch 2016-18, I see yet another bunch of talented, beaming with spark, and confident young 22 students ready to perform in real life situations. Let me take an opportunity of this space and refer to some of the incredible talents they displayed during last two years.
Ajit Kaliya is a gifted artist. His paintings are not only aesthetically pleasing but are deeply meaningful. He brought several laurels to our Department by winning positions in Cartooning, Collage and Installations at University, Zonal and National Level Youth Festivals. His art can be viewed here:
Alpa Ponda is a very good in acting and in performing arts like drama. It was her vision and hard work that after many years, our Department participated in One Act Play, Mon0 Acting and Skit in the Youth Festival of MKBU. She also presented though provoking research paper on film adaptation of Devdas at M.S. University A K Ramanujan Paper reading contest. She being the leader of ‘Film Screening Committee’, has screened several films, plays and programmes with the help of other members.
Architaba Gohil is excellent in photography. On several occasions, she displayed her artistic photos in Daily Schedule. It was her concept of Photography competition. The Department organised first of its kind Mobile Photography Competition and ranks were decided through online public voting. She being the leader of ‘Art and Creativity Committee’ has envisioned several creative programmes with the help of other members.
Budhiditya Das was one of the most-remotest students Department ever had. Coming from the Eastern state Assam, in this Western part of India, she would have undergone several cultural shocks which, in turn, would have enriched her experience of ‘knowing India as nation’. As the leader of Library committee, she managed all the affairs related to keeping records of books and its distribution to students, research scholars and other teachers. Libraries are very important centres of learning and is the place were ‘soul of academic institute’ is located. Somehow, in digital times, libraries are fast becoming insignificant, an artefact of digital cultures erasing the essence of being human. Thus, her task is even tougher. She stood up to the mark and presented annual report / charts, which is worth watching in this Memorabilia. We hope, she will leave Department / MKBU / Gujarat with positive imprints in her memory.
Namrata Zala, the leader of ICT committee, has taken technology integration a step ahead. She and other committee members planned very useful workshop for fresh students so that they can learn the ‘know-hows’ of use of technology in Department for various academic purposes. This was a very idea, which Department will institutionalise it for upcoming years. With the able help of Dharaba Zala and other members, she managed to carry out very tough task of managing Laptop-Bank and other ICT related issues. This committee has the toughest job as we are not very good in technology and have to keep on trouble-shooting new errors, time and again.
Rinkal Jani, as a leader of Daily Schedule committee, has displayed astonishing and incredible punctuality. She never missed to ask about the Daily Schedule and all Daily Schedules were very well managed. Special attractions of DS were those Special Days celebrated with varied academic, non-academic presentations made by students. So, the days like Hindi Language Day, International Women’s Day, Guru Purnima etc were very well accomplished under her able guidance. This committee members have to come early to manage several things. She and her committee members stood up to the expectations. Throughout the year, DS became wonderful assembly of ideas and personal presentations. This year they came up with an idea of Slums Visit. It was eye-opening to listen to their reports about the lives of poor slum dwelers and their cravings for quality education for their future generations. All credit goes to Rinkal and her committee members.
