culturama POWERED BY GLOBAL ADJUSTMENTS
The Sari Story The sari represents 5,000 years of our heritage and culture
MAY 2016 Volume 7, Issue 03
Dear Readers, Editor-in-Chief Ranjini Manian Senior Editor Lakshmi Krupa Business Head Archana Iyengar Creative Head Prem Kumar VP Finance V Ramkumar Circulation S Raghu
At Rameswaram by the Pamban Bridge. Turn to Page 54 for a Picture Story on Rameswaram
Ever since I heard about the terror attack in Brussels and our country’s loss of IT engineer Raghavendran Ganeshan in it, I have been thinking about the need for tolerance. Indeed, an act of terrorism is an act of extreme intolerance. This incident is yet another reminder that we all need to increase our tolerance levels, especially in our day-to-day lives. We all have tolerance levels that act as shock absorbers. But how do we increase these levels? I would like to share with you a message for 2016 that I received from my teacher.
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Five ways to increase your tolerance levels: 1. Non-empowerment of situations and people – by not labelling anything unwelcome. Instead say, ‘Welcome all’. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised by this simple adjustment in attitude. 2. Empowerment of self – starts with knowing and building on our own inner strengths. Practice saying, ‘I can.’ 3. Non-magnification of issues – think of all that you have been through to get to where you are in life. Whatever you are in the middle of cannot be that bad. Say, ‘So what?’ to any problem that may stare at you. Be it an unpleasant e-mail or something someone said. 4. Non-impulsive response – say ‘no’ to knee-jerk reactions. 5. And finally, give a peaceful response – postpone the violent response and say, ‘I act thoughtfirmly’. Thoughtfirmly is a word I have coined to mean acting firmly after thinking about something. Have a thougtfirm month ahead and enjoy this edition of Culturama. Learn all about Tamil Nadu, where Global Adjustments is headquartered, in the Ten for the Road column, explore India’s connection to cotton and khadi, and how it’s inextricably woven into our cultural ethos, and learn a new lesson from the Bhagavad Gita. Ranjini Manian Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cover Image This month’s cover image is a digital reproduction of a painting called Kadambari by Raja Ravi Varma. This portrait of an elegant sari-clad lady playing the sitar, with flowers nearby, reminds one of the poetry of a mid-summer day in India. Turn to page 69 to read about the artist.
Advisory Board Members
N. Ram is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu. He is Director of Kasturi & Sons Limited, publishers of The Hindu. Suzanne McNeill lived in India for seven years before returning to Scotland. She is a freelance writer and graphic designer. Marina Marangos is a lawyer, and enjoys travel and writing. She lived in India for four years before moving to Australia. www.mezzemoments. blogspot.com G. Venket Ram is an acclaimed photographer and the creative mind behind many a Culturama issue. www.gvenketram.com Annelize Booysen is a business consultant and social entrepreneur. She lived in Asia for more than a decade, which included three years in India. She is currently based in the United States. Namita Jain, founder of Jaldi Fit, is a leading fitness guru and a businesswoman who helms Kishco, a world-class cutlery brand.
Contributors Susan Philip is a freelance writer based in Chennai, and the editorial coordinator of Culturama’s various coffee table books. Eknath Easwaran (1910–1999) was a spiritual teacher, author and interpreter of Indian literature. In 1961, he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and Nilgiri Press in California. Devdutt Pattanaik is the Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group and a writer and illustrator of several books on Indian mythology. www.devdutt.com Asha Sampath is an educator-turned-storyteller who is passionate about reviving the oral tradition. She loves telling tales to people of all age groups using varied techniques so that the audience too journeys through the story.
Letters to the editor Dear Editor,
Just received your latest issue. The cover is stunning. In fact all your covers are well crafted. Gautam Patole, Artist, Mumbai
I have been living in Chennai for the last nine months. Throughout this time, I’ve had the opportunity to encounter your amazing magazine. My husband and I await every month’s number to look for cultural events and great reviews. My personal favourite is the space given to expat writers. Estefania Salgado, Chennai
Your piece on Indian martial arts was very informative and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Sunaina Kapur, Delhi
culturama – Subscribe Now! Get your copy of Culturama as a hard copy or as an e-magazine - visit www.culturama.in to subscribe For other enquiries, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +91-44-2461 7902
Ten for the Road
Trivia about an Indian state – featuring Tamil Nadu this month.
A recap of the events and people that made news in the last month.
Look Who’s In Town
Learn all about the Indian cotton, khadi, and how it is inextricably linked to Indian culture.
India’s Culture 08
Short Message Service
Short, engaging snippets of Indian culture.
Festival of the Month
This May, celebrate with communities across India – from the Ao tribe in Nagaland to the Buddhists.
Expats share their views about life in India.
Journeys Into India
Go for a dip in the famous Mahamam tank in Kumbakonam in the kumbh mela of the South.
It is important to let go of selfish attachments.
Calendar of Events
See what’s going on in the main cities and suburbs.
A review of Janice Pariat’s Boats on Land.
A pictorial journey to Rameswaram.
Annalize Booysen talks about her India experience.
Relocations and Property
Find out how you can turn quick-fix solutions to long-term ones with our training modules.
As Tamil Nadu goes to the polls, find out who's who of the Tamil country.
Space and the City
Property listings in Chennai.
by Suzanne McNeill Short cultural snippets for an easily digestible India
Art/textile/craft Kalamkari Kalamkari is a type of printed cotton that combines block-printing and handpainting using vegetable dyes and minerals to create highly pictorial designs. The word derives from the Persian words qalam, meaning ‘pen’, and kari, ‘craftsmanship’ and kalamkari is particularly associated with the 16th-century Islamic Golconda Sultanate of central India (now modern Andhra Pradesh). Two styles evolved. The hand-drawn Kalahasti tradition flourished around Hindu temples and was used to depict Hindu deities and scenes from the epics on religious scrolls and hangings. The Masulipatnam block-printing Photo: Jean Michel Tammam, FRANCE style, named for the city on the Coromandel Coast, was influenced by Persian motifs and designs. Both used the same mordant and wax-resist technique to outline designs and fix dyes. Fine resists were applied by hand, and patterns were stamped onto the fabric by use of intricately carved wooden blocks. Such block-printed fabrics were in huge demand in Europe for home furnishings and clothing.
Food and Drink Indian Chinese
Bhai is a friendly form of address for a man who is a close relation or a trusted friend. It can be used as a term of respect to get someone’s attention, such as ‘Bhaisaab, where is the road to the Taj?’, or ‘Bhaiya, what time is it?’ Bhai is a Hindi word that came from the Sanskrit bhrātr, meaning ‘brother’, and is used and understood across India. Bada bhai means elder brother, whilst chota bhai means younger brother. However, in Marathi, and particularly in Mumbai, bhai or ‘brother’ has come to mean gangster. Two action films from 1997 and 2013 are called Bhai, both of which play on this secondary meaning where the main characters are mafia dons or enforcers.
Chinese food is India’s most popular foreign cuisine – but it’s not the authentic version. Instead, it’s the adaptation of Chinese cooking techniques and seasonings in dishes that are tempered in fiery Indian spices. Chinese food came to India with the Hakka community, who settled during the early 1900s in Kolkata. They borrowed Indian spices and concepts to blend into their own food, creating this fusion cuisine. The most common styles of cuisine are based on fiery red Schezwan sauce, or Manchurian, a sweet-and-salty brown sauce. Common dishes include Gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian, Chilli Chicken, Fried Rice and Noodles.
Name to Know P. Susheela
Interpretations Political Graffiti
Known as India’s ‘Melody Queen’, the renowned playback singer P. Susheela has been associated with South Indian cinema for over six decades. She is the recipient of numerous accolades and state and national awards. Earlier this year, she entered the Guinness Book of Records for her achievement in making the world’s highest number of studio recordings: 17,695 solo, duet and chorus-backed songs in 12 Indian languages. Born in Andhra Pradesh in 1935 into a music-loving family, P. Susheela excelled at music college and then completed a first class Diploma in Music from Andhra University. She recorded some songs for All India Radio, who put her name forward to the music director Pendyala Nageswara Rao when he was looking for fresh voices to sing for his new film compositions. Her first film recording was for the Telugu movie Kanna Thalli in 1952 (https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=YACMO0qS75Y). Her reputation grew quickly as she sang hugely popular songs with a strong Carnatic classical style, and she became a household name in southern India, where she is still the favourite singer of many music lovers. P. Susheela sang in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and even Sinhalese. She could adapt her sweet, mellifluous voice to the character of any heroine, breathing life and emotion into the lyrics, and helped set the trend that placed an equal emphasis on a film’s songs as well as story. Here she is singing ‘Nenjam Marappathillai’ from the 1963 movie of the same title: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NdnCxcEderU; and from 1967 singing ‘Muthukkalo Kangal’ from movie NenjirukkumVarai: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=xri8PQh0fDE. In recent years, P. Susheela has moved to performing on stage and recording devotional songs, and runs a Trust that supports playback singers.
