Singer Bhupendra Singh has not got what he deserves as a singer. He has sung some very beautiful and difficult songs like “Dil doonta hai”, “Ye var ho ya shaap ho” from Koundra, “do deewane shahar mein”.
He is trained in the classical Indian music by his strict father. He was working in Doordarshan where the great music director Madan Mohan spotted him. He gave him the break in the company of greats Rafi And Manna Dey from Haqeequat “hoke mazboor” composed.
Besides he is the ace guitarist. His list as a guitarist for film songs runs long “Chura liya” , “Dum maro dum”, “Chingari koi bhadke”, “Chalte Chalte”, “tum jo mil gaye hi”, “ambar ek oak surahi”.
Mostly he has worked with R.D.Burman who had a keen eye to spot the talent. But he is not in demand now. He has left singing for others.
Assam and its sister states namely Meghalya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland jointly called 7 sisters once upon a time constituted only one state and were known as Assam only. Like every other state and great diversity of cultures in India, Assam and its sister states have preserved their unique culture. One reason for this is lesser contact with rest of the country due to nature of terrain and Central government’s apathy for years. Despite being very rich in resources, the area has not seen the prosperity due to it. The most important ingredients for an area to progress economically are transportation facilities, communications and raw resources. First two have been neglected for over 57 years.
During the British rule, it was their sole aim to plunder the wealth of state namely petroleum, tea and precious wood. This trend continued almost unabated even after the independence. The area was taken for granted by the governments at center. The result was disillusionment and rise of unrest and many militant groups which also took their toll of progress.
So one can imagine what must had been the scene way back in 1900. At such a time Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was born into a Marwari family which had migrated some generations back to Assam. Marwaris are a business community from Rajasthan. They have the business acumen in their blood.They don’t need any degrees to be successful businessmen. They are highly adventurous as far as the reaching such remote places where no one will thought of going for establishing their shops.
Most of them are non-vegetarians and are known for eating simple food, abstain from drinking, the ingredients which make them ideal businessmen. They spread to the remotest corners of Assam whose people were content to be where they were and eat and wear whatever was available locally. They would not venture outside in search of better opportunities. They are pleasure and self content people. Despite being endowed with most beautiful landscape, Assam could not develop its tourism industry. In this respect Goa and Kerala have been the most enterprising in selling the beauty of nature to foreign tourists. One reason may be their proximity to sea which adds to the natural beauty of the place. One positive aspect of non development of tourism have been that the pristine beauty and unpolluted environment is still intact.
We have digressed much from the subject. It should have been along the straight-line but we have made the journey sinuous. Coming to point, it is enough to say that there are abreactions sometimes. Agarwala who was affluent in wealth and was educated in Calcutta and Britain opted for a altogether different carrier. He became the founding father of Assamese cinema. He was a script writer, song writer, musician and what not. He is fondly called the Roop Kanwar by Assamese people and his death anniversary is celebrated as Shilpi day. He made the first Assamese movie called Joymati which depicted the extreme sacrifice of a princess for his husband who was imprisoned by the King. She was successful in scheming to free his husband and went into exile. She was captured and tortured.
Agarwala was also a freedom fighter and participated in the freedom movement against the British. He died in 1951 suffering from cancer.
In the early part of 3rd millennium, three great civilizations developed nearly simultaneously on Nile, Euphrates & Indus rivers. We know a great deal about the first two because they have left us written records in the form of papyrus scrolls or long engravings on stones.
People of Indus valley, on the other hand, hardly left any written records except few inscriptions on the seals. So knowledge about Indus valley civilization is incomplete and subject to continuous updation.
Archaeologists call this civilization Harappa culture after the modern name of the place in Punjab located on the left bank of river Ravi. Meohenjo Daro, the second city, is located in Sind on the right bank of Indus river.
The culture was spread over 950 miles from North to South and includes large and small cities like Kalibanga in the valley of old Sarasvati river and many villages near Ropar on upper Sutlej up to Lothal in Gujarat. That this culture was same is proved from the use of bricks of same shape and size.
This was an truly Indian people civilization with no influence or migration from the Middle East. It was the continuation of early village culture. Each city had a well-fortified citadel. The uniformity in planning of streets, bricks and layout of the cities indicate a single centralized state rather than a number of free communities.
Original Khada Parsi Statue post was written on May 21, 2011. Then there were plans to restore the one of Mumbai’s heritage. The monument has now been restored to original glory.
The monument is 150 years old. It belongs to Cursetjee Manockjee, a businessman and educationist of Mumbai. The statue is made from cast iron. There are