History of Halloween

From communion with the dead to pumpkins and pranks, Halloween is a patchwork holiday, stitched together with cultural religions and occult tradition that spans centuries.

Before Halloween

It all began with the Celts; a people whose culture had spread across Europe more than 2,000 years ago. October 31st was the day they celebrated the end of the harvest season in a festival called Soin, that night also marked as Celtic New Year and was considered a time between years; a magical time when the ghost of the dead walked the earth as called as time when the veil between death and life was supposed to be at its thinnest.

At that time the villagers would gathered and lit huge bonfires to drive the dead back to the spirit world and keep them away from the living. But as the Catholic Church’s influence grew in Europe, it frowned on the pagan rituals like sawing.

The name Halloween

In the 7th century the Vatican began to merge it with a Church sanctioned holiday. So November 1st was designed All Saints day to honor martyrs and the deceased faithful. Both of these holidays had to do with the afterlife and about survival after death, it was a calculated move, on the part of the church, to bring more people into the fold.

All Saints day was known as then Hallowmas; hallow meaning holy or saintly, so the translation is roughly mass of the saints. The night before October 31st was All Hallows eve while gradually morphed into “Halloween“.

How the holiday spread

The holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of the 1840s. The brought several of their holiday customs with them including

  • Bobbing for apples and,
  • Playing tricks on neighbors like, removing gates from the front of the houses
Irish immigrants

Trick-o-treat

The young pranksters wore masks so they wouldn’t be recognised but over the years the traditional of harmless tricks grew into outright vandalism such as in 1930s, pranks during Halloween became really holiday, as there was such a hooliganism and vandalism.

Trick-o-treat was originally a extortion deal, give candies or get your house trashed. Storekeeper and neighbors began giving treats or bribes to stop the tricks and children were encouraged to travel door-to-door for treat as an alternative to trouble making. By the late 30s trick-o-treat became a holiday greeting.

Effect of globalisation on indian socirty

The term ‘globalisation’ means integration of economies and societies through cross country flow of information, ideas, technologies, goods, services, capital, finance and the people. The essence of globalisation in a broad sense is connectivity in all aspects of human life. Although economic forces are an integral part of globalisation, it would be wrong to suggest that they alone produced it. It has been driven forward above all by the development of information and communication technologies that have intensified the scope and speed of interaction between the people all over the world.

India became independent as one of the poorest countries of the world. The British colonial rule had destroyed the self-sufficient agrarian economy. The then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru preferred mixed economy for planned economic development of the country. As a result of this, public sectors were set up along with a number of private enterprises, but like the socialistic model of economy, the mixed economy of India has not produced profitable results. A number of public sectors became sick and the growth rates of production began to fall. While the poverty of the people continued to grow at an alarming rate, there was an acute balance of payment crisis and due to low domestic savings, there was no adequate capital for investment. There was also the shortage of resources to provide educational and health facilities to a large growing population. Moreover, there was high rate of inflation and the balance of payment deficit was around $10 bn. In such a situation, PV Narsimha Rao government was compelled to introduce the policy of liberalisation, privatisation and Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister played an instrumental role in the adoption of new economic policy (1991).

In the midst of all these developments, globalisation was adopted by Indian Government during 1990-91 when Indian economy was in a very bad shape. It was, however, adopted not as a solution to deteriorating Indian economy but to enable itself to get further foreign exchange loans from World Bank as its foreign exchange reserves were reduced to mere 3 weeks outflow. To rectify its ailing financial health, government simultaneously decided to amend its economic policies and go for privatisation and liberalisation of its economy. These decisions had immediate positive effect However, globalisation has proven to be double edged weapon. It did help government temporarily meet its emergent need of foreign exchange but it has, as a byproduct, caused some permanent damage to Indian economic system and Indian social structure.

