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Volume 30 n Issue 2 n March-April 2016

EXPLORING THE ARCHITECTURE OF CHANDIGARH

CULTURE JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL

PROGRESS PROJECT SURYA

CONVERSATION DEEPIKA PADUKONE


UPCOMING EVENTS ACROSS INDIA BAISAKHI

The festival is celebrated in the state of Punjab, especially by Sikhs. It is also the day when the last and 10th Sikh guru established the Khalsa to eliminate the difference between higher and lower caste communities. WHEN: April 13 WHERE: Punjab, India

HOLA MOHALLA

AMBEDKAR JAYANTI

​ he annual Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla T is mainly celebrated at the Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara in Punjab. It was introduced by Guru Gobind Singh, the ninth guru of Sikhs, to fortify the Sikh community by carrying out martial training and mock drills along with a religious procession.

The nation will celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Babasahab Bhimrao Ambedkar on April 14 this year. The Central Government is planning to observe Dr Ambedkar’s birthday as National Bandhutva/ Samarsata Divas. WHEN: April 14 WHERE: All over India

WHEN: March 25-27 WHERE: Punjab, India

BOHAG BIHU

One of the most important among all the three Bihus, Bohag Bihu falls in the Assamese month of Bohag. Also known as Rongali Bihu, it marks the beginning of the agricultural season in the northeastern state. WHEN: April 14 WHERE: Assam, India

GOOD FRIDAY

WORLD HERITAGE DAY

WHEN: March 25 WHERE: All over India

WHEN: April 18 WHERE: All over India

It commemorates the crucifixion of Christ and his death at Calvary and falls on the Friday before Easter. Some churches observe the day with prayers, hymns, special services, parades or open air plays to portray the last days of Jesus.

UNESCO established this day to create awareness among the people to protect the valuable assets and cultural heritage across the world. To mark this day, various awareness camps and functions are organised.


Foreword The long-standing civilisational relationship between India and France dates back from the Mughal rule to the days when thousands of Indian soldiers defended French territory during the two world wars. The relationship was further strengthened by the principled support of the French for India and its sovereign concerns in times of crises. Today, fighting climate change is an important part of the India-France bilateral agenda. On his second visit to India, the President of France, Mr Francois Hollande, inaugurated the secretariat of the Solar Alliance, yet another achievement from the Paris Summit, in Gurgaon. The focus is on delivering the goals and promises that have been set for 2020 and thereafter. Mr Hollande was also the guest of honour at the 67th Republic Day celebrations where India displayed its military might, cultural prowess and economic potential. In the Partnership section, we talk about the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and France to share technical expertise on enhancing each other’s competency and skills. We also highlight the fact that it was the first time that foreign troops - French soldiers belonging to the crack 35th Infantry Regiment - marched in this year’s Republic Day parade. In the Culture section, we bring you snippets from the Jaipur Literature Festival. The ninth edition of one of the world’s largest literary festivals covered a wide spectrum of issues spanning current-day upheavals in the Middle East to providing glimpses of ancient Indian knowledge systems. The Heritage pages walks you through the onceforgotten grand palaces of Hyderabad. In Progress section, we talk about Project Surya that aims to expand access to clean energy technological advancements among the rural population of the country. While you experience the colourful paintings originating from the state of Bihar that are characterised by geometrical shapes and are primarily done with fingers, brushes, matchsticks and natural dyes through the Art pages, the Explore section takes you through the leading tea estates of the country. We also walk through Chandigarh and witness the French influence on the city considered as the template for planning modern Indian townships. The Snapshots pages take you on a tour to discover the hidden jewels in Sikkim and acquaint you with the scenic northeastern state. In the Conversation section, we chat with actor Deepika Padukone who had an eventful 2015 with stellar performances in Piku, Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani. The actor feels it is important to be passionate or do what you are passionate about. But most importantly, you should enjoy yourself along the way. Volum

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Volume 30 n Issue 2 n March-April 2016

Editor: Vikas Swarup Assistant Editor: Nikhilesh Dixit Ministry of External Affairs Room No. 152, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110001, India Tel.: +91.11.23388949, 23381719 Fax.: +91.11.23384663 Web: www.indiaperspectives.in For feedback/ inquiries: osdpd2@mea.gov.in

MaXposure Media Group India Pvt Ltd Publisher & COO: Vikas Johari CEO & Managing Director: Prakash Johari Executive Editor: Saurabh Tankha Head Office MaXposure Media Group India Pvt Ltd Plot No 246, 3rd Floor, Okhla Phase-3, New Delhi-110020, India Tel: +91.11.43011111, Fax: +91.11.43011199 CIN No: U22229DL2006PTC152087 For feedback/ inquiries: indiaperspectives@maxposure.in

FOR INQUIRIES | MMGIPL Tel: +91.11.43011111 FAX: +91.11.43011199 www.maxposure.in

India Perspectives is published in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Tamil, Chinese and Japanese. India Perspectives is published by Vikas Swarup, Joint Secretary (XP) and Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Room No. 152, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110001, India. It is printed and published on behalf of the MEA by MaXposure Media Group India Pvt. Ltd. (MMGIPL), Plot No 246, 3rd Floor, Okhla Phase-3, New Delhi-110020, India. India Perspectives is published six times a year. All rights reserved. The writing, artwork and/or photography contained herein may be used or reproduced with an acknowledgement to India Perspectives. MEA and MMGIPL does not assume responsibility for loss or damage of unsolicited products, manuscripts, photographs, artwork, transparencies or other materials. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the MEA or MMGIPL.

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For a copy of India Perspectives, contact the nearest Indian diplomatic mission.

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CONTENTS 52

88

12

PARTNERSHIP

REVIEW

Reforging civilisational ties...........................06

Saraswati in India, Benzaiten in Japan.......................................... 59

PARTNERSHIP

Strengthening India-France ties....................12 INITIATIVE

ONGC strikes gold..........................................20

EXPLORE

Symbol of planned urbanism........................64 EXPLORE

HERITAGE

Journey through Hyderabad’s royal palaces............................. 24

The golden tea story......................................68 ART

The magic of Madhubani.............................. 76

HERITAGE

Unearthing the civilisation of Lothal........... 34

CUISINE

Celebrating new beginnings.........................80

PROGRESS

Going carbon free .......................................... 38 SNAPSHOT

Beauty galore.................................................. 42

CUISINE

Relishing the best...........................................86

CULTURE

CONVERSATION

For the love of words..................................... 52

Everyday woman inspires me ...................... 88

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Reforging

civilisational ties

To preserve and publicise written heritage and records, India and France have agreed to cooperate in technology transfer and digital sharing text | Mayuri Mukherjee

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eated comfortably with the the potential to significantly contribute to the President of India Dr Pranab relationship, there was another development Mukherjee and Prime Minister in India-France bilateral relations that has the Mr Narendra Modi as French ability to be a game-changer. President Mr Francois On October 28, 2015, Hollande witnessed the Republic India and France signed a India and Day parade this year, political Memorandum of Understanding France have pundits busied themselves at the National Library in signed an MoU to discussing the strategic Kolkata to conserve, develop conserve, develop partnership between India and and publicise written heritage. and publicise France. The focus was on big The agreement paved the way written heritage ticket items like the Rafale and for greater cooperation between the nuclear reactor deals, French the two countries as India seeks assistance to develop Smart Cities in India and to digitise its manuscripts and old documents, the international solar fund to fight climate something France has already been doing change. And while each of these, no doubt, has for the past seven years. The importance

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Joint Secretary (Library) in the Ministry of Culture Ms Sreya Guha on the occasion

of this project need not be underlined and related fields will play an important any further. The MoU allows India and role in setting up the National Virtual France to share technical expertise and Library. The most ambitious element of enhance each other’s competency and the National Mission on Libraries, which skills in relevant fields. was launched by President Overall, they will be adding Mukherjee in 2014, the The National a new chapter of cultural National Virtual Library aims Virtual Library cooperation to their to digitally link the country’s aims to longstanding relationship. numerous state libraries digitally link The agreement was signed and bring online the vast the country’s by Joint Secretary (Library) amount of resources available numerous state in the Ministry of Culture with the Government. For libraries Ms Sreya Guha on the Indian example, All India Radio and side and President of the Doordarshan have reels of National Library of France Mr Bruno rare footage while the ministries of Culture Racine on the French side. and Human Resource Development have From India’s perspective, the their own treasure troves of equally rare cooperation with France in digitisation books and documents. However, all this

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material is stored at different locations with Rigveda manuscripts collection, stored at the different agencies. In recent years, a significant Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute at amount of these resources has been digitised Pune, included in the UNESCO’s Memory of but, again, it has been uploaded to different the World Programme which seeks to preserve sites and servers. The National humanity’s civilisational memory Virtual Library will connect and expressions. The National these disparate locations and By 2013, the National Mission for organise all the material so Mission for Manuscripts had Manuscripts that everything can be easily documented around 37 lakh has already searched and accessed. manuscripts, conserved more documented A second project that than three crore pages and around 37 lakh stands to benefit greatly digitised nearly two crore manuscripts from this collaboration is manuscripts. These manuscripts the National Mission for will also be part of the Manuscripts. Conceived in 2003, its focus National Virtual Library. The Mission has is to preserve India’s vast manuscript regional centres across the country which reserves. In 2007, the Mission registered coordinate acquisition, notification and a big success when it was able to get the preservation activities.