In the image on the right, using a magazine image for reference, a street artist in Tamil Nadu is painting a portrait of the Tamil politician M.K. Stalin. Such street paintings are a common sight in Chennai and part of the city’s identity. They grew from Chennai’s long tradition of hand-painted, colourful movie billboards. The figures in these were larger than life, and they featured the hero in a forceful, cool-man pose. Massive 3D-style cut-outs of the hero were also popular and this tradition continues in depictions of politicians. Every political rally in Tamil Nadu has hand-painted cardboard cut-outs of the party’s leading politicians, a legacy of the Dravidian politics of the 1960s when cinema-poster artists turned to drawing realistic images of the star-turnedpolitician MGR on his appointment as Chief Minister. The current Chief Minister and former actress J. Jayalalithaa is often portrayed on walls (as seen below) – public spaces that have been mobilised for politics and represent an alternative method of political campaigning.
PHOTO: Ninna-Marie Hogedal
Photo: Edgar Pierce, via FLICKR
When Indira Nehru married in 1942, she wore a pink khadi cotton sari that had been hand-woven from thread spun by her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, while he was incarcerated during the ongoing struggle for Indian independence. Lightly embroidered along the border with a pretty design of lotus blooms, buds and leaves emerging from water, the sari was nonetheless a world away from the pearl-studded silk sari worn by her mother when her parents married. Its utter simplicity was a deliberate political choice. The hand-spun, or khadi, sari reflected the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to Mahatma Gandhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s programme of self-sufficiency as a means to independence. Cotton was the fibre most closely associated
with India, and colonial abuse of the manufacture of cotton was at the heart of the nationalist movement. The historical exploitation of the cotton industry was to be challenged by a social revolution that put home-spun weaving at its heart. Khadi became integral to the independence movement and Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s identity.
Early Developments The tree cotton plant, Gossypium arboreum, is native to India and it is believed that the fertile flood plains of the Indus Valley are where cotton plant fibres were first collected, spun into thread and woven into cloth by the small farming
Feature by Suzanne McNeill
Cotton. Khadi. Culture.
India’s love affair with cotton and khadi is centuries old
and herding communities of the Neolithic period (7000–5000 BCE). Although no direct evidence survives, archaeological digs have found cotton plant seeds, suggesting cultivation at this time. Depictions of various types of clothing on terracotta figurines, painted pottery and inscribed seals hint at the different types of textiles of the period, and the presence of spindle whorls – the disc-shaped weights that help spin fibres into thread – at sites throughout the Indus Valley implies weaving took place. During the Harappan phase of the Indus Valley Civilisation (2600–1900 BCE), craft traditions became highly specialised. The first examples of actual preserved cotton
fibres found on the Indian subcontinent were discovered at Mohenjo-daro, the site of one of the Valley’s greatest urban settlements, dated mid-3rd to early-2nd millennium BCE. Early cotton textiles were hand-spun on simple ground looms. Each thread of the warp – the set of lengthwise yarns held in tension on the frame or loom – would be strung between two rows of pegs, and the weaver would lean over the frame to pass the weft or transverse threads through the warp. By 1000 BCE the pit loom was in use: the warp was strung over a pit, so the weaver could sit with his or her legs underneath and be on a level with the loom, using peddles to raise and lower the heddle rods that separated
The Pre-Colonial Period Around the Mediterranean, the quality of Indian cottons became synonymous with the region they came from. The Ancient Greek word for fine cloth, Sindon, linked the textile to the contemporary name for north-west India, Sind, and the Hebrew Book of Esther, part of the Old Testament, uses the Sanskrit word karpas meaning â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cottonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. By the Roman period, many regions of India were famous for their types of cotton textile and written sources from the first century CE describe a well-established trade in goods from south, west and east India, including cotton textiles.
the warp threads so the weft could be drawn through to create the cloth. This produced basic plain weaves; but by manipulating the weaving by hand, the weaver could create more sophisticated double weaves and brocades. Further developments in loom technology made complex and figurative patterns possible, whilst the introduction of the spinning wheel or charkha from Iran in the 13th century enabled production to increase greatly.
Indian block-printed cotton fragments that date to the 8th century CE have been found in Egypt and it is known that cotton was traded between India and East Africa from the 12th century onwards. In 1505, the explorer Vasco da Gama was presented on arrival in what is now Kenya with a length of textile that has been identified as Bengali.
European Merchants India is estimated to have had the largest economy of the ancient and medieval world until the 17th century. By the time the Mughal Empire was coming to an end, India
Photo: Xavier, via FLICKR
was far more prosperous than any of the European countries whose merchants came to trade for textiles and spices. The arrival of European merchants – Portuguese, Dutch, British, French and Danes – provided the impetus for the spread of the Indian textile trade into Europe. They had come initially to buy textiles to trade for spices with what is now Indonesia, but they soon recognised the appeal of cotton cloth, which was colourful and richly patterned yet much cheaper than woven silk, to their own European markets. Indian cottons in the form of sheets and pillowcases were recorded in England as early as the mid-1500s, and by the 18th century Indian textiles were having a profound impact on British furnishings, dress and design. Many types of cotton are still known by the Anglicised versions of local names: calico and chintz both derived from the city of Kozhikode, known to the British as Calicut; dungaree is from the Hindi word dungri, which referred to a coarse cotton cloth; and seersucker is from sirsakkar, a word of Sanskrit origin that came back into both Hindi and Urdu from Persia, meaning ‘sugar’, a description of the fabric’s bumpy texture. Chintz and muslin, named for the Indian port town Masulipatnam (now Machilipatnam), have the most enduring association with the textile trade between Britain and India.
Photo: Bonnie Ann Cain-Wood, via FLICKR
Colonial Exploitation The merchants of the British East India Company began to establish permanent footholds along India’s peninsula seaboard, building warehouses and negotiating commercial treaties with local rulers. The Company invested heavily in cotton textiles, buying to satisfy its home markets and also to re-export from London to North Africa and the Middle East. However, by the 1830s the situation had begun to change. The Company, by now de facto ruler of great swathes of India, used the revenue collected from the provinces under its control to purchase Indian raw materials. India changed from being an exporter of processed goods, for which it received payment in bullion, to being an exporter of raw materials,
Photo: Kathleen Mracek, CANADA
and an importer of the manufactured goods made possible by the onset of the Industrial Revolution in Britain and beyond. The new cotton mills of Lancashire in England now had machinery that allowed them to compete with Eastern fabrics and undercut their prices. India was reduced to exporting raw cotton and importing foreign cloth – often the same finished cotton fabric now returned to its origin – and local weavers suffered because they were unable to compete with the quality and prices of imported fabric. Although India, too, was beginning to industrialise its textile production – its first cotton mills were established in Bombay and Ahmedabad from the late 1850s onwards – by the final quarter of the 19th century, the Indian economy had changed fundamentally.
Gandhi and Swadeshi Demands for independence were growing by the early years of the 20th century. A distinctive feature of the nationalist movement was a call for Swadeshi, a strategy that aimed at improving economic conditions in India by following Hindu principles of self-sufficiency. By boycotting British products, reviving indigenous manufacturing and buying and using locally made goods, Indians would ensure their resources did not leave the country’s shores. In 1896,
piles of foreign cloth were burnt in Dhaka and Bombay. The plight of the weavers, and the textile mills particularly, galvanised Mahatma Gandhi. He shaped Swadeshi thought further by calling for the promotion of cottage industries to enable rural Indians to earn a living for themselves within their villages instead of moving to urban areas. Gandhi advocated the integrated development of agriculture and industry with an emphasis on handicrafts and home working, most notably by championing the production of homespun cotton clothing, called khadi.
A Tool of Protest Gandhi himself had long abandoned Western-style dress, assuming the simple garb of the labourers he supported. By 1919, Gandhi was appealing to his fellow Indians to spin khadi every day and adopt the humble fabric for their clothing. He frequently used highly emotive religious terminology when speaking of khadi, calling it ‘a sacred cloth’ – to wear khadi was an outward expression of the moral integrity of the wearer. Its production and use would provide employment to the masses and promote self-sufficiency and a sense of national unity. Khadi was a highly symbolic political statement in the peaceful struggle for freedom.
Cotton Facts • India is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of cotton yarn, and yarn production increases year on year. • In 2014, cotton yarn exports were valued at US$ 3 billion, whilst exports of cotton fabrics and ‘made-up’ products were estimated at US$ 4 billion. Photo: McKay Savage, via FLICKR
Khadi became a powerful tool of protest. The pro-Independence Indian National Congress party recognised khadi as central to their message of self-sufficiency. They incorporated the charkha, the spinning wheel, into the design of a flag for the nationalist movement (to this day the charkha sits at the centre of India’s flag). Leading the way, supporters of independence adopted simple khadi garb. Although some nationalists (and many of India’s industrialists) had reservations about the message of antiindustrialisation, photographs of that period show how India’s political elite replaced their dark European suits of the past with loose white cotton garments, providing a visual statement of uniformity and egalitarianism.
