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একুশে

১৯৫২ সালের ২১ ফেব্রুয়ারি।পৃথিবীর ইতিহাসে এই দিনটি বলিদানের দিন,নিজের মাতৃভাষাকে প্রতিষ্ঠিত করার দিনও বটে।পাকিস্তানি সরকারি বাহিনীর গুলিতে প্রাণদান করে বাংলা মায়ের দামাল ছেলেরা। সালাম-বরকত-রফিক-শফিক-জব্বার আরও কত নাম না-জানা সেসব শহীদের আত্মত্যাগে আমরা ফিরে পাই আমাদের প্রাণের ভাষা বাংলা। জাতিসংঘের স্বীকৃতির ফলে একুশে ফেব্রুয়ারি আজ আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবস হিসেবে পালিত হচ্ছে সারা বিশ্বে।দিনটি ১৯৯৯ সালের ১৭ নভেম্বর। ফ্রান্সের রাজধানী প্যারিসে ইউনেসকোর ৩০তম অধিবেশন বসে। ইউনেসকোর সেই সভায় একুশে ফেব্রুয়ারিকে আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবস হিসেবে ঘোষণার প্রস্তাব পাস হয়। ফলে পৃথিবীর সব ভাষাভাষীর কাছে একটি উল্লেখযোগ্য দিন হিসেবে একুশে ফেব্রুয়ারি স্বীকৃতি পায়। বিশ্বের দরবারে বাংলা ভাষা লাভ করে বিশেষ মর্যাদা। ঠিক পরের বছর ২০০০ সালের ২১ ফেব্রুয়ারি থেকে পৃথিবীর ১৮৮টি দেশে এ দিনটি আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবস হিসেবে পালন শুরু হয়।

১৯৯৯ সালের ২১ ফেব্রুয়ারির আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবসের মর্যাদা লাভ শুধু বাংলা ভাষার বিশ্ববিজয় নয়; পৃথিবীর সব মাতৃভাষার বিজয়। আজ আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবসে ভাষা শহীদদের জানাই সশ্রদ্ধ প্রণাম। (সংগৃহীত)

 
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Posted by on 21/02/2020 in History, matribhasha

 

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Freiburg Bachle

Freiburg was visited by me in the year 2011. From Switzerland (Basel) it took one hour by train. Freiburg was incorporated in the early 12th century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical centre of the upper Rhine region. The city is known for its ancient university and its medieval minster, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city is situated in the heart of a major wine-growing region and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. According to meteorological statistics, the city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany. Because of its scenic beauty, relatively warm and sunny climate and easy access to the Black Forest, Freiburg is a hub for regional tourism.

The city Freigurg of Germany has an unusual system of gutters (called Bächle) that run throughout its centre. These Bächle, once used to supply water to fight fires and feed livestock. Water in the Bachle constantly flowing day night, with water from the river Dreisam. This river water is fed to the Bachle and runs continuously. These Bächle were never used for sewage, as such usage could lead to harsh penalties, even in the Middle Ages. During the summer, the running water provides natural cooling of the air, and offers a pleasant, gurgling water flow sound. It is said that if you fall or step accidentally into a Bächle, you will marry a Freiburger. 

(Info source : wikipedia)

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Posted by on 02/02/2020 in History

 

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Leonardo Da Vinci

LEONARDO DA VINCI ( 1452- 1519 ) Was an Italian painter born at Vinci , next to Florence , died at Chateaux de Cloux in France , near Ambroise . Many historians and scholars regard Da Vinci as the prime example of ” Universal Genius” or ” Renaissance Man “. According to art historian Helen Gardner […]

via LEONARDO DA VINCI ( 1452- 1519 )Was an Italian painter born at Vinci , next to Florence , died at Chateaux de Cloux in France , near Ambroise — euzicasa

 
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Posted by on 06/02/2017 in History, Uncategorized

 

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Bonedi Barir Puja : Sabarna Ray Chaudhury, Barisha, Kolkata

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Family Puja of Sabarna Raychaudhury, the Founder of Calcutta. Today the ” Aatchala Bari” still remains. It was built by Laksmikanta Gangopadhyay and Durga Puja started by him in the year 1610. Therefore this Puja is more than 400 years old.