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Left: President of India Dr Pranab Mukherjee at the launch the National Mission on Libraries; Above: Officials working on digitalising the manuscripts

A good example here is the work that In this context, it is worthy to mention that is already being done by École Française just as India is seeking French assistance D’Extrême Orient (EFEO), the French for its ambitious library project, France is institute that focusses on Asian studies. seeking Indian expertise to organise what it Headquartered in Paris, calls its “India collection”. This the institute has a centre collection includes thousands The Library of in Puducherry which was of manuscripts in Indology has established in 1955 (as the Sanskrit, Prakrit and around 11,000 French Institute). In 1964, the Tamil languages, titles, a collection of EFEO moved to a separate over 2,500 miniature maps, drawings building where it now houses paintings as well as and manuscript its own collections and extends a wealth of other texts on palm leaves various facilities to Indian resources. If things scholars. The EFEO centre hosts go according to the Library of Indology which has around plans, these Indian documents in 11,000 titles, a large collection of maps and French possession will be properly drawings as well as manuscript texts on palm catalogued and added to the Indian leaves in Sanskrit, Tamil and Manipravalam. virtual library.

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Strengthening India-France relations At its 67th Republic Day celebrations, as India displayed its military might, cultural prowess and economic potential, it was in the fitness of things that the guest of honour was the President of France, Mr Francois Hollande text | Mayuri Mukherjee

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Above: The French Army marching contingent at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi; Facing page: President of India Dr Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi with President of France Mr Francois Hollande

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ndia and France have a long-standing partnership, standing firm on shared values civilisational relationship that goes and commitments. back hundreds of years to the time when a French The visit physician served in President Hollande’s second India and the Mughal court. It has been trip to India was built on the France have a forged with the bravery and momentum generated during robust strategic sacrifice of thousands of Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra partnership that soldiers who fought to defend Modi’s two trips to Paris last stands firm on shared values and French territory during the two year. In April, the Indian Prime commitments world wars and was further Minister was invited for a state strengthened by the principled visit while in December, he support of the French for India travelled to France for the UN and its sovereign concerns in times of crises. Summit on Climate Change (COP 21). In fact, Today, India and France, two of the world’s both the leaders and their administrations leading democracies, have a robust strategic have worked closely to put together the

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Facing page: A bird’s eye view of Rajpath; (Left) Mr Modi with Mr Hollande and Defence Minister Mr Manohar Parrikar (Below) PM Modi receives Mr Francois Hollande at Rajpath

landmark deal signed in Paris. And to that end, it may be fair to say that President Hollande’s presence at the Republic Day was a testimony to all that the two countries can achieve when working with each other and as a team with the rest of the world. The deal that was signed in Paris was an ambitious one, straddling the diverse interests and aspirations of different nations while still offering a collective response to a global threat. Needless to say, fighting climate change is now an important part of the IndiaFrance bilateral agenda. President Hollande inaugurated the secretariat of the Solar Alliance – yet another achievement from the Paris Summit – in Gurgaon during his tour. The focus is on delivering the goals and promises set for 2020 and after. In this context, it is expected that there will be greater cooperation between the two countries in the research and development of clean and green energy efficient solutions through innovative technologies.

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India and France close cooperation

Areva, is already in the process of setting up a nuclear plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, in India and France’s cooperation in the field collaboration with Nuclear Power Corporation of civilian nuclear energy must of India Limited (NPCIL). Areva be viewed through this prism. has a deal with Larsen & Toubro After the Nuclear Suppliers so that the components of the Fighting climate Group allowed India to engage plant machinery can be built in change is in nuclear commerce for nonthis country. This deal not only now an important military purposes in September allows for great localisation but part of the India2008, France was the first country adds to L&T’s existing repertoire France bilateral to sign a civil nuclear deal with as Areva will be transferring agenda India in 2009. French company, technology that will improve

PM Modi and the President of France, Mr Francois Hollande, at the Indo-French CEOs Forum; Below: President of France inspecting the guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan

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PM Modi with the President of France

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PM Modi and Mr Francois Hollande at the Indo-French CEOs Forum

L&T’s heavy forging capabilities. A relatively the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. new area of cooperation between the two In fact, President Hollande began his India countries is infrastructure development, tour this year at Chandigarh where he was specifically with regard to the received by the Indian Prime Smart Cities. Apart from €200 Minister and the dignitaries A relatively million investment for the visited the famous Rock Garden new area of extension of Bangalore Metro, among other attractions. cooperation France has promised to invest Among the traditional areas between the over €2 billion in the Smart of cooperation, there is defence two countries is Cities project with special focus and security collaboration infrastructure on Chandigarh, Nagpur and which extends from counterdevelopment Puducherry. While Puducherry terrorism to cyber-security was a French colony and still to cooperation in multilateral maintains a distinct French cultural flavour, security forums. Defence trade between making it a top destination for heritage the two countries is also growing, with the tourism; Chandigarh, reputed for being Rafale deal, for the purchase of 36 medium India’s first planned city, was designed by multi-role combat aircraft.

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Several French defence companies are soldiers belonging to the crack 35th Infantry keen on manufacturing in India, thereby Regiment, based in Belfort, marched in this giving a boost to the Government’s flagship year’s Republic Day parade – the first time Make in India scheme. Both that foreign troops participated countries recognise the threat in the event – speaks volumes French defence of global terrorism and have about the companies are keen repeatedly called for the relationship that on manufacturing dismantling of terror havens India and France in India, giving and bringing terrorists to share. Perhaps, on a a boost to the justice. There is also a joint concluding note, it Government’s working group on counterwill be appropriate ‘Make in India’ terrorism that allows for to mention here scheme intelligence and information that, in 2009, sharing. Additionally, Indian Indian soldiers had and French defence forces have a close similarly marched with much working relationship and regularly engage pride at the Bastille Day military in joint military exercises. That French parade in France.

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INITIATIVE

ONGC strikes gold After six years of acquiring Imperial Energy, ONGC Videsh drills horizontal wells in Russia to extract oil text | Rajanya Bose

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Imperial Energy of ONGC Videsh operates in Tomsk region of western Siberia

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hen ONGC Videsh, However, the top management and the overseas arm of unrelenting team of ONGC Videsh refused Oil and Natural Gas to back out despite rumours that the Indian Corporation (ONGC), parent organisation was thinking of getting bought the out of the buy out. Finally, the Imperial Energy Corp in Russia, decision might be paying off. ONGC Videsh there were some concerns. The ONGC Videsh partnered with is planning to largest oil exploring company US-based Liberty Resources to invest $10-12 in India shelled out $2.1 billion drill two horizontal wells of 1,500 billion in asset out of its kitty when oil prices m horizontal length. Each of these purchases all were double the current levels. wells in Naunak Formation of over the world The shale reserves were proving Snezhnoye field produced 58,000 difficult to drill and ONGC was paying most of its revenues as taxes to the Russian government. Imperial Energy assets are situated in the Tomsk region of Russia, situated in the western part of Siberia, located around Ob River.

m3/d of gas, 2,313 bbl/d of liquid and 1,037Â bopd. The oil production is expected to reach 1,200 barrels per day.

Looking forward

In a landscape where one could see snow as

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Imperial Energy Drill site of ONGC Videsh

far as the eyes go, ONGC Videsh managing director NK Verma, Director (Operations) PK Rao and CEO (Imperial Energy) S Durga Prasad visited the field when the temperatures touched -35 degree Celsius. Their leadership focussed not only on production, technology and profits but on keeping the spirits of workers up who performed under distress situations. Even though around 80 per cent of the reserves of Imperial Energy were locked up in low permeability tight reservoirs with low permeability (hard-to-recover) and were difficult to exploit profitably with conventional methods, Verma did not lose hope. As the reserves spread over 13,000 sq km, he knew the potential profits only if they could survive long enough. What came as a bonus for ONGC Videsh was Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in December last year where the organisation picked up a 15 per cent stake in the country’s second biggest oil field of Vankorneft. ONGC Videsh paid $1.3 billion to Russian oil giant Rosneft to have its share in Vankor field. The two companies also signed an MoU to cooperate in geological surveys, on-shore and off-shore explorations as well as production of hydrocarbons in Russia. The visit by the Indian Prime Minister

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facilitated other agreements within the oil sector companies as well including IndianOil, Oil India and Essar. In a joint media briefing, Mr Modi said that given the strategic relations between the two countries, Russia with its huge reserves of natural gas could be a major source of energy security for India.