Megha Trivedi, with a sheer talent for academic work, is promising talent and can have bright career in academics. Her performance in presentations was remarkable. As time ripens, her habit of hard work will give her the fruits of success in real life. She was leader of Gardening Committee. Memory tree plantation, cleanliness of the vicinity of Department and maintenance of planted trees were the responsibilities of this committee. If you are impressed by the ‘green’ outside the Department building, thanks to her and the Gardening Committee.
Mansi, Kavita, Mital, Riddhi, Krishna are silent workers. Being in the committee of Bulletin Board, they took care that the poems of students, paintings on the occasions of festivals and quotable quotes on notice board are presented on the bulletin board. What they missed was news about latest happenings in India and around the world.
Matangi Bhatt was the leader of celebration committee and he was quite enthusiastic about it. They celebrated festivals like Holi, Christmas and Kite Flying. It was she and her committee members who deserves a big big thanks for all festive colours that the Department celebrated.
Komal Shahedapuri, the leader for entire academic year, managed everything with meticulous care and consideration. This was the year, in which as Head of the Department, I received least complaints from students about each other. The credit goes the leader who manages everyday affairs of the Department. With additional responsibilities, she was very punctual in all her tasks and activities in personal capacity also. Many students stand with an excuse for not doing the tasks on time on grounds of one or other works. She, to the best of my memory, never gave an excuse for not completing the tasks or activities. In addition, she and Megha Trivedi has taken additional project work which requires filed survey also.
It will be odd to use the cliché, ‘last but not the least important’ but let it be used to write about Documentation Committee and its leader Surbhi Gausvami. It is, indeed, extremely tough to remain on your toes throughout the year and keep records of all that is happening in and around institutes, which is busy doing lot many things and almost every week ‘something happens’. She very well documented happenings on Facebook and thus gave a very good social media coverage to the activities of Department. What makes social media post significant is - a small but sensible writeup with the photos of the events – and she was able to do so effectively. Komal, Megha and other students also helped in social media documentations. This Memorabilia is also edited by her and the team. It requires lots of perseverance and persistence in working throughout the year for documentation and then organise it in such a presentable shape. It was a tough call, and I am glad to say that Surbhi and her team have done far better than expected. (Visit this for the evidence of the work: )
I  may miss out some students like Arti Vadher (who has excellent talents if used appropriately, she can achieve unimaginable things in life), Kiran Vora (again a gem of person who outshines others in Presentations but rather inactive at other times), Binkalba Gohil, Mital Raval, Kailash Baraiya, Riddhi Maru and Dharaba Gohil (who silently does work in their capacity and are ready to help others), and Krishna Khamal (needs to remember her for her never-say-die attitude in learning digital skills), but they were also an integral part of all the good work other committees / students / teachers and Department was able to do during this academic year 2017-18.
As this comes from my memory, there are all chances that things may not be recorded as perfectly as the Black Box. There may be imperfections in my memory and what-so-ever documents supports my perceptions of the students may just be an illusion about them. We never know what we do not know so none can say with a particular amount of certainty in what they say from their memories. One thing is sure – the passing students have contributed a lot in making of me as a teacher and has given innumerable proud moments to the Department of English, MKBU. You all have added great value to the brand image of Department of English which previous students has established and strengthened. With a promise to see that none of your contribution in strengthening the brand of Department of English will ever be weakened or maligned, I hereby, give rest to my fingertips. - Dilip Barad.