The family of Sabarna Ray Chaudhury has been celebrating Durga Puja since 1610 in their ancestral home at Barisha, Kolkata. It is possibly the oldest organised festival in the Kolkata region. Today eight Durga Pujas are held by branches of the family. Out of these, six are at Barisha, the seventh is at Birati  while the eighth at Nimta. The Pujas held at Barisha are those of Aatchala, Baro Bari, Mejo Bari, Benaki Bari, Kalikingkar Bhawan and Majher Bari. The Pics are the Views of Aatchala Durga Puja of the family at Barisha of 2016.dsc05789-001
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dsc05793Close up view of the idoldsc05795

FAMILY HISTORY

The Sabarna Ray Chaudhury (সাবর্ণ রায় চৌধুরী) family were the Zamindar (superior landlords) of the then Calcutta area, prior to the arrival of the British.  On 10 November 1698, they transferred, by lease, their rights over the three villages – Sutanuti,  Kalikata  and  Gobindapur  –  to the East India Company.  The family is also known as Sabarna Choudhury (সাবর্ণ চৌধুরী ).

The origin is traced back in the 10th Century CE, when Adisura brought five Brahmins to Bengal. Vedagarba was one of them and is regarded as the first in the genealogy of the Sabarna Roy Choudhury Family.

Panchanan Gangopadhyay (Panchu Sakti khan) of the family acquired the Khan title from the Mughal Emperor Humayun in the sixteenth century, for his bravery as a cavalry in charge of Pathan soldiers. Around the middle of that century he constructed a palace at a place which came to be known as Haveli Sahar or Halisahar. It was from Halisahar that the family spread far and wide, including, to UttarparaBiratiBarisha and Kheput

Lakhsmikanta Gangopadhyay alias Laksmikanta Roy Choudhury (the son of Jia Gangopadhyay later known as Saint Kamadeva Brahmachari) was given jagirdari of a vast tract of land by Raja Man Singh, in 1608. Along with the Jaigir he was given the title of ‘Ray’ and ‘Choudhury’ which later became the surname of his descendants.

THE BRITISH

The three villages of Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kalikata were part of a khas mahal or imperial jagir or an estate belonging to the Mughal emperor himself, whose jagirdari rights were held by the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family. The British settlement was surrounded by thirty-eight villages held by others. Although in 1717, the British East India Company was permitted by the Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar to rent or acquire zamindari rights in them, it was unable to procure the land from the zamindars or local landlords.

Even the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family was not keen to allow the British to settle or do trading on these villages, but the British had paid a bribe at the Mughal Durbar to ensure that the deal did not fail. Just prior to their move to Barisha, the Roy Choudhury family had to transfer their rights over Kalikata in 1698, to the East India Company much against their wishes and protests.

The British ultimately got The ‘Right to Rent’ or lease of three villages for an annual rent of Rs. 1,300. The deed was in Persian. A copy of the deed is kept in the  Sabarna  Sangrahashala at  Barish, Kolkata.

FOUNDER OF CALCUTTA (KOLKATA)

The ‘Sabarna Roy Choudhury Paribar Parishad’, the supreme family organisation and nine other intellectuals of the city filed a public interest litigation before the Kolkata High Court in 2001 demanding a probe into the matter whether Job Charnock can be regarded as the founder of Kolkata. The Court, upon an Expert Committee finding, declared on 16 May 2003, that Job Charnock of East India Company, cannot be regarded as the founder of the city and 24th August also cannot be considered as the city’s birthday.

 Read other stories of “Bonedi Bari” here.

Source : Facts & figures from internet. 

