For years, Dalits have suffered the consequences of being Dalit. Their daughters are raped, sons are murdered and whatnot. I’ll narrate to you 3 stories that I came to know through my friends, family and the internet.
I had to take the help of the internet because I have been travelling for the past few days and couldn’t meet a lot of people. Coming to the point, this is a story from Bhilai. A Dalit family used to survive on wages. Their daily wage was delayed. They asked the landlord to pay them their dues. Instead of paying them back, he tortured them. He locked them in a room. They starved for days. This story is not even reported anywhere because it never came out. Imagine asking for what is yours and getting thrashed for it. You start to become less of yourself every day.
This story is from mahulpala village. The residents of this village collected money to build a temple. Dalits(10% of the population also contributed money and labour) to the temple. But when the temple was inaugurated, they were asked to step outside the temple. They started praying from outside of the temple. They were thrashed by the priest’s son for even touching the temple. When they filed a complaint. The whole village started to boycott them. They refused to sell anything to them. They refused to let them inside the village. The district administration has signed a compromise that they can pray from outside the village. A temple that they built themselves refuses to let them in.
Another story comes from the school I studied in. There was a boy named Govind. He was in our class. He found it very difficult to be around us. Because nobody respected his presence. Everyone teased him. And it was not friendly banter.
Imagine living in an environment where you are not even considered a decent human being. Nobody wants to listen to you. Nobody respects you. And imagine this place to be your school. That is the worst thing that can ever happen to you. We created that environment for Govind. He came to school every day. He tried to fit in between us every day but we never let him fit in. He always wanted to play with us but we never allowed him to. What I feel bad about is that I watched it happening around me and I did nothing. You never forget the trauma you faced as a child. I was part of the reason Govind faced such a thing in the first place.
Discriminating against anyone based on their caste signifies only one thing. SUPERIORITY COMPLEX. When a person assumes their caste is superior than the other person, they feel “free” to discriminate against them. This shows the lack of logic that is applied while discriminating against someone. It makes no sense and it has to stop. When you discriminate against someone, you’re mocking your intellect. RISE ABOVE.
Ship of Theseus is a paradoxical philosophical theory. It was first found in the writings of a greek philosopher called Plutarch. Theseus was the founder king of Athens. Plutarch writes about Theseus going on a voyage with his crew members. During the journey, they decide to replace the old wooden planks with new ones. They threw away all the old planks and replaced it with new pieces of woods. This leads to the question- is this the same ship that left from athens? Or is it a different ship because every single piece of wood has been replaced? What if there were still 2 old pieces? Would that change the answer?
Thomas Hobbes took this theory a little further. What if a scavenger collects all the old parts the crew members threw in the sea and builds a ship? Two ships arrive at the final port A) the ship made of new planks and B) the ship made up of old planks by scavengers. Now which one is the real ship of Theseus?
A theory called the Mereological theory of identity (MTI) states that the identity of anything is based on its components. So if we try to solve the ship of Theseus by this theory then we will have to conclude that the ship he originally left on and the scavenger-made ship are the same. In other words, we can say A=C. But this would mean that Theseus switched ships during his journey which he did not. Or we can just say that A=B which means the original ship = the newly made ship. But to say A=B would imply that B is not equal to C which would raise doubts because A and C are made up of the same parts. We concluded that A and B are equal even when they are not even made up of the same parts.
Of course, the Ship of Theseus is a larger issue than ships. What is it that makes you yourself? Is it your physical characteristics? If that was the case then every time you cut your hair, you’d become a different person. Is it your feelings and thoughts? Then every time you forget some memory or have a change of heart, you will not be you anymore. People change over time and still believe they are the same from the core. What is it that makes us? This debate goes on to this day.
There is a film named on this topic. It is directed by anand gandhi. It is undoubtedly the best film i’ve ever seen in my entire life. It explores this concept, dividing it into 3 different stories of a blind women, A monk who’s fighting for animal rights and a businessman wanting to do seek an experience out of his bureaucratic life. The story merges in the end. This movie changed my outlook forever.
Aristotle’s father was a court physician to the Macedonian king Amyntas II. The connection with the Macedonian government held Great relevance in Aristotle’s life. His parents died when he was young. He was sent to Athens by his guardian for further studies. He met Plato there and started to study in his academy for the next 20 years. He was Plato’s student and colleague. When Plato died, everyone thought Aristotle will be the next director of the Academy. But due to his disagreements with some of Plato’s work, He was not offered the position.
Around 338 BC, he returned to Macedonia and started to tutor the son of king Philip II, Alexander(who was later given the tag of “The Great”). When Alexander became the king and conquered Athens, Aristotle moved back to Athens. Plato’s academy headed by Xenocrates was still the top academy there. Aristotle decided to open his school. Aristotle’s school of thought is called peripatetic.
After the death of Alexander the Great, Anti-Macedonian sentiments were high and Aristotle was charged with impiety. He fled to Athens to save his life and spent the rest of his days on the island of Eubea. One of the significant contributions of Aristotle was his creation of logic. He divided the process of learning into three parts. Theoretical, Practical and productive. Logic did not belong to any of the categories. Logic was the first step applied to learning anything. It is used to attain knowledge about anything. Logic helps in establishing truths and errors about reality.
In his book, prior analytics, He talks about the notion of syllogism. It is one of his most important contributions in the area of reasoning. A set of assumptions and affirmations are taken to come to a logical conclusion. For example- All Indians are human, every human is not religious. Therefore, not every Indian is religious. I want to let you all know that it took me 10 minutes to think of that example. The syllogism consists of two premises and that gives us one conclusion. Aristotle created some rules which would allow him to come to a valid conclusion. One example is –
: At least one premise must be universal
: At least one premise has to be affirmative
: If one of the premises is negative, the conclusion should be negative.
Aristotle believed three rules should be applied to every valid thought. Law of Identity, Law of Noncontradiction, Law of Excluded Middle. The Law of identity determines the characteristics of any particular thing. For example – A Human Being has 2 Hands, 2 legs, a stomach etc. These are all characteristics. The Law of noncontradiction means that a single statement cannot be both true and false at the same time. If you’re ugly, you’re ugly. You’re not beautiful. The Law of excluded middle claims that there is no middle ground between truth and false, something has to be either true or false. Although I and many philosophers disagree with this. Every living being is grey and nothing can be so black and white.
Aristotle believed in metaphysics and this is where he had a different thought from Plato. He did not use the word “Metaphysics”. He rather called it first philosophy. Aristotle rejected the theory of forms. To read more about theory of forms, go to the link attacked below.Plato believed the Intelligible world(made up of ideas and thoughts) and the visible world are different and the intelligible world is the true form of reality. Aristotle disagreed. He believed that if you separate those two things then there will be no meaning. Anything can be form or matter or both. He believed that intelligibility is present in everything. He believed that knowledge is gained through specific truths which are gained through experience and also art and philosophy. Wisdom, on the opposing hand, is when a person understands all the fundamental principles of all things and uses that knowledge in real life. He breaks down how things come to be through 4 causes:-
1. The material cause- This explains what something is made of
2. The formal cause- This explains what form something takes.
3. The efficient cause- This explains how something comes into being.
4. The final cause- The final purpose of anything.
Aristotle believed that the ultimate purpose of any human being is happiness. And to attain happiness, one must act with virtue. It is only through virtue that a human being can attain happiness. A person must make decisions with true virtues which he sets for himself according to his past experiences. The ultimate form of happiness, according to Aristotle, was a life of intellectual contemplation and living life with reasoning. The reasoning is what separates humans from animals and is the highest form of living. That’s all about his school of thought.
Existentialism gathered momentum during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Philosophical thoughts were about nature and truth before existentialism. Philosophers did not lay focus on human experiences. Existentialism aims to focus on human individuality and finding oneself. Though there are massive differences between existentialist philosophers, there is one common ground among everyone. The idea of existentialism is to find oneself and discover the meaning of life.
According to existentialism, the meaning of life and oneself can only be attained through free will, personal responsibility and freedom of choice. An individual creates his meaning and value through his consciousness. An individual who constantly makes efforts to expand his consciousness and the idea of themselves will always know what it is to exist. Personal responsibility is of great importance. Our choices have consequences. And we are all products of these consequences. It is through personal responsibility, that we get the power to fight our nature. Sometimes a human being has to fight his own nature to attain harmony. Our decision-making gives birth to our natural self.
There is something magical about the truths that we discover that changes the meaning of our existence and brings a new awareness into our life. When we go through a crisis, our body produces emotions like anxiety, angst, absurdity etc. There is certain meaninglessness to our existence. We believe that we have an understanding of how this universe works until we discover something that tells us something else. Those moments, when your world-view is challenged. The things that you thought to be true are false. We find it hard to accept it but a human being who is aware will find a way to accept the new meaning of life. Empathy is of great importance here. We should try to empathise with people around us who are faced with existential questions they are struggling to find the answers to. Everyone goes through a crisis and we should take note of it and build ways for humanity to deal with it in a much more efficient way. Empathising with one another is a good way to start.
Existentialism also lays great importance on authenticity. To be authentic, one must be in harmony with his freedom. One must be able to come to terms with his identity while not letting his background and history play a part in his decision-making. We can often be scared of our past selves and go into a state where we fear that we might again become who we were. This is why it becomes very important to not be controlled by the idea of yourself. You have to let go of yourself. It is the only way you can be yourself. The choices you make should be based on certain values. This brings responsibility to your decision-making.
Existentialism is often associated with atheism. All atheists are not existentialists but existentialists are usually atheists. Religion and existentialism do not go hand in hand. Even the existentialists who place their faith in some higher being accept that religion is suspicious. Existentialism is all about finding the truth about oneself and that will not be possible if we place our faith in some higher being.
* I was influenced to write this article after reading the book Philosophy 101 By Paul Kleiman *
Plato was born in Athens, Greece, around 429 B.C. He was expected to become a politician by his family but he chose not to for two reasons and took the road of philosophy and mathematics. The first reason was the Peloponnesian War where he found out that some of his relatives were part of a dictatorship and were removed for corruption. The second reason was the death of Socrates who was the biggest influence in Plato’s life. Socrates was executed by the new Athenian government. Plato started writing and became a philosopher. He studied under Pythagoras in Sicily. After returning from there, he founded The Academy, a place where he and other people discussed philosophy and mathematics to come to better conclusions.
Plato’s allegory of the cave proves the power of reasoning over the senses. Personal human experiences will not amount to the truth. Proper philosophical reasoning is the only way to find the truth. To understand his allegory of the cave, you first need to understand his theory of forms. So Plato states that reality exists on two specific levels. First is the visible world which has sight and sound. Second is the intelligible world which gives the visible world its being. For example, when a person sees an ugly face he’s quickly able to identify its ugliness of it. Because in his mind he has an idea of ugly that allows him to point out ugly. He was able to spot the ugliness because he has an abstract idea of what ugliness is. The current state of that ugly face might change in the future because everything keeps changing in the visible world but the form of beauty, ugly etc is eternal and never changes. This is the theory of forms.