The Memorabilia 2017-18 can be downloaded from:

Saturday 28 April 2018

Iconographical Reading of Mythical Figures

This post will be regularly updated with possible readings of pictorial representation of mythical figures.

Here we go with Parshuram.

Parshuram Jayanti (Anniversary)
What significance do we find in the iconography of Parshuram in paintings? The first one is from an unknown painter in c. 1820. The seconds one is Raja Ravi Varma in c. 1920. The third is very popular on social media. (Can anybody share the source of this image?) The fourth is very recent digital painting.
If we read the belly - the stomach as the 'sign' in these images, what does it signify? The big belly is a very traditional 'sign' to signify the identity of Brahmin. Here, Brahmin can be read not only as an identity in Chtusvarna or caste but also as elite or high class or rich and happy leisure class people. What does the change from big belly of 1820 to slimmer in 1920s to the one with 6/8 packs of abs of recent portrayal of Parshuram signify? It surely is painted under the influence of modern day body building where in triceps, biceps, chest muscles, abs, and thigh muscles signifies an ideal macho-male figure. It is known to all that there is similarity in beauty pageants and these body building pageants. Both the ideal slim female figures as well as the ideas macho-muscular male figures are nothing but plastic and perfume. Then what does the change in the figure of Parshuram signify? Is it deeply repressed urge to be aggressive, belligerent, determined, assertive, and determined? Can it be said that those who are not so are more attracted towards such images as a part of wish fulfillment? Does it speak about owning aggression and disowning serendipity, calmness and sobriety? Does this iconography speak more about the urge of Indians to prove their mettle against the identity of 'soft nation'? At the time when so many armed personnel are killed by Naxals in Sukama and by terrorists in Kashmir, even though there is nothing new in it as it is repeated for several decades now, that deep urge to own aggression becomes even more stronger. Was it the similar urge among Brahmins to equate Kshatriyas that has captured the imagination in more recent portrayals of Parshuram and thus his looks are more aggressive?
At the same time, it is significant to observe that the deep desire to do something or be somebody is vented out in form of art and hence there is no urge left to do or be. So those who make or share such pictures of aggression, cannot be so or do so. The classic case is Bahubali2. See, how the people who were in search of answers for why jawans are killed, suddenly got engaged with why Katappa killed Bahubali? The film with similar macho-male figures will vent out the desire to 'be' or 'do' and again, with all emotions spent, we will be in the lap of serendipity, calmness and sobriety. The pictures, either still or moving, makes for an interesting reading when seen in the context of the milieu and moment which shaped it or are shaped by it.


George M. Williams ((2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 146–148) and T. A. Gopinatha Rao ((1993). Elements of Hindu iconography. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 58, 190–194.) mentioned that Hanuman is normally presented as 'Bhakta' / 'Sevak' of Lord Rama and is found kneeling down on his right hand side as an ardent devotee. He is also presented with Mace (Gada) and Vajra (thunderbolt) when events from his life are presented. By and large, Hanuman is remembered in popular culture as devotee, courageous, meditative yogi. Have a look at these random inages:

And then comes Karan Acharya's Angry Hanuman

This icon of Hanuman becomes so popular with the masses that you see it everywhere.

Sidhartha Bhatia wrote an interesting story for The Wire on this. Read it here.

He has made some noteworthy observations. Some of the observations are given below.

Karan Acharya's rendition of Hanuman 'image' gives completely different spin.
The image in question, done in dark saffron and black, shows Hanuman with a furrowed brow, glowering eyes and a scowl. The monkey god has very different qualities in Hindu lore but the work projects ultra machismo that fits in well with the self-image of the Hindutva oriented male. Acharya says his Hanuman has “attitude not aggression”, is “powerful, not oppressive”. Those who are displaying it with pride may not necessarily think so.

It is the kind of image that can be used and amplified across multiple platforms and could transmit just the message that . . .  'The Hindu is effete no more; he is angry and ready to take on anyone, violently if necessary'.

Hanuman fetches the herb-bearing mountain, in a print from the Ravi Varma Press, 1910's

The young demography of India may no longer like Raja Ravi Varma's Hanuman. The angry Hanuman ticks off all the key boxes from the right-wing point of view – not only is it hyper masculine and forceful in its representation, it is also modern. This is clearly graphic art, possibly done on the computer, in a stylistic way that would appeal to a younger demographic. They may not be attracted to the soft-focussed, kitschy, calendar representations of yore that can be seen in homes and shops all over India. No self-respecting young Hindutva warrior will want to stick a work of Raja Ravi Verma on his SUV; this looks technologically advanced enough to use with pride and arrogance.
Isn't this iconographic reading of the mythical figures enigmatically captivating and fascinatingly stimulating?

Iconography of Mohammad, the Messenger

Now a days, it is popularly believed that depiction of Mohammad, the Messenger in painting is prohibited and hence considered blasphemous.
It was not so in past. There are many paintings available online. More to come on this.
As of now, if one is eager to read more on this, click on these sites:
1. Here is what you need to know about how Islam views depiction of Prophet Mohammad - › stories › you-c...
Here's what you need to know about how Islam views depictions of Prophet Muhammad
2. Drawing the Prophet - Islam's Hidden History of Mohammad's Paintings -
Web results
Drawing the prophet: Islam's hidden history of Muhammad images
3. Prophet was once glorified in art - › 2015/01/16
Web results
The Prophet Muhammad Was Once Glorified In Art | Here & Now - WBUR

And many more to come . . . . 