Image credit & Copyright © anil c. mandal 2016, all rights reserved

 
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Posted by on 08/10/2016 in Calcutta, History, Uncategorized

 

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A visit to Jorasanko ThakurBari

DSC05670Jorasanko Thakur Bari (জোড়াসাঁকো ঠাকুর বাড়ী) is the ancestral house of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Jorasanko, north of Kolkata, West Bengal, India- popularly known as Jorasanko Thakur Bari. This ancestral house of Thakurs  (anglicised to Tagore) is now  a museum dedicated to the life and works of the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. This palatial building was built in the 18th Century by his Grand father Prince Dwarkanath Tagore. It is the house in which the great poet Rabindranath Tagore was born. He spent most of his childhood here and also died on 7 August 1941 in this house.DSC05676Rabindra Bharati University, started from this house and was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru then PM of India, on Tagore’s birth Centenary, 8th May 1962. But now the University has been shifted to a new Campus on BT Road. The “Maharshi Bhawan” named after poet’s father Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, is now a museum (Rabindra Bharati Museum) that has galleries dedicated to Tagore, members of the family and the Bengal Renaissance. The Galleries provide glimpses of intimate family photographs, portraits and Tagore’s evolution as a poet & philosopher.DSC05671Visitors will be impressed to see that the house has been restored and well maintained to reflect the way the household looked when the Tagore family lived in it.The sprawling rooms, corridors reminds the days of Tagore’s childhood and the evolution days of becoming poet. While walking the corridors one can feel that Tagore walked the same corridors, may be while thinking of his compositions. There is a room where poet used to write. His sister-in-law Kadambari Devi, was his inspirations. She used to inspire him to  write. In that room there is a photograph of Kadambari Devi and mentioned as his inspiring Bouthan (বৌঠান) (Sister in law). (For details read “Tagore & Kadambari Devi”)DSC05661There is a Japanese & USA Galleries separately where poet’s photographs during his visits of Japan and USA have been displayed. Japanese room has been well decorated with colorful Japanese lanterns/ lights. The room is very neat & teady and well maintained. It is understood from the sign board there that the gallery is especially maintained by a Japanese company Mitsubishi Corporation.           DSC05674A visit to Jorasanko Thakur Bari is always an exhilarating experience. Apart from the heritage routine, every year Rabindra Bharati Museum of Kolkata celebrates Poila Baisakh, Pochishe Baishakh (birthday of Rabindranath Tagore), Baishe Sravana (the date of poets’ demise) and the birth anniversaries of other famous poets.

DSC05669One can reach the place by Metro ( Metro station “Girish Park” or “Mahatma Gandhi Road”) or by Car/Cab through Central Avenue or Rabindra Sarani. On the both roads there are beautiful Gates, written on it “Jorasanko ThakurBari”, standing to welcome the visitors. Thakur DalanThakur_Dalan surrounded by three sided inner balconies. Durga puja for the Tagore family used to be celebrated here till poet’s father, Maharshi Debenranath Tagore, religious reformer became active in Brahmo Samaj and became Brahmo.DSC05658The timings are 1000AM  to  0630PM except on Monday, being closed. Entry fee is Rs. 10.00 per visitor only and inside photography is strictly prohibited. You have to be happy with the outside photographs.

 
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Posted by on 23/06/2016 in History, Uncategorized

 

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Padmini, the queen of Chittor

When you visit Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan, among other historical stories, two stories about two women, you will come to know. Local guide will take you to the palace and the self immolation site of Queen Padmini and narrate about her beauty and how she committed Jauhar (self immolation) to protect her honor. Here, I will attempt to tell the tale of Rani Padmini (Queen Padmini) of Chittor. Her life story is an eternal legend in the history of Chittor.
Pani Padmini big

Rani Padmini (Queen Padmini) was the queen of  Chittor, the wife of King Rawal Ratan Singh and the daughter of the contemporary Sinhala king Gandharvsen. Rani Padmini was renowned across Indian land for her bewitching beauty.

Padmini or Padmavati spent her life in Singhal under the care of her father Gandharvsen and mother Champavati. Her father arranged a swayamvara and invited all the Hindu kings and Rajputs to ask for her hand (request to marry her by showing their eligibility). In that Swayamvara, Rawal Ratan Singh won the Swayamvara and married Padmini. He had another queen, Nagmati. He returned Chittor with his beautiful gorgeous Padmini, the second queen.

In 1206 Sultan Allauddin Khilji took the reins of Delhi throne. He was very ambitious and adopted as his title ‘Sikander Sani’ (Second Alexander).The Sultans made repeated attack on Mewar. Reason being Allauddin Khilji wanted to win Chittor because Chittor never accepted the rule of Islam. Another reason was Rani Padmini, most gorgeous beautiful queen of Chittor. When he came to know about her, he launched an attack on Chittor in order to capture her.

