Introduction: Identity Politics and Political Correctness

Identity Politics

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

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.

Advantages of Speaking English – Reason Why?

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.”

Antonio Banderas

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.

INDIAN CULTURE

INDIAN CULTURE 

 

INTRODUCTION :

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.

CONCLUSION :

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.

 

The importance of history

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.  


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The Forgotten Identity

   

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.

Delhi: an indomitable city – Cultural role played by the city in the fifty years of 1675-1725

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.

Cultural Heritage Sites in India

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.

Photo by Victor Lavaud on Pexels.com

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.

Fatehpur Sikri

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.

Street Food Around the World

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.

Binge watching and Mankind

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 passing timeBinge watching 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.

Indian Folk Art

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

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.

PATACHITRA

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

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.

TANJORE ART

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.

KALAMEZUTHU

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.

Incredible Festivals Around the World

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

Photo by Marcin Dampc on Pexels.com

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.

8 Amazing places to visit in India

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.

Backwaters, Kerala

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.

So happy travelling!

Productivity Obsession

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.

bored formal man watching laptop at desk
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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.

Homosexuality in Ancient India

 

“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.

Be Civilized

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?

The Konark Sun Temple, A Magnificent Decrepitude

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.

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The Konark Sun Temple, a beauty in ruins.

Big fan of Korean Cuisine!

나는 한국 음식의 큰 팬입니다

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 City of Nawabs

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.