Coming onto the theory of caves, The allegory of caves was a conversation between Socrates and Plato’s brother, Glaucon. Socrates asks Glaucon to imagine a world where illusion is believed to be reality. To prove his point further, he asks him to imagine a scenario where there’s a cave and 3 people are locked up inside the cave since their birth. Their necks and legs are chained and cannot escape from the cave. They can only see what is in front of them. Behind and above the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and prisoners, there is a low wall from where people walk with objects in their heads. Now, these prisoners can only see the shadow of the object and therefore they believe the shadow to be the real form of the object. Because the prisoners have never been exposed to real objects, they start to believe that the real form of that object looks like a shadow. If a shadow of a hammer were to appear, they’d believe the shadow of the hammer to be the real hammer. They are not saying that it’s a shadow because in their reality no shadows exist. They think it’s an actual hammer. One of the prisoners will eventually be able to understand the nature of this illusionary world and would be able to guess what shadow will come next. This will lead to him being praised by the other 2 prisoners.
Suppose, one of the prisoners is set free. He escapes the cave and gets to see the world. He gets angry and frustrated after seeing the real world because he believes the cave illusion to be his reality. When his reality is disproved, he becomes angry, sad and frustrated because he is now forced to believe something else and step out of his comfort zone. Eventually, he’ll be able to make sense of what he has seen and accept that the cave illusion was not his reality. He has now accepted that his past was based on a lie and that is not the way he should perceive things going ahead because he has now found out that it was all an illusion. He goes back to the cave to tell the other prisoners about the real world. When he tells them whatever he has witnessed, they don’t believe him and threaten to kill him if he tries to free them. They are so comfortable in their fake reality that they don’t even want to make the effort of exploring a new possibility because that might lead them out of their comfort zone and face chaos. People mistake what is in front of them as reality and choose to live in ignorance. And when parts of the truth start to emerge in front of their eyes, they get frightened. Because that threatens their ignorant reality. However, a person who pays attention to these flashes of truth and is open to the idea of exploration will always have a better understanding of the world around him. Always aim for reasoning rather than simply believing what seems easy to believe.
*I was influenced to write this article after coming across the book Philosophy 101 by Paul Kleinman*
Greek philosophers in the 5th and 6th centuries started to question the world around them. They thought that greek mythology was too vague, and irrational and did not ask the right questions. They were in search of a more rational approach to the truths of life. They questioned where everything came from, what everything was, the role of mathematics and the existence of plurality in nature. They believed that not everything in the world is the same and some materials don’t stay in their present state forever. That’s why they laid the principles of change which they called archê.
The term “pre-Socratic” meaning before Socrates was coined and popularised by Hermann Diels. Socrates was alive at the same time when some of the pre-socratic philosophers existed so this term doesn’t necessarily mean philosophers before the birth of Socrates. It just means a different take from Socrates’ philosophical work. Pre-socratic philosophers produced texts. No texts have survived fully. These philosophies are based on the texts that could be gathered and quoted from the later historian which was usually biased.
There were some different schools of thought during this era. Some of them were The Milesian school, The Pythagorean school, The Eleatic school and The Atomist school. The Milesian school consisted of three important philosophers. Thales was the first. Thales claimed that a single element was water. Thales determined that water could go through changes of state like evaporation and condensation. He also knew that it was responsible for moisture. The second philosopher was Anaximander. Anaximander claimed that the single element was an undefined, unlimited and indefinite substance, known as Apeiron. The thing that separates Hot and Cold, solid and liquid is the Apeiron. His philosophy is similar to the Chinese philosophy of yin-yang. The third and last philosopher from The Milesian school was Anaximenes. He believed the single element to be air. According to him, the air is everywhere and can transform into something else. For example water, objects, clouds etc.
The Pythagorean school was formed by philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras believed that every answer to life can be found through mathematical calculations. Every rationale of life is derived from mathematics. He had a very cult-like following. His students were very true to his rules and ways of life. They’d often follow his exact instructions. His students believed that his studies were the prophecies of God.
The Eleatic school was based in the colophon. It had four main philosophers. The first one was Xenophanes. He did not believe that gods were anthropomorphic or had human characteristics in other words. He believed that there was only one god and he didn’t have a physical form but he can See, Hear, Think and control the world with his thoughts. The second philosopher was Parmenides. He believed that individual experiences don’t amount to the real truth. Truth can only be found through reason and not senses. His foundations hugely influenced Plato and the whole of western philosophy. The school of Elea started using reason to find the truth because of him. The third philosopher is Zeno. He was Parmenides’s most famous student and probably his lover too. He spent most of his life creating arguments that defended parmenides’ ideas. His most famous Argument is about pluralism. The notion that many things exist as opposed to one, will lead to more absurd conclusions. He believed plurality was an illusion. His work was later disproved but was hugely influential. The last one is the melissus of Samos. His philosophy was that what it differs from what it seems. According to him it never really is what it seems.
*I was influenced to write this article after coming across the book philosophy 101 written by Paul Kleiman*
Stoicism is a philosophy founded by the Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. According to this school of philosophy, there are two factors. The internal world and the external world. The internal world contains emotions, reactions, behaviour and all the things that a human being controls. The external world is wealth, status, validation etc. Stoicism describes wealth as neither good nor bad. Although a human being should always live a life of modesty and should not pay much attention to the external world. We do not control what happens in the external control but we do control our actions and our reaction toward the external world. We should build such a mindset where the external world doesn’t have an overwhelming effect on us.
In today’s generation, everyone’s life is a busy one. No one has the time to be free and reconnect with themselves. This makes us lose touch with ourselves. This is how the world moves. We are controlled by the external narrative and are always chasing some illusionary goal that we think will give us all the joy and happiness needed in life. We’re all chasing one thing or the other. But stoicism has always said that no material thing in the external world can attain happiness. You always have to look within. Bureaucracy makes us a slave to the external world and we do not break the pattern until we are dead.
Stoicism teaches us to take control of our lives. It tells us not to be controlled by the greed of wealth and status. It encourages us to find ourselves. You can inculcate stoicism in your life by getting across some of the stoic readings. Marcus Aurelius was a believer In stoicism. He was probably the richest man when he existed. He was still believed to live a modest life and people around him worshipped his virtue. One has to grasp an understanding of the world he lives in and more importantly they have to grasp an understanding of themselves. Stoicism encourages independence in thinking. It makes us see what really exists.
Personally, stoicism gave me an understanding of what the external world is. I came across it when I was 16 years old. I was very materialistic as a kid. I used to seek joy in buying all the gadgets that I wanted. There were times when I used to feel hollow but I never really knew what it was and why do I feel that? Stoicism made me understand that void. The void had been created due to the lack of real value in my life. I realised it and started studying stoicism. With time, my understanding of the world got better. Sometimes it makes me laugh how unconcerned I was. We all get lost in our lives sometimes. The games that we make for ourselves can sometimes trap us. But a true human being will always find a way to see through the fake and embrace reality.
I sat with my friend clive to know more about his culture. He told me how he was brought up to be a Christian and what were his values. He used to go to church every morning. Then we discussed if he has ever faced discrimination due to his religion. He didn’t feel that he has experienced discrimination. I also asked my Muslim friends if they’ve had any such experiences. They also felt the same way.
All of the people that I interviewed are from a well-to-do backgrounds. This makes me come to my next observation. Are people discriminated against because of their religion or because they belong from a not so well to do background? If you see in our society, Muslim or Christian people who have money don’t have to go through the religious stigma that other people go through. For example, a poor Muslim might have to go through a lot of discrimination as compared to a well-to-do Muslim. In today’s world if you are rich then you’re a powerful man.
I also had the opportunity of meeting a Muslim boy who was not very well-to-do. He told me that in his school, people were always given an opportunity before him. He was the last boy to be considered for every activity and he feels it’s because of his religion. I am not trying to make a stupid assumption but I feel this has some truth to it. In today’s world, if you belong to the higher class of society, you are likely to not go through any hardships due to your religion. Although, that is not completely true because there have been a lot of events where people were either kicked out or denied to take property at a certain place.
This activity led me to discover a lot of insights into the religious stigma that exists around me. I’d encourage everyone to go and ask people from vulnerable backgrounds about their lives. It serves two purposes. They get to share their sorrows and you become more informed about the situation of the matter.
Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy. This philosophy was supposedly written by Lao Tzu during 500 B.C.E. We don’t know if Lao Tzu existed. We have no living proof of his presence. Taoism is a philosophy that is based on non-doing. Not getting in your way. Respecting the natural flow of this universe. For example, if the force of the river is on the right side then you’d be a fool to swim towards the left side. Taoism is about going with the force of life or with the TAO. Tao is not a god but it’s us all, every living being is a part of the tao.
One of the key things about Taoism is yin & yang. It talks about the balancing force of this universe. Action and non-action, dark and light, hot and cold. Every example has meaning because their opposites exist. There is no action without non-action or no light without dark. This teaches us to accept all things for what they are. Taoism finds power in the natural truths of life. It promotes harmony. When we accept the natural form of this universe, we become one and attain harmony. The tao can’t be explained or held. It can only be felt by letting go.
“Look, but you can’t see it.
Listen, but you can’t hear it.
Reach out, but you can’t touch it.
The one, the tao”.
• Lao Tzu.
What does getting in your way mean? We often second guess our instincts and in some situations that is necessary. Taoism is all about making things simpler rather than complex. Living in the now, acknowledging everything but still detached from it. Creating your own “way”. Inculcating meditation in your life is one way to do it. I can’t stress how much meditation helps in finding yourself. Taoist meditation is a little different from the normal one. It’s more about communicating with your own body.
Like stoicism, Taoism believes in a modest approach to life. If I were to give a personal example, my mind automatically dived toward the future and I wouldn’t even know that it did. It was an automatic reaction that kept happening. But since I’ve come across Taoism, this situation has gotten much better. It has made me more accepting of my habits and given me a “way” to deal with them. You can’t change everything about who you are, you can accept it and get better at dealing with it. Taoism helped me do that. The teachings of Lao Tzu make you go into a state of Nirvana. That state can’t be explained because it is something beyond words. The tao cannot be held or explained. It can only be felt.
What is Tao? It is just this. It cannot be rendered into speech. If you insist on an explanation, This means exactly this.
I went into the Osho centre expecting a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on life. I had reached my saturation point and was seeking something meaningful. I learned a meditation technique there which changed my life forever. So the process, is that you have to lay down and breathe slower than you usually do. After doing that, you focus on your left leg and try to breathe through it. You move your attention towards the right leg and do the same. That’ll make your legs very light and peaceful. After doing this, you move all your attention to your navel centre which is the centre of your body and breath through it. If you do this correctly then that’ll give you immense harmony and peace. It feels as if all the negative vibrations are leaving your body. After this, you move your focus to your heart and breathe through it. And then from the face. In the end, you try to feel your whole body and try to breathe through your whole body. After this, you reflect on your meditation and take 3 deep breaths.
I’ve been practising this meditation for the last 2 months and it has made me comfortable with myself. I am now more accepting than ever, more confident than ever. It gave me a roadmap to working towards myself. Meditation makes you interact with yourself. When you do that consistently, you become more sure of who you are and what you want in life. I feel if you have clarity in life, everything automatically falls into place. Meditation definitely helped me do that.
I also met people from different walks of life in the centre. Middle-aged people, old people and young people doing completely different things. But doing things at their own pace and getting better at dealing with it every day. I came across a man whose name is Aditya. He is a middle-aged man in his 30s. He is not married and lives alone. In India, more often than not you expect a man in his 30s to be married cause that’s what society dictates. But he was completely free and detached from the social bounds we have. He was an artist working as a freelancer for the last 10 years. His energy was just different from the normal crowd. It was so refreshing to meet someone like that.