Moving forward, ONGC Videsh is planning to invest $10-12 billion in asset purchases all over the world. At the Reuters Global Commodity Summit, Verma said the organisation was open to considering mergers and acquisitions and not just asset purchases at a time when the oil prices are low. Over

the next three years, ONGC Videsh plans to double its current investment of $8 billion in Africa. The organisation knows the potential in Africa and Latin America where companies are under financial stress due to high capital expenditure and ONGC Videsh is ready to bank on this opportunity.

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Journey through

Hyderabad’s royal palaces

Hyderabad’s true beauty lies in its historical core from where the modern city took shape text and photos | Ramchander Pentuker

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yderabad, home to monuments like Charminar and Mecca Masjid, is known for the opulence of its fascinating palaces and havelis. A number of these architectural wonders lay hidden in its narrow alleys which few, except locals, were aware of. But the most splendid ones, however, are the ones built and occupied by the Nizams themselves.

Walking down

For over half-a-century, these palaces remained a mystery. It was in the late 1990s when they were thrown open to public that these palaces made news. The aura of romance and mystery surrounding them is still strongly embedded in peoples’ imagination, be it Falaknuma, Chowmahalla or Purani Haveli, the once official residence of the Nizams.

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The Nizam rule in Hyderabad started in 1724 under Nizamul-Mulk who established the Asaf Jahi dynasty after the fall of the Golconda Qutb Shahis in 1687. Subsequently, seven generations of his successors who came to be known as the “Nizams” ruled Hyderabad and parts of Deccan for almost two-and-one quarter centuries. The period, mainly during the reign of the sixth and seventh Nizams, was marked by a flood of construction activities as many of

the great edifices the city is proud of today were built back then. These are largely concentrated in the southwestern and southeastern quarters of the city. “The total area of the palaces built by the successive Nizams in the Old City alone would be more than a million cubic feet which is three times more as compared to that of their predecessors, the Qutb Shahis,” says Narender Luther, a former civil servant and historian based in Hyderabad.

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Chowmahalla Palace complex

If you travel from anywhere in the Old City in southwestern or southeastern direction with Charminar as the starting point, you can witness some of these magnificent palaces. “In recent times, Hyderabad’s cyber technohype,” as Luther says, “has overshadowed its historic charm, nawabi lifestyle and elegant courtesies”. But the pageantry and extravagant exploits of the royal courts that once enthralled the world hungry for

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something “exotic” have left an imprint in these intriguing palaces. From Charminar, the three important palaces: Falaknuma in south, Chowmahalla in west and Purani Haveli in east form Old City’s golden triangle.

Chowmahalla

One of the most important and first of the palaces which last ceased to function as a royal official residence-cum-darbar hall after


Chowmahalla is a vast conglomeration of four palaces, built in 1750 by the fourth Nizam, Salabat Jung, where the Nizams held state receptions and court meetings. Of all the four palaces in Chowmahalla complex, the best preserved is Afzal Mahal, named after the fourth Nizam, Afzal-ud-Dowla. The highlight here is the sitting hall at the entrance which is lavishly furnished in French regal style with huge Venetian chandeliers and extravagant gilded plasterwork on the walls and all over the ceiling. The palace has been converted into a centre for arts and culture and a museum exhibiting furniture, textiles, books, swords and a fleet of vintage cars and motorbikes. A must-see here is the collection of vintage photographs, costumes, jewellery and hairstyles of the bygone era.

Afzal Mahal reception hall, Chowmahalla Palace

Indian independence, is Chowmahalla, a huge complex of several buildings with beautifully landscaped gardens and a large marble cistern. The splendour of the palace was best described by a medieval visitor: “The main quadrangle has a beautiful garden surrounding a large marble cistern, the fountain and splashing waters which on moonlit nights can be compared to the enchanted gardens described in the Arabian Nights�.

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Exterior view of Chowmahalla Palace

Purani Haveli

lived here for a long time. Even his son, Mir Less than a mile away from Chowmahalla, Mahaboob Ali Khan continued to live in the on the eastern side of Charminar, Purani palace after he ascended the throne in 1869. Haveli is another architectural marvel. The crown prince, Mir Mahaboob Ali When the layout of the new Khan, known for his extravagant city of Hyderabad was planned lifestyle, especially his passion for Less than a by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah clothes and footwear, installed a mile away from (1580-1612), he earmarked a 240 ft long wardrobe here that Chowmahalla large estate for the residence of spanned the entire length of the on the eastern his chief advisor Mir Momin building on the first floor. It was side of whom he widely venerated as a equipped with a manual elevator Charminar is saint and statesman. Later, with for the prince to move up and Purani Haveli the fall of Golconda, the second down to select his clothes. This Asafia, Nizam Ali Khan acquired the property from the family of Mir Momin for his son, Sikander Jah. When the latter became the Nizam in 1803, he moved his residence to Chowmahalla. The fifth Nizam Afzal-ud-Dowla (1857-68) was born and

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building, which once used to accommodate his vast collection of clothes and footwear, is perhaps the world’s largest even today. The seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan (1911-48), was a regular visitor to the


One of the world’s longest dining table at Falaknuma Palace

Map not to scale

palace to pay respects to his mother who once lived here. In 1971, nearly 200 years after his family acquired the estate, the living Prince Mukharram Jah donated the property to the Mukkarram Jah Trust to promote education. The main building, with its long corridors, is reminiscent of 18th century European architecture. The wardrobe, made of Burma teak, is still intact and looks as new as if it was done yesterday. On the ground floor stands a museum which houses the golden throne of the Nizam.

Falaknuma

TELANGANA

HYDERABAD

From Purani Haveli, drive to the Falaknuma Palace, about 3 miles south of Charminar, situated on a hill. It was designed by an Italian architect and is regarded as one of the most magnificent palaces in the country. It was used

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Clockwise from above: The wardrobe at Purani Haveli; The royal throne at Purani Haveli; Purani Haveli

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Exterior view of Purani Haveli

as the royal guest house which housed some the marbled stairway and went through the of the world’s best priceless collection of art palace. At night, he had dinner on the terrace objects and paintings. This palace, as the other of the main facade, built elegantly in Palladian ones of the Nizam, has lavish furniture and style of old British aristocracy. The view of the plush interiors, imported from city and the sky left the Nizam so European countries. Falaknuma or enchanted that he extended his Falaknuma or “mirror of the sky” is spread over stay. Finally, he expressed his liking “mirror of the 200 acres. As late historian-writer for the palace. At this, Sir Vikar sky” is spread Bilkis Alladin writes, “Its original bowed before his ruler and said, over 200 acres builder Sir Vikar-Ul-Umra once “Sarkar, yeh aap hi ka hai, aap hi ke invited the Nizam Mir Mahaboob liye banaya gaya hai ” (My Lord, this Ali Khan to visit the palace to impress him palace is yours, I built it for you only). Saying because he knew the latter was a connoisseur of this, he left the palace forever. the finest things in life. As expected, the Nizam As you enter this palace, you see a marbled arrived as scheduled on a caparisoned elephant foyer with a finely carved fountain at the centre with a large entourage in tow. He walked up while on four sides are four marbled benches.

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Above: Falaknuma Palace; Below: Residency Building entrance of Purani Haveli INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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The ceiling above is beautifully frescoed. The The banquet hall is perhaps one of the world’s foyer leads into another marbled hall having largest, with as many as 102 wooden chairs, all a marbled staircase lined with beautifully carved and upholstered. paintings of European guests. The Tired of living in ancestral homes, balustrade has graceful marble the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Silver Jubilee statues holding up lamps in their Khan, moved to the new city Pavilion houses hands. The first floor has several across River Musi and where he the golden halls including a ballroom, a purchased a palace and converted throne of the Nizam banquet hall, a library, a hookah it into his residence-cum-office. It (piped smoking) room and a was the last palace where the last billiards room, each aesthetically of the Nizams chose to spend his furnished and having large Venetian last days. The building is now being used as a chandeliers hanging from ornate ceilings. hospital, King Kothi (KK) Hospital.

Falaknuma Palace

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Unearthing the

civilisation of Lothal

Around 80 km from Ahmedabad, Lothal speaks volumes of history and tradition text | Anil Mulchandani photos | Dinesh Shukla

F

rom 2600 to 1900 BC, the Indus Valley or Harappan Civilisation was at the zenith of its maturity as a sophisticated and technologically advanced urban cultural centre. In India, the most substantial and well-preserved remains of this Bronze Age urban culture can be witnessed at Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, Rupar in Punjab and Dholavira and Lothal in Gujarat which happened to be the southern outpost of Harappan Civilisation. Among these, Lothal has been a significant port city for the trade of beads, gems and ornaments. Situated in Bhal region of modern-day Gujarat, Lothal was excavated between 1955 and 1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The ASI museum at Lothal offers an insight into the town planning of this urban port. It exhibits some fine pieces of ceramics, metalwork and beads that were once created here. These included objects made from bronze, copper, stone, chert, shells and bones. It also showcases the uniformity of weights and measures used

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during the Harappan civilisation — bricks in perfect ratio while weights were based on units of 0.05, 0.1, 1.2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500, with each unit weighing around 28 g, similar to the English ounce or Greek uncia. Smaller objects were weighed in similar ratios with units of 0.871.