For thousands of years, different countries have been doing trade with one another. But the process has got a tremendous boost in about last two decades due to high handed policies of International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation who have been working on the agenda of developed countries like USA. They practically forced under developed countries to adopt full throttle globalisation by opening up their local markets to world trade by reducing artificial barriers to such trade. Development of advanced means of communication and transport, internationalisation of financial market and unprecedented mobility of goods, capital, data and manpower have further given boost to the recent process of globalisation.

As the process of interconnecting the diverse world order, globalisation has touched almost all spheres of human life: social, economic, political, cultural, environmental etc. On the economic front, the trade with other countries has tremendously increased; inflow of men, money, material, labour, technology etc from foreign countries to India has also increased; it has given nations access to global markets, technology, financial resources, quality services and skilled human resources; increased the purchasing capacity of nations through the creation of sizable middle class; high quality and low cost products flooded Indian markets, thus increasing consumers choice. In the agricultural sector, new varieties of farm equipment, new agricultural practices, application of biotechnology like drought resistant, pest resistant crops etc are emerging due to globalisation. Apart from these positive aspects, there are some negative developments also which are attributed to globalisation process only. Due to the interdependence of Indian economy and world economy, it has become very difficult for the government of India to insulate its economy from the economy. Indian people now prefer global brands over Indian brands because they are cheap, more fashionable and easily available. Steep and fast reductions in custom duties have snatched large part of Indian market from Indian industry and passed it on to imports from established global players. For its survival in the face of global competition, Indian industry has transformed itself from labour intensive to capital intensive by adopting global technologies and automatic machinery, which has resulted in the high rate of unemployment in India.

Improved economic conditions, increased recognition of human rights, unprecedented mobility and interaction of people from different countries have dented local cultures of people the world over. India is not an exception in this case. Indian family system is shifting towards nuclear family system instead of the joint family system. These nuclear families are getting further divided due to strained relations of partner. Old and handicapped persons in the families are being forced to support themselves without any support from their children.

Globalisation has undermined the traditional role of women in homemaking, farming, handicrafts, handlooms etc., and resulted in a relatively better environment for women. Today, women are working in all spheres of Indian economy and are enjoying the fruits of “empowerment process” brought in by globalisation. At the same time, their security has become a major issue in this changing scenario and they are bearing the double burden of family as well as that of the job because the role of men in India have not changed much. People today, especially the young, developed an identity that gives them a sense of belonging to a worldwide culture, which includes an awareness of events, practices, styles and information that are a part of the global culture. There is the development of a bicultural identity or a hybrid identity, which means that part of one’s identity is rooted in the local culture while another part stems from an awareness of one’s relation to the global world.

We cannot say that the impact of globalisation has been totally positive or negative. It has been both. However, it becomes a point of concern when, an overwhelming impact of globalisation can be observed on the Indian culture. Every educated Indian seems to believe that nothing Indian is to be approved unless recognised and recommended by an appropriate authority in the West. This should be checked in order to preserve the rich cultural diversity of India and to ensure the fulfillment of the principle of self-sufficiency.

Technological and Cultural impact of globalization in India

With the process of globalization, there is an access to television grew from 20% of the urban population (1991) to 90% of the urban population (2009). Even in the rural areas satellite television has a grown up market. In the cities, Internet facility is everywhere and extension of internet facilities even to rural areas. There is an increase of global food chain /restaurants in the urban areas of India. Excessive Multiplex movie halls, big shopping malls and high rise residential are seen in every cities. Entertainment sector in India has a global market. After economic liberalization, Bollywood expanded its area and showed a major presence in the global scale. The industry began to explore new ways to become more global and modern. In India, modernity is observed with the West. Therefore, Western philosophy began to be incorporated into Bollywood films. As these new cultural messages began to reach the Indian population, Indian moviegoers were pushed to re-evaluate their traditional Indian cultural ideology. Bollywood movies are also distributed and accepted at international level. Big international companies (Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Columbia Pictures) are investing on this sector. Famous International brands such as Armani, Gucci, Nike, and Omega are also making investment in the Indian market with the changing of fashion statement of Indians.