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Memes on Internet in Ancient India

Memes on Internet in Ancient India

Time and again, one or the other Indian stands up to claim all modern inventions as either made / conceived in Ancient India or is mentioned in Ancient texts / hymns/ Psalms.
This blog is collection of memes circulated on social media about this concept that 'Indians invented everything modern world invents'.
One of the objectives of this collection is to study popular culture and not to join the bandwagon of farce created around it.
The recent fun and fury on social media is the result of speech on the Digital India given by Tripura CM Biplab Deb:
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb came up with a new scientific interpretation for the evolution of internet when he said internet existed in the days of Mahabharata as well. 

Deb, who made this statement at a public event, said: "India has been using internet since ages. In Mahabharata, Sanjay was blind but he narrated what was happening in the battlefield to Dhritarashtra anyway. This was due to internet and technology. Satellite also existed during that period." 

Your valuable comments are welcome.

(Source: Internet, Social Media and Indian Atheist FB Page)
Pandavas and Draupadi complaining to Krishna about low internet speed during Mahabharata time.

Krishna and balaram having a skype call with pandavas on war strategies. Colorized.

Not satire. The merit promoting geniuses at ShankNaad really believe this.

Nuclear launches during Mahabharat times. Colorized.

300TB pen drive used in Mahabharat times. Contains all battle techniques and systems used by Pandavas. The weight is to stop it from getting stolen by enemy spies. We can't see the data yet as it is of grade USB7.0 (Note the security of thick walls. The same technique was used in Aadhar)

With advanced security. They even streamed the war on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg confirmed this in last week's testimony

Krishna live streamed the moment he stopped being a sexual assaulter and started helping others. The video was streamed in 8k resolution 3D using 9G technology. (Indian Atheist FB Page)

Mayabazar Telugu Movie Scenes starring N. T. Rama Rao, Savitri and S. V. Ranga Rao Directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy. Produced by Nagi Reddy and Music composed by Ghantasala.

Maya Bazar (1957) Movie | Evergreen Song Nivena Nanu Talachinadi Video Song | NTR,ANR,SVR,Savitri

Why such things happen?
Before we try to find an answer, read what Babu Suthar posted on his fb wall. It is direct connection to the mindset which thinks in this pattern.

આપણે ચોમ્સ્કીની વાત કરીએ એટલે સામેવાળો કહે: તમે પાણિની વાંચ્યો છે? આપણે ના પાડીએ. પછી આપણે એને પૂછીએ: તમે ચોમ્સ્કી વાંચ્યો છે? તો એ ના પાડશે. પછી આપણે પૂછીશું: તો તો તમે પાણિનીનો બરાબર અભ્યાસ કર્યો હશે. તો એ કહેશે: ના. 

આપણે સોસ્યુરની વાત કરીએ ત્યારે એ કહેશે: સોસ્યુર સંસ્કૃત ભણાવતા હતા. ખબર છે ને? આપણે હા પાડીએ. પછી કહેશે: એટલે જ એમણે આટલો વિકાસ કર્યો. આપણે પૂછીએ: ભારતમાં તો વરસોથી સંસ્કૃત ભણાવાય છે. કોઈ સોસ્યુર કેમ પેદા ન થયો? એટલે એ આપણને પશ્ચિમના કહીને બાજુ પર મૂકી દેશે.