But to his dismay, on reaching Chittor, Alauddin found the fort to be heavily defended. Desperate to have a look at the legendary beauty of Padmini, he sent message to King Rawal Ratan Singh that Khilji could have a glimpse of Queen Padmini’s face he would return Delhi.  In order to maintain peace and avoid loss of life, Rawal Ratan Singh agreed to let Khiljee see Padmini’s reflection in mirror.

Khilji alongwith his bodyguards entered the fort and after looking at her in the mirror,returned. By way of courtesy Ratan Singh, alongwith his warriors went to see him off to the gate of the fort. There the deceptive Khilji signaled his soldiers to arrest the King Ratan Singh and sent a message through his men that in order to gain release of Rawal Ratan Singh, Padmini should agree to accompany Sultan to Delhi.

Everyone was taken aback by this message. Queen Padmini at once arrived at a counter scheme by which could get release of her husband and protect her honor as well. Her reply to the Sultan was that if the Sultan could send seven hundred Dolis or Palkis1 for her seven hundred maids then she could accompany him.

Sultan accepted the proposaland consequently sent her seven hundred Palkis. According to Padmini’s plan a warrior in woman’s disguise was made to sit in each palki which carried arms for six soldiers disguised as footmen of the each Palki. So, these 700 palkis led by Goura (Padmini’s uncle) reached Sultan’s camp and conveyed it to him that Padmini wants to meet her Husband for the last time. Sultan agreed, whereupon Palkis moved towards Rawal’s camp. The warriors freed him from bondage and he was taken back to the fort. The turn of events took the Sultan and his soldiers completely by surprise and before they could take hold the situation the 700 warriors from the Palkis and 4200 footmen turned warriors fell upon the enemy and routed them out of  Chittor.

A frustrated Allauddin though returned to Delhi but he seethed in agony to avenge his insult. In no time did he organize his army and attacked Chittor again. However, hard as they tried the Sultan’s army could not break into the fort. Then Allauddin decided to lay siege to the fort. The siege was a long drawn one and gradually supplies within the fort were depleted. Finally King Ratan Singh gave orders that the Rajputs would open the gates and fight to death with the besieging troops. On hearing of this decision, Padmini decided that with their men-folk going into the unequal struggle with the Sultan’s army in which they were sure to perish, the women of Chittor had either to commit the divine suicide jauhar or face dishonour at the hands of the victorious enemy.

The choice was in favour of suicide through jauhar. A huge pyre was lit and all the women of Chittor jumped into the flames after their queen, thus depriving the enemy waiting outside. After this pyrrhic victory, the Sultan’s troops entered the fort only to be confronted with ashes and burnt bodies.

The Queen Padmini and other women of the palace who performed jauhar perished but their memory has been kept alive till today by bards and songs which glorify their act, which was right in those days and circumstances. A halo of honour is given to their sacrifice.Rani Padmini1

**1-DSC04716Is it that same mirror? Tourist guides say so and demonstrates how Padmini was shown to Khilji in the mirror.1-DSC04715

Padmini Palace Garden.

Palki1 : Covered seat enclosed in curtains on which royal ladies were carried in mediaeval times on poles held parallel to the ground on the shoulders of two or four people.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 31/12/2015 in History, Travel

 

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Meera, the Rajput princess

Meera BaiWhen you visit Chittorgarh Fort, among other historical stories, two stories of two women, you will come to know. Local guide will take you to this Meera Mandir (Temple)  and tell you about her story. Then another story about Rani Padmini and her beauty which lead her to commit Jauhar (self immolation). Rani Padmini’s beauty has been compared to that of Cleopatra and her life story is an eternal legend in the history of Chittor. First we will go through the story of MEERA BAI.
Mira Mandir Chittorgarh

Meera Temple, where saint Meerabai prayed to Krishna, Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan.

MEERA, also known as Meera Bai, was born in a royal family of Kurki district of Pali, Rajasthan, India. She was widely known and a cherished figure in the Indian bhakti movement culture by about 1600 CE. Most legends about Meera mention her fearless disregard for social and family conventions, her devotion to God Krishna, her treating Krishna as her lover and husband, and she being persecuted by her in-laws for her religious devotion.