I always wanted to inculcate meditation in my life but I never had the discipline to do it until I started going to this centre. Meditation is so helpful for any human being because it makes you more conscious about yourself and when you are self-aware, you tend to make better decisions that affect you and you are aware of your flaws and you respect them. You find a way to deal with your vulnerabilities. I’d encourage my fellow members to go and seek out a spiritual experience free from the bounds of bureaucracy. This experience was personally so therapeutic for me and encouraged me to think in different ways and change my brain pattern towards life. It made me conquer my fear. And the only way to conquer fear is to accept it. I’d leave it at that.
“Humans eating humans” is a unique form of ideology, Isn’t it? But this is surprisingly a real fact and this is what cannibalism means in layman’s terms. Those who knew about this belief through history books, movies and etc might assume that it is all in the past but confoundingly it’s a no. Cannibalism is still followed by Aghoris in India. But who are they?
The Aghori Babas of Varanasi, India, are renowned for their ghastly and terrifying quest for heavenly salvation and their practice of devouring corpses. They contend that the dread of death, which is the most intense fear experienced by people, prevents them from attaining enlightenment. One can achieve liberty by overcoming this fear. They are one of the hermits who turn to cannibalism to get through the obstacle of spiritual freedom.
The central tenet of Aghori religion is that everything in the world, even corpses, is equally sacred. There is no such thing as good or bad according to them. The Aghoris strive to transcend all divisions, recognise the false essence of all divisions already in existence, and find eternal happiness by uniting with ultimate presence. However, traditional Hinduism disapproves of this rite. Aghoris are outspoken critics of inequality and the caste system’s enduring effects, which historically segregated Indians into rigid social groups.Also, they don’t harm any other human around them.
While some techniques are as easy as mindfulness, others could be quite strenuous and combative. There is no acceptable or thorough reason for cannibalism. It has been used by several societies and civilizations for a variety of reasons. It makes no sense in general. Instead, it is designed to fit the religious framework of the culture in which it is practiced.
Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Raja Harishchandra’ revolutionised an art form which would become a huge influence in almost everyone’s life. Films form public opinion and evoke different emotions. The way of expression in films is very unique. A book has a way of its own and every art form is unique. But a film can exactly deliver the desired message because it is visual and there are a lot of human elements involved.
The evolution of Indian cinema is divided into different phases. The silent era was the first one. Silent films were produced during the 1890s-1920s. The wrestlers (1899) by H.S bhatavdekar is considered the first Indian film ever by an Indian. It was a film documentary. It was about a wrestling match which was held at the hanging gardens in Bombay. Due to the enthusiasm from a lot of different filmmakers, the Indian film industry rose rapidly. Tickets were affordable to the normal audience. Filmmakers started to incorporate daily Indian social life to make the film more interesting and relatable to the audience.
Alam ara highlights the talkies era. Alam ara was released in 1931. It was the first Indian film which had sound. Joymoti by Jyoti Prasad Agrawala was released in 1935. Jyoti Prasad also went to Berlin to learn more about films. The popular culture of music in films began during this era. Studios started to emerge in main cities like Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. Kisna Kanhiya, the first colour film produced in India came out during this era. A film called wrath was banned by the British raj because it depicted Indian freedom fighters as leaders. A film named Sant Tukaram went to the Venice film festival for its depiction of a saint and a poet. A deadly combination indeed. It was judged as one of the three best films of the year. The seeds of Indian masala film were sown during this era. An Indian masala film has everything. Dance, Music, Drama and Action. This type of film brings out huge crowds into theatre today and is one of the spectacles of India in a way. Although, due to the partition a lot of studios moved to Pakistan. Partition became a hot topic to make films.
The golden era is dedicated to the genius of Satyajit ray. In the third part of the Apu trilogy, there’s a scene where apu and his friend are just walking beside a railway track. They are chatting about their lives. The talks of APU’s marriage come up among other things. The scene captures the vibe of Calcutta so nonchalantly. It’s just two friends talking to each other. The flow of the scene feels so natural. Satyajit ray’s films teleport you into the Calcutta of the 60s. Satyajit Ray was the master of social realism. Another film is boot polish directed by Prakash Arora. There’s a scene in the film in which Bhola(brother) is telling belt(sister) not to beg for a living. She’s starving and the only way she can feed herself is by begging. But because it goes against his brother’s philosophical ideology, she chooses to resist the temptation. But the poor girl can’t resist her hunger for long and picks up a coin and right after that her brother slaps her. She says while crying “bhook Lagi hai Bhai”. Now his brother has to choose between his honour and duties. He can choose to not pick up the coin and maintain his moral high ground or he can feed her sister. The scene captures this conflict so perfectly. The camera captures the whole environment of the room. This type of film was made during this era. Films based on social realism. Masala films also became very popular during this time. Art films and commercial films started to co-exist.
The FFC’s art film orientation came under criticism for not pushing enough commercial films. The duo of Salim-Javed revitalised commercial cinema. They always came up with gritty action thrillers like zanjeer and deewar. They are considered the greatest screenwriters of all time. Crime action films became very popular during this era. The peak of masala films. Although, this made the audiences used to a very predictable plot. Anyone would be able to anticipate what will happen next because it became so predictable. All-time blockbusters like Sholay came out in 1975. The term Bollywood was also coined during this era.
In the late 1980s, everyone was tired of watching the same old action thrillers. The footfalls became less and less until disco dancers. Disco dancers introduced the concept of disco in India. Disco dancer was the biggest hit of the year even in Russia. It introduced Bappi Lahiri as a music director. Mithun and Bappi Lahiri have given countless hits together. Then came the era of romance. Yash raj Chopra’s DDLJ sums up the decade of the 90s. Shah rukh khan became a sensation through his charming acting in romantic films like Kuch Kuch Hota hai , Dil to Pagal hai etc. He gained massive popularity worldwide. Sadly though, as the concept of Bollywood evolved. It became more about money rather than the art as in any other industry. The moment anything becomes an industry. It loses its beautiful touch. That’s what happened with Bollywood. Filmmakers in Europe or France can dare to think about anything today and make something about it. The problem with us is that we cannot even afford to think anything outside the box. Our bandwidth as an audience is very low. We only like to watch films of certain kinds.
The regional cinema has also grown immensely and in some ways is doing better than the Hindi film industry. The film chain in India today is very strong. Thank you to the Dadasahebs, Satyajit’s and anands of India.
India is one of the countries rich in its culture, variety of food, and diversity in all its perspectives. There is a different culture, and lifestyle in each 100 km of state. Be it spice or sweet India has got everything !!
Gulab Jamun, arguably India’s most well-liked dessert, is deliciously sweet, sticky, and impossible to resist! These fried and syrup-soaked soft, spongy balls are created with a dough comprising flour, milk powder, or condensed milk. Their name, which translates to “rose berry” in Hindi, comes from the fact that they are frequently flavored with cardamon and rose. Unni appam, a treat from Kerala in southern India, is a sweet treat comparable to gulab jamun. It is prepared with rice flour, coconut, banana, and jaggery (raw sugar).
Like Italy has gelato, India has got an Indian version of ice cream which is kulfi. it is significantly creamier and thicker than typical ice cream because it isn’t whipped before freezing. Simply boiling the milk will thicken and diminish its volume. Cardamon is the typical flavoring for kulfi. Mango, pistachio, saffron, vanilla, and rose are among the more tastes. With the inclusion of thin noodles and dried fruits, it is occasionally served as falooda kulfi.
The most popular version of this traditional Indian dessert is gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa). It originated in the imperial Mughal kitchens and is especially well-liked in the north of India during the winter. Grated carrots are the major component. It is prepared with milk, sugar, and a substantial amount of ghee.Similar to how gajar ka halwa is created and adored in the north of India, Rava Kesari (also known as Kesari halwa) is made in the south. Ghee is used to roast the Rava (semolina), which is then boiled with sugar and water. Additionally, saffron is added to give it color. And this is the most significant dessert and can be seen in prepared in next house.
Jalebi is the most loved dessert in India .In essence, it consists of deep-fried loops of dough prepared with refined flour and sweetened with saffron. Jalebi isn’t only an Indian delicacy. Its origins can be found in the Middle East, and it is thought that Persian conquerors brought it to India. But there’s no denying that India has enthusiastically embraced the jalebi. It is available at local cuisine stands all around the country, deliciously breathtaking.
This ubiquitous celebratory treat in the shape of a ball is a staple at any special event in India and has a wide variety of variations. Yes,you would have guessed it right!! Its laddoo.However, each location has a unique specialization. It is frequently prepared with semolina, crushed coconut, or gram/chickpea flour. Other components include milk, sugar, ghee, and dried fruits. Since more than three centuries, worshipers at the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh have received the most renowned laddoo in all of India. With an estimate of 3 million pieces sold each day, production is a huge endeavor!
Visiting Karnataka? Never miss out on Mysore Pak. This buttery, fluffy confection, frequently given during festivals, is thought to have been created in the royal Mysore Palace kitchen. It is produced with a lot of clarified butter, sugar syrup (pak), and chickpea flour (ghee). There is also a less popular hard, brittle kind of it. Definitely opt for the soft one!
According to popular mythology, Nobin Chandra Das, a confectioner from Kolkata, invented the rasgulla in 1868 after extensive testing Although it was originally served at the Jagannath temple in Puri, the Odisha government claims to have proof that the rasgulla (known as rasagola there) existed in the state before 1500. In July, Odisha has a celebration called Rasagola Dibasa to honor the confection.Cottage cheese, semolina, and sugar syrup are used to make the white, spongy rasgulla balls. In West Bengal and Odisha, where the dessert is revered, its provenance has been the subject of a heated discussion in recent years.
Furthermore, the list doesn’t stop here. There is a huge variety of different cuisines with desserts ahead from different states.
Based on who is defining it but the context in which it is used, the phrase “popular culture” has several connotations. It is commonly accepted that a society’s dominant culture at a given moment is the colloquial or people’s culture. In Persuasive Aspects of Popular Culture, it refers to the facets of social life that the general public participates in most actively. As the “cultural heritage,” popular culture is shaped by how people interact with each other in daily life. Examples of popular culture include clothing trends, slang usage, salutation customs, and cuisine preferences. The mass media also influences popular culture.
Popular culture is composed of a number of commonly acknowledged components. For instance, popular culture includes the components of our life that are most present-day and current. Particularly in today’s highly technology society where media is everywhere, these features are frequently vulnerable to quick change. Pop culture reflects certain norms and widely held opinions. Pop culture is prevalent, and as a result, it both reflects and has an impact on people’s daily lives . Additionally, businesses can become well-known cultural icons. Iconic brands may flourish and fall, much like other facets of pop culture.
Thus, pop culture might well be described as the creations and modes of identification and expression that are typical of a certain civilization at a particular moment, often experienced, or popularly accepted.
Large varied groups of individuals can connect socially due to popular culture. As it unites the majority behind principles of proper behavior, it plays an inclusive function in society. Consuming pop culture products frequently raises a person’s status among their peers in addition to helping them feel a sense of belonging that ties them to larger society. Furthermore, popular culture offers people the possibility to challenge the dominant beliefs and behavioral standards, in contrast to folk or high culture. People are drawn to popular culture because it offers opportunity for both personal fulfillment and social connection.