Khadi in Modern Times The success of khadi as a political symbol has continued since Independence. It is immediately recognisable in the men’s kurta, the collarless, loose-fitting shirt that carries a patriotic symbolism and is often worn by politicians during election times. Indira Gandhi continued to wear khadi saris throughout her political career, adhering to a strict dress code that communicated nationalism and seriousness. As recently as January 2016, Prime Minister Modi called
on the nation to embrace Gandhi’s legacy by adopting khadi into their everyday lives, celebrating the farmers and weavers who produce the fabric. Cotton khadi is manufactured today on partly mechanised spinning wheels, and it is said that despite the number of workers involved in its production, they are unable to meet demand. With its inherent slubs and imperfections that are now embraced as part of the character of the fabric, khadi has found a new audience via India’s catwalks. Its enduring romantic association with artisanal knowledge and hand-making traditions appeals to contemporary fashion designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh and Rashmi Varma, who have incorporated the fabric into their collections. The chain store Fabindia has, since 1960, linked rural communities to urban markets, selling products made from traditional techniques and hand-based processes including tailored handloom garments and khadi items in fashionable cuts, colours and designs. Whilst khadi continues to be a symbol of freedom, it also represents an evolving India, and is promoted and worn with pride.
• China is the biggest importer of raw cotton from India, and Bangladesh, Egypt, Taiwan and Hong Kong are major buyers. • India is the third-largest supplier of textiles and clothing to the United States. • The Indian textile industry contributes around 11 per cent to the nation’s industrial production, and 12 per cent of its total export earnings. • It is a truly pan-Indian industry: major cottonproducing states are Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west; the northern states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab; Madhya Pradesh in central India; and Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south.
Global Citizen by Octoli Tuccu
Everything? Photo: Anna Bozzi, ITALY
Rani had just boarded the flight when a man rushed in. He was precariously balancing two suitcases and his iPhone in his hands. He struggled for a bit, stuffed his baggage into the overhead compartment and sat down. Just then, he realised that the torchlight (or flashlight, as the Americans call it) on his phone was turned on. He asked the woman beside him if she knew how to turn it off. She just bobbed her head, mumbled an incoherent monosyllabic reply and took the phone. Rani saw that the woman owned an Android phone and, as any clueless iPhone first-timer, she spent a full two minutes opening every single app trying to figure out where the button was. Visibly flustered, she turned back to the man and asked if he could show her the ‘Settings Menu’, which he did. She spent two more minutes going through every option – until there was nothing left to do. She then turned back to him – the man was getting impatient by now – and asked him how he had turned it on, in the first place. He replied that he had accidentally turned it on while he was rushing to board the flight. She proceeded to ask him if he had ever switched it on before. All this while, Rani was seated across the aisle from the woman. As someone who owns an iPhone, she stepped in, took out her phone and showed her how. Grateful for her help, she mimicked Rani’s actions on the man’s phone, and switched it off (finally!) and handed it back to him. This incident explains two levels of trust that are innately Indian. Firstly – trust in the ‘cosmos’. The man asked a fellow passenger, someone he’d never met before, if she could help
him with a problem – an act that would entail his giving her the phone. All this with no guarantee that the woman knew how to fix the problem. He blindly entrusted his phone to someone who could’ve even formatted the device to factory setting. Secondly – trust in ourselves. When the woman was asked if she knew how to turn off the torchlight on his phone, she probably thought it was just like her phone. And, even after realising it was not like her phone, she continued to fiddle with it. What drives this behaviour is the belief that if there is a problem, there has to be a solution – and who’s to say we wouldn’t stumble upon a solution. Isn’t that what matters anyway? These two levels of trust create jugaad*. From fixing car radiators with a bar of soap to gluing together pieces of paper with cooked rice, we find a solution for everything, temporary though it may be. *Jugaad (alternatively Juggaar) is a colloquial Punjabi-Dogri word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple work-around, used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such, or a person who can solve a complicated issue. Learn to turn instant fixes to long-term solutions. Sign up for our seminar on Effective Business Communication Across Cultures For details, email:
India now by Susan Philip
The month that was
As we enter a new month, we quickly recap the events, people and places that made news in the past month
A Time for Mourning Temple Tragedy On the intervening night of April 9th and 10th, the tiny coastal town of Puttingal in Kerala was the scene of a massive tragedy. Thousands of people had gathered at a centuries-old shrine there to witness the annual fireworks display. As far as can be made out, towards the fag end of the celebrations, one of the fireworks went awry and caused a blaze which quickly engulfed the remaining fireworks, setting off huge explosions. The concrete structure in which the fireworks were stored collapsed, adding to the disaster. The death toll has been put at over a hundred, with several hundred others injured, many critically. The government, the court and other authorities are considering ways in which such tragedies can be avoided in future.
Scientifically Speaking On the UNESCO's list
Politics and Polity Madam Chief Minister The northernmost State in India – Jammu and Kashmir – got its first woman Chief Minister when Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in. She is the 13th to hold the post in the state. A Muslim, she took the oath in Urdu. She takes over from her father, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who passed away recently. Mehbooba Mufti’s party, the PDP (People’s Democratic Party), shares power with the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). Her assumption of office follows three months of hectic parleys between the two coalition partners. Q: Mehbooba Mufti is only the second Muslim woman to hold office as Chief Minister of a state. Who was the first? A: Syeda Anwara Taimur of the Congress Party, who assumed office as Chief Minister of Assam in 1980.
The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) has been added to the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Established in 2001, it is part of two southern Indian states – Kerala and Tamil Nadu – and is located in the mountainous Western Ghats region. The UNESCO has said that the region is home to 2,254 species of ‘higher plants’ including about 400 that are endemic. The area is also a ‘unique genetic reservoir of cultivated plants especially cardamom, jamune, nutmeg, pepper and plantain’. The region has three wildlife sanctuaries and several tribal settlements. The Kannikkaran, one of the world’s oldest surviving huntergatherer tribes, are native to the Agasthyamalai hills. Did you know the Agasthyamalai Hills, which form part of ABR, were so named because they are believed to be the abode of the Vedic sage Agasthyar, credited with being the founder of the Siddha system of indigenous medicine? The fact that there are about 2,000 medicinal plant species in the region reinforces the legend.
Seeing Stars India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart, Charles Michel, together remotely activated ARIES, Asia’s biggest optical telescope. The equipment, which has a 3.6-metre-wide primary mirror, is located at Devasthal, in Uttarakhand. It was built with Belgian assistance. ARIES will be used to study star structures and magnetic field structures of stars.
Sports Spots That’s cricket!
the birth of a year – in Tamil Nadu. Many of these festivals are centred around the agrarian lifestyle, and view the onset of spring and, with it, the start of a new crop cycle, as a new beginning. Everywhere, it is a joyous occasion, though, of course, customs vary. In Punjab, the bhangra and the giddha dances are performed with vigour, while down south, the day begins by viewing a carefully prepared bouquet of auspicious items like new clothes, paddy, coconuts, gold, silver, and a mirror, to make sure the new year brings prosperity. All across the country, the celebrations are preceded by cleaning of home and hearth, and the blessings of the Gods are always sought. In India, wish as the Indians wish. To Bengalis say ‘Subh Naba Barsa’ and to Tamilians, ‘Puthandu vazhthukkal’.
What’s in a name?
It’s that time of the year again – the IPL fever is on. The Indian Premier League is big news for cricket fans the world over. Less than a decade old, it has swiftly become a muchawaited event on the Indian calendar, and even those who know little about cricket get swept up in the excitement. This time round, the ninth edition of the game, two of the most consistently successful teams hitherto – the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals – do not figure, having been suspended from the tournament for two years. Instead, two new teams have sprung up. They are the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Gujarat Lions. To catch all the action, log on to http://www.iplt20.com/
This and That Happy New Year! April is the first month – on many an Indian calendar, that is. Several parts of the country celebrate New Year around midApril. In West Bengal, the Poila Baishakh celebrations mark the occasion, while in Assam, it is the Bihu festival. In the north, Punjab erupts with Baisakhi fervour while in the south, it is known as Vishu in Kerala and Varsuha Pirappu – literally,
The Haryana Government has approved a proposal to change the name of the city of Gurgaon to Guru Gram. In modern times, it came into the limelight when automobile major Maruti Suzuki set up a manufacturing plant there in the 1970s, but much, much before that, it was on the mythological map of India. The area was believed to have been given by the Pandava Princes, the protagonists of the epic Mahabharata, to Dhronacharya, who taught them the art of warfare, as gurudakshina or a gift in appreciation of the knowledge he imparted. It was then known as ‘Gurugram’ or the village of the Guru (Teacher), and Gurgaon is thought to be a corruption of that word. So the name has come full circle now. Did you know, apart from the better known new names for Indian cities, like Chennai that was Madras and Mumbai that was Bombay, there have been several re-christenings. Kanyakumari, the southern-most point of the country was once Cape Comorin, Banaras in the north has become Varanasi, Panjim in Goa is now Panaji, Vishakapatnam was originally Waltair, and in Gujarat, Vadodara was earlier Baroda, and even earlier than that, Viravati.