Mira Mandir

Meera Mandir at Chittorgarh Fort (side view)

Authentic records about Meera are not available, and scholars have attempted to establish Meera’s biography from secondary literature that mention her, and wherein dates and other details are available. These records suggest Meera was a Rajput princess born in about 1500 (likely 1498) in Merta, Rajasthan, India. Her father, Ratan Singh Rathore was the ruler of a small Rajput kingdom kurki in the district of pali, Rajasathan.

meerabaiHer mother died when she was a baby, and she was the only child of her parents. She was educated in music, religion, politics and government. She grew up with her grandparents, who were devout worshippers of deity Vishnu.

Meera willingly married Bhoj Raj, the crown prince of Mewar, in 1516. Her husband was wounded in one of the ongoing wars with Delhi Sultanate in 1518 and he died of battle wounds in 1521. After her husband’s death, her father and her father-in-law both were killed within few years during a war with the Islamic army of Babur – the founder of Mughal Empire in Indian subcontinent.

After the death of her father-in-law, Vikram Singh became the ruler of Mewar. According to a popular legend, her in-laws tried many times to execute her, such as offering a glass of poison and telling her it was nectar or sending her a basket with a snake. According to the hagiographic legends, she was not harmed in either case, with the snake miraculously becoming a Lord Krishna idol (or a garland of flowers by some version), In another version of these legends, she was  asked by Vikram Singh, the then ruler of Mewar,  to drown herself, which she tried but she was unsuccessful as she found herself floating on the water. Yet another legend states that the Mughal emperor Akbar came with Tansen to visit Meera and presented a pearl necklace, but scholars doubt this ever happened because Tansen joined Akbar’s court in 1562, 15 years after MEERA died.Meera Bai

Other stories state that Mira Bai left the kingdom of Mewar and went on pilgrimages. In her last years, Meera lived in Dwarka, Vrindavan, where legends state she miraculously disappeared by merging into an idol of Krishna in 1547.While miracles are contested by scholars for the lack of historical evidence, it is widely acknowledged that Meera dedicated her life to Hindu deity Krishna, composing songs of devotion and was one of the most important poet-sant of the Bhakti movement period.Mirabai-the-Devout-Lord-Krishna-Follower-2

This was the story of Meera Bai, the Rajput princess. The story of Padmini, the most beautiful queen of Chittorgarh will follow. Till then, bye.

WISH YOU ALL, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR-2016.

 
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Posted by on 22/12/2015 in History, Uncategorized

 

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Valuable look at Indo-Caribbean culture

India in Caribbean

India in Caribbean (subtitled Socio-Cultural Moorings of Diaspora), a collection of essays produced at the behest of Gauri Shankar Gupta, the Indian High Commissioner to T&T, is a most intriguing and valuable miscellany.

It consists of 24 articles, ranging in style and content from journalism to academic essays, to a few pieces in-between, and reflections and brief interpolations from a variety of people on the Indian experience, mainly in Trinidad, but also in region.

Unusually for a collection of this nature, the work is not unified thematically, or reconciled by an editor’s introduction. The points of view and topics in various articles diverge and disagree, which is not a bad thing or even anomalous for such books, but one expects an editorial coherence of perspective even amongst divergent viewpoints.

The first three essays written by Indian scholars (not Indo-Caribbeans) reflect an almost militant insistence on the coercive nature of indentureship and the oppressive, traumatising character of the past and even contemporary Indo-Caribbean experience.

HC Gupta calls Indenture an “unfortunate saga” wherein “more than half-a-million Indians were lured under false promises and were transported under the most primitive conditions to the Caribbean Islands.” He invokes the pains of the third and fourth generation Indians in, for example, being ashamed of Indian food and dress.

Altury Murali, a visiting professor at UWI from the University of Hyderabad (who edited the collection) follows a similar line, proposing that the “argument that East Indians ‘willingly’ and ‘by choice’ stayed back in Trinidad seems far from reality.” Kapil Kumar (Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Freedom Struggle Studies and Chair of the Faculty of History at Indira Gandhi National Open University), also proposes that indenture was used (among other things) as a means to transport Indian rebels from the 1857 Rebellion.