Impact of globalization on education in India

There is immense effects observed in educational sector due to globalization such as literacy rate become high and Foreign Universities are collaborating with different Indian Universities. The Indian educational system faces challenges of globalization through Information technology and it offers opportunities to evolve new paradigms shifts in developmental education. The distinction between formal, non-formal and informal education will vanish when move from industrial society to information society takes place. Globalization promotes new tools and techniques such as E-learning, Flexible learning, Distance Education Programs and Overseas training.

It is observed in current Indian society that through globalization, women have gained certain opportunities for job options and to recognize women’s rights as a part of the human rights. Their empowerment has given considerable opportunities and possibilities of improving employment conditions through global solidarity and co-ordination. It is found that the growth of computer and other technologies enabled women with better waged, flex timings, and capacity to negotiate their role and status in home and at corporate level.

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Indian political system

Politics in any country involves the ruling party and the opposition. Usually and ideally, political parties are formed based on the same line of thinking and ideology. The left and the right are the two terms usually used by media and political commentators to define the group of people with the same ideological bend of mind. The lefts are usually considered liberal, secular and pro-government ideologies while the right is considered majoritarian, pro-poor and rebellious in nature.

These definitions are not defined anywhere in the constitutions. of any governmental organisations, but are the terms coined by journalists, authors and commentators. For example, in the USA, the democrats are known to be left-leaning while the republicans are known to be right-leaning, in UK Labour party is seen to be right-leaning ideology and the conservative party having a left-leaning ideology. The case is similar in India as well, with Congress having left-leaning ideologies while BJP having right-leaning ideologies.

And for a perfect democracy to work, both the ideologies are necessary. A mature democracy is one where there is a fine demarcation between the two ideologies, but in countries like India, these demarcations are blurry and the left and right ideologies superimpose on each other often number of times.

The political system is built in such a way that, irrespective of what ideologies, policies, processes, institutions, strategy, behaviours, classes or diplomacy that a political party follows, the core vision and objective lie in the development of the country.

But, like always, not everything that glitters is gold, is it not?

Politics is called a dirty game and rightly so, especially in a country like India. Greed, corruption, injustice, bigotry and hatred are some of the very few terms that are usually associated with Indian politics. In this essay on Indian politics, we will not be able to talk about it all, but we will try to touch upon each of the issues.

Politicians usually choose their parties, not because they believe in the ideologies of the party, but because of the winnability quotient in the elections. Elections, unfortunately, is all about money power and muscle power. The ideologies and promises are just the sugar coating that politician do to get votes from people. But even if they follow the ideology of a party, the ideologies itself is flawed and broken from its core. Divide and rule policy followed by the British to rule India is followed by today’s politicians to get votes. Political parties, across the spectrum, try to divide people of India on the basis of religions and class. This is usually called by the term communal polarisation. The gullible voters play into the hands of these political parties and belive the fancy promises they show in the name of development. In a good democratic system, a common man should also be well aware of their rights and responsibilities as a law-abiding citizen.

A good politics consists of the government and its opposition, with both of them working for the development of the country, in their capacities. The opposition parties questions criticise and demands accountability from the ruling party so that the ruling regime is kept in check. The system works fine in its idealistic form. But political parties, with their greed for power, forget their true responsibilities and indulge in dirty games to grab power at any cost. That cost is borne by the common man of the country.

According to our Constitution, India is a “sovereign secular socialist democratic republic.” It has 28 states and seven Union Territories. With a population of approximately 112 crore, India happens to be the largest democracy in the world. Indian polity is a multi-party democracy, based on the adult franchise system of voting. That is any Indian citizen of 18 and above, who is not debarred by law, can vote in the Indian elections, at national, state and local levels.