આપણે એમને કહીએ કે પાણિનીના સંસ્કૃત વ્યાકરણના આધારે અમેરિકાના કેટલાક ભાષાવિજ્ઞાનીઓએ Optimality theory વિકસાવી. તમને ખબર છે? તો એ કહેશે: જર્મનો આપણા ત્યાંથી સંસ્કૃત ગ્રંથો ચોરી ગયા અને એ ગ્રંથોના આધારે એમને વિકાસ કર્યો. 

કોઈ અમેિરકન કાર્ડોના પાણિનીના અષ્ટાધ્યાયી પર અઠાર જેટલા ગ્રંથોનું આયોજન કરે તો એ કહેશે: છેને. હવે ધોળિયા પણ પાણિની ભણે છે.

કેટલીક વાર એ માણસ જરા ગંભીર બનીને આપણને કહેશે: જો આપણે શૂન્યની શોધ ન કરી હોત તો પશ્ચિમ અત્યારે ક્યાં હોત? એનો કોઈ વિકસ જ ન થયો હોત. આપણે એને એટલું જ કહેવાનું કે તો એ સંજોગોમાં ભારત ક્યાં હોત? 

આપણે પશ્ચિમની કોઈ કૃતિનું નામ દઈએ એટલે એ કહેશે: પશ્ચિમનું પશ્ચિમનું. ન ચાલે. આપણે એને પૂર્વની પાંચ કૃતિઓનાં નામ પૂછીશું તો એ શાકુંતલ અને ગીતાનાં નામ આપશે. પછી આપણે એને પૂછીશું: તમે એ પુસ્તકોનો અભ્યાસ કર્યો છે? એ કહેશે: ના. હવે કરવો છે.

સારાંશ આટલો જ: તમે એમને નહીં પહોંચી વળો.

Saturday 7 April 2018

Metaphors of Literature

साहित्य के रूपकों

शुरूआती दिनों में, साहित्य के लिए  'आईने' वाला रूपक ठीक है. जब हम बड़े होते जाते है तब रूपक बदलता जाता है.

प्रकाश भी रूपक अच्छा है. आइना अगर 'रिफ्लेक्ट' करता है तो प्रकाश 'अन्धकार को उजालित' करता है. मिरर एंड लैंप

तो फिर वो कृष्ण की बासुरी और मोरपिछ सा है. जो अपने सुरीलेपन  और मुलायमता से वास्तविकता की कठोरता से कही दूर दूर रुमानवाद का एहसास करता है. भारतीय साहित्य में युवा कविओ में यह रूपक काफी लोकप्रिय रहता है.

फिर जोनाथन स्विफ्ट को याद करे तो, वो मधपुडा भी है जहाँ साहित्यकार मधुमक्खी है और मधपुडा , साहित्य। 
ये रूपक उन साहित्य के लिए है जो मीठा मधुरा है और जीवनुपयोगी प्रकाश (मोम) भी देता है। 

तो कोई साहित्यकर स्पाइडर (मकड़ी) और उनका साहित्य मकड़ी के जाल (स्पाइडर'स वेब) से होता है जो हंमेशा किसी को जाल में फसा कर अपना खुराक बनाता रहता है।

फिर वो 'प्याज़' भी है। परख के निचे परख, न खत्म होने वाली परखे, और जब आप इसे खोलते हो तब आंखे नम हो जाती है या फिर पानी से लबालब।

फिर वो क्ष-रे मशीन की तस्वीर सा बन जाता है जो नापसंद आने वाली ब्लैक&व्हाइट तस्वीर देती है जिसकी सच्चाई से इनकार नही कर सकते।

फिर वो श्रीफल सा, ऊपर से  रूक्ष / कठोर सा पर अगर अन्दर खोल कर देख सको तो मीठा जल सा एंड मुलायम सा महसूस होता है.

फिर वो बेर्टोल्ट ब्रेख्त का हथोड़ा बन जाता है तो समाज को ठीक-थक करता है, या फिर काफ्का की कुल्हाड़ी जो  जमी हुई बर्फ को तोड़ने का काम करती है.