Lothal, according to ASI, had another series of weights that conformed to the Heavy Assyrian standards for international trade. The museum displays seals and toys reflecting trade with Persian Gulf and African ports. Principal exports were beads, ivory and shells. Key exhibits include a gold necklace, a copper figure, micro-

An artistic impression of how Lothal must have looked when it was a trading town

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beads, steatite and terracotta seals with motifs and inscriptions, metal fish hooks, ornaments like bangles, a perforated jar, a terra cotta bull, a horse, the model of a boat, objects used for games and a shell used as a compass for navigation. Two styles of pottery were also discovered at Lothal. The development of Lothal as a trade centre probably stemmed from its sheltered harbour by Bhugavo River and Gulf of Khambatt, the suitability of the soil of the region called Bhal for growing grain and cotton and the already thriving bead-making industry in the Khambatt coastal region. As one enters the excavated area, one can witness the tank which several archaeologists have opined as the world’s first dry dockyard. Plagued by floods in Sindh and realising the danger of high tides in the Gulf of Cambay, the Harappans are said to have built this dock inland, with a canal connecting to the estuary of River Sabarmati. The dock spans 37 m from east to west and 22 m from north to south. This showed a thorough study of tides, hydraulics and the effect of seawater on bricks. According to an impression at the museum, ships could sluice into the northern end of the dock by an inlet channel connected to the estuary of River Sabarmati during high tide and the lock gates were closed so the water level would rise sufficiently for them to float. After the ships had loaded or unloaded cargo, the gates were opened for them to return to the sea. The tank’s dimensions indicate the dock could handle 60 ships of 30 tonnes each. The warehouses near the dockyard were set on a 3.5 m high plinth. The cubical blocks

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DRAINAGE SYSTEM A unique aspect of planning was underground sanitary drainage. The main sewer, 1.5 m deep and 91 cm across, connected north-south and east-west ones and was constructed from smoothened bricks. These were joined together so expertly that not even a strand of hair could pass through the connections. Expert masonry kept the sewer watertight and drops at regular intervals acted as an automatic cleaning device. A wooden screen at the end of the drains held back solid wastes and liquid entered a cess pool made from radial bricks.


Above: The warehouses were set on a plinth to keep them safe from flooding; Facing page: The upper town of Lothal shows the remains of a paved baths, a kitchen, a well and a residence

used for warehousing were connected by dwellings. The bead factories comprised the passages built from kiln-fired bricks. Nearby main industry of the Harappans where agate is the acropolis where the powerful and and other semi-precious stones abound. wealthy inhabited since it featured paved A unique aspect of planning was the baths, underground and surface drains and a underground sanitary drainage. The main drinking well. The foundations sewer, 1.5 m deep and 91 cm show a mansion that would have across, connected north-south ASI’s museum at once existed on the acropolis. The and east-west ones and Lothal offers an proximity of the seat of power to was constructed from insight into the the warehouse ensured a powerful smoothened bricks that town planning of person, perhaps a ruler, could were joined together. this urban port inspect stocks easily from here. Expert masonry kept The lower town contained the sewer watertight commercial and residential areas. The arterial and drops at regular intervals acted streets that led from north to south were as an automatic cleaning device. probably flanked by shops, merchant dwellings A wooden screen at the end of the and artisans’ workshops while the streets drains held back solid wastes and running from east to west led to the residential liquid entered a cess pool made from areas with lanes allowing access to individual radial bricks.

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PROGRESS

Going

carbon free

The best way to reduce carbon emission is to popularise clean energy technologies among the rural population

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Cooking with improved systems introduced by Project Surya

D

id you know that over three and new technologies to enable rural billion people in developing communities to switch over to improved countries are dependent on cooking technologies, Project Surya was burning of firewood, crop introduced. The uniqueness of cookstove residue and cattle dung intervention project lies in its science focus: to prepare daily meals on traditional mud undertaking the most comprehensive and stoves, open fires and three stones? Studies rigorous scientific evaluation to date on have revealed that indoor air the efficacy of reducing pollution significantly increases biomass-fuelled cooking Indoor air the risk of pneumonia in on climate warming, air pollution children and chronic bronchitis pollution, health and significantly and other ailments in women. human wellbeing. increases the risk The smoke emanating during Project Surya aims of pneumonia cooking procedures consists to expand access to truly in children of short-lived but high impact clean energy technologies climate change agents like among poor rural black carbon which are light-absorbing households in developing countries. carbon particles and much more potent in In this process, the project consortium the short-term than greenhouse gases like seeks to monitor measurable climate carbon dioxide and methane. benefits of clean cooking technologies, To provide sustainable, effective, and through this, empower rural users incentive-based action plans, infrastructure with climate finance. Project Surya is

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PROGRESS

managed by a global consortium comprising chamber that can be fitted with additional University of California (San Diego), The components to meet local requirements. As Energy and Resources Institute and Nexleaf opposed to its ‘natural draft’ counterparts Analytics (USA). (where air flows in naturally, unaided by a To meet the socio-cultural and economic fan), forced draft stoves are known to have objectivity of the rural Indian significantly higher health and population, The Energy and environmental benefits. Wherever The stoves Resources Institute (TERI) possible, all the components of provided developed a series of prototype the stove system were based on options such clean cookstoves. These included nut-and-bolt systems and used as a solar a top-loading single-pot stove, parts commonly available even in charging unit a front-loading single-pot stove the village markets. The stoves and a front-loading doubleprovided options such as a solar pot stove. Each of these sources employs a charging unit and adding additional stove fan-driven forced draft to aid combustion heads for larger families. The concept behind as well as a standardised stove combustion it was that the stoves adapted to people and

Left: Carbon credit payment being made; Right: Working with improved cooking system introduced by Project Surya

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traditional cooking habits and not vice versa. utilising a miniature aerosol sampler wherein Project Surya deployed improved cooking a filter is exposed to the indoor air particles. If technologies in rural communities and rapidly a person has a cell phone with the facilities of cut down emission levels of major pollutants GPRS and camera, a photograph of the filter like black carbon. The project aims to use two can be clicked and transmitted to a centralised low-cost sensor technologies to server wirelessly. A complex estimate black carbon emission computer algorithm then takes The project savings due to improved stove an estimate of the black carbon helped in usage. Temperature is recorded emissions from the blackness identifying forced through the sensor attached to of the filter in the photo. The draft stoves as a the stove and transmits real-time wireless technology not only superior option temperature readings through an reduces the transaction costs adapter circuit and thermistor to considerably, it also provides an attached mobile phone through its headset verifiable, technology-centric and costjack. This technology can be accessed on a effective monitoring of the usage of the stove. Java-enabled phone too. The second option is The project helped in identifying forced draft stoves as a superior option among improved stove technologies, developed low-cost cell phone technologies that make it possible to measure black carbon on the ground with unprecedented spatial resolution for the first time, identified socioeconomic barriers and drivers related to cookware adoption and demonstrated the link between indoor and outdoor concentrations of black carbon in and around Surya pilot village with cooking activities. The pilot phase of Surya Project was completed successfully in 2011. In its ongoing phase being implemented in more than 4,000 rural households of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, Project Surya has created a dummy ‘climate credit’ fund for rural users. Based on the usage of improved cookstoves recorded by sensors, collected centrally at TERI’s office in New Delhi, micro-payments are made on a bi-monthly basis to rural women in their bank accounts. More recently, Project Surya is working towards exploring new streams of channeling finance to improved cookstoves users, such as postal payments and mobile-based payments in association with various partner organisations.

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SNAPSHOT

Beauty

galore

Sikkim is beyond forested hillsides and snowcapped peaks. Take a tour to discover some of the state’s hidden jewels text | Anil Mulchandani

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A

Karma Theckling Monastery

scenically beautiful state with gigantic mountain peaks, forested hillsides and torrential rivers, Sikkim is a botanical paradise abounding in orchids, gladioli, anthuriums, liliums, primulas, rhododendrons and other wild

flora, terraced fields, fruit orchards and spices like cardamom, turmeric and ginger. It is also home to high-altitude fauna and is an excellent lcoation to watch butterflies and Himalayan avian species. Geographically, its landscape ranges from deep valleys to dense forests to cold deserts.

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Sikkim became the 22nd Indian state on April 26, 1975. Bordered by Nepal, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and Bhutan on three sides and West Bengal to the south, the state has

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cultural influences from all these regions. The main communities are the Lepchas, the Bhutias who have Bhutanese links and the Tsongs or Gorkhas from Nepal.