India is a parliamentary democracy and a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, where the Prime Minister is the head of government. He or she should be chosen by the MPs (Member of Parliaments) of the ruling party or the coalition that comes to power. The Vice President has to temporarily assume the role of President in the event of the death, resignation, or removal of the President, until a new President is chosen by the electoral college. The Vice President of India may also act temporarily as President, during the absence or illness of the President. The Vice President of India is also the Ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the present Vice President of India.

Executive, Legislature and Judiciary

With the Union Government and State Governments wrest the executive power, while the legislative power is vested on the Union Government and the two houses of Indian Parliament- the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha- and also the State Government and two state legislatures-Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad. However, here it deserves a mention that only five of India’s 28 states have Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council, which is also known as the upper house of state legislatures, along with the Vidhan Sabha. The rest of the states don’t have bicameral legislatures, and only have Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly. Each state also has a Governor, who is formally appointed by the President of India. The role of the Governor is somewhat similar to that of President in the national level; he is a titular head of the state in normal circumstances, but can exercise some powers when directed by the Union Government.

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Decoding Indian ways of Eating

Food is a very complex subject to understand. The world is experimenting new types of food, new recipes, new combination and new styles of consuming it to make it more aesthetically beautiful. But they are breaking the age-old science of healthy eating.

How we eat is equally important to what we eat. Our ancestors have passed on to us the right recipes, the right way to eat, and the right way to make it. We should start acknowledging the science and it’s significance. Food depends many variables:-

  • Season
  • Geography
  • Local availability
  • Attitude
  • Body type

Right Medium of Food Consumption

1. Eating with hands

People are getting used to eating with spoons and they consider eating with hands as unhygienic and unpleasant. According to Ayurveda, eating food should involve all senses. The touch of food to your fingers and feeling the texture can really trigger the nerve endings of your fingers which are connected to your digestion. These nerves stimulations are know to activate and stimulate your digestive juices. Also according to Ayurveda the five fingers represent the five elements:-

  • Thumb represents Fire (agni)
  • Index finger represents Air (wayu)
  • Middle finger represents Sky (Akash)
  • Ring finger represents Earth (Prithvi)
  • Little finger represents Water (jal)

Holding food with all five finger symbolises the union of all elements, which are essential for the normal functioning of our body.

2. Sitting on the floor

In India, sitting on the floor and eating is a family activity. It involves many muscles, the sitting position presses our lower spine and relaxes the whole body. The back and forth movement while eating gives a nice compression to your abdomen. Compression is maximum in sitting position and this also stimulates the digestive juices. It also has an effect on your mind. When the individual sits on the floor, the nervous systems performances better and transmission of signals happens very effectively. As a result sitting on the floor and eating has a huge weight reduction advantage.

Sitting on chair brings more pressure on your heart. When you’re sitting on chair your heart has to pump blood from toe to upwards against gravity and that is a strain. If you sit on a chair with folded legs that will reduce the gravity force that would help your heart and general health conditions so that more blood will be facilitated for digestion.

3. Food containing vessels

Vessels have an important effect on food, it can be positive as well as negative. In Indian tradition, every vessel has its own advantage in cooking or storing food.

For example, copper as has a strong intoxication property over water. That’s why copper vessels was used to store water in India. Another example, Ghee, if stored in a bronze vessel can become toxic. That is why ghee is stored in a metal vessel like steel.

In old times, food used to be kept in the leaves covered with leaves and it always remains healthy. Stones which were used for crushing, grinding is said to be more superior than done in mixers. So make sure to put right food in the right container.

Even the healthiest of food can become toxic if not consumed in right way. The ways of eating food is always been highlighted in all the cultures because it is the cultural identity of every community. Indian have always tried to introduce every healthy aspects into the food. So let’s follow these food habits and acknowledge deep science in the ancestral way of eating. We should not forget the valuable lessons which are passed down to us and understand that food once consumed can become medicine or junk. Your way of consuming it will decide what it will turn to – healthy or junk. So eat food in a right way, the Indian way.