Stories of India by Team Culturama Stories of India by Asha Sampath
The Sari Story
Photo: Marlon Pieris, CANADA
A fictional tale that weaves in the history of the sari from the Indus Valley to present-day India “Korathu, korathu! I did it. I did it!” The weaver, clad only in a loin cloth, rushed out of his hut yelling. In his hand was a long strip of cotton cloth. The warp and weft held together – a miracle, a success! It was the perfect fabric. Half clad, half naked villagers stopped to look at this wonder weave. They gathered around the weaver and felt the cotton cloth. The weaver became the centre of attraction. Very slowly and dramatically he wrapped the cloth around his waist – a gasp went through the crowd. With a deliberate movement, he took the remaining end of the cloth and, with a flourish, flung it over his right shoulder. He struck a pose. There was complete silence and then a chorus of voices broke out and claps filled the air. This weaver was our very first designer and fashion model – a weaver of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This chira (cloth in Sanskrit) was the precursor of the sari as we know it today. Even now, in parts of India the sari is still called chira. And yes! The sari was probably first draped around a man before it became solely a woman’s garment. The weaving business picked up as men demanded this fashionable cloth. Women continued to wear a ‘miniskirt’ and nothing else. You will see how the style of wearing some clothes had actually begun centuries ago, before we gave
names to them.
Photo: Mike Russell via FLICKR
Then, one fine day, an enterprising woman was arranging her husband’s clothes and a thought dawned. “Why should men have all the fun?” So she unfolded the chira and draped it around herself. The upper part, she tied around her chest. Lo! She was the first female Indian designer. She flaunted her new clothes in front of her friends. That evening when the men returned home, they found their wives draped in the chira; the cloth highlighted their body contours, making them look very attractive. The men liked it. The weavers’ business picked up – they were a merry lot as were their customers – men and women. Down the generations this continued, until that day when a weaver experimented with dipping the cotton fibres in colour. The warp and weft now formed a lovely border to the cloth. This became the rage – an instant hit! Photo: Anthony Walker
The fashion industry had begun. The richer one was, the broader and more colourful the border on the chira. It was the time of intense fashion ideas leading to great creativity. As time went by, there was an incident that impacted the use of the chira yet again. A husband quarreled with his wife and in a fit of rage tore the upper part of his cloth and flung it at his wife. Then he stomped out of the house. After drying her tears, the young wife picked up the cloth on the floor and draped it across her upper body. An idea began to take shape in her mind. She was excited! She folded the garment and tied it around her chest like a band. The breast band was born! On the other hand, the angry husband walked through the market with only the cloth around his waist, leaving his very muscular upper body bare. He was suddenly the
cynosure of all eyes, women and men. The dhoti trend began. A little anger can be a good thing, after all! The years rolled by. One afternoon, with their chores done, a group of women were playfully tying up the chiras end to end until it became a long cloth. They began to drape it around one another! The next womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fashion idea germinated. The lengthened chira now came to be called the shati. Of course, the idea caught on! Women everywhere put their imagination and creativity to it. They experimented wearing the shati this way and that. While some continued to wear it as a two-piece garment, others made it a threepiece garment. Gatherings or pleats sneaked in. The shati was always worn in hipster fashion â&#x20AC;&#x201C; below the navel. The midriff was left exposed as it was believed that the navel was the centre of life and creation (probably due to the placental attachment). The weavers were having a ball! When one of them discovered silk fibres by chance, he became a trendsetter in the booming fashion industry. People respected nature so much that ahimsa silk was practised in the Indus Valley Civilisation, long before we gave it this name. The larvae were all allowed to escape before the silk from the cocoons was taken. And, silk dhotis and shatis were worn. Trading with China gave a further fillip to the cloth industry. Gold and silver threads began to be interwoven Photo: Youngmi Kim, KOREA
with the silk fabric, giving a sheen and richer look. The shati beat the dhoti by miles as women craved for more such fabric, ‘drowning’ the weavers with their ideas for design and colours.
during the British occupation of the country. The blouse then became a necessity! And the fashion industry seized the opportunity. From then on till date, blouses continue to be big business.
As people entered the Vedic period, it was the shati that underwent major changes; the dhoti pulled out of the competition. It stopped with becoming five yards in length, just enough to wear it in the form of a trouser fit called panchagach.
With the inflow of materials like chiffon and georgette and infusion of art and craft such as painting and embroidery into the shati, which by then was known as the sari, the garment gained much popularity as a fashion statement. Women wore it gracefully and it was the dress of the times. The sari ruled the Indian fashion industry.
The shati, after many styles of wear and tear through time, began to be worn in the present style of six yards or nine yards. This evolved from a need to suit the kind of work women did. Women working in the fields wore the sari short, with the shati falling just below their knees. Housewives wore it long, either till their ankles or sweeping the floor. Women warriors chose to wear the nine yards as it gave a trouser fitting when the pleats were properly tucked in a style called veergachche or brave tuck. This style allowed for free movement during a battle. While the shati underwent a revolution, the breast band did not match its stride until much later. Women continued to either wear it or not. The shati covered their chest anyway. However, with societal influence and pressure building up, modesty crept in. Women began to cover more of their body and the era of the blouse began. It reached its zenith
However, with more Western thoughts and ideas seeping into the Indian context, the sari, for the first time, lost its prime spot. Trendier and easy-to-wear clothes entered the market and the sari began to be looked down upon. A temporary setback really. For fashion designers across the country took it upon themselves to restore its glory. Today, the sari is back and how! It is sought after and worn across the globe. It is the only unstitched garment through 5,000 years that has never really gone out of commission entirely. Look upon it with reverence – it is a part of India’s heritage. When you drape it, remember you are wrapping yourself in history and the creativity of many generations that date back 5,000 years. Wear it with pride and honour.
Photo: Milaap.org, via FLICKR
A - Z of India by Susan Philip
Textile twists Appliqué is a distinctive style of stitching cloth motifs onto background fabrics of clothing and furnishings.
In India, there are myriad ways to dress up your dreams. Here’s an A-Z sampling of what the country has to offer the world of textiles
Cotton has long been among India’s prized products. Look out for examples further along in this piece. Batik, a fabric-based craft, involves resistance dyeing using wax, with the cracks in the wax producing a final effect.
Embroidery styles — Bengal’s Kantha work, Uttar Pradesh’s Chikankari, Karnataka’s Kasauti and Punjab’s Phulkari have all found world fame.
Dyes - Indigo blue and the Madder dye which produces a vibrant red, have both been used from ancient times in India.
Gadhwal sarees take their name from Gadhwal in Andhra Pradesh and are made of cotton, with silk borders woven separately and attached.
Khadi — inextricably linked with the freedom movement, this handspun, hand-woven and hand-printed fabric, has now become fashionable.
Hand-knitted socks from Himachal Pradesh are a novelty. As are gloves and mittens in bright colours and beautiful patterns!
Jamawar shawls — woven in wool, with a touch of cotton, and silk brocade borders, this Kashmiri fabric is mainly patterned in paisley.
Furnishings —Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are known for dhurries and carpet weaving, introduced to India by the Moghuls.
Ikkat — otherwise called Pattola — this style of textile refers to the dyeing and weaving of both silk and cotton yarn.
Lace-making — Jamnagar in Gujarat, Narsapur in Andhra Pradesh and various places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have earned themselves world-wide repute for lace.
Muslin — once called ‘woven air’, Jamdhani sarees are perhaps the most famous of muslin weaves today. North eastern India — local tribes bring their unique cultures to bear on the cloth their women weave mostly in white, black, red and blue.
Pashmina shawls — Made from yarn spun from the underbelly fur of the Pashmina goat, these shawls are lightweight, and beautiful.
Silks are synonymous with South India. The Kancheevarams from Tamil Nadu and the Dharmavarams from Andhra Pradesh, each has its own USP.
Venkatagiri sarees from Andhra Pradesh are embellished with pure silver thread, and have traditional floral, avian and geometric motifs.
Orissa’s tribals — The dyeing process is long and tedious, but the scarves and sarees are snapped up by buyers everywhere.
Roghan — Special oilbased, handpainted designs that have the sheen of lac. Exclusively found in Gujarat’s Nirona village.
Quilts — Jaipur Razais, as they’re known, are made by womenfolk in traditional patterns. Uppada sarees — made of cotton or silk, delicately patterned and woven exclusively by the Andhra locals using the Jamdhani technique. Tie-and-dye fabric is made using the resistance dyeing technique. The bandhini of Rajasthan is the most popular.
Words added to the English dictionary include calico, khaki, chintz, seersucker and shawl.
Yarns are the warp and weft of textiles, so to speak, and India is the world’s biggest supplier of this commodity.
X-clusive! Custom-made ‘designer’ wear sequinned and beaded to within an inch of its life, each can lay claim to this term.
Zari gives the finishing touch of richness to Indian textiles.