He writes that the system was fraught with “unscrupulous methods and allurements to recruit labour with false promises.”

Kumar cites a few Trinidadian and other scholars who propose otherwise, and dismisses them, but neglects by far the most detailed exploration of the character of recruitment and the treatment of indentured labourers. This was done by KO Laurence in his magisterial and exhaustively-researched study, A Question of Labour, which is cited in other contributors in this book.

This seeming theme of disconnection in this volume among its contributors and with other books exploring the same topic(s) is an issue of which more will be said later. It’s worth digressing to point out that the notions of deceiving and coercing Indians into coming here, and colonial apathy to their living conditions, are contestable.

No fewer than four missions were sent to examine the system of indenture, the last being James McNeil and Chimman Lal’s in the early 20th century, whose reports were acted upon. In this volume, Brinsley Samaroo’s essay on the “girmityas” (contract signers) notes: “they were smart enough to know that they were going abroad to do agricultural labour and as indenture progressed, the returning labourers informed the home people about the requirements of the New World.”

Kusha Haraksingh’s essay points to the use of this narrative of indentured Indians as unwilling emigrants with divided loyalties to bolster the conception of Indians as transients and non-citizens when evidence, as in the extensive long-term investments and acquisitions they made, indicated the opposite.

The Indian historians’ underlining the themes of oppression and colonial deceit reveal an interesting perspective on the way Indenture is being “written” or “re-written” by Indian historians and historiography, and its convergences and divergences with the work and ideas of Caribbean historians of Indian origin. This itself a fascinating study waiting to be undertaken.

But the outside perspectives also observe things insiders might miss. A good example is in Murali’s essay, which translates the lyrics of a song from an old Indian movie: “The bird in the cage no one knows your pain/You are silent from outside/you weep inside, oh, bird, you weep inside/Nobody knows your pain.” To anyone who has lived in an Indian village in Trinidad, these few lines provide a stunning flash of insight into the pathos of IndoTrinidadian existence which has been insufficiently explored.

Subtleties aside, in the bigger frame of reference themes and tropes of oppression and cultural erasure suffuse the Indo-Caribbean writers’ and scholars’ works as well, sometimes to great effect. Haraksingh’s essay Trouble in the Kutiya is such a subtle work, which examines the “layers of meaning generally obscured by problems arising from the nature of evidence” which meant the “exogenous reconstruction of experience producing not only a concentration of stereotypes, but substituting what others thought of Indians as the history of Indians.”

But oppression constitutes only one strand of the many knowledges the book rather haphazardly assembles.

Other overlapping topics include historian Sherry Ann Singh’s examination of The Yagna In Trinidad Hinduism, psychoanalyst Sandhil Maharaj Ramdial’s exploration of The Psychological Reverence of the Ramayan for Trinidad Hindus, and Primnath Gooptar’s Memory, Indian Film and the Creation of Indian Identity in Trinidad.

These constitute more interesting inquiries into identity and the psycho-social construction of Indo-Trinidad, which, as this volume shows, are more extensive, complex, and real than the Creole nationalist mythology, and many Indo Caribbeans, know or acknowledge.

Two other interesting and comprehensive articles (which underline the lack of editorial coherence) are Aakeil Murray’s Pentecostal Attempts to Proselytise to the Indian Community in Trinidad 1950-1990, and Visham Bhimull’s The Journey of Modern Standard Hindi from Indentureship to Present.

Outside of academic essays are shorter articles examining politics, broadcasting, music, and culture generally, which vary in quality. Rampersad Parasram examines the formation of the UNC (The House of the Rising Sun); but (he, like the volume) neglects the broader history of Indo politics even from Independence—giving it a few paragraphs.

Satnarine Balkaransingh examines dance, Sharda Patasar provides “a glimpse” of Indian music, Hans Hanoomansingh briefly reflects on Indo broadcasting, and Shamshu Deen provides a very interesting article on the methodological issues in tracing Indian roots in Trinidad.