Globalisation And Its Imapact On India

by Megha sharma

The term ‘globalisation’ means integration of economies and societies through cross country flow of information, ideas, technologies, goods, services, capital, finance and the people. The essence of globalisation in a broad sense is connectivity in all aspects of human life. Although economic forces are an integral part of globalisation, it would be wrong to suggest that they alone produced it. It has been driven forward above all by the development of information and communication technologies that have intensified the scope and speed of interaction between the people all over the world.

The British colonial rule had destroyed the self-sufficient agrarian economy. The then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru preferred mixed economy for planned economic development of the country. As a result of this, public sectors were set up along with a number of private enterprises, but like the socialistic model of economy, the mixed economy of India has not produced profitable results. A number of public sectors became sick and the growth rates of production began to fall. While the poverty of the people continued to grow at an alarming rate, there was an acute balance of payment crisis and due to low domestic savings, there was no adequate capital for investment. 

impact of globalization

TYPES OF GLOBALIZATION

  • Economic globalization: is the development of trade systems within transnational actors such as corporations or NGOs;
  • Financial globalization: can be linked with the rise of a global financial system with international financial exchanges and monetary exchanges. Stock markets, for instance, are a great example of the financially connected global world since when one stock market has a decline, it affects other markets negatively as well as the economy as a whole.
  • Cultural globalization: refers to the interpenetration of cultures which, as a consequence, means nations adopt principles, beliefs, and costumes of other nations, losing their unique culture to a unique, globalized supra-culture;
  • Political globalization: the development and growing influence of international organizations such as the UN or WHO means governmental action takes place at an international level. There are other bodies operating a global level such as NGOs like Doctors without borders or oxfam.
  • Social Globalization: People move all the time too, mixing and integrating different societies;
  • Technological globalization: the phenomenon by which millions of people are interconnected thanks to the power of the digital world via platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Skype or Youtube.
  • Geographic globalization: is the new organization and hierarchy of different regions of the world that is constantly changing. Moreover, with transportation and flying made so easy and affordable, apart from a few countries with demanding visas, it is possible to travel the world without barely any restrictions;
  • Ecological globalization: accounts for the idea of considering planet Earth as a single global entity – a common good all societies should protect since the weather affects everyone and we are all protected by the same atmosphere. To this regard, it is often said that the poorest countries that have been polluting the least will suffer the most from climate change.
Types of Globalization.

Globalisation has undermined the traditional role of women in homemaking, farming, handicrafts, handlooms etc., and resulted in a relatively better environment for women. Today, women are working in all spheres of Indian economy and are enjoying the fruits of “empowerment process” brought in by globalisation. At the same time, their security has become a major issue in this changing scenario and they are bearing the double burden of family as well as that of the job because the role of men in India have not changed much. People today, especially the young, developed an identity that gives them a sense of belonging to a worldwide culture, which includes an awareness of events, practices, styles and information that are a part of the global culture. There is the development of a bicultural identity or a hybrid identity, which means that part of one’s identity is rooted in the local culture while another part stems from an awareness of one’s relation to the global world.

We cannot say that the impact of globalisation has been totally positive or negative. It has been both. However, it becomes a point of concern when, an overwhelming impact of globalisation can be observed on the Indian culture. Every educated Indian seems to believe that nothing Indian is to be approved unless recognised and recommended by an appropriate authority in the West. This should be checked in order to preserve the rich cultural diversity of India and to ensure the fulfillment of the principle of self-sufficiency.