साहित्य तो अनेकोनेक रुपको से भरा पड़ा है.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Wole Soyinka's The Swamp Dwellers

Wole Soyinka's The Swamp Dweller

The Writer: Wole Soyinka: (Source:

Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Babatunde Soyinka (YorubaAkinwándé Oluwo̩lé Babátúndé S̩óyinkápronounced [wɔlé ʃójĩŋká]; born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature,[2] the first African to be honoured in that category.
Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria's political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years.[3]
Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian governments, especially the country's many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Much of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it".[4]During the regime of General Sani Abacha (1993–98), Soyinka escaped from Nigeria on a motorcycle via the "NADECO Route." Abacha later proclaimed a death sentence against him "in absentia."[4] With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, Soyinka returned to his nation.
In Nigeria, Soyinka was a Professor of Comparative Literature (1975 to 1999) at the Obafemi Awolowo University, then called the University of Ife.[5] With civilian rule restored to Nigeria in 1999, he was made professor emeritus.[3] While in the United States, he first taught at Cornell University as Goldwin Smith professor for African Studies and Theatre Arts from 1988-1991[6][7] and then at Emory University where in 1996 he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts. Soyinka has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and has served as scholar-in-residence at NYU’s Institute of African American Affairs and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.[3][8] He has also taught at the universities of OxfordHarvard and Yale.[9][10]
In December 2017, he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize in the "Special Prize" category[11][12] awarded to someone who has “contributed to the realisation of cultural events that promote understanding and the exchange of knowledge between peoples”.[13]
After graduating, he remained in Leeds with the intention of earning an M.A. Soyinka intended to write new work combining European theatrical traditions with those of his Yorùbá cultural heritage. His first major play, The Swamp Dwellers (1958), was followed a year later by The Lion and the Jewel, a comedy that attracted interest from several members of London's Royal Court Theatre. Encouraged, Soyinka moved to London, where he worked as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. During the same period, both of his plays were performed in Ibadan. They dealt with the uneasy relationship between progress and tradition in Nigeria.[20]

Watch the Play - The Swamp Dwellers

  1.  Tyler Wasson; Gert H. Brieger (1 January 1987). Nobel Prize Winners: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, Volume 1. The University of Michigan. p. 993. ISBN 9780824207564. Retrieved 4 December 2014.

  2. Jump up^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986 Wole Soyinka". The Nobel Prize. Retrieved 10 December 2013.

  3. Jump up to:a b c Theresia de Vroom, "The Many Dimensions of Wole Soyinka"Vistas, Loyola Marymount University. Retrieved 17 April 2012.

  4. Jump up to:a b c d Maya Jaggi (2 November 2002). "Ousting monsters"The GuardianISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 October 2016.

  5. Jump up^ "Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife  » Brief History of the University" Retrieved 2016-10-04.

  6. Jump up^ "Soyinka, Wole 1934- - Dictionary definition of Soyinka, Wole 1934- | FREE online dictionary" Retrieved 2017-12-22.

  7. Jump up^

  8. Jump up to:a b "Nobel Laureate Soyinka at NYU for Events in October", News Release, NYU, 16 September 2016.

  9. Jump up^ "Profile of Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka" (pdf). The University of Alberta. Retrieved 10 December 2013.

  10. Jump up^ Posey, Jacquie (18 November 2004). "Nigerian Writer, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka to Speak at Penn"The University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 10 December 2013.

  11. Jump up^ "Wole Soyinka Wins The Europe Theatre Prize - PM NEWS Nigeria"PM NEWS Nigeria. 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-24.

  12. Jump up^ "Soyinka Wins 2017 Europe Theatre Prize"Concise News. 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2017-12-24.

  13. Jump up to:a b "Wole Soyinka to receive Europe Theatre Prize 2017"James Murua's Literature Blog. 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2017-12-24.

  14.  "Wole Soyinka"The New York Times, 22 July 2009.