Look Who’s In Town Delhi
Kyoko Fukuda, of Japan, an Event Producer for PROMO TEC India, who lives in Gurgaon, on the beauty and diversity of India
I was working in Singapore; and one day, my boss asked me if I was interested in working in a new office in India – I said yes! Although I had never been to India, I was confident because I had worked in the rural areas of East Africa. I had several Indian friends in Singapore and used to hang out with them. I enjoyed dancing at Bollywood clubs in the Clarke Quey area of Singapore. I received some information from them before I came to India. The best way to gather information from overseas, always, is to contact someone in that country and ask them directly. Then & Now At first, when I started living in India, I found it difficult to live and work here. Because I was engaged in a new work place, I didn’t have time to make friends. But after a while, I felt quite comfortable in living and working here. My tips to live & work in India Stay connected with people who are positive towards India. Participate in activities you are interested in and meet new people outside your place of work. Understand the people and culture, and discover more. Set your own target and use this fantastic opportunity while you are in India. India on a platter We are from Asia, but our style of food is totally opposite. We Japanese love light cooked or raw food with little spices, so as to enjoy original taste. We eat simply to enjoy the taste of food. But I realise that India has a different attitude
towards food – strongly related to religion, tradition and culture. Recently, I read somewhere that turmeric, which is often used in India, helps prevent Alzheimer’s. I have been thinking ever since that I have to learn to have more Indian food daily! Stay connected I love discovering new places, including shops, and events. I read several newspapers and follow events on social media, because those are great sources that help me learn about new places, topics and events in India. Travel tales One advantage of living in India is the travel. India has many tourist attractions like mountains, beaches, deserts, islands, heritage places and wildlife. My favourite experiences were cycling and paragliding in Kerala, the quiet and empty beaches of South Goa, and vineyard and heritage tours in Nashik and Aurangabad. My dream is to go to Leh and Ladakh on a motorbike. What I would like to change in India Recycling. India needs to collect and segregate garbage for recycling. So that they create value from it and they can preserve a pleasant environment. I am taking home... Great choices for vegetarian food. I’m a non-vegetarian but I love to eat vegetables. Affordable Ayurvedic and eco-friendly cosmetics.
Look Who’s In Town Chennai
Find everything here! We first heard about India through Rodrigo’s colleague who has been living in India for a year and a half. He told us a little bit about the culture and the city. Then & Now Our first months in India were difficult, in the sense that we needed to understand what we thought was a ‘completely different culture’. After 15 months here, we not only understand the culture but also think it is quite similar to our own. India on a platter All of our friends think that because we are from Mexico we eat really spicy food; we do eat somewhat spicy food, but nothing compared to the spice levels in India. Here, food is truly spicy but delicious. In Mexico, we use a lot of sauces for our dishes, which you could compare a little with the use of sambar and the chutneys but with different ingredients. Celebration at the doorstep We have been here to experience Pongal and Diwali. We love the decoration with lights, the kolams on the doorsteps
Rodrigo García from Mexico, of DSV Air and Sea, And Estefanía Salgado on making Chennai their home
and the joyfulness overall. We would prefer to leave out the noisy firecrackers. Sight-seeing Our main entertainment in India is tourism; but when we have lazy weekends, we go out for dinner and drinks with our friends or maybe we go south to spend a day on the beach. Travel in India is amazing. We love India because it’s a huge country, and you can find everything – cold weather, really hot weather, nice beaches, national parks, hill stations, tea plantations... the list is endless. What I would like to change in India We would love a less polluted India. I am taking home... We are taking home a little bit of everything, culture, traditional dishes, music and yoga.
Calendar of events
Presenting the best of India’s events in different categories across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and nearby suburbs
Art & Exhibitions
Art Workshop Delhi
Decoupage Workshop Bengaluru
Does art enchant you? If yes, make your way to this one. Rohit Kumar Sharma will teach the intricacies of the passion that lies within, to create art. Classes every Saturday and Sunday. Course Fee: Rs. 3,500 for three months. The workshop is only for adult participants.
Pooja D. Gupta will conduct a workshop on various techniques of the French art of decoupaging, followed by lunch and tea/ coffee.
Date: Until August 20 Time: On Saturday 1430 hrs–1700 hrs; Sunday 1130 hrs–1400 hrs Venue: Palm Court Conference Room, India Habitat Centre, Gate No.2, Near Sai Baba Temple, Lodhi Road, South, Delhi NCR
Date: May 1–29 Time: 1100 hrs Venue: Vivanta By Taj: MG Road, 41/3, Trinity Circle, MG Road, Bengaluru,
Exhibition Chennai Prominent artist AV Ilango’s rare paintings and drawings are on display at the Forum Art Gallery. Date: Until May 7 Time: 1100 hrs–1900 hrs Venue: Forum Art Gallery, 57, 5th Street Padmanabha Nagar, Near Adyar Post Office, Adyar South, Chennai
Yoga Programme Coimbatore
Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore is offering a 21-day Hatha Yoga programme. This is a fully residential programme offering comprehensive training in classical hatha yoga. The programme will be conducted in English, and live translation will be available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, Lebanese, Arabic and a whole lot of Indian languages as well.
Anirban Dasgupta, Vaibhav Sethia and Sourav Ghosh are three comedians who grew up in Kolkata. Now the trio is coming together in Mumbai, for the first time, to present The Big Bong Theory, a hilarious and intelligent comedy show.
Date: May 26–June 15 Time: Full-time residential Venue: Isha Yoga Centre, Velliangiri Foothills, Semmedu Post, Coimbatore
Date: May 1 Time: 1930 hrs Venue: China Gate Restaurants Private Limited, Royal Plaza, New Link Road, Phase D, Shastri Nagar, Andheri West, Next to City Mall, Mumbai
Play Mumbai Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, India’s first ever Broadway-style musical, which opened last October, is back this month. It is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. Date: May 6–15 Time: 1430 hrs and 1930 hrs Venue: Sardar Vallabhbhai Stadium National Sports Club of India, Worli, Lala Lajpatrai Marg, Mumbai
Heritage Delhi Great Indian Food presents a Heritage and Food Walk. Come explore rich Mughal history right in the heart of Delhi. Gauri Shankar Temple, Gurudwara Sisganj, the narrow by-lanes of old Delhi and Mirza Ghalibs Haveli are among the places to visit. Taste Amritsari lassi, Rabri faluda, Dahi bhalle, Bade miya ki kheer and more. Date: May 8–22 Time: 1600 hrs Venue: Outside McDonald's: Delhi, 1888 - 1889 Commercial Complex, Kumar Theatre, Chandni Chowk Road, Chhippy Wada, Delhi, NCR
Concert Bengaluru Listen to Dr. S. Sowmya’s Carnatic concert, organised by Sree Ramaseva Mandali. Sowmya will be accompanied by Charulata Ramanujam on the violin, H. S. Sudheendra on the mridangam and Giridhar Udupa on the ghatam. Date: May 5 Time: 1830 hrs Venue: Sree Ramaseva Mandali, 21, 14th Main Road, 2nd Cross, Chamarajapet, Bengaluru
Post Processing Workshop Mumbai Do the words ‘post processing’ intimidate the photographer in you? This digital postprocessing workshop is for you. Toehold Travel & Photography presents this workshop using Adobe Lightroom as the tool for instruction. Date: May 1 Time: 0930 hrs onwards Venue: Hotel Parle International: Mumbai, B. N. Agarwal Market, Vile Parle East, Next to Dinanath Mangeshkar Hall, Mumbai
Spotlight by Team Culturama
Summer festival May 20 to 21 Every year on the occasion of Buddha Poornima, Mt Abu comes alive with folk dance, music, boat racing and more Even as summer scorches most parts of the country, the cool climes of Mt Abu in Rajasthan beckon us with respite. The entire hill station comes alive with a two-day festival. The event starts on the occasion of Buddha Poornima and then it is all dances, colours and bliss! The event begins with ballad singing and continues with folk dances. Gair, Ghoomar and Daph are the three styles of folk dances you will get to enjoy during this festival. Boat races on the Nakki Lake are a highlight of the summer festival drawing crowds from all around. Sham-e-Qawwali, featuring some of the best folk singers from across the nation is top on the list of music aficionados. Horse racing, tug of war, skating race, music, danceâ&#x20AC;Ś The Summer Festival in Mt Abu is a beautiful showcase of the colours and cultures of Rajasthan. The extravaganza ends with a display of fireworks in the backdrop of Mt Abuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scenic landscape and water bodies.
Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories by Janice Pariat
Reviewed by Yamini Vasudevan
A boy goes missing from his uncle’s house without warning. Just what led to the edge of a steep cliff haunts the thoughts of his family and the villagers who are hunting for him. A schoolgirl tries to ingratiate herself with a group of popular girls but ends up finding her own voice and an unexpected partner. A French anthropologist creates a stir in the village she visits – especially when she starts to spend more time than usual with a young, married lad. A girl dreams of a firebird in the sky – is it a dream or a premonition? In novels and anthologies of short stories that use India as their inspiration, the south, the north, the metropolises and the villages are well covered. Boats on Land moves away from the typical by choosing the north-east part of India as its inspiration. Amid quaint homes, narrow winding roads and foggy landscapes, we come across myth and memory, old-fashioned values and unusual leanings, scenic imagery and deep emotions. From the spirit of a man that moves into the body of a tiger to the suicidal dreams of a teenager, we are given a glimpse of a range of experiences, from the supernatural to the all-too-human. The language is simple but the words seem to hold a sense of mystery within them. A lingering sadness follows the reader through the book – this is no place for mere happily ever-afters. The stories tug at your heart and force you to look deeper into the souls of the characters they are based on. The revolt against ‘foreigners’, which echoes through the book, seems to be a metaphor for the tussle between a desire for greater freedom and the fear of change. While we are given the imagery of a place that seems to be frozen in the previous century, we are forced to face the political problems of the current generation. Yet, when you do reach the end of the book, what remains is the lightness of hope. When a friendship is formed despite the grey cloud of turmoil. When two girls find a space that is untouched by the world around them. When a man finds peace and relief from guilt. It is a reminder that no matter where life may take us, there is always a path that will lead us home.