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By Megha Sharma

Posted in Internship

THE HISTORIC FRAMEWORK OF INDIAN TRADITION

Tradition is a custom or belief passed from past generation to present generation. India has a continuous history covering a long period. By following the Indologist, DR.A.L.Basham’s analysis, the Indian heritage can be best appreciated with different historical periods. This period is broadly discussed as follows:

BEFORE 1500 BC: PRE-VEDIC CULTURE OF THE INDUS VALLEY:

This culture came to light through excavations at Mohenjodaro (in Sind) and Harappa (Punjab) – both now in Pakistan, Harappa/Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Lothal (Gulf of Cambay)(Gujarat) and Surkotada (Gujarat). The Indus Valley finds reveal a great civilization that flourished in the dim, distant past. The civilization – the material aspects of life or the external features of living – was marked by: streets and lanes laid out according to a set plan; houses built of bricks; public tanks; places of worship; granaries for storing grain; fortifications. The people occupied themselves in agriculture, made use of pottery, and sculpted on metal. It was the Age of Bronze – objects made of the bronze-like knife – blades, saws, sickles, chisels, celts, razors, pins, tweezers, fishhooks were used in households. Spears, arrowheads, and short swords made of bronze were used for defense.

1500 BC – 1000 BC: EARLY VEDIC AGE:

The Vedic hymns which are chanted even today, the personal rituals that are practiced, The patriarchal and patrilineal family system are some of the legacies from this period.

1000 BC – 600 BC: LATER VEDIC TIMES:

To this period we owe the passion for speculation on ultimate causes (as reflected in the Upanishads), the quest for the Absolute (the concept of Brahman), the doctrine of transmigration and rebirth (the idea of Karma and consequences of good and bad acts), the concept of a release from a cycle of births and deaths ( the goal of Liberation or Moksha) and the glory of mysticism. This period saw the crystallization of the four classes (‘Varnas’, a social order originally conceived as a functional division of labor, which has turned out to be a mixed blessing though corruption); the introduction of iron; the domestication of the elephant; and the development of kingdoms out of tribal chieftainships.

600 BC – 320 BC: THE EMERGENCE OF BUDDHISM

Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, is the founder of Buddhism. The four main principles taught by Buddha are life is suffering, craving causes suffering, suffering can be overcome, following noble 8-fold paths to end suffering.

320 BC – 185 BC: THE MAURYAN EMPIRE:

We have inherited from this period: the Indian idea of statecraft as embodied in Arthasastra of the Mauryan Minister, Kautilya, also known as Chanakya; the earliest surviving sculpture of India (the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath); the oldest artificial caves ( Lomas Rishi Caves, Barabar Hills, Bihar) and the most ancient Buddhist stupas (Sanchi). The national symbol of the Ashoka Chakra is taken from the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath with its Lion Capital. The Dharma Chakra represents the dharma or the Law of the Buddha, and the lions the temporal power of the emperor who has dedicated all his resources to the victory of dharma (dharma Vijaya). “The symbolism of Indian art attained its highest expression in the Sarnath capital, which is as much Buddhist as Vedic in the significance of its several parts”.

184 BC-AD 320: THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE MAURYAS AND THE GUPTAS:

New forms of devotional religion, with Shiva and Vishnu as the central deities, emerged. The Mahabaratha and The Ramayana were edited. Sanskrit literature, consisting of drama and poetry, developed. Philosophical schools characterized by logical reasoning emerged.

AD 320 – AD 647: THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE RISE OF THE GUPTAS AND THE DEATH OF HARSHAVARDHANA:

This is the classical period of Indian civilization from which we have inherited the works of Kalidasa (Sanskrit drama and poetry); the paintings of Ajanta; the place notation of numerals (with nine digits and zero); The Puranas (legends illustrating the Vedic religious conceptions and philosophical doctrines). Stone-built temples appeared throughout the land. Worship of the deity as Mother Goddess came into vogue.

AD 647 – AD 1200: THE PERIOD OF BHAKTI SCHOOLS AND THE PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEMS OF SRI SANKARA AND   SRIRAMANUJA:

The devotional hymns of the Alwars and the Nayanmars of the South gave an impetus to the bhakti movement in the country. To this period belong the imposing temple structures of the South and the bronze images of various gods.