An ancient Buddhist monastery

Gangtok

You can start a Sikkim tour from the southeast where the capital, Gangtok, introduces you to the state’s rich culture. The city became a Buddhist centre after the Enchey Monastery,

first built in 1840s, was blessed by “flying” tantric master Drupthob Karpo. From then, its importance grew and Gangtok became the capital of the kingdom of Sikkim in 1894, ruled by a dynasty with the hereditary title of Chogyal. The monastery is scenically set at the top of the town with a thick tree cover. You can watch masked dances during festivals like Detor Chaam in December and January. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, established in 1958, has a wide collection of artefacts related to Vajrayana Buddhism and Tibetan culture including stunning painted and embroidered thangkas, tantric ritual objects, Buddhist icons and scriptures. A library on the first floor houses precious Buddhist tomes while a revamped souvenir shop sells a collection of jewellery, mementos, books, ritual objects and documentaries on Sikkimese culture and tradition. From here, visit Do-Drul Chorten, a large white stupa surrounded by glass-walled galleries with innumerable flaming butter lamps and a monks’ hostel. Walk along the ridge to see the exterior of the Chogyal Place and the impressive Tsuglhakhang Temple. From Enchey Monastery, head north to Ganesh Tok, one of the best viewpoints in Gangtok together with Tashi Point and

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Hanuman Tok. The Himalayan Zoological Park near Ganesh Tok is one of the best places to see clouded leopard, snow leopard, Himalayan bear, red panda and mountain birdlife.

Arts, crafts and cuisine

Head west from Ganesh Tok to the Government Institute of Cottage Industries that promotes skills like paintings, weaving, woodcarving and mask-making. Watch artists paint Buddhist scenes, mandalas or deities on cotton or silk cloth on what is called thangkas. Else observe Lepcha and other women weave on traditional back-strap loin-looms. Another interesting art form they create here are the masks made by

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Curvy roads on Old Silk Route between China and India; Facing Page: Buddhist festival at Rumtek Monastery, Gangtok

carving wood or in papier-mache worn Gangtok is an excellent place to try during lama dances. Woodcarving is done Sikkimese cuisine which has distinct links to produce low tables called Choktse which to Tibet. Dumplings called momos with are exquisitely carved, polished and painted various stuffings and different noodle broth in red, blue, pink, orange, brown collectively called thukpas are and golden. common delicacies. Stinging Gangtok is an About 24 km from Gangtok, nettles called sisnu, ferns excellent place Rumtek is famous for carved called ningro, local cheeses to try Sikkimese Buddhist figures. It has an called churpi, fermented cuisine which extensive monastic complex, soyabeans, bamboo shoots has distinct links one of the most important and wild mushrooms are used to Tibet institutions of Tibetan in dishes along with locally Buddhism and seat of the Black grown vegetables. Hat sect. The impressive flat-topped main building has gold finials and a beautiful East Sikkim silver and gold chorten is studded with semi- From Gangtok, a scenic road takes you precious stones and houses relics of the 16th to Tsangu Lake (Changu) and then to head of the Black Hat sect. Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary which offers a

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SNAPSHOT

Above: Karma Shrine Nalanda Institue, Gangtok; Facing Page: (Above) Tsangmo Lake; (Below) Beautiful peaks of the Himalayas in Yumthang Valley

great view of flowers and birds during the of Lachen and Lachung. Visit from here spring-summer months and snowscapes Yumthang and Chopta valleys. The road during the colder months. Tsangu Lake, to Lachung goes past two 18th century at 12,402 ft, is one of the best monasteries – one at Phodong places to get a close view of which contains murals, The road snow. Visit Nathula Pass, on woodworks and Buddhist icons to Lachung the old Silk Route, one of the while the other is at Labrang. goes past two two open trading border posts From Lachung, a road heads 18th century between India and China by to Yumthang, 11,857 ft above monasteries obtaining a permit in Gangtok. sea level, passing through the

North Sikkim

Follow a permissible route along the Teesta River to the picturesque riverside villages

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Rhododendron Sanctuary which turns into a valley of flowers in the summer months. From Lachen, get to Gurudongmar Lake, at 17,800 ft, going


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SNAPSHOT

past Chopta Valleys known for its flower blooms. Permits are required for visiting Gurudongmar Lake, sacred to Tibetan Buddhists. It is also revered by Sikhs who believe Guru Nanak, on his way to Tibet, passed from here.

West Sikkim

For spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga range, head for west Sikkim. It houses has some important monasteries too. Most tourists head for Pelling. On way are some scenic resorts, farmhouses and homestay facilities at villages like Bikstang and Rinchenpong. You can opt for a nature trek in Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary or Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. The twin villages of Rinchengpong and Kaluk are known for scenic views of evergreen forests, terraced farms and, on a clear day, snow-clad peaks. Some of the sights worth seeing are the Lepcha Heritage House which showcases traditional Sikkimese architecture, Rabindra Van Gardens commemorating Tagore’s stay at a nearby Dak Bungalow and the 18th century Rigsum Monastery with a tantric idol of Ati Buddha in yub-yum position. From here, continue to Pelling, set on a ridge 6,800 ft above sea level with a spectacular view of the peaks. It is famous for the 1705 AD Pemayangste Monastery which is a treasure trove of Buddhist art like thangkas, murals, idols and an exquisite

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Above: Buddha statue at Ravangla; Left: Pemayangtse Gompa

model of the celestial home of Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Many tourists make Pelling as their base to visit the sacred Khecheopalri Lake, a Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site. Tashiding is another must-visit gompa with ancient chortens.

South Sikkim

Head south from Pelling to Ravangla in south Sikkim. This part of the state has coniferous forests, tea plantations, breathtaking sceneries and religious monuments. The hamlet of Namchi is known for its religious structures like the 33 m high Shiva statue in a complex called Char Dham and the 45 m high statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) in the Samdruptse complex.

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CULTURE

For the love

of words

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Jaipur Literary Festival 2016 witnessed enriching interactive sessions with renowned scholars and authors text | Prerona Basu photos | Debarata Basu

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CULTURE

T

he spectacular carnival celebrating free exploration of expression and thought, Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF) has been an astounding discovery of globally acclaimed literature that offers a cerebral stimulation of creativity. The ninth edition of this five-day annual event, set in the Pink City of Jaipur, a hub of lavish cultural heritage, covered a wide spectrum of issues spanning current-day upheavals in the Middle East to providing glimpses of ancient Indian knowledge systems. Each successive edition of JLF is different and more interesting than the previous ones. While last year, the festival had sessions on travel, comic books and fantasy writing, the focus was more on world politics and the art of writing conventional forms of fiction this year. Man Booker prize winner Margaret Atwood, the keynote speaker of the festival, emphasised on the significance of writing and storytelling as a vital form of expression through which the underbelly and the neglected can be fathomed and cultures of the world protected. “The entire process of writing is a gesture of optimism,” she remarked and marvelled at how the numbers of authors and aspirant writers have exploded over the past few years. Atwood, along with Irish author ColmTóibín, Bosnia-born fiction writer Aleksandar Hemon, Israeli novelist David Grossman, British-Sudanese-Eritrean novelist Sulaiman Addonia and BritishIndian novelist Sunjeev Sahota discussed the inclusive spaces of the novel and pondered over whether or not the existence of novels was threatened by other less-imaginative mediums of communication. Initially, Hemon

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was of the opinion that novels were losing their dominant foothold as documentation of human experiences but agreed later that novels, as a form of creative expression, had a longer shelflife than visual images and timeless appeal which transcends boundaries. Writer-actor Stephen Fry enlightened the audience with ideas on writing and understanding one’s own creative methods. He recollected his college days, his brief term of imprisonment and shared concern over internet bullying and how it was becoming a constant source of distress. Fry also held a session on Oscar Wilde wherein he discussed the issues of gender inequalities and the need to stay true to one’s identity.

Above: An assortment of Buddha sculptures displayed at JLF 2016 Left: A plethora of books being sold at JLF

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TETE-É-TETE

NAMITA GOKHALE Festival Director, JLF

How successful was JLF 2016? It was an exhilarating year in terms of programming and attendance. We had a range of over 300 stellar authors and speakers from India and around the globe, exploring our changing world and times through books and ideas, dialogue and debate. Globally acclaimed flute player Ajay Shankar Prasanna How was JLF 2016 different from the previous years? I think the crowd and venue management was better organised than previous years. And the depth of knowledge of JLF audiences seems to increase with each edition. Strong social media presence helped make the experience even more interactive. In terms of sheer literary quality, I would describe it as a classic and vintage year.

The winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, Indian-English language writer Anita Nair spoke at length about the entire creative process which is at play when someone attempts to pen a fictional work. “The entire act of commencing something personal and turning it over to the readers for comprehension is spiritually uplifting,” she said, adding, “But writing fiction for children is extremely challenging as one has to constantly remain aware of the requirements of the specific age group.” She termed the novel as her “happy zone” as “it is an amiable canvas which is ever expanding and ever incorporating”. The festival had sessions to commemorate the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare. Eminent Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro discussed how the great writer’s oeuvre brought to light several groundbreaking issues such as racism, slavery, homophobia, capitalism, revolution, war

...and the next year? We look forward to the 10th edition in 2017. We will strive to make it a stimulating and relevant reflection of our world, viewed through the timeless lens of literature. It will as ever be multilingual and showcase writing from several Indian languages. I hope to explore themes around science fiction, technology and planetary consciousness. We also plan to highlight folktales, folklore and folk songs in the next edition.