About the Author Janice Pariat’s work — including art reviews, cultural features, book reviews, fiction and poetry — has been featured in national magazines and newspapers. In 2013, she was awarded the Young Writer Award from the Sahitya Akademi (Indian National Academy of Letters) and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction. In 2014, she was the Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. Visit www.janicepariat.com
Ten for the Road by Susan Philip
Explore the 29 states of this fascinating subcontinent. This segment will set out a collection of interesting, bite-size facts from each state – this month, we look at Tamil Nadu
29 Indias: One Nation, published by Global Adjustments, has 10 hand-picked snippets about each of the Indian states. Read the book for free at www.globaladjustments.com. Global Adjustments has created an animated video that captures the cultural markers of all 29 states: http://tinyurl.com/m734xsm
Culture Quotient: This is the birthplace of bharatanatyam, the best-known classical dance of India. The striking costumes, stylised movements and the sheer poetry of the dance have wowed the world. Folk dances such as the realistically costumed mayil attam (‘peacock dance’) and the poikaal kuthirai (dummy horse dance) are hugely popular. Folk theatre is a big draw and so are folk music and story-telling performances. Tamil Nadu is also a major centre of Carnatic music, a genre of classical Indian music native to the south.
Personality Plus: Subramania Bharati is very dear to the heart of the people of Tamil Nadu. An outstanding freedom fighter himself, it was his poems that fired patriotism and nationalistic spirit during the Independence Struggle in this part of the world. His poems, on religious, social and political themes continue to find relevance today, nearly a century after his death, in both classical and film music.
Sights to See: Temples, churches and mosques, beaches and hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries and museums, Tamil Nadu has a lot to keep you occupied. Don’t forget to take a trip on the Niligiri Toy Train, collect sand of different colours from the Kanyakumari beach – where the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea meet – and catch your breath as you gaze at Arjuna’s Penance, the bas-relief sculpture at Mamallapuram.
How the Land Lies: One of the southern states of India, Tamil Nadu hugs the Bay of Bengal, and the southern-most point on the Indian mainland – Kanyakumari – falls within its borders. It’s just a hop, skip and jump away from Sri Lanka.
Political Pressures: The genesis of the British Raj was here. The jurisdiction of the Fort St. George built by the British East India Company gradually expanded until almost the entire subcontinent came under British dominion. The region was part of the larger Madras Presidency. After Independence, it was known as Madras State. Subsequently, it was renamed Tamil Nadu but the capital city retained the name Madras. It is Chennai now.
Tasty Treats: Various ethnic groups have specialty cuisine, such as the Chettiars, for example. Their food is redolent with garlic, pepper and fennel seeds. There are dishes associated with places, too, such as the Ambur biryani, Tirunelveli halwa and Kumbakonam ‘degree’ coffee. Pongal, a rice-and-lentil preparation spiced with crushed pepper and cumin and garnished with ghee and cashewnuts, is a favourite breakfast dish.
Past Glories: This was the land over which three great dynasties – the Cholas, the Pallavas and the Pandyas – held sway between the 1st and 13th centuries. Names of rulers like Mahendravarman, Raja Raja Chola and Kulasekharan command awe and respect still. Many footprints these dynasties left, in the shape of art, architecture and literature, still exist. The Kallanai Dam over the river Cauvery, for example, built during the 1st Century, to divert water to irrigate the fertile delta region, stands strong even now.
Crafted with Care: The GI-protected, hand-woven silk saris from Kancheepuram have distinctive colour combinations and motifs in gold lace or thread. Graceful bronze idols and decorative wall-hangings make good souvenirs. So do ornate Tanjore (Thanjavur) paintings depicting deities, embellished with semi-precious stones and gold leaf. Dolls made usually of terracotta or plaster of Paris and assembled so that the merest tap sets them ‘dancing’ are also a speciality of Thanjavur.
Ethnic Fingerprint: Much of the indigenous population here trace their roots to the Dravidians, believed to be the original inhabitants of the Indus Valley region, who, for some reason or the other, were pushed southward. Tribes who call this region home include the Todas of the Nilgiris, the Irulas, known for their snake-catching skills, the Badagas, Kotas and Kurumbas.
Worshipfully Yours: The Brihadeeswara Temple stands tall in Thanjavur a thousand years after the legendary Raja Raja Chola commissioned it. A World Heritage Site, the engineering skills that went into it continue to astound architects and archeologists. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is an important point on the temple circuit. In addition, it is a record of history in stone – numerous inscriptions provide glimpses into life in the Chola times.
Picture Story by Team Culturama
At landâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s end PHOTO: Bobinson K. B, via FLICKR
Shaped like a conch, located on the Pamban Island, Rameswaram is a sacred pilgrimage spot for Hindus. The Ramanathaswamy Temple here sees visitors from all over the country. Most Hindus believe that a visit to Varanasi and Rameswaram at least once in their life is important. Hindus believe that Lord Rama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, prayed to Lord Shiva here before crossing over to Sri Lanka to wage a war against the demon king Ravana. In recent times, Rameswaram has acquired a few new landmarks. Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most beloved President, the late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was from this humble temple town. His school and his home, which is now a museum called House of Kalam, are among the interesting places to visit. Of course, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also the beautiful Dhanushkodi. It is a strip of land located at the tip of the south-eastern tip of the island. It is only 29 km away from the Talaimannar region in Sri Lanka. How to get there: Fly to Madurai and take the road from there to Rameswaram. The drive is approximately three hours long.
PHOTO: Madhan R, via FLICKR
(Clockwise from top right) Pillars of the Ramanathaswamy Temple, a boat on the blue waters of Rameswaram and House of Kalam.
PHOTO: Sneha Radhakrishnan, via FLICKR
, India ryanarayanan Photo: V. Su
Seeing India by Shefali Ganesh
Kumbakonam, famous for its filter coffee and aromatic and tasty betel leaves, comes alive once every year during the famous Mahamaham
An Act of Faith
One early morning, nine adults jammed into a van and went hurtling beyond green paddy fields towards the town of Kumbakonam, around 280 km from Chennai. We were on our way to receive the blessings of the holy waters of the Mahamaham tank in the auspicious time of the Maham star. A bath in this once-in-12-year confluence of all the sacred rivers is, legend has it, a sure way to relieve one of all sins. This belief was a popular one, going by the thousands of similar vans headed in the same direction. While the idea of wiping out onesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sins through a bath seemed dreamily easy, the difficulties of negotiating the lakhs who had the same idea had not struck the city-bred, young 20-somethings who listened to the stories.
The Mahamaham is the kumbh mela of the South, and this six-acre tank has quite a few legends associated with it. When all the sacred rivers across India, including the Ganges and Yamuna, felt they were polluted enough by the sins that people washed off of them, they approached Lord Brahma with their grievance. He gave them a solution. They had to bathe in the waters of the Mahamaham tank, when the planet Jupiter spends a year in the Leo sign, once in 12 years. To this day, it is believed that all the sacred rivers come together in this holy tank. This year, according to the Indian almanac, that day fell on February 22. The tank is also believed to be where the present world or Kali Yug was resurrected by Lord Brahma after a deluge that Lord Siva directed on sinful humans at the end of the last era. Kumbakonam gets its name from the pot, kumba, containing the seed of creation that fell here when Brahma revived the world. Within the tank, there are 20 small wells or thirthams, each named after a river such as Ganga, Yamuna and the elements such as Agni and Vayu.
On reaching Kumbakonam town, in the early evening, refreshed by the famed Kumbakonam filter kaapi (coffee made with fresh ground beans, milk and sugar) and with elaborate directions from locals, we finally came upon the tank. An unbelievable blaze of lights bathed the vast water body. The temple gopurams were decked up with serial lights. Amidst loudspeakers that sent out warnings to the public to stay safe, a group of sadhus were starting their holy trail of the tank, mouthing silent prayers. Right behind them was a family whose two children were having a whale of time trying to swim. It was our turn to head to the waters. The warm waters came up to our thighs as we waded our way to the wells. A dip in the river Cauvery, which flows through Kumbakonam was deemed a must after the travails in the tank. The flowing river was a relief after the still tank waters. A quick dip and we were off. Leaving behind our sins and wet clothes, we went on a round of the temples in town. Early next morning, we left Kumbakonam, its paddy fields and their bean-bag-like haystacks lay shrouded in a creamy layer of mist. In the silent van, we were reflecting on our Mahamaham experience. While for many in my family this was a reaffirmation of their faith, for the first-timer, like me, it was a true test of faith. It opened my eyes to the faith that holds humanity together and maybe even inspired my belief to go a few notches higher.