There is a different life existing, distinct from urban cities and villages mostly in the dense forests and hilly areas usually termed as a tribal community. Have you ever wondered what would their life look like? Let’s find out In today’s culture, the term “tribal” is often used to describe a region’s indigenous population. Tribal people are the native inhabitants of the area and go by a variety of names on every continent. A fun fact is there are more than 550 Indian tribes present in this region that have lived there for a very long period. Every community is unique in some way that sets it apart from the other tribes. One thing unites all of these communities: they are cut off around the world. Their major occupations are agriculture, food gathering, and hunting. They practice shift cultivation, clearing patches of forest and burning them to cultivate their crops like paddy, corn, etc.; though they cook their food and eat, as they are not accustomed to using species or oil in their cooking. Their diet also contains forest fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers. These people have a distinctive dancing style, music, and theater in addition to a rich cultural legacy. Everyone in this culture is required to receive a tattoo on some region of their body at a specific age or a special event. Furthermore, they have separate traditions, cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, foods, dialects, customs, and a whole distinct outlook on life. They are both immensely dynamic and culturally rich. They illustrate the cultural diversity of Indian ancestry.
Identity politics is a term that describes a political approach wherein people of a particular religion, race, social background, class or other identifying factor develop political agendas and organize based upon the interlocking systems of oppression that may affect their lives and come from their various identities. Identity politics centers the lived experiences of those facing various systems of oppression to better understand the ways in which racial, economic, sex-based, gender-based, and other forms of oppression are linked and to ensure that political agendas and political actions arising out of identity politics leave no one behind.
There is a very positive element to identity politics, that identity politics can be a great source of strength and unity to minority communities: they help them feel psychologically safe and secure especially when coping with life in the West. Language, culture and religion are the ways in which people also cope with the psychological stress of trauma or rapid change — refugees and migrants will band together in ethnic communities in new countries in order to stay connected to what they have lost or left behind. More and more people join the social groups which results in more authority and power. And as it is said, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The social groups formed on the basis of their particular identity now starts to diminish, cancel and supress any valid argument made against them. Now that the majority of people are on the side of these social groups related to Feminism, Gay right activism, anti-racism etc, a person having an opposing but a valid strong argument can’t place it without being called as anti-feminist, homophobic, and racist. In most cases it leads to their career being destroyed.
This whole mob mentality which evolutionized from a primary cause to help the oppressed groups, class is because of the absolute power it gets on the later stages. They think that everything they do is correct and which is horribly wrong. This whole thing of identity politics has a bad effect on the society. Forget forgiveness, something said mistakenly isn’t tolerated at all and the criticism, hate and abuse the person has to suffer is immense and eventually leaves a mark for the rest of his life.
Political correctness is a term used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. The term has been used to describe a preference for inclusive language and avoidance of language or behaviour that can be seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting to groups of people disadvantaged or discriminated against, particularly groups defined by ethnicity, sex, or gender.
Political correctness makes sure we remain within societal boundaries that have been previously established. This helps us maintain the previous progress we have made regarding acceptance, equality and inclusivity. By directing people to be careful in their speech we help prevent negative polarisation and the acceptance of prejudices. This way we do not lose progress in tolerance and equality. The spread of hate crimes, extreme nationalism and prejudices can also be attributed to from lack of political correctness in politics. When people with a platform say bigoted things, the wider population sees these views as legitimate.
Political correctness restricts public debates and thinking in society and in mainstream media. This results in ‘touchy’ issues not being discussed efficiently. There is no flexibility with social boundaries. Political correctness is a form of social engineering used to silence people with ‘controversial’ ideas. Political correctness is not fixed, so what is unacceptable changes. But who gets to decide what qualifies as unacceptable? Politicians who condemn others citing political correctness (excluding ‘hate speech’ or clear examples of discrimination) are going against the principles of freedom of speech. They are silencing people according to their own standards. Some people think political correctness is a leftist plot that silences the right and removes ‘alternative politicians’ from mainstream media. Because much of the world’s views are not strictly ‘politically correct’, they are not represented. Others think that ‘The whole political correctness movement was invented by the Far Right to inhibit any meaningful discussion of diversity issues in order to keep racial, gender, and other barriers in place.
There are more than 6,500 languages around the world spoken by billions of people. Why close yourself off from the rest of the world by only sticking with your native language? If you don’t know which language to start with, you can’t go wrong with English. Spoken in many countries across the globe, English allows you to communicate with a large number of people.
One of the most useful languages to learn is English. 1.5 billion people are speaking English today. Across the world, English is the default choice of countries and major industries. You might even be surprised some of the countries that become more accessible to you just for learning the language. The benefits of learning English are immense and vast.
Today, we’ll explore some of the fantastic benefits you could acquire from learning English. Some might even surprise you!
English makes travel easier
English is the most generally communicated in language from one side of the planet to the other. That’s a big advantage unless your goal in life is to remain within 40 kilometers of where you were born throughout your life.
English skills get more respect
It is weird but true. We in India give more respect to those who speak in English. I don’t know the reason and I don’t like this but that’s not important. Judge people on their inner worth, not the language they speak. But, till the time everyone begins doing it, learn English so that you are not judged unfairly.
Biggest movies and books are in English
Hollywood is the biggest movie industry. Almost all prominent books in the world are either written or translated into English. English language music is huge.
Why would you want to miss out on such a huge body of fun and mind expanding stuff?
English helps the world know our culture
This is important. The world today is not about forcing people, it’s about convincing them. It’s called soft power. With our 5,000 year old culture, why should we be defensive and behave like frogs in a well? Why not study the culture and present it in front of the world in the best possible way? Didn’t Vivekanand do that? Didn’t he do it in English? Isn’t he one of the brightest torch bearers of our glorious culture?
English skills are our national advantage
Yes, and that’s no exaggeration. One of the very few areas where India beats China is the number of English speaking people. Major advantage and we don’t want to surrender it to our friends from Shaolin.
English communication gives power & influence
Knowledge is in English, knowledge is power and you need power to fight for yourself. Most of the modern day knowledge and communication tools work in English:
Courts, law books, websites – most of them work in English.
Social media works in English.
Mainstream media has a majorly influential English segment.
If you don’t know the language, you are denying yourself more than half the weapons.
I was trying to learn English and I was very worried about my accent. I’m sure I’ll always have it but I remember Tom Hanks said to me, “Don’t lose the accent. If you do, you’re lost.”
Being able to speak English as a second language is a very positive addition to a person’s skill set as many careers are opened up to people who know another language, in particular, English.
India is a country that gloats of a rich culture. The way of life of India alludes to an assortment of minor exceptional societies. The way of life of India involves clothing, celebrations, dialects, religions, music, dance, design, food, and workmanship in India. Generally vital, Indian culture has been affected by a few unfamiliar societies since its commencement. Additionally, the historical backdrop of India’s way of life is a few centuries old.
OBJECTIVES OF INDIAN CULTURE :
Culture is the manner in which we treat others, how delicate we react to things, our comprehension of qualities, ethics, standards and convictions.
Individuals of more established ages give their societies and convictions to their next ages.
Subsequently, every kid here treats others well, as he definitely thought about the way of life of guardians and grandparents.
Here we can see culture in everything like dance, design, imaginativeness, music, conduct, accepted practices, food, engineering, dressing sense and so on
India is a tremendous mixture with various convictions and practices that brought forth various societies here.
The starting points of different religions here are antiquated by around 5,000 years, and it is accepted that Hinduism began from the Vedas.
All the Hindu sacred writings are written in the hallowed Sanskrit language; it is likewise accepted that Jainism has old starting points and existed in the Indus Valley.
Buddhism is another religion that started in the nation following the lessons of Lord Gautama Buddha.
Christianity was subsequently brought here by French and British individuals who controlled for quite a while for just about two centuries.
Along these lines, different religions started in old occasions or were some way or another brought into this country.
Nonetheless, individuals of each religion live here in harmony without influencing their customs and convictions.
The variety of the ages has traveled every which way, however nobody was so amazing as to change the impact of our genuine culture.
The way of life of the more youthful age is as yet associated with the more seasoned ages through the umbilical string.
Our ethnic culture consistently shows us how to act well, regard seniors, care for defenseless individuals and still assistance penniless and destitute individuals.
It is our strict culture to keep quick, love, offer Ganga water, welcome the sun, contact the feet of the seniors in the family, do yoga and contemplation day by day, give food and water to the ravenous and handicapped.
India is a place that is known for rich culture and custom which shows individuals consideration, liberality, and resilience. Indian culture varies from one spot to another as it’s anything but a multilingual, multicultural, and multi-ethnic culture. Indian culture is a novel mix of present day western culture and recorded practices. India is a nation of extraordinary legends where numerous incredible individuals were conceived and recollected perpetually because of their penance for the country. Individuals across the world come to appreciate and feel the way of life and custom of India.
We from our childhood are given a name, we as we study along and get educated, we collect certificates, participate in competitions, compete for rank, give speeches , excel in sports and exams, and so on, all this time we are creating an unique identity. Every step of our life we are contributing to make our own unique identity, trying to be something different, trying to mark our mark, trying to create a legacy, each and everyone’s different in its own way. From the laziest to the most energetic, form the dorkiest to the smartest, from the strongest to the most disciplined, from a Romeo to any geek, from a child to a teen to a young grown up to a middle aged person to a old man, that is what everyone strives for subconsciously.
What is history ?
History is what we came from and is often why we think and act in a certain way.We will frame our very lives in the paths travelled by our relatives and their actions. As the saying goes, “ to understand what is, one must understand what was”.
What history has is the goal of tracing narratives of past events, and analyzing the patterns that emerge as a way to provide perspective on our past.
History is wonderful and should be studied and therefore understood.
It can be studied at different levels and is just full of great adventures.
– food – countries – trains – religion – art – medicine – architecture – fashion.
Why is history important?
The same reason that personal memory matters. If you didn’t know what you had done in the past, he would have no meaningful identity as a person. History is to civilization what memory is to individuals.
Aa there is a saying which goes as :
History repeats itself. Who knows, what we learn right now about the past may come back to help us in the future!
In all cases, understanding History is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human. That allows people to build, and, as may well be necessary, also to change, upon a secure foundation. Neither of these options can be undertaken well without understanding the context and starting points. All living people live in the here-and-now but it took a long unfolding history to get everything to NOW. And that history is located in time-space, which holds this cosmos together, and which frames both the past and the present.
Well, the truth of the matter is that history does repeat itself and it’s best to be prepared for it by knowing the outcomes of previous instances and being able to make educated decisions based off of these that will help to a greater degree in the long run.
It helps us solve whatever problems the future holds. So keep knowing about the history or the past before stepping to anything
Perspective towards the history
There are many different perspectives that explain History’s existence.
History is older than any other form of ‘social study’ and existed way before there were academic institutions or an academic discipline associated to it. So, it seems it has been a social and cultural demand of various cultures (but not all of them), to understand their own selves in time. The narratives of origin gave a special meaning to particular groups and cultures. Something akin to mythological narratives, but with a claim to represent ‘what really happened’, based on testimonies and observations and making sense of where we came from. So, we come to a perspective very widespread in ancient times, that of History as a ‘master of life’, a repository of experiences and deeds of great (and lesser) men, which could be used by those who read it (statesmen, generals, etc.) in order to learn from the mistakes and great achievements, morals and virtues of generations past. The past as a guide to future action.
Another perspective came with the need, analogous to the new modern sciences, of understanding the world in an objective scientific perspective. Because of the historical context in which that process happened i.e coinciding with the birth and consolidation of the modern nation-state, it was closely linked with the political, philosophical and ideological need to construct national identities, referred to historical narratives of national origins. The understanding of the past as scientific knowledge, not necessarily for any practical purpose. Later, History came to be seen, through another political and epistemological perspective, as a tool to understand the present, by means of understanding and explaining how political, social, economic and cultural processes evolved, from different past configurations. The study of the past as a method to understand the present.