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Above: Venkat Dhulipala, Ayesha Jalal, Yasmin Khan, Nisid Hajari and Urvashi Butalia deliberating in a session

and social justice which were just not confined narration of the epic Ramayana by poet Tulsi to continental Europe but had equal relevance Das, has evolved over the ages according to across the globe. Shapiro also conversed about the needs of the era. The fundamental reason the significance of 1606 in Shakespearean for the popularity of the text, according to context. It was the year Shakespeare crafted him, resides in the fact that it reached not only some of his finest tragedies while it was also the the Sanskrit-educated upper caste Brahmins one when England was engulfed in but also touched the lives of the Plague and shaken by the aftermath illiterate sections of society due of the failed Gunpowder Plot. to continuous oral recitations and Authortranslator Philip While contemplating on cinema theatrical adaptations. A Lutgendorf as an apt medium to carry the Children’s author Roopa Pai discussed the Shakespearean legacy forward, deliberated on how Bhagavad Gita present-day Shapiro extended his praise to could be a source of great knowledge significance Indian and Japanese cinema for for kids. She elucidated on how of the epic being able to grapple with the Krishna can be viewed as an essential Ramcharitmanas complexities of Shakespearean part of one’s conscience which plays and craft into movies like directs one’s actions. Pai created a Maqbool, Omkara and Haider. concise list of teachings which Bhagavad Gita had Author-translator Philip A Lutgendorf in store for its readers irrespective of their age discussed the present-day significance of the and illustrated to the young audience how these epic Ramcharitmanas along with post-Colonial ancient nuggets of wisdom can be seamlessly scholar Harish Trivedi and acclaimed Hindi inculcated into their day-to-day lives. Each of the poet Ashok Vajpeyi. Lutgendorf propounded on five days at the JLF began with soothing melodies how the 16th century text Ramcharitmanas, a by eminent Indian musicians and ended with

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Clockwise from top: Colm Toibin, Margaret Atwood and Aleksandar Hemon in a discussion concerning the future of the Global Novel; Indian-American musician Karsh Kale in performance; (L to R) Ira Pande, Abdourahman A Waberi, Mohini Gupta, Cornelia Funke and Yoko Tawada in a session at JLF

magnificent live musical performances. Another highlight was the spectacular performances by poets and storytellers from across the globe. Egyptian actress Samira Kirollos presented an enactment of various Egyptian myths about gods and goddesses while UK-based poet Andy Connor treated his audience to a vivid dramatic enactment of some of his dark and humorous poems. Jaipur Literature Festival has also been a preferred platform for book launches. From politics to gastronomy, a staggeringly wide range of books were launched at the event too.

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REVIEW

Saraswati in India,

Benzaiten in Japan

A film, Indian Deities Worshipped in Japan, produced by the Ministry of External Affairs, throws light on gods and goddesses idolised in the Land of the Rising Sun text | Chandreyee Bhaumik

D

id you know that there are hundreds of shrines of Goddess Saraswati apart from innumerable popular representations of deities like Lakshmi, Indra, Brahma, Ganesha and Garuda in the Land of the Rising Sun? And that, deities like Vayu and Varuna, who have been practically forgotten in India, are still worshipped in Japan. Over centuries, Japan has preserved ancient Indian traditions. As an instance, Goddess Saraswati is depicted and venerated not only with the veena but Saraswati or Benzaiten, Rokuhara Mitsuji, Kyoto

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REVIEW

Agni, Screen Painting, at Daigoji, Shiga Prefecture

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Left: Ryosenji Bodhisena Statue; Right: Saraswati Shrine, Bentenshu

remembered for her association with water in Japan. “The relation between Hindu and in Japan. One may recall that Saraswati is Japanese cultures goes back a long way. Sanskrit originally the personification of the river by has had an inevitable impact on Japanese that name. Therefore, Goddess Saraswati is language and several words trace their roots to also worshipped in pools of waters it. Even the language forms the crux in Japan. of the Japanese alphabet, Kana. In Goddess If you want to know more terms of scriptures, although the 6th Saraswati is also about the close bond India and century Siddham script is obsolete worshipped in Japan share on this front, watch in India, it is well-preserved in pools of waters Indian Deities Worshipped in Japan. Beejaksharas (etymology of in Japan Japan produced by the Ministry alphabets) of Sanskrit in this script of External Affairs. Researched, are regarded holy and given great scripted and directed by filmmaker and art importance, ” says Behl. historian Benoy K Behl, the film throws light Several links can be found in the study of on the gods and goddess worshipped in Japan. Japanese Buddhism too. Today’s Himalayan During his research, Behl found out some Buddhism is of a later development period startling facts about Indian religious heritage and has lost the typical havan or homa. “I

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was delighted to record the continuance of the tradition of homa in the most important Japanese Buddhist sects, often referred to as goma. Interestingly, Sanskrit sutras, similar to havan, were chanted and is like the havan which we are all familiar with,� the filmmaker elucidates. Talking about philosophical content in the language, there are deep meanings in Japanese practices that compel us to take a sojourn back to early developments of philosophy in India.

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Clockwise from far left: Hawan or Homa called Goma; Saraswati Shrine, Ginkakuji, Kyoto; Saraswati Pond; Eikando Zenrin-ji, Kyoto, 5th century Sanskrit script still in use; Saraswati shrine, Takahata Fudo Temple

In many ways, the philosophic comprehension is aptly well-preserved in Japan. If you delve into the reasons, you will find out that Japan has not had the breakdown of cultural norms which India suffered thereby creating a colonial education system. For most Indians, the introduction to their own culture was from a Western point of view. “The dominant and admired language was English which it remains till today. Obviously, all our books and education in schools and universities are rooted with an English vision,” shares Behl. The filmmaker, after his experiences in Japan, feels it is time to understand that the relationship between India and Japan is closer than perceived. “People of ‘modern’ outlook need not be concerned that looking to ancient culture will lead to restricted economic development. In fact, culture provides the discipline, meaning and concentration in life which makes us truly successful in what we do. What’s more, it will lead to good health and happiness,” says Behl.

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Symbol of planned

urbanism

Chandigarh, an architectural creation by Swiss-French urban planner Le Corbusier, is considered the template for planning any modern Indian city text | Chandreyee Bhaumik

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handigarh is perhaps not only architecture, commonly known as “modernism”. one of the most significant urban Before the advent of modernism in architecture, planning experiments of the 20th Greeks, Romans and other styles dominated the century, it is one of architectural scene globally. the first planned cities Chandigarh in post-independent India. Home to Forming the foundation is a symbol some of the greatest architectural Picturesquely situated at the foothills of planned creations of Swiss-French urban of the Shivalik hills, Chandigarh urbanism planner-designer-architect Le is a portmanteau of “Chandi ” and Corbusier, Chandigarh is a symbol of “garh ” referring to goddess Chandi, planned urbanism. the warrior form of Goddess Parvati and “garh ” Corbusier’s (1887-1965) popularity as the most meaning fort. The name has been derived from influential architect of the 20th century knows no an ancient temple devoted to the goddess near the bounds since he introduced dynamic approach to city of Chandigarh.

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It was the brainchild and execution powers of Corbusier that provided the city an urban design. Wide boulevards connect all the existing sectors in Chandigarh, each planned as a self-sufficient neighbourhood with their respective set of schools, shops and entertainment venues. Green patches with parks and tree-lined avenues perfectly balance the concrete and block-shaped buildings. Each of the sectors is 800 m by 1,200 m and is enclosed by roads allocated to fast mechanised transport and sealed to direct access from the residential area. Corbusier transformed the plans earlier developed by American urban planner Albert Mayer and Polish architect Maciej Nowicki to create a rational city with right-angled street grids, wide roads to facilitate automobile use, standalone buildings with open spaces and immense greenery, light and air. Today, Chandigarh is considered as a template for the planning of any modern Indian city. A majority of the buildings are in pure cubical form that are geometrically subdivided with special emphasis on scale, proportion and detail.

The Master Plan

“Chandigarh was conceived as a symbol of a free, modern and resurgent India,” says Pradeep Singh, CEO, Mohali Campus and Deputy Dean of the Indian School of Business (ISB). He elaborates that Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India and Partap Singh Kairon, the then chief minister of Punjab, shared the dream of a planned city and brought the best and the brightest talent from around the world under Corbusier’s leadership to turn it into reality. The fact that more than 60 years later Chandigarh is still a vibrant cosmopolitan

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Above: Le Corbusier Centre; Below: Open Hand statue


Rock Garden

city, that has continued to live and grow, is a tribute to both the vision and masterly execution skills of Corbusier. “He gave us a new way of creating and governing a city as also a new urban culture and values that have withstood the test of time. The fact we discuss the success of Chandigarh is perhaps the greatest contribution Corbusier made to India,” says Singh. Corbusier’s vision is manifested in the ensemble called the Capitol Complex, comprising the Secretariat, Legislative Assembly and High Court. The architectural style is mainly sculptural and monumental.