This is all to say that there’s more good than bad in terms of content, but the book’s aforementioned editorial/epistemic disorderliness is its major problem, and its editing/proofreading is a minor one. In the first place, in its stated intention to provide a look at the “socio-cultural moorings of (the) Diaspora” this book does not acknowledge the other significant attempts to do the same thing.

There have been Across the Dark Waters, edited by David Dabydeen and Brinsley Samaroo; From Calcutta to Caroni edited by John La Guerre, which has gone through three revised editions; another volume titled India in the Caribbean also edited by Dabydeen and Samaroo (published by Hansib), and The Construction of an Indo Caribbean Diaspora, edited by Samaroo and Sherry Ann Singh.

These are recent works; there is also a significant amount of the pre- and post-Independence work done by the Niehoffs, Yogendra Malick, Morton Klass, Vera Rubin, Colin Clarke, Steven Vertovec, Aisha Khan, and others.

The failure to acknowledge and integrate the previous knowledge is disruptive of continuity with previous scholarship, and leads to a sense of recurring reinvention of the wheel in this area of study. Also, many of the articles are cursory, which an editor should have grouped accordingly or rejected. The proofreading errors, while not overwhelming, affect the reading.
All these issues aside, India in the Caribbean (Socio-Cultural Moorings of Diaspora) is a useful, valuable collection. It opens many lines of inquiry into the contemporary Indo-Caribbean experience, provides insights, and asks questions which it is hoped these will be taken up by working scholars. The book was launched at the Nalis AV Room in Port-of-Spain on August 11.

book info

India in the Caribbean: Socio-Cultural Moorings of Diaspora
Edited by Altury Murali
Published by the High Commission of India, Port-of-Spain

For the original report go to : http://www.guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2015-10-20/valuable-look-indo-caribbean-culture

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 02/11/2015 in Culture, History

 

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Rare historical photographs

Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah in heated conversation. A well-known photograph recently attributed to Kulwant Roy.

Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah in heated conversation. A well-known photograph recently attributed to Kulwant Roy.

The iconic historical photographs of a photo-journalist , anonymous until now,  is finally acknowledged.Kulwant Roy (Born 1914, Lahore, then in India) was an Indian photographer. As the head of an agency named “Associated Press Photographs”, he was personally responsible for several iconic images of the Indian independence movement and the early years of the Republic of India.

Jawaharlal Nehru addresses the press in Delhi in 1947, shortly before Independence

Jawaharlal Nehru addresses the press in Delhi in 1947, shortly before Independence

Twice, over 24 years, Aditya Arya tried to open the boxes that photojournalist Kulwant Roy delivered to him, bit by bit, on his Lambretta scooter before he died, anonymous and impoverished, in 1984. But each time, he gave up. There was just too much in those boxes, explains Arya, an advertising photographer with a busy schedule.

Sardar Patel and the Maharaja of Patiala confer during a meeting of the Phulkian Union, an umbrella body of princely states, in Patiala, shortly after Independence

Roy’s iconic images were reprinted many times, but credited to nameless stringers. But the 7,000-odd that Arya has digitally scanned since December 2007 when he finally began to unpack the legacy that Roy, a family friend, had bequeathed him, are glimpses of a historical treasure house.

Nehru with his grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, in an undated photo from the Kulwant Roy Collection. (Aditya Arya Archives, Kulwant Roy Collection )

Nehru with his grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, in an undated photo from the Kulwant Roy Collection. (Aditya Arya Archives) 

One part of the unfolding story is that several striking images, capturing scenes from the last years of British rule and the early decades after Independence, have turned out to be Roy’s work. : Gandhi and Jinnah arguing in 1939, Nehru and Ghaffar Khan strolling in Simla while Sardar Patel goes past in a palki, Nehru’s hand curled tenderly around grandson Rajiv’s neck and many more. The photographs have been reprinted over the decades but credited to nameless stringers. Only now are these omissions beginning to be repaired. Some of his treasures are reproduced here to make sure people know his name and his pictures.

Kulwant Roy is no longer with us but his historical works will remain and will be remembered as long as his photographed characters are remembered .

Kulwant Roy

Kulwant Roy

Acknowledgements : Herald Tribune, Yahoo group circulation, Aditya Arya.

 

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