Should history matter to us
Even if there is no true objectivity to one’s history, even if there is no real common interpretation of history, but the truth is we need to protect it for our relative objectivity and subjectivity both. At Least for this day in age of 21st century, ask not what is reality, ask how to protect our reality because once our reality is distorted either by lie or truth, identity is lost.
History makes future for us at the end of the day, what one did yesterday decides what happens today. What we do today, when today becomes yesterday, our those actions make the future. History is our child. We are creating history as we are living through the present. It is our legacy, it is our tomorrow’s myth and legend, history is us from once.
The books have always taught us that we youngsters are the future generation of India. According to research, this fact is not entirely true. We youngsters do not represent the entire generation in India. There is another commodity, living far away from the reach of the powerful media. They are the rich generation of India’s Adivasi (tribal) communities. Adivasis make up eight percent of India’s population. They stand as an unknown identity of our nation altho their rich culture has always contributed to the diversity of India.
The tribes in India form a significant part of the total population. As the new technologies emerged and India took a step forward to development, these tribes started drowning in the crisis. The law ignores that they are the citizens of our country; there are numerous contradictions about reservation, yet there is no answer that will improve their condition. The tribals are facing several serious problems. The major among these are poor economic conditions. Most of the tribals lead a life of poverty and hardships. As they lead a
nomadic life, their children don’t get formal education. Most of the tribal people do not have adequate money to start their ventures. The banks are not prepared to lend them because they keep moving around from place to place. The other major problem faced by our tribals is that they do not live at proper places where they have access to water, sanitation, transportation, and other facilities necessary for their growth. Apart from the financial loss during this lockdown, brutal acts against humanity have come into notice. A 13-year-old girl from tribal-dominated Sundargarh district in Odisha, on a fine day, decided to go and visit a nearby fair in the Biramitrapur area on 25th marc. A sudden lockdown got announced, and the fair got canceled, and the little girl left stranded in the area wanting to go home but no reasonable means to do so. After some while, she was spotted by patrolling police. She was brought to the police station by the cops. She got raped by the very inspector in charge of the police station Anand Chandra Majhi. Since that day, she was repeatedly summoned to the police station and raped again and again. The girl got pregnant, and the cops with her stepfather conducted an abortion at a local community clinic. A protection officer filed a complaint against the officers, the doctor, and the stepfather. The inquiry is still pending; as usual, it was difficult to find this detailed report of this barbaric crime which was supposed to be the national headline. Also, a disturbing video of a tribal girl brutally thrashed, by her family members, allegedly for eloping with a man from her village was found on social media. In the viral video, a man is holding both the hands of the girl, while two other men thrash her repeatedly. MS Bhabhor, Superintendent of Police, Chhota Udepur district told that the victim was a 16-year-old woman, a resident of Rangpur village in the district. Local news reports confirmed that the incident was from Chhota Udepur district in Gujarat and that the girl belongs to a tribal family. The reports further said that the teenager was beaten in public by her family members for allegedly eloping with a man from the village.
If you are wondering why you should contribute towards their development, Here is why-The first and the most important reason is that dignity of all communities should be respected and no community should be living in such harsh conditions like these tribes. Secondly, the tribal communities have consistently contributed to the diverse culture of the country. They are experts in wildlife and nature conservation, know various sustainable agriculture and living practices ethnomedicine, and have a rich culture of stories, literature, art, and dance forms. So why not protect our culture?
Also, they help to protect our environment. fight climate change and build resilience to natural disasters. These people have continued to experience extreme acts of inhumanity mentioned above. The contradictions continue to evolve for ages, yet no significant improvement has come into notice. Gandhiji coined a term for them – Harijans yet we treat them like they are the lowest rung of the society. Remember when you bestow respect for the tribal communities you offer honor towards your nation.
Being a city with a soul, the grandeur of unshakable cultural ethos of Delhi had been reverberating in the air across centuries from the inception of Indraprastha to the present. Even though she was lacerated by incessant plunders, devastating wars, shifting capitals and changing rulers, the cultural vibe of Delhi remained fit as a fiddle, radiating the grandeur of a thousand suns rising in all its splendor. Delhi is, therefore, a city with unparalleled cultural eminence, unsurpassable glory and more importantly, an indomitable spirit.
Owing to the colossal historical backdrop of Delhi, this article attempts to spotlight the indomitable cultural grandeur of the city confined to a brief timeframe of fifty years from 1675 to 1725. However, one may note that this particular time frame is purely abstract and open-ended. None of the limits coincides with any major historical event nor the reigning period of any emperor and hence necessitates the need of referring to some period before or after the pre-designated timeframe.
The designated timeframe witnesses the rule of Aurangazeb, Bahadur Shah I, Jalandhar Shah, Farrukhsiyar, Akbar II and Muhammad Shah. Nonetheless, the timeframe fails to incorporate the entire reign of Aurangazeb and Muhammad Shah and therefore, this article tends to briefly mention those periods even though it’s beyond the scope of the predetermined timeframe.
On a brief analysis of Aurangazeb’s reign, one may conclude that his regnal period witnessed mass cultural genocide prima facie. Firstly, he banned music from the court for the want of time for festivity amidst his surging devotion for duty. Secondly, being a hardcore proponent of shari’a, he believed that the content of poetry was immobilized by Sufi mysticism and considered them hawkers of duplicity. Finally, he believed that paintings were un-Islamic and banned it and withdrew all forms of royal patronage offered to artists. One may note that Islamic law forbids the depiction of living creatures in art as it believes that the power of creation safely vests with God.
However, on careful analysis of the period, Delhi emerged as an exquisite centre for thriving Indo-Mughal culture braving the ravages of Aurangazeb’s antics. Even though Aurangazeb banned music from the court, ceremonial music (naubat) continued to exist. Literateurs and artists now looked upon the members of the harem and the leading nobles for patronage. To illustrate, Prince Azam extended his patronage to a plethora of poets and artists.
Soon after Aurangazeb withdrew royal patronage for art, music and poetry, many artists left Delhi in search of patronage and imperial attention. Nonetheless, one may note that many of them were hesitant to leave the premises of the city which had honed their skills and supported their livelihood. One of the many poets who were unwilling to leave Delhi was Bedil, a close associate of Aqil Khan ‘Razi’, the venerated Governor of Delhi. He spent thirty-six years of his life in the city and was deeply influenced by Sufi mystic poetry. Moreover, he trained a school of poets in Delhi and he was deeply revered to an extent that an annual urs to his grave began after his death in 1720 where the poets were expected to read out their recent compositions.
Jahanara with her handsome allowance fixed by Aurangazeb continued extending patronage to a school of poets, musicians and artists. Even after her death, her legacy was inherited by Zeb-un-Nisa and Aqil Khan ‘Razi’ and they emerged as cultural patrons of Delhi, supporting the baluster slackened by Aurangazeb.
However, Aurangazeb imprisoned Zeb-un-Nisa for supporting rebellious Akbar nonetheless she was granted great sort of freedom and a handsome allowance in confinement and at the later phase of her life, she set up an academy that aimed at incubating and honing the skills of artists.
In addition to that, the celebrated Chishti order was revived by Sheikh Kalimullah and Jahanara contributed to the growth and revival of the same towards the later stages of her life. Delhi now came to be known as the ‘metropolis of liberalism’ and towards the end of the seventeenth century, two rival centres emerged for the development and propagation of cultural values- Aurangabad that stood for Orthodoxy, theology and Islamic studies and Delhi that resonated with Liberalism and Sufism.
One may note that Delhi was deprived of the imperatorial presence for about thirty-three years from 1679 when Aurangazeb left for Aurangabad. Bahadur Shah I was in power till 1712 but he never entered Delhi in his capacity as the Emperor. However, this never meant a depreciating political legacy of the city. Firstly, Asad Khan, the ex-Wazir of Aurangazeb was elevated to the position of the Governor of Delhi and this appointment of the most senior officer as the Governor of Delhi exemplifies the political legacy of the city. Secondly, Bahadur Shah ordered that none shall leave Delhi or none shall visit Delhi without his permission. Thirdly, the Red Fort continued to be a formidable macrocosm of legitimate power which can be comprehended by the fact that the newly appointed Governor of Lahore sought permission to visit the Red Fort before assuming his office.
Even though Delhi was deprived of the imperial presence, it thrived as an important centre for trade, commerce, manufacture and culture. Vestiges of Shah Jahan’s artistic inclination failed to meet a sudden death. Patronage continued to be extended to artists, poets and scholars, both Hindus and Muslims by Dara Shikoh and by the mid-seventeenth century, Delhi emerged as a significant cultural centre. Delhi reclaimed its political importance with the advent of Jalandhar Shah in 1712. However, from 1712 to 1759 Delhi guarded the gates of a rapidly diminishing empire. With declining monarchial prestige and dislodged nobility supplemented by food insecurity, inflation, epidemics and famines with necessary provisions being confined to imperial coffers, Delhi witnessed an era of surging turmoil and insecurity. Merciless executions, imprisonment and dispossession of nobles who had supported a rival prince laid the foundations of catastrophic factional warfare in Delhi.
Declining monarchical prestige was amplified by the act of Jalandhar Shah as he elevated Lal Kunwar coming from a family of musicians to the status of a queen and such elevations were considered undesirable for nobility. The emperor spent his time with her and even got drunk in public. The emperor seemed to be reduced to the position of a King in the game of Chess being manipulated by the entire clan of musicians. This paved the way towards social instability where the emperor lost the support of the nobles, landlords and theologians. Farrkukhsiyar also failed to restore the lost prestige of Mughal nobility and he was widely despised for his association with a low-born homosexual.
However, amid such adverse insecurities and catastrophic conflagrations, Delhi remained to be a city with an indomitable spirit. Firstly, even though the Emperor was reduced to the status of a restricted monarch figurehead, the subjects considered him as the guardian of social order and justice. Even the Sayyid Brothers couldn’t attempt a direct consolidation of political power and had to support Farrukhsiyar to the throne. Secondly, albeit the political power of the Mughals were rapidly diminishing with the snowballing Maratha power and semi-independent principalities like Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad, the Mughal Emperor was seen as a nominal head and a legitimate authority to an extent to which the Marathas and even the British had to approach them at a later stage for political legitimacy.
Despite the social instability of the period under consideration, the emergence of a small elite class with both means and desire to offer patronage ensured the evergreen perpetuity of cultural activities. Delhi remained to be the favourite halt of nobles and money-lenders who had invested in building markets, lending money for interest or trade aspiring for a supplementary income and this made Delhi one of the mammoth financial centres in India. In consequence of the same, many businessmen, manufacturers, scholars, religious leaders and elites settled in Delhi and offered patronage to cultural activities and thus, Delhi remained to be culturally bouncy even though it faced adverse calamities. Delhi was, is and will be a city with an indomitable spirit and unsurpassable glory.
One of the biggest loot in the history of India that handicapped Delhi was the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1739. On one hand, the inexpensive Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor were looted and on the other, the repercussions of this loot incarnated as anarchy and insecurity among both the rich and the poor alike for a period of twenty years from 1740-1760. However, this event was also easily overcome within no time as the looted wealth was mostly hoarded ones, not in circulation and by and large it just accounted for a very small part of gold and silver in circulation. Supplemented by a favourable foreign trade, the indomitable spirit of the city overcame the backlash of the loot with ease and cultural life was restored.
The period under consideration is undoubtedly venerated for flourishing music and literature. Whereas Persian was used by the upper class, Urdu continued to be the language of the masses. The Urdu poetry incorporated Persian and Hindi styles and represented an integrated culture.