Architects like Charles Correa and Balkrishna Doshi (who worked closely with Corbusier on the Chandigarh project) imbibed the notion of modernism creatively in Indian context from the master architect. “We realise today that a good city is the result of human choices; that good quality urban life is a matter of design, implementation and governance. These lessons should serve us well as we move towards the 100 Smart Cities announced by PM Modi,” concludes Singh.

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The golden

tea story Tea tours in India have gained popularity in the past one decade and have now become an important part of many travel itineraries text | Supriya Aggarwal

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hai (tea) has always been the maiden choice of people across the world to reduce stress and fatigue. First discovered in 2737 BC by the second emperor of China, Shen Nung, India got its first tea plantation in Assam during the British rule. It is believed a Scottish adventurer, Robert Bruce, first spotted a tea bush in the Northeastern state. The East India Company, then, began tea production in Assam.

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At present, India is one of the largest tea producers globally with 70 per cent production getting consumed within the country. Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas, the heavy rainfall region of Assam, the “Blue Mountain� landscape Nilgiri, and Munnar and Wayanad, the lush green regions of Kerala are important tea regions. But it is not only about drinking tea; one needs to experience the aroma, savour the flavour and explore the tea-making process. To give tea-lovers and travellers a closer understanding, the concept of tea tourism was developed. During these tours, one can visit tea factories, stay at tea bungalows, pluck tea leaves and gain knowledge too. Waking up to the exotic aroma of freshly brewed tea could be one of the many experiences.

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Map not to scale

Darjeeling

WEST BENGAL

West Bengal

One of the most popular hill stations in the state, Darjeeling is surrounded by tea gardens that produce the famous lightcoloured and aromatic Darjeeling tea. It is interesting to note that around 25 per cent of the country’s total tea outcome is from Darjeeling which has about 80 operational tea plantations. Makaibari Tea Estate and Homestay is one of the oldest tea estates of the region. Located at Kurseong, 37 km from Darjeeling, it is one of the top tea producing gardens in the world. The Happy Valley Tea Estate is another well-known estate. Located 3 km north of Darjeeling, it is one of the highest tea gardens in the world. The estate grows some of the finest tea. It was established by an Englishman in 1854. Later, it was taken over by an Indian aristocrat from Kolkata. Best time to go March to November

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Assam is the largest tea producing region of the country. The tea is mostly cultivated in the Brahmaputra Valley region. Tealovers should not miss the tea estates that are integral to the state. There are several stay options here too where one can relax and rejuvenate amid tea gardens. Every year, the Assam Tourism Board organises the Assam Tea Festival where tea enthusiasts visit magnificent tea gardens and enjoy exciting river cruises while sipping hot tea. One can visit the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, the largest in India. Best time to go May to June

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ASSAM

Map not to scale

Assam


Map not to scale

Tamil Nadu

Nilgiri is known for its blue-hued mountains as well as its intensely flavoured tea. Unlike Assam and Darjeeling, tea is grown round the year in Nilgiri region with oolong and black tea being the major varieties. While in Coonoor, visit a tea estate to learn the process of tea making. It is advisable to dedicate a day to this estate and get schooled in the process of tea manufacturing. For accommodation, one can opt for Nonsuch Retreats supported by the Tea Board of India. It is a fully refurbished tea plantation bungalow, built in 1872. Located at 5,500 ft above sea level, it has sprawling tea gardens, rolling mountains and drifting mists to accompany the guests.

TAMIL NADU

Nilgiri

Best time to go Throughout the year

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Kerala

Soak in the fresh aroma of tea leaves as soon as you enter Munnar as the region is dotted with lush tea plantations. The tea journey must start with a visit to the country’s first Tea Museum at Nallathanni Estate to have a captivating look at the history of tea production in the region. One can opt to stay at the KTDC Tea County in Munnar. Nestled between two hills, it is an important destination for ecotourism activities centred around

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Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Pampadum Shola National Park and the newly developed Neelakurinji Sanctuary. Kundala Tea Plantation is another mustvisit unit in Munnar. Surrounded with a lake, it will be a heart-warming moment to witness the entire tea-making process here. One can also visit The Tea Sanctuary that has a series of refurbished old colonial bungalows in the middle of a huge tea estate.


Map not to scale

Wayanad

KERALA

Munnar

You can get closer to nature at Wayanad, the lush mountainous region of Kerala that also produces a significant amount of tea. A velvety carpet of fresh green tea leaves soothe your senses as you move towards the hilly ranges of Kalpetta. An interesting aspect of tea tours in Wayanad is that harvesting here is an early morning affair so you need to wake up before dawn to pluck tea leaves. Visit and stay at Priyadarshini Tea Estate. Run by the state government, this site has an old bungalow which has been renovated and christened as Wayanad Tea Country. Best time to go August to May

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Photo: ArtnIndia

ART

Interplay of colours in Madhubani painting

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The magic

of Madhubani

Paintings from the Mithila region in Bihar rely on icons of Hindu mythology and figures from Nature text | Poonam Goel

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anisha Jha grew up in Satlakha village of Madhubani district, watching her grandmother and mother effortlessly create Madhubani paintings as part of their daily chores. Madhubani has been an intrinsic part of the Mithila culture and community – also called likhiya or “writing” – and traditionally regarded as the language of women folk who created mythology-inspired paintings either in their homes or on occasions like marriages and childbirth. It relies heavily on icons of Hindu mythology and figures from Nature. Madhubani’s unique features are its uni-dimensional depictions, intricate sketch work and brilliant colour schemes. Surrounded by such an impetus, it was natural for Manisha to take to Madhubani art at a young age. She was later discovered

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ART

Left: An Indian postal stamp showcasing Madhubani painting; Below: An artist creates Madhubani art on a quilt; Facing Page: Vivid depiction of Madhubani art

COLOUR CODE The brushes used for Madhubani paintings of Bihar are made of cotton, wrapped around a bamboo stick. The artists prepare the colour themselves. While black is made by adding soot to cow dung, red is derived from kusam flower juice or red sandalwood. Yellow is formed from combining turmeric (or pollen or lime) with the milk of banyan leaves, blue is achieved from indigo, green from the leaves of wood apple tree, white from rice powder and orange from palasha flowers. There is no shading of colours involved in the paintings. In linear Maithili paintings, colours are not applied. Only the outlines are drawn. In the paintings, a double line is sketched for outline and the gap filled either with cross or with straight small lines.

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by noted sculptor Sanko Chaudhuri who Neelkant Choudhary is another renowned motivated her to host her first art exhibition Madhubani artist who has found success with in 1998 in New Delhi. But those were not easy his innovative icons and figures. His motifs are times for a folk artist. “Private galleries would traditional as well as modern - from depictions hesitate in promoting folk and tribal art and I of Durga and Kali to charwomen and village struggled initially,” she says. But all that changed children walking to school. Monotones and slowly in the following decade and pastels, for instance, have rarely Manisha was invited to exhibit at been infused into Madhubani art Madhubani has Essl Museum in Vienna in 2009. and this is his preferred colour been an intrinsic “Madhubani is now universally palette. “It has always part of Mithila recognised as contemporary art,” been a passion for culture and she says, sharing that in the last me to work with community five years, she has held, apart fine lines. Working from scores of exhibitions, nearly with lines in the 50 workshops to educate the world about minutest details and trying to give the contemporary nuances of Madhubani. expressions to the characters’ in Over the years, Madhubani has adopted new these paintings and also changing manifestations and expanded its constituency. this traditional painting from From portraying tales of gods and goddesses, a flat to a three-dimensional Madhubani painters now portray contemporary effect has been a great journey,” issues as well. he concludes.