Know your Kumbakonam Famous for: Kumbakonam is known for filter coffee, temples, betel leaves and, famously, as the birthplace of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Food Fact: Sri Mangalambiga Vilas, an unassuming looking eatery in the lane leading to the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple has become a must-visit among temple goers. While you are there, begin your meal with the traditional coffee and try the Kumbakonam Kadappa, a local favourite served with dosa. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to pop in a betel nut supari, wrapped in the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famously fragrant betel leaves, available along the small shops that dot the lanes around the temple. Soul Food: There are more than 180 temples in and around this town. Among them, the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is famous for its hall with a single stone carving of the 27 stars and 12 zodiacs of the Hindu calendar. Spot your zodiac among these! Getting There: Kumbakonam is around 280 km from Chennai and is easily accessible by road or train. Buses ply regularly from Chennai to Kumbakonam. The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli, 80 km away.
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Differentiated Dining The bespoke dining experiences at Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove extend to private dining on the beach in your own cabana, villa dining and more, where meals are customised for your occasion. The hotel offers isolated and private dining for couples at the Watch Tower on the white sands of the Bay of Bengal. If you prefer to cool your heels in the comfort of your cottage, the hotel offers a unique villa dining experience. Unwind and Relax Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove also houses the awardwinning Jiva Spa. The spa is designed around the remains of the old Dutch Fort, which lends a rustic and minimalistic feel. If you choose a romantic getaway at Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove, treat yourself to the luxurious couple therapies. Celebrate beautiful summers Here’s an opportunity to experience the quintessential Taj hospitality with an irresistible offer from Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove, Chennai. Celebrate beautiful summers with a two-night stay in Superior Charm, Superior Charm Sea View, Deluxe Delight Room Garden View or Deluxe Delight Cottage Garden View at INR 23,500 onwards per room inclusive of taxes on single occupancy and INR 27,000 onwards per room inclusive of taxes on double occupancy. The package includes breakfast, meal credit of INR 4,000 per stay and 20% off on Food & Soft beverages (a la carte only). This is valid till September 30, 2016. For more information, contact +91 44 67413333
India Impressions by Team Culturama
Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s who of the Tamil Country
As Tamil Nadu goes to the polls this month to decide who will be its next chief minister, hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a primer on all the important people and parties.
Who is Amma?
In Tamil the word Amma means mother. In the state of Tamil Nadu, Amma is used with some fondness by the public, as well as with some amount of reverence by the cadre of the party this important personality belongs to. We are indeed talking about J. Jayalalithaa, the current Chief Minister of the state who is from the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) party. An erstwhile actor, Jayalalithaa rose in power to become a party supremo and is known for her administrative efficiency. She is also among the only two women to have been in power as the Chief Minister of Tamil
Nadu (V. N. Janaki was the other). And her party’s symbol carries two green leaves – called irettai ilai in Tamil.
Who is Kalaignar? Kalaignar is a Tamil word referring to an artiste or a scholar of arts. M. Karunanidhi, a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, is called so by the people of this state and his party members. A screenwriter and playwright, famous for his expertise in the Tamil language, this 93-year-old was at the forefront of the movement that shaped the politics of this part of the country. He is the head of the DMK party (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and is known as a powerful and intelligent politician.
Who is Captain? You will be forgiven for assuming we are talking about the captain of the Indian cricket team – M. S. Dhoni. But not this time. This particular Captain interestingly comes from a cinematic background, too. Vijayakanth is an action hero and is known for his action stunts and films with patriotic tones, in which he takes on corrupt villains and terrorists. The actor stormed into the country’s political milieu with his party DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam), formed in 2005. He has allied with several parties for this year’s elections to take on Amma and Kalaignar.
What is Dravida Kazhagam? In all these leaders’ parties, did you notice the common thread – Dravida Kazhagam (DK) – which forms the last two words of all their names? The Dravida Kazhagam was, in a sense, the mother party launched by earlier leaders of this state. Its aim was to bring about change with a ‘Dravidian’ identity in Tamil Nadu. Dravidian identity has been the driving force of the politics of this part of Vindhyas* (the mountain range in India). Although Dravidian identity geographically refers to the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala,
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, only Tamil Nadu has taken this particular aspect as a guiding philosophy of its politics. DMK and AIADMK were born out of DK.
Who is Anbumani Ramadoss? A Member of the Indian Parliament, Anbumani Ramadoss is yet another aspirant to the Chief Minister’s chair in Tamil Nadu. He is the youth wing president of PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi) founded by his father S. Ramadoss. From 2004 to 2009, Anbumani served as the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare of India. He has been a proponent of total prohibition of alcohol as well as ban on tobacco. During his stint as the health minister, he made it mandatory for cigarette packets to carry pictorial warnings. He also made it mandatory for films and TV shows showing drinking and smoking scenes to carry warning messages. *South of the Vindhyas is an oft-used expression to refer to the southern part of India.
Myth and Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik
Photo: Rienke van Nieuwland
Eyes of a leader
It is our attention that creates the world around us. Thus, it is the eyes of the village deity that creates the village around him. Likewise, it is the eyes of the leader that creates an organisation around him God may be an abstract concept, but the common man needs a tangible form for this abstract concept. That is why, in ancient times, people represented their deities as rocks. That is why, when we travel across India, we find in shrines of local gods and goddesses, no elaborate imagery, just a rock smeared with turmeric or saffron or vermillion. But such imagery is too impersonal. To make it personal, in many shrines, one thing is done – the rock is given eyes, large petal-shaped eyes, usually of metal. They stare at the devotees constantly from the moment the door of the shrine is opened to the time the shrine is shut. In temples, the ritual that transforms an ordinary statue into a deity is called the ‘eye-bestowing ceremony’. Once the eye is given, or opened, the deity is established and alive. The murti becomes swarup, the living image of the divine. What is so special about the eye? What does the eye do? And why is the eye equated with life? With the appearance of the eye, the stone becomes sentient – it can sense, it can see, it can respond to the world in front of it. The eye-bestowing ritual tells us something very powerful about humans, about the devotees who establish the deity. We want to be seen. We want our gods to observe us, know us and understand us. Without eyes, how can they know our pain, our aspirations and our issues? We constantly ask God to open his eyes, see our suffering and even shed tears for us, empathising with our situation. A leader is supposed to be like that village god or goddess: he or she must have eyes that observe the team and understand them for who they really are. The Mahabharata tells the story of a kingdom where the royal couple has no eyes. The king, Dhritarashtra, is blind and his queen, Gandhari, is blindfolded. The result: children who feel unobserved. The father cannot see; the mother chooses not to see. The children grow up with a warped value system. Since no one is seeing them, they feel they can get away with
anything. As a result, the law of the jungle reigns supreme in the kingdom of Dhritarashtra. A woman is publicly disrobed and lands are grabbed by force. A leader must see his people. He must recognise them for who they are, rather than what he wants them to be. More often than not, leaders don’t have eyes – or rather they see only themselves. Their eyes are only for their vision of the world. They do not realise there are others around them with other visions of life. Those who align with their vision are good; those who fail to do so are bad. Intellectual leaders with an intellectual outlook of things therefore look down upon people who are not intellectual. Emotional leaders keep advising non-emotional team members to transform for their betterment. Task-oriented leaders do not value peopleoriented team members and vice versa. In other words, they see nothing but themselves and constantly seek themselves in others. They notice no one else. Some leaders recognise talent but do not know what to do with it. Others, envious of talent, reject or ignore it deliberately. The character Karna in the Mahabharata is a case in point. Karna was always seen as a charioteer’s son and never as a great archer by the Pandavas. Only Duryodhana saw Karna’s talent but used him unfortunately for his villainous goals. This is what happens to talented people who are rejected by the mainstream — they end up in the wrong hands. And in rage and frustration, they end up doing the undesirable. In the Upanishads, it is said that it is an observer who creates an observation. It is our attention that creates the world around us. Thus it is the eyes of the village deity that creates the village around him. Likewise, it is the eyes of the leader that creates an organisation around him. Dhritarashtra’s lack of sight and his wife’s refusal to see created the Kauravas. It is not so much about sight as it is about attention — how much attention do we pay to people around us. We want the gods to see us and pay attention to us. Do we see people around us and pay attention to them? Do we see what they see? Do we try and align our vision to theirs or do we simply impose our vision onto them? Published in Corporate Dossier, Economic Times, 20 Sept 2008. Reprinted with permission from www.devdutt.com
For the rare men and women who do not dwell on themselves very much, who are not particularly attached to physical satisfactions, the burden of body-consciousness is comparatively light. But many of us carry a heavy load of body-consciousness, and the heavier the load, the more burdensome life is going to become with the passage of time. The body functions best when we do not cling to it. It is a good idea to do all we possibly can to maintain our health; but after we have done this, it is best simply to forget about the body completely. Since I began the practice of meditation many years ago, I have tried to give my body what it has needed for optimum health – nourishing food in moderate amounts, plenty of exercise, the right recreation, and, when necessary, the attention of a good physician. Because I have taken all these steps so important for good physical health, I am on very
good terms with my body – in fact, you might say we are the best of friends; we trust each other. In other words, the body becomes a burden when we cling to it, by dwelling on its problems and going after things that are pleasant to the senses but not beneficial for either body or mind. It seems to be the lesson of life that whatever we cling to selfishly will one day become a burden. Even in life, the person who is diminishing his identification with the body and learning to put the welfare of others first has begun to glimpse the underlying unity in all life. This death of the infantile ego is the purpose of all the disciplines of the spiritual life. As St. Francis says, “It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.” Even in little things, whenever we drop a job we are attached to or cheerfully do something we dislike for the
5 Join Us Every Saturday India Immersion Centre in Chennai facilitates a weekly spiritual fellowship group following Easwaran’s Eight Point Programme of Meditation. E-mail us for more information at globalindian@ globaladjustments.com. If you are in other cities, visit www.easwaran.org for e-satsangs.