Even though she was wounded by adverse calamities in the period under consideration, Delhi remained to be culturally vibrant, alive and breathing. In the fifty years from 1675 to 1725, she was left without an Emperor for thirty-three years and after the advent of Jalandhar Shah, she witnessed social instability supplemented by inflation, epidemics, famine and factional warfare. She was much better off in the absence of the monarch as the later monarchs were downgraded to the status of a restricted monarch figurehead backed by a myriad of misfortunes.
Delhi surpassed all her misfortunes with her indomitable spirit. Banning of cultural activities, absence of the emperor, incapable rulers, social unrest, epidemics and famines, inflation, diminishing moral values, factional warfare and plunder miserably failed to amend the cultural landscape of the city. Although Delhi was overshadowed in size, economy and cultural activities by Lahore and Agra as far as the predetermined timeframe is concerned, Delhi was an unparalleled metropolis in the eyes of its people and it remains to be so and it will remain so for the times to come.
India is a country which has a host of spectacular sites, ranging from glorious historical monuments to diverse natural heritage sites. UNESCO World Heritage Convention has recognised many sites across the world for their cultural heritage. India has the 6th largest number of world heritage sites with 38 such sites. Here are some sites among those, which one shouldn’t miss while exploring the country.
Taj Mahal, Agra
The Taj Mahal is a funerary mosque, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal. Set against the Mughal Gardens, it is a pristine architectural monument made of white marble. It was built in 16 years by thousands of artisans under the Chief Architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri and is considered as a masterpiece.
Khajurao, Madhya Pradesh
The Khajurao is a group of monuments located in Madhya Pradesh and is attributed to the Chandela dynasty. It is known for its unique artistic architecture which has survived since the 10th century. Out of the 85 temples built originally, only 22 temples are there at present.
The PInk City, Jaipur
Jaipur is a fort city in Rajasthan, built according to grid plans of Vedic architecture. The urban planning of the city shows influence of ancient Hindu, modern Mughal and western cultures. Originally built as a commercial capital, the city is an intersection of commercial, artisanal and traditional center.
Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
The Elephanta Caves is a group of sculpted caves on Elephanta island, located in Mumbai harbour. It is dated to 5th century and it consists of 5 Hindu caves and 2 Buddhist caves. The architecture is characterised by rock cut stone sculptures.
Sundarbans, West Bengal
The Sundarbans are the largest mangrove forests in the world and is both a national park and a tiger reserve. It is situated in the Sundarbans Ganges river delta and is formed by the deposition of sediments from 3 rivers – the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. It consists of dense mangrove forests which is the home to the Bengal tiger, the salt water crocodile and various birds.
Also known as the City of Victory, the Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Emperor Akbar. It includes a set of mosques, monuments and temples built in Mughal architectural style. It was built as a city which had several monuments, buildings, palaces, public spaces and courts. The site has monuments like – the Jama Masjid, the Buland Darwaza, the Panch Mahal, and the Tomb of Salim Chishti which are popular tourist attractions.
Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka
These are a group of monuments in the Hampi town in Karnataka. Located on the banks of the river Tungabhadra, it consists of Dravidian temples and palaces. It has been admired by travelers of the 14th and 16th century and is still a very important cultural and religious center for Hindus and Jains.
Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
The Konark Sun temple is a renowned temple, located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal and built in the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god. It is constructed with sandstone and decorated with beautiful stone carvings. It was constructed under the rule of King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
One of the best ways to know about the history and culture of a place is to try out its cuisine. Not only does it provide one with a delicious treat, it also speaks a lot about the place and its people. Local cuisines range from elaborate meals to roadside snacks. But I feel, to get the real taste of a place you need to try out its street food. While trying out various dishes from the streets you get to explore a place in the best way possible. Here are some amazing food items from all around the world!
Aloo Chat – South Asia
It is a dish which is made with boiled potatoes, cut into cubes and mixed with different spices and chutney. It is popular in Pakistan, parts of Northern and Eastern India and Bangladesh. Aloo chat is a snack or side dish and it varies from region to region in terms of spices and taste.
Crepe – France
Crepe is a popular pancake like pastry which is popular in France and Belgium. They are made with all kinds of fillings and flavours. There are two types of Crepe – ones that are sweet that are made with wheat flour and ones that are savory which are made with buckwheat flour. Sweet crepes are eaten with fruits, custards, whipped cream or chocolate and savory crepes are served with eggs, mushrooms, cheese and ratatouille.
Chuan – China
Chuans are a type of kabab served with spices like black pepper, cumin seeds, sesame and red pepper flakes. These meat kababs are roasted over charcoal or deep fried in oil. It originates from the Uighur and other Muslim communities of China.
Gelato – Italy
Often confused with ice cream, Gelato is an Italian dessert made with milk, sugar, cream, nuts, fruits and toppings. It is much low in fat than traditional American ice cream and has more flavors which makes it a rich and delicious dessert. There are a lot of flavors including vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio.
Hot Dog – United States of America
It is a classic American street food and you can find it in food trucks and restaurants across cities like New York and Chicago. A grilled sausage is served in between a steamed hot dog bun along with mustard, ketchup, onion, cheese and chilli. There are a lot of varieties which differ in shapes, taste and sizes.
Mango Sticky Rice – Thailand
Mango Sticky Rice, also called Khaoniao Mamuang is a popular Thai dessert. It is also eaten in Cambodia, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. A specific form of sticky rice is mixed with coconut milk and is served with Mango slices. The coconut milk is added so that the rice absorbs all the flavour and tastes sweet. It is popular during the peak mango season in Thailand during the summer months of April and May.
Naan – Central Asia and Middle East
Naan is a traditional bread which originated in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is made with flour, water and ghee. Additional ingredients like milk and yoghurt are also added in different varieties. Made in a tandoor oven, it is a flat bread which is served with other items like curries and fillings. It is served hot brushed with butter and ghee.
We humans are the masters of our domain. At times, us, the masters go berserk by certain pursuits. We do go overboard with things, from petty tasks to pursuits complex.
I believe the quote, “Nothing to extremes, everything in moderations”, from the remarkable book ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’, by writer Robin Sharma is something we all should adhere to. In all aspects of life.
We humans are masters of passing time. It doesn’t matter where we’re, or what we have, we’ll inevitably find ways to destress or to chill.
We’re the lords who have mastered the art of passing time. Everyone’s a Picasso or your own ‘unique being’ for this matter.
But when the phenomenon of ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) kicks in, beings scramble to ‘fit in’. To find a firm ground to socialise with fellow beings. Gradually paving the way for losing bits and pieces of oneself.
The recent trends of passingtime – Bingewatching has proven the point well.
It has united the world, that was once divided. Surveys have shown that almost all the generations; especially ‘generation z’ and ‘millennials’, have been ‘swept off their feet’ by a plethora of content to stream and chill.
For the ones that were living under a rock, the ones unaware, binge-watching refers watching far too many episodes of a tv series at one go. It’s funny I guess tv series’ are a thing of the past now. Web series’ being the new black.
Netflix was the catalyst for such a mammoth change in the lives of many. By releasing the entire season of a series to watch all at once. Doing away with the process of having to wait out a new episode every week.
This fast paced life has made such anticipation seem surreal or nerve wrecking to be aptly put. Killing the beauty of waiting.
I guess sometimes you do have to give it time. If not, you lose sight of the whatever’s beautiful in this world in the process.
A true testament that change is part of nature’s way. Embrace the change and go with the flow, or get drowned in the process.
The struggle was real earlier. A few years back, privileged were the ones that had umpteen storage facilities and a high speed internet connection. But the transmission of life into digital has made the struggles fade.
The struggle now is settling on what to watch and finish it before any spoilers. With traditional cable tvs’, cinemas and movies taking the hit in the process. Transforming the entertainment world by a few hundred steps stcsdym a time. The changes are abysmal.
The ‘work from home’ culture just fuelling the way for major streaming platforms to sow millions in this times of crisis. With too much time in hand, people going frenzy to fit in something or the other into their lives to pass time.
Like I mentioned earlier, not adhering to moderations has its own antagonising effects. The binge watching culture has made several beings vulnerable to numerous health conditions.
Having a toll on the body and the mind. Two spectrums of well-being, taking severe hits by the 4G and 5G spectrums, causing many a imbalances in the lives of mankind, as a whole.
Experts have commented that the new culture of bingeing has adverse impacts on health, as the excessive indulgence has thrown the dopamine levels of the body off the charts.
Dopamine being a chemical produced naturally in the body, is a neurotransmitter, which regulates many a actions of our bodies.
The health problems involving both physical and mental. Ranging from severe medical conditions like insomnia, chronic boredom, apathy to depression. The physical effects ranging from cardiovascular diseases, thrombosis and other vision related diseases.
The excessive snacking whilst bingeing also affecting the tummy areas too. Transforming generously the packs into a vast ‘single pack’ in the process.
All this rambling might make me sound like a boomer trying to bully the younger generations. But in all honesty, if you don’t care to stop and analyse what’s happening, then whole of life will slip away before you take notice.
Periodic reality checks should be squeezed into the equation of life. For a better and beautiful tomorrow.
For “Tomorrow has no reality, since every day is experienced as today”, excessive indulgence today might fade out all our realities amidst a global pandemic.
India has always been portrayed as a land of cultural and traditional diversity. Every corner of the country has a distinctive cultural identity which is represented through different art forms. These art forms can be collectively put under the topic of Indian Folk Art. Each region has a different style and pattern of art which is practised by the rural folks. These art forms are colourful, simple and reflect the rich heritage. The country is home to around 2500 tribes and ethnic groups. So every state has a unique and interesting form of folk art.
Previously these were done using natural dyes and mostly used for decorating walls and houses. These forms which still exist today, have undergone many changes through all these years including change of medium, colours and pattern. Here are such art forms which give us a peek into the cultural heritage of different regions of the country.
Madhubani, also known as Mithila art, was developed by women of Mithila in Northern Bihar. It is characterised by line drawings, colourful patterns and motives. These were practised for hundreds of years but were discovered in 1934 by a British collonial officer during an inspection after an earthquake on house walls.
The word ‘patachitra’ derives from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning canvas and chitra, meaning picture. It is one of the oldest art forms of Odisha. It is done on canvas and portrays simple mythological themes through rich colours and motives. Some of the themes include Thia Badhia – depicting the temple of Jagannath, and Panchamukhi – depicting Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity.
Warli is the name of cultivator tribes belonging to Northern Maharashtra and Gujarat. Though discovered in early seventies, the roots of the art form can be traced back to as early as 10th century A.D. Mostly featuring geometrical shapes, they potray daily life, hunting, fishing and festival scenes. They show a common human figure through a circle and two triangles, which move in circles resembling the circle of life.
RAJASTHANI MINIATURE PAINTING
The art form is introduced by Mughals who brought in persian artists for creating the art. The Mughal emperor Akbar built an atelier for them to promote the artwork. They trained Indian artists who produced it in a new style inspired by the royal lives of Mughals. Eventually the paintings made by these Indian artists came to be known as Rajput or Rajasthani miniature. They are characterized by strong lines and bold colours made from minerals, precious stones, even pure gold and silver.
Orijinating in Tanjavore, about 300kms from Chennai, this art form evolved under the rulers of the Chola empire. Characterized by brilliant colour schemes, decorative jewellery with stones and remarkable gold leaf work, these paintings mostly consist themes of gods and goddesses.