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Celebrating new

beginnings

Gudi Padwa marks the New Year in the lunar calendar. The harvest festival is a confluence of traditional values, modern thoughts and delicious food text | Madhulika Dash

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Basundi

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ike most Indian festivals, Gudi Padwa, the famous Maharashtrian New Year, too comes steeped in legend. Folklore has it that the day is celebrated to not only mark the beginning of the lunar calendar, which kick-starts the sowing season, but also the

creation of earth. It is said that Lord Brahma created the world – replete with all its life forms – on this date. The gudi – an ensemble of a brass pot, sari and coconut tied to a staff – is symbolic of the god’s flag and is the idol worshipped on that day. It is considered a harbinger of goodness. This is the reason you

Rice Chakli

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find a colourful gudi hoisted at every home the celebrations. The festival stands testimony on this day. to the good thoughts and practices as well as It is not the legend that gives Gudi Padwa food back then. This possibly explains why its special place among Maharashtrian festivals Gudi Padwa never has had a dedicated dish but its origin. Unlike other harvest festivals – but a platter of delicacies. It is customary to Ugadi (Andhra Pradesh), Yugadi begin the day by eating bittersweet (Karnataka), Poila Baisakh (West leaves of neem tree. Served as little It is customary Bengal), Bihu (Assam) and two polis (balls), these are prepared to begin the community festivals, Samsar with a paste of young leaves mixed day by eating Padvo (Goan Hindus) and Cheti with ajwain (carom seeds), gur the bittersweet Chand (Sindhis) – Gudi Padwa was (jaggery) and imli (tamarind). It is leaves of introduced by Chhatrapati Shivaji. believed these polis purify blood neem tree Like Diwali, the festival took and strengthen body’s immunity. off as an impromptu celebration Another interesting ritual is the of a victory march when Shivaji defeated distribution of til-gur laddoos (laddoos made Afzal Khan in Satara where the festival still of sesame and jaggery) and moong dal til wadi has an “old world charm” when it comes to (sesame flavoured lentil fritters). It is believed

Channa Dal

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Shrikhand

the goodness of til and the sweetness of gur and later sugar and served with a dash of ensure people forever remain cordial with each saffron in kulhads (earthen pots). Likewise for other. “The celebratory meal, often offered as shrikhand. Basically sweetened yogurt with a prasad (offering) during Gudi Padwa, is the hint of cardamom powder, shrikhand’s sweettraditional cuisine of Maharashtra developed sour taste went well with well-fried pooris. by herders and farmers,” says Chef As the empire expanded, Deepak Dangde. So you will find the once-simple-village treats Gudi Padwa the iconic puran poli, thalipeeth, dishes got an exotic look with the cuisine is vangi bhaat, bada chutney, snooth addition of dry fruits and other made from palak and channa among others. flavours. Yet another must-have is harvested “Yet two dishes – basundi puran poli. A sweet flatbread with ingredients, be it and puri-shrikhand – have been generous filling of lentils cooked in grains, millets, part of the celebrations since the jaggery called the poli and enjoyed spices or fruits beginning,” adds Chef Dangde. both warm and cold. Its association Interestingly, basundi, available with the festival stems from the as a thick, almost dessert-like treat today, was fact that it is for farmers, and warriors. Local not the one served to the victorious army. Back tales have it that puran poli along with pithale then, it was warm milk sweetened with jaggery was among the few dishes Shivaji chose for his

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FACT FILE Similar to the Ugadi celebrations, Gudi Padwa takes pride of its version of the Ugadi Pachdi that is traditionally made and consumed on this day. Symbolically, it signifies the varied tastes of life: bitterness, sadness, sweetness, surprise, anger, fear and disgust. This chutney is made from neem buds, jaggery, raw mango, tamarind juice along with chillies, pepper and salt. Among other delicacies that are integral to the cuisine of Gudi Padwa are gulab jamuns, palak ambat, rice chakli, bhel puri, kachori, sprouted chana usal, sannas (quite like fluffy idlis), sol kadi, panna etc.

Gulab Jamun

Bhakarwadi

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Puran Poli

army when he set out to reclaim new lands Maharashtra are little spin-wheels stuffed for his empire using guerrilla war tactics. with a mix of dal and spices. On Gudi Both these dishes are made of ingredients Padwa, it is made from fresh vegetables you easily find in a farmer’s kitchen. and has a shorter life span. Likewise for Moreover, these could last a long journey kesari bhaat. A more colourful version of and managed to retain the same the tehri (made with fennel, flavour. Both were nutritious dry coconut and rice) that and extremely filling and served Sindhis offer as part of the Gudi Padwa as a perfect war meal as well as a Cheti Chand festival, never has celebratory treat. kesari bhaat is a rich had a dedicated Gudi Padwa cuisine food is dessert made with dish but a made of harvested ingredients, be rice, saffron, ghee, platter of it grains, millets, spices or fruits. sugar and dry fruits. delicacies The festival announces the arrival Kharvas is of sweet mangoes and that is the also a Gudi Padwa reason you find a variety of mango dishes delicacy. Made with colostrum across the state during this period. milk or cheek and plain milk, A few delicacies are specially prepared saffron, sugar, cardamom powder, on Gudi Padwa too. Vegetable bhakarwadi this delicate sweet personifies for instance. Ordinarily, a bakarwadi in “new beginnings”.

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Relishing

the best

Tickle your tastebuds with these mouth-watering dishes

Cauliflower In Cashew Sauce Preparation Time: 35 minutes Baking time: 35 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients 1 medium cauliflower. For the cashew paste 5 dry-roasted cashewnuts; 1 tbsp dry-roasted chiroli nuts (chironji); 1 tbsp dry-roasted poppy seeds (khas khas), 5 green chillies and 3 cups crisp fried onions For the marinade 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves; 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves; 1 tsp garlic paste; 1 tsp ginger paste; 1-½ tsp salt, 1-½ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp saffron soaked in milk Method Cut the cauliflower in florets. Put the ingredients for the cashew paste into a grinder and grind till smooth. Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Stir in the cauliflower and coat it well with the marinade. Leave it for 20 minutes. Pour in the cashew paste and saffron. Transfer to a baking dish. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes at 180 degrees C or cook in a pan on low

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heat until the sauce is completely absorbed and makes a thick and dry coating around the cauliflower.

Kashmiri Kofta Curry Preparation Time: 50 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients For the koftas ½ kg well-ground minced mutton, 1 tsp aniseed powder (saunf), ½ tbsp dry ginger powder (saunth), 1 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder, ½ tsp garam masala powder, ½ tsp powdered black cardamom seed (badi elaichi), ½-1 cup beaten yogurt and salt to taste For the gravy 3 tbsp mustard oil or ghee, ¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hing), 5-6 cloves, 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder, ½ tsp aniseed powder (saunf), 2 tsp dry ginger powder (saunth), 2-½ tsp coriander powder, ½ cup yogurt, beaten; 1 cup water, almonds to garnish and whipped cream or yogurt to garnish Method Put all the ingredients for the koftas in a bowl, knead well, cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 30 minutes. Divide the mixture and shape into small balls or koftas; bake the koftas in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Put the oil/ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the asafoetida, cloves and red chilli powder. Add the koftas and stir for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the aniseed, ginger and coriander powders. Add yogurt and water. Cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 10 minutes and remove the cooker from the stove. Allow to cool. Remove the lid and simmer on low heat till the gravy thickens. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with almonds and swirls of cream/ yogurt. Serve hot. Courtesy: Fabulous Flavours: Brunch, High Tea, Cocktails, part of a series of cookbooks brought out by the External Affairs (Ministry’s) Spouses Association, New Delhi

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CONVERSATION

‘Everyday woman

inspires me’

Actor Deepika Padukone dedicates her success to women who teach her to be passionate about her work text | Aarti Kapur Singh

I

t was an eventful 2015 for actor One of the most sought-after actors in Deepika Padukone. While in Piku, the film industry today, Deepika pocketed it would not be an exaggeration to almost every award on offer in 2015. She say that she firmly stood her ground dedicates her best year professionally to opposite Amitabh “the everyday woman who Bachchan and Irrfan Khan, inspires me to do better every Hard work is she was simply outstanding single day because we are so the key but it is in Tamasha and Bajirao complete. There is so much a important to be Mastani. “Hard work is the woman does on a daily basis passionate or key but it is important to be and it is that quality that do what you are passionate or do what you inspires me.” passionate about are passionate about. Most importantly, you should enjoy yourself along the way. This has been the biggest learning curve for me. I have had fun through all the work I have done and all the amazing people I have worked with,” says the 30-year-old ever-smiling actor.

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Lucky charm

Once the queen of the ramp, Deepika has worked with almost all the leading men of tinsel town after debuting opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om. Once a national level badminton player, Deepika


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CONVERSATION

Deepika essaying diverse roles in Bollywood

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was written off by critics before she achieved woman. Every woman has the qualities a feat unparalleled in Bollywood, a string of a friend, confidante, nurturer and I am of eight hits in a row. Over the years, the proud to portray this character on screen,” Copenhagen-born Deepika has proved her says Deepika. acting prowess in hits like Cocktail, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express, Real role model Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, Deepika refuses to be just a Piku and Bajirao Mastani. pretty face that shines on the Deepika’s Recently, Deepika’s portrayal film firmament or one that portrayal of of Mastani has touched launches a thousand products. Mastani has the chords with She believes in charity too and touched the cine-goers. “Mastani has adopted Ambegaon, a village chords with came across as being in Maharashtra. She has been cine-goers extremely determined involved with Olympic Gold yet sensitive and Quest, a programme of the emotional. She had it in her to Foundation of Sports And Games started take on any challenge. She was by her father, badminton legend Prakash not just a warrior but a mother Padukone and noted cueist Geet Sethi. “I do and a lover too. She was complete what I love. I do things because it makes me in every sense. In today’s time, I happy. Quality of life is more important to me believe there is a Mastani in every than anything else,” she says.

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Log in to the Consular Grievances Monitoring System (MADAD).

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India perspectives march april 2016  
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