AD 1192 – AD 1526: THE SULTANATE PERIOD (MUSLIM RULE):

The new style of architecture with the dome and the arch made its appearance. Vernacular literature appeared instead of Sanskrit which was the main vehicle of literary expression till then.

AD 1526 – AD 1707: THE MUGHAL EMPIRE:

Imposing edifices like the Taj Mahal belong to this period. Sikhism belongs to this period – ‘born as a small devotional sect and reborn, when the period concluded, as a martial brotherhood’.

18TH, 19TH, AND 20TH CENTURIES: THE DOMINANCE OF THE ENGLISH:

After a period of stagnation in the 18thcentury, India began to feel the impact of the West. The study of the English language was made compulsory and the English system of administration was introduced. As a reaction, the modern Indian renaissance, which included a revival of ancient learning and reform of Hindu social customs and practices, began with Raja Rammohan Roy is in the lead. Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo, among others, held up the glories of our religious and philosophical heritage, by precept and example. Mahatma Gandhi emerged as the Father of the Nation delivering the people from bondage into freedom. The subcontinent was divided into India and Pakistan and both countries attained complete independence from foreign rule. India became the Sovereign Democratic Republic on January 26th, 1950 with freedom and dignity assured to every individual citizen under the country’s new Constitution.

My Favorite Indian Dance Forms

Alan Watts once said ‘life’s a dance of energy’. In the same way dance is also a way to express the energy of emotions and feelings. So here are my favourite dance forms.

Bihu Dance

By Rohan Gautam 002 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86530098

Bihu is a popular folk dance associated with the state of Assam in India and it is performed generally during the Bihu festival. It is generally performed during the springtime. The energetic dance steps and quick hand movements define the Bihu dance of Assam. A lot of vibrancy can be seen in the dance outfit of Bihu, the male performers of Bihu are dressed in dhotis and gamocha. The women who perform Bihu usually wear traditional Assamese attire for the performance. Women team up their outfits with gaudy and heavy jewelry and they also decorate their braids with pretty flowers that perfectly match the color of the dress worn by them.There are many instruments that are utilized during a Bihu performance namely a Dhol, Pepa, Taal, Toka, Xutuli, Gogona and Baanhi. Watching the Bihu dance is mesmerising, the music enchants the atmosphere while the women and men of Assam joyfully dance.

Samai Dance

https://udaipurblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/shilp331.jpg

The word samayi means brass. It is called Samai dance because men and women dance with brass lamps or deepak put on their heads. Samai dance is performed by people of Goa during Holi and Shigmo festival. During the Samai dance, the women wear bright and colourful sarees and men wear kurta with pajamas. The men have a head ribbon tied to their heads while taking part in the lamp dance. Women wear gajra in their hair along with other traditional jewelry such as bangles, bindi, earrings, nose pins, and necklaces.The brass lamp used in the Samayi dance is one foot long with burning wicks which dancers need to balance while dancing. Samayi dance consists of very slow dance movements as dancers need to balance lamps on their heads. Dancers dance to traditional folk songs while making exquisite movements.The main instruments used in samai dance are Harmonium, Shehnai, Ghumat, Samel, Surt, and Zanj.

Chhau Dance

The Chhau Dance is a popular form of tribal dance in India that also integrates elements of martial arts into its movements. It is generally performed in in the states of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.The dance form has three subtypes; namely Purulia Chhau, Mayurbanj Chhau and Seraikella Chhau, named differently because of the place of their origin.The dance developed a means to portray stories to the audience. The fables revolve around Ramayana and Mahabharata, Puranas and other India Literature with religious themes. Indian instruments – Dhol, Shehnai and Dhamsa make the recital come to life. The male dancers wear brightly colored dhotis with a matching kurta on top. A vast amount of costume jewelry is worn in the form of necklaces. Female dancers, or male dancers depicting female characters, are known to wear colorful sarees.The style and variety of the costume of the dancers largely depends on the characters being portrayed by them. The dancers also use different objects to display weapons. 