Simmilar to Rangoli and Kolam, this art form originated in Kerala. It mostly consists of the representation of deities like Kali and Lord Ayyappa on temple floors. Natural pigments and powders of mostly 5 colours are used by the makers and the art is done by bare fingers without the use of any tools. The 5 colour shades are made from natural pigments like – rice powder for white, burnt husk for black, turmeric for yellow, a mixture of lime and turmeric for red and the leaves of certain trees for green. Lighted oil lamps brighten the colours in the figures which usually feature anger or other emotions.
Festivals happen all over the world and exploring them can be an extraordinary experience for anyone who enjoys culture and art. The following list includes some of the most colourful, amazing festivals which are celebrated in different places around the world.
Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Thailand
The Yi Peng lantern festival is a very unique kind of festival celebrated in Northern Thailand during a full moon light. It was traditionally celebrated as a festival to mark the end of the monsoon season. It is a spectacular sight to see thousands of sky lanterns floating in the sky and beautiful flowers floating on the Ping river.
Holi in india
Holi, also known as the festival of colours, is mostly celebrated by Indians during Spring. During the festival people play with colours and engage in dance, music and festivities. It also represents the arrival of ‘Basanta’ or Spring. The traditional festival includes fun filled games and water gun fights.
Winter lights festival in japan
This is one of the illumination festivals which one must attend. The incredible Winter Light festival takes place in a park in Kuwana City of Japan during November to March. Attracting thousands of tourists, the festival is one of Japan’s finest illuminations. The park also has a variety of restuarents.
Golden Retriever Festival In Scotland
Known as one of the happiest places on Earth, the Golden Retriever Festival is organized by the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland. It is a mass gathering of Golden Retrievers along with dog lovers in the ancestral home of the breed in a Scottish Village. In 2018, the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the breed was done with the gathering of about 360 Retrievers.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in USA
The biggest hot air balloon festival in the world, Albuquerque balloon fiesta is a nine day long event held in New Mexico during early October. Guests have the rare opportunity of seeing the inflation and take off of around 600 colourful hot air balloons. It is the most photographed event in the world.
la tomatina festival in spain
The La Tomatina Festival is held on the last wednesday of August on the streets of Bunol town in Spain. It is a fun event where participants from all around the world throw squashed tomatoes at each other. The week long festival is also famous for its parades, fireworks, music and dance. The tomatoes are provided to the participants before the start of the event. In order to maintain safety participants are encouraged to wear goggles and water trucks are placed across streets.
Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival in USA
The festival is usually celebrated to draw attention to the conservation of the coral reef. It is a wonderful festival for divers and music lovers. The festival takes place in a sand area near the coral reef. Hundreds of divers and underwater musicians play songs on the theme of Ocean. It is being celebrated every year for the last 25 years.
ice & snow sculpture festival in china
The Harbin ice and snow festival takes place during the month of January in Harbin of Heilongjiang province of China. Attracting thousands of tourists it features an international competition of ice sculptures and illuminated snow block buildings. Multicoloured lights illuminate the ice and snow formations creating a spectacular sight at night. Artists who construct the ice sculptures use ice from the frozen Songhua river.
Oktoberfest in Germany
The largest funfair in the world, Oktoberfest takes place from the end of September to beginning of October in Munich City of Germany. The festival attracting around 6 million people around the world includes amusement rides and traditional food. 6 breweries around Munich serve around 7 million litres of beer every year.
India – a land of diverse landscape, language and culture, offers a variety of destinations for travellers to add to their bucket list. Whether its heavenly mountains, historical forts or peaceful beaches, every nook and corner has something beautiful to offer. These exotic places will surely take your breath away.
Dal Lake, Kashmir
Being one of the most prominent lakes in India, Dal Lake is also known as Srinagar’s Jewel. Pristine clear water with the backdrop of heavenly hills and mountains is sure to take your breath away. A Shikara ride in the Dal Lake is a must to explore in Kashmir. Shikaras are beautiful houseboats which are used to travel across the lake. The lake also has a travelling market. With an old world charm, the lake gives you a breathtaking experience.
The Rann of Kutch, gujarat
The Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh in the Thar desert located in the border between India and Pakistan. It is one of the largest salt deserts in the world. It is a really popular exotic travel location. The Rann festival is the best time to visit when the region celebrates with crafts, handwork, cultural and musical performances. It is famous for its colourful and intricate crafts. On a full moon night, the sparkling salt desert looks spectacular and is a treat to the eyes.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman Islands is an Indian archipelago of about 300 islands scattered in the Bay of Bengal. Its palm lined beaches and coral reefs is sure to give you a wonderful experience. The islands are known for its popular tourist sights like Havelock Island, Neill Island, and Wilson Island. You can also enjoy exotic sports like Parasailing, Snorkeling, and Scuba Diving.
Pangong Lake, Ladakh
Also known as Pangong Tso, it is a beautiful lake situated in the Himalayas. The beautiful lake situated on a height of 4350 m, attracts tourists from all over the world. The alluring blue waters is a sight to soothe sore eyes. The best time to visit the lake is summer because in winter the whole lake freezes into ice. It is also a great place for bird lovers as it is home to different birds like cranes, seagulls and rodents.
The Kerala backwaters are a network of lagoons and lakes on the Arabian sea coast. With its rivers and inlets it is connected with almost 900 kilometres of waterways. The picturesque site with its lush green landscapes and diverse wildlife is a popular tourist attraction of South India. You can visit the backwaters by boat or shikara from Alleppey. Watching the sunset from a shikara in the midst of green landscapes and serene waters will give an experience of a lifetime.
Valley of flowers, Uttarakhand
Valley of Flowers is an Indian national park, located in North Chamoli and Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. With rare and exotic Himalayan flora it is located in the dense forests close to the Pushpawati river. The beautiful meadows with blossoms of Alpine flowers is a treat to any nature lover. The best time to go on a trek to the Valley of Flowers is March to October as during this time the valley is also known to change colours due to its colourful blossoms.
Loktak Lake, Manipur
Loktak is the largest freshwater lake in Northeastern India. It is mostly known for the unique sight of floating phumdis which are heterogeneous mass of soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition. It is the most popular tourist attraction around Imphal. Being almost like a miniature inland sea, the lake mesmerises all visitors.
Living root bridge, Meghalaya
Located in the Khasi and Jaintia hills, the suspended root bridge is made up of a species of the Indian rubber tree with a very strong root system. These are estimated to be around 500 years old and attract tourists all around the year. There are dozens of these root bridges near Cherrapunjee. Since they are located in very remote places you may need a guide to reach there. The spectacular bridges in the Meghalayan villages will be a treat to any traveller.
We are living in a fast-paced world where everyone is always trying to do more. We are constantly bombarded with articles and self-help tips on how to manage time well and be more productive. The ability to get a large number of things done in the least amount of time is considered a quality that one should aspire to. This obsession with productivity, the repulsion to doing things slowly, or “wasting” time, and the perpetual need to prove oneself by what one achieves is a byproduct of the Capitalistic culture and attitude that we have imbibed. The worth of an individual is closely associated with how much she is able to contribute to society in tangible ways and the efficiency with which she does it. We often say that a person is not what they do but looking at how perceptions in society function currently, we are forced to reconsider if we really mean what we say.
One of the major factors that pervade this accomplishment-oriented culture is the idea of being productive. Productivity is supposed to be the ability to do more in less time, being focused on our goals, and always achieving what we set out to do. While these are good things in themselves, an obsession with being productive is detrimental to mental health and the quality of our lives as well. Many of the tips that we follow might end up being counterproductive as well. There are various myths about productivity that we hear and see around us; some of them in articles and blogs, others in books or videos. Again, while a few of these tips might work out, they do not generally function to make our lives better. In fact, many of us find that our inability to keep up with these advices make our days more stressful.
A common myth is that we are only being productive when we are doing certain kinds of things. Here’s an example: It is considered more productive to learn a new language or skill than it is to spend our time reading a novel. Being focused on productivity makes us feel like there are always “more” productive things we can do, when in fact the things we are doing can be considered good and productive things themselves. We tend to grade our activities and give those which do not fulfill certain criteria, such as new knowledge or public appeal, as lesser productive. We forget that rest and leisure is often much more needed for our well-being than stressing over learning something new. Another myth is that we can look at successful people and copy their habits to be productive. Some say that we should read one book a day because someone famous did so, or that we should wake up at a specific time. While this might be good habits in themselves, we are not to discount the individual personalities and circumstances of people. it is not just habits but a collection of events that made someone who they are, and many of these things are outside our control. This often leads to comparison which almost never brings contentment.
Another important point to note is that being productive should not mean continuously being occupied with a specific kind of activity since that would just lead to burnouts and even repulsion after some time. People who tend to take regular breaks, spend time with themselves, and even “waste” time by doing nothing or engaging in seemingly irrelevant activities, are able to direct their energies better when involved in their actual work. It is not a better use of time but a better use of energy that lets them accomplish what is to be accomplished. Obsession with productivity is also closely linked to a culture that is becoming increasingly self-focused to the point of being egotistical. It can lead to us being so focused on getting things done that quality is sacrificed for quality, in order to have the feeling of having done more in lesser time than having done fewer things but of better quality. We must always keep in mind that taking rest itself is sometimes more “productive” in the long run than indulging in and spending our energies on anything that comes our way.
“History owes an apology to the LGBT community. They were denied the fundamental right to equality, the right against discrimination and the right to live with dignity.”
– Justice Indu Malhotra
“Gay marriage and relationship are not compatible with nature and are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship. Traditionally, India’s society also does not recognise such relations.” As usual, other members of right-wing factions joined the chorus – stubbornly maintaining that homosexuality is against nature.
But are we sure about that? Can we honestly say that it was never “recognised”?
It’s impossible to talk about homosexuality in ancient India without referring to one of its most affirmative and visual ‘proofs’, so to speak. The sculptures in the Khajuraho temple of Madhya Pradesh are known for their overt homosexual imagery. The temple is popularly believed to have been built sometime around the 12th century. The sculptures embedded in the Khajuraho temple depict what seem to be sexual fluidity between man and man and woman and woman with either women erotically embracing other women or men displaying their genitals to each other, the former being more common (suggesting a tilt in favour of the male voyeur).
The story of Shikhandi, a transgender who becomes the nemesis of Pitamah Bhishma in the kurukshetra war, and the story of Arjuna turning into a transgender with the name Brihannala for a limited period due to a curse, which in fact is proved to be a blessing in disguise when the Pandavas were required to lead an incognito life at the end of their exile, are two examples of the existence of and awareness about the transgenders even during ancient times.The story of Krishna assuming female form to marry Aravan the son of Arjuna might also have been an euphemism or a veiled reference to homosexuality. During the Mughal rule, men were reportedly castrated to make them transgenders, before getting posted as sentries or servants in the Harems of the Kings where a large number of queens and other ladies were confined behind the Purdah.
I think the fact that the boys and girls getting married at a very early age (in pre adolescence and in case of girls even before attaining puberty) during older times in India also might have prevented a large number of men and women even to properly understand sex or become aware of their own sexual orientations. And in a closely knit joint family/community living systems, LGBTs might still have managed to lead the lives of their choice without openly flaunting their alternate sexuality or inviting the notice of the society to this particular behavior.