Holistic living by Eknath Easwaran
It is not only at death that we encounter the costs of thinking we are the body; we pay the costs throughout our lives
The dhammapada benefit of others, a part of our selfishness and self-will has died. This is painful at times, but there is exhilaration in it. And it is far less painful than going on building up our selfwill until all our selfish attachments are wrenched from us at death. On the spiritual path, we surrender everything little by little – not under duress or because someone else insists on it, but entirely by free choice, until finally we no longer need to hang on to anything outside us for support. Reprinted with permission from ‘The Lesson of the Lilac’, an article by Eknath Easwaran from The Blue Mountain Journal. Copyright The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, P.O. Box 256, Tomales, CA 94971, www.easwaran.org. (Extract from http://bmcmwebsite. s3.amazonaws.com/assets/bm-journal/2011/2011Summer.pdf)
Twin Verses (Selected excerpt) All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy whenever they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.
For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love. This is an unalterable law.
Festivals of India from the ao tribe’s moatsu festival to buddha purnima, this is a month of celebrations for various communities in india...
May 1 to 3 Moatsu Festival An important festival celebrated by the Ao tribe in the northeastern state of Nagaland, Moatsu Mong is held to seek the blessings of the Almighty. Cattle are fed and fattened ahead of the festival for a feast, rice beer is brewed and songs are sung in honour of the tribe’s heroes. The festival is an important draw and people from all over the country visit the state during this time to enjoy this colourful festival.
May 9 Akshaya Tritiya Akshaya Tritiya, an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar, is believed to be a good day to begin any new venture. Akshaya means ‘never diminishing’ and Tritiya means ‘third day’ (as the day falls on the third day of the Vaisakha month). For most people in India, the day begins with a ritualistic oil bath and prayers. While Akshaya Tritiya has become synonymous with buying gold – often seen as a form of investment, it is also beneficial to do an act of charity on this day. To Do: Booking your gold in advance might help, as jewellery shops get crowded. Donate in cash or kind to a charity of your choice. Planting trees is also a good way to start the day.
May 20 Narasimha Jayanthi This is a day when the half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu descended on earth to kill a demon. On this occasion, devotees of Vishnu go on a fast, special prayers are performed and gram sprouts and jaggery are offered to the idol.
May 21 Buddha Purnima Buddha Purnima celebrates the day Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. While some regard the day as representing all three important events in his life – birth, enlightenment and death – some believe that it signifies the death of the mortal’s desires and the birth of immortal knowledge. Buddha Purnima is so called because it falls on the full moon day (referred to as Purnima) of the Buddhist (and Hindu) month of Vaisakha. Buddha, who was born into a royal family, a prince in what is present-day Nepal, gave up the pleasures of princely life and went searching for the source of eternal peace. He attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree at a place currently called Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India. He advocated the ‘Eightfold Path’ – right conduct, right motive, right speech, right effort, right resolve, right livelihood, right attention and right meditation – to his followers. Following this path, he said, can help one attain nirvana, meaning 'to blow out' the ego. To Do: Buddha Purnima is celebrated with great reverence in Lumbhini, Bodhgaya and Kushinagara. Prayer meetings, religious discourses, meditation and processions are held to mark the day.
Learn from the Bhagavad Gita by Team Culturama
Capturing the essence of the Bhagavad Gita in a single sentence, one chapter at a time; accompanied by an inspirational photograph from our Annual Photo Competition.
Wrong thinking is the only problem in life.
Learn a yoga pose by Namita Jain
Three triangles Can you position your body in such a way that it forms three triangles? 1. Stand with your feet wide apart and hands stretched outwards at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. 2. Stretch the left hand up and bend down to the right side. Look up towards to left hand. Return to starting position and switch sides. Benefit: Regulates the digestive system and massages internal organs such as the liver.
kerala BACKWATER BLISS
Artists of India by Team Culturama
Raja Ravi Varma Reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma’s sensuous paintings of sari-clad Hindu goddesses and heroines from the epics adorn India’s homes, shops and offices. Varma was born in the Princely State of Travancore (part of modern-day Kerala) in 1848 into an aristocratic family of poets and artists. His uncle taught him to paint devotional Tanjore paintings but exposure to the works of European masters at the court of the Maharajah of Travancore brought about the meeting of East and West in his work. Varma learnt the Western academic techniques of oil painting, of perspective and Realism. His success as an artist was almost immediate as he accepted commissions from wealthy patrons, both Indian and Western, who delighted in his meticulous artistry. To this day, his paintings are taken to portray a vision of Hindu India’s classical Golden Age.
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India Diaries by Annelize Booysen
India in a word If one had to choose a single word to describe a country, what would that be? Punctual might be selected for Switzerland, fascinating for Japan and exotic for the Maldives. But only one word is worthy of India: colourful
Photo: Tobias Schmidt, GERMANY
It is a pity that this word’s meaning has been somewhat tarnished by its euphemistic referral to something slightly distasteful. Because colour, to my mind, is anything but distasteful. To apply it to something or someone should be a compliment because – by definition – colour is something that we all prefer. For what other reason did we move from black and white films to Technicolor? Reinstating the complimentary meaning of the word, colourful creates both a visual and an intuitive meaning of something that is multidimensional, has nuances and has layers. And that is what India is. It is a beautiful kaleidoscope of ancient culture, spicy foods, loud noises, busy streets, warm smiles and bright clothing. It is diverse landscapes, rich history, melodious language, fascinating history and deep philosophy, all captured in a colourful palette for anyone who cares to look. Sure, at times too much colour makes us reach for sunglasses, or look for a quiet spot to recompose. And we might not care for all the hues either,
Photo: Sophie Fontant, France
finding them just too foreign for our palate. How you experience this colour therapy is entirely up to you. But there is no denying that India is a vibrant place with a very unique, colourful energy. While the purpose of colour could be an interesting topic, the result of colour is perhaps the more relevant question. Specifically in the case of India. I lived in India for 3 years. And these 3 years taught me three things. First, life is what you make of it. You don’t have to look too far in India to see that there is very real hardship. Life is not easy for everyone in India, not by any stretch of imagination. Yet, despite this, everyone is always ready with a smile. That I believe is an achievement that is possible only because of being colourful. Nuances and layers give resilience in a way that an absolute never can. Second, there is an air of ‘anything is possible’. You like that chair in the glossy magazine? Of course, we can make a replica for you. And a few weeks later, there it is, perfect in every detail. You need a person who is a whiz at doing something? Give me a day, and I’ll find that person for you. A combination of an entrepreneurial streak, high skill levels and low costs makes this possible. Of course, fair labour practices and red tape are issues to factor in, but somehow India seems
Photo: Ninna Hogedal, The Netherlands
to bring together a colourful mix of elements that sparks new ideas. Third, life carries on. Just as strands of silk make up the essence of the colourful saris that adorn the streets, so do the strands of relationships make up the colourful fabric of communities. The essence of Indian society – in my opinion – is really its relationships. Yes, granted, this could potentially be stifling, but it is also a safety net. It is the neighbours and friends who turn up to help out when things turn south, or who celebrate with you. It is more than a network of people. It really is your people, the people who ensure that life does carry on, despite what life brings. Or perhaps it is more a case of life is carried on for you until such time that you can get back on. Despite economic progress and technological advances, India remains unique in its colourfulness. Thankfully. A piece of unsolicited advice to any newcomer: yes, it will probably be a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but once we get over the natural instinct of wanting to find the familiar, and start embracing the different, life takes on a different hue. Ultimately, if one were to recoil from colour, how could one ever appreciate a crimson sunset?
Portrait of India by Team Culturama
The painting here shows Budha (not to be confused with Buddha) or Mercury riding on a lion. He is the Hindu god of merchandise and the protector of merchants. Three of his hands hold a weapon while the fourth one is held in the varada mudra. Varada mudra symbolizes a deity giving boons to followers. Usually the right hand is used to depict this blessing. Painting by Sri S. Rajam. Picture courtesy ‘Art Heritage of India: A Collector’s Special’, published by L&T-ECC & ECC Recreation Club.
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