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.

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.

6 Unique Indian Customs & Traditions

Indian culture and traditions are something that has now become renowned all across the planet. We all ask India and its culture as something very diverse and unique. But seldom can we provide a thought to why things are wiped out certain specific ways. Indian culture is filled with several unique customs and traditions, which outsiders might find intriguing. Most of those originate from the traditional Indian scriptures and texts, which have dictated the way of life in India for thousands of years.
Here are 6 fascinating cultures and traditions of India:

  1. Festivals & Religion- India also sees a large number of festivals, mainly because of the prevalence of diverse religions and groups. The Muslims celebrate Eid, the Christians have Christmas and Good Friday, the Sikhs have Baisakhi (harvesting of the crop), and therefore the birthdays of their Gurus and the Hindus have Diwali, Holi, Makar Sakranti, the Jains have Mahavir Jayanti, the Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on Buddha Poornima, and quite honestly, the amount is endless. All of those translate to holidays in our book, of course.
  2. Architecture:The Science Behind Temples- Most temples are located along magnetic wave lines of the Earth, which help in maximizing the available positive energy. The copper plate (called Garbhagriha or Moolasthan) buried under the most idol absorbs and resonates this energy to its surroundings. Going to the temple often helps in having a positive mind and garnering positive energies, which successively causes healthier functioning.
  3. Traditions of Treating Guests- In India, the saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ is also integral. It means ‘the guest is equivalent to god’. It is a Sanskrit verse taken from the Hindu scriptures, which later became a neighborhood of the ‘Code of conduct for Hindu society since the guest has always been of supreme importance in the Culture of India.
  4. Indian Dances- India is a land of ‘unity in diversity’, and our dances are no different. Different sorts of dance(classified as folk or classical) find origin from different parts of the country, and that they are how of representation of the actual culture from which they originate. Eight classical dances, which are classified as Indian classical dances and find a mention within the Hindu Sanskrit text ‘Natyashashtra’, (a text of performing arts) are:
  • Bharatnatyam from Tamil Nadu
  • Kathakali from Kerela
  • Kathak from North, West and Central India
  • Mohiniyattam from Kerela
  • Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh
  • Oddisi from Odhisa
  • Manipuri from Manipur
  • Sattriya from Assam

All the dance mentioned above forms are an entire dance drama, wherein a dancer or performer narrates a whole story, almost entirely and exclusively through gestures. Such stories are mostly supported the vast Indian mythology. These performances are mostly based on stories that are orally passed on from one generation to the other. Folk dances mainly trace their importance to the rural areas, where performances depict the day to day life of rural inhabitants.

  1. Cuisine- Indian food and cuisine not only form an integral part of the culture of India but are also one of the critical factors of India’s popularity worldwide. The style of cooking varies from region to region, though unanimously, Indian food features a significant reputation for its extensive use of spices and herbs. Almost every region is understood for a signature dish or ingredient. The staple, however, throughout the state consists mostly of rice, wheat, and Bengal gram (Chana). While vegetarian food is an integral part of Gujrati South Indian and Rajasthani cuisines, non-vegetarian dishes form a central part of Mughlai, Bengali, North Indian and Punjabi cuisine. It is also interesting to note that specific cuisines like that of Kashmir have also been influenced by foreign cooking styles from Central Asia, Persia, and Afghanistan.
  2. Languages- India is socially, culturally, and linguistically very diverse. Hindi and English are widely spoken and recognized for official purposes. Other than than, there are 22 scheduled languages recognized by the constitution of India. However, more than 400 languages and dialects in India are still not known. Dialects change even with a few kilometres of travel in the state. Over the years, about 190 languages became endangered thanks to only a few surviving speakers.

There exist thousands of traditions and culture in India, and quite a few of them would leave outsiders rather curious. But the crux of Indian society and culture has always been to be mannered, polite, respect others, and progress together.