Purushayita in the Kama Sutra, a 2nd century ancient Indian Hindu text, mentions that lesbians were called “swarinis”. These women often married other women and raised children together. The book further made mention of gay men or “klibas”, which though could refer to impotent men, represented mostly men who were impotent with women due to their “homosexual tendencies”. The Kama Sutra’s homosexual man could either be effeminate or masculine. While they were known to be involved in relationships of a frivolous nature, they were also known to marry each other. The book further mentions that there were eight different kinds of marriages that existed under the Vedic system, and out of those, a homosexual marriage between two gay men or two lesbians were classified under the “gandharva” or celestial variety – “a union of love and cohabitation, without the need for parental approval”. Varuna and Mitra, famously referred to as the “same-sex couple” in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rig Veda, were often depicted riding a shark or crocodile or sitting side-by-side on a golden chariot together. According to the Shatapatha Brahmana, a prose text describing Vedic rituals, history and mythology, they are representatives of the two half-moons.
Amongst scenes from epics and legends, one invariably finds erotic images including those that modern law deems unnatural and society considers obscene. Curiously enough, similar images also embellish prayer halls and cave temples of monastic orders such as Buddhism and Jainism built around the same time. The range of erotic sculptures is wide: from dignified couples exchanging romantic glances, to wild orgies involving warriors, sages and courtesans. Occasionally one finds images depicting bestiality coupled with friezes of animals in intercourse. All rules are broken: elephants are shown copulating with tigers, monkeys molest women while men mate with asses. These images cannot be simply dismissed as perverted fantasies of an artist or his patron considering the profound ritual importance given to these shrines. There have been many explanations offered for these images – ranging from the apologetic to the ridiculous. Some scholars hold a rather puritanical view that devotees are being exhorted to leave these sexual thoughts aside before entering the sanctum sanctorum. Others believe that hidden in these images is a sacred Tantric geometry; the aspirant can either be deluded by the sexuality of the images or enlightened by deciphering the geometrical patterns therein. One school of thought considers these images to representations of either occult rites or fertility ceremonies. Another suggests that these were products of degenerate minds obsessed with sex in a corrupt phase of Indian history.
According to ancient treatises on architecture, a religious structure is incomplete unless it’s walls depicts something erotic, for sensual pleasures (kama) are as much an expression of life as are righteous conduct (dharma), economic endeavours (artha) and spiritual pursuits (moksha). Why is homosexuality considered such a big taboo in India? We marry people to trees and rocks in the name of religion but do not support a homosexual marriage.
To sum up, if we go by these popular references in Indian history and mythology, then it appears that ancient “Indian society” did indeed “recognise” homosexuality through that period, and in many cases, even accepted it. So, ultimately, it’s just factually incorrect to deny that homosexuality has been part of Indian tradition.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about clay pots, tools for hunting, grinding-stones, or religious artifacts, but Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a 15,000 years old fractured femur found in an archaeological site. Femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. In societies without the benefits of modern medicine, it takes about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. This particular bone had been broken and had healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. Broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
Sometimes I’m wondering if we’ve lost the primary sign of true civilization. When I hear the angry rhetoric and therefore the arrogant talk about a number of our chat show pundits and political candidates, I’m wondering what has become of compassion. When I happen to catch a flash of a vicious voice like Ann Coulter (I can only take a few minutes) I’m wondering what has become of civilization. When I hear even Christians talk in such bitter tones about immigrants and minorities, anybody who is “different”, I’m wondering if they need ever read the Gospels and if they care about the values of the Kingdom of God. I know it is an extreme voice, but I even heard a web preacher say he thought we should always take the Bible literally and stone homosexuals. God have mercy! If Margaret Meade is correct that the primary sign of true civilization is compassion, I’m wondering just how civilized we are. Of course, there was an enormous outpouring of well-deserved compassion and bonafide outrage over the death of Cecil the Lion, but what about the death of innocent children caught amid war, or homeless families in our uncivilized urban centers? The Old Testament all for welcoming the alien and therefore the stranger and the first ministry of the first church was to worry for the widows and orphans. Compassion isn’t just the primary sign of civilization, it’s central to what it means to be a lover of Christ. St. Paul draws a sharp contrast between the “works of the flesh” which include strife, anger, quarrels, factions, envy” (…sounds like our current political climate) and the “fruits of the spirit” which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:19-23).
And so…I check my own heart and spirit. Even when handling people I afflict, am I able to commit to measuring by the primary sign of civilization, to measure with compassion?
Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.
Konark, a small town located in the Puri, area of Odisha on the east coast of India, is the home to a 800 years old Sun Temple dedicated to the Sun God, a World Heritage Site which is now almost in ruins . The word ‘Konark’ is a combination of two words ‘Kona’ and ‘Arka’. ‘Kona’ means ‘Corner’ and ‘Arka’ means ‘Sun’, so when combines it becomes ‘Sun of the Corner’. It was built in the thirteenth Century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, this Sun Temple in which is also known as “Black Pagoda” due to its dull black color, is outlined as a tremendous chariot underpinned by twenty-four chariot wheels, devoted to the Sun God. Also known as Arka khetra, there are three images of the Sun God at three different sides of the temple, positioned in proper direction to catch the rays of the sun at morning, noon and evening. The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural greatness but also for the sophistication and abundance of sculptural work. Konark is an exceptional mixture of marvelous temple architecture, heritage, exotic beach and salient natural beauty.
Narasimhadeva had preferred the place for his proposed temple, for not only enabling him to bring his building materials from different places by the said river, but the sanctity of the was also considered by him. The beauty of the Sun-rise at that place was said to have charmed Narasimhadeva since his early life. The river Chandrabhaga which is now dead, was once flowing within a mile to the north of the temple site and was joining the sea. On its banks, existed flourishing towns and important trading centres. Trade was carried on with foreign countries as well, by sea routes, as there was no better communication other than the river in those days. Besides the sanctity and the favourable surroundings, the presence of majestic sea eternally roaring and rolling within a striking distance, was perhaps an added attraction for them.
This Sun Temple, a symbol of India’s ancient architectural skills was completed in 12 years (1243-1255 AD) with the help of 1200 workers. Beautifully designed as a chariot mounted on 24 wheels, each of diameters about 10 feet decorated by most exquisite stone carvings, and drawn by 7 strong horses, it boasts of India’s rich cultural heritage. The Sun temple follows Odissi style of architecture (except the erotic stone carvings on the walls), however a significant part of the main structure has fallen and it survives just in parts. However, it’s sad to see the present state of this temple which is almost in ruins. Although, the Sun Temple even in its available demolished state, is still a marvel to the entire world.
Erotic art is a topic that richly possesses practically all portions of the Konark Sun temple. The life-size loving couple, the vulgar priests, the ideal female figures in seductive poses along with their killer grins have made Konark a feast for the eyes of the visitors. The stone carvings display many other sites like dancers with musical instruments, beautiful doors, Giraffes eating grapes, camels and Snake God. The pleasure of seeing the flesh in abundance blended with various Kamasutra positions, gives Konark an unrivalled position in the domain of romantic art.
Every year in the month of February, Konark Dance and Music Festival is organized within the temple premises featuring Odissi dancers and sometimes noted musicians.
The 800 years old Sun Temple cannot just be regarded as a landmark of historical importance. It is much more than a world heritage site as it has the potential to amaze the scholars of many schools like Science, Astronomy, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Construction Engineering. Also it continues to impress artists and poets. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore – “The Language of stone surpasses the language of man here”.
The Sun Temple is a living testimony to the speculative, daring and the artistic sensibility of a human race that once knew how to live, love, worship and create in heroic proportions. Though Konark is turning into a ruin fast, having been empty and untouched for so long, still the magnificence of it’s architecture continues to outgrow itself so beautifully, like green patches all over with flowers above them.
There is nothing wrong with saying that Globalization has changed our taste buds. Different varieties of delicacies present all over the world has attracted many people towards them. Let’s talk about Korean dishes. There are many which has gained popularity In Asian and Western nations. People are becoming a die-hard fan of them. Kimchi is the foremost dish which come to our mind when we talk about Koreans. It is turn out to be a global sensation.
Today, I am going to tell you some of my favorite Korean cuisine.
Kimchi: Mixture of fermented vegetables. It’s a side dish but has gained so much popularity that UNESCO has identified it in the list of Cultural Heritage. Ingredients added in it are Korean chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and green chili. Korean believes it’s rich for health, it contains vitamins that are needed for their glass skin. Kimchi is an enriching representation and state gem of South Korea. There is even a kimchi museum developed in a city of Seoul in South Korea.
Bibimbap: It is a blend of rice along with desired vegetables, eggs, fried mushrooms, soy sauce, and beef. The color combination of the bowl filled looks great and attractive. It’s definitely added to my favorite list.
Makgeolli: If you love to drink, then you must try Makgeolli often called Drunken rice. It’s the easiest drink to be made at home. Korean generally ferment it at home and try it with Kimchi. It’s the best combination. It increased the flavor of your taste buds. Counted as an alcoholic beverage, it has milk consistency included with rice water, sweet and nuruk. It takes 5 days approximately to get fermented.
Jeon: Universally known as Korean pancake. It is definitely a type of snack that Koreans relish a lot. You have to pick beef, kimchi, or green onions, it will come layered in a mixture of eggs and flour.
The most significant superiority while eating Korean food is “sense of taste”
Korean food is good for your health for the reason that it comprises primarily of puffed rice and root vegetables.
It’s absolutely true that Korean foods are becoming the favorites among people universally. In this, the leading role portrayed by “Hallyu Wave” has publicized successfully. If we grasp the whole situation, we could see the Korean Government has also worked a lot in globalizing the Korean food business in numerous nations like the USA, France, India. The drum up support by the Government also displayed a constructive impression on the preferences of people.
The culture of Lucknow is still very much alive and retains its old world charm even today. Popularly known as the City of Nawabs, Lucknow is famous for its traditional cuisine, fine arts and the most courteous people you will ever find in India. The cultural heritage of Lucknow was pretty much influenced by the Mughal era and you find that Mughal touch in almost everything that relates to the culture of Lucknow. Be it the lip-smacking cuisine, the delightful music and dance forms or the conversation language, everything has a touch of the royal splendor that Lucknow once flourished in. Read on our related sections on Lucknow culture that shall tell you about the royal colors of Lucknow.
Lucknow People The people of Lucknow are among the warmest and the most courteous people in India. They are known to be very soft spoken and treat guests like Gods. The place has a rich cultural heritage and is known to be the city of Nawabs.
Lucknow Cuisine The cuisine of Lucknow has its own distinct individuality and identity. The traditional food of Lucknow was highly patronized by the Mughals thus giving it a very royal touch. The royal chefs and cooks were trained to give that distinct royal touch and regal look to anything they cooked.
Lucknow Music and Dance Music and dance in Lucknow has been much influenced by the Mughal rule India. The kings were known to lead a life of pleasure and their main source of entertainment was to indulge in music and dance.
Lucknow Languages In Lucknow, languages differ from region to region. Among the most common languages of Lucknow is Hindi, which is spoken all over India. However, the most prominent language spoken in Lucknow is the Urdu language. Though it is an ancient language, it is very much prevalent in Lucknow. In fact, the language is synonymous with Lucknow and is often referred to as Lucknowi Urdu. It is this form of Urdu that is used by most literary figures like poets and novel writers.
Urdu is also the official language of Lucknow. Apart from Urdu and Hindi, many other languages are spoken in different parts of Lucknow. These include the two thousand year old language called Braj, Awadhi, Koshali, Bhojpuri and Koeli. Bhojpuri is a widely spoken language in not just Lucknow but also most of Uttar Pradesh and the neighboring state of Bihar. The younger generation of Lucknow is well versed in English as most schools and educational institutions impart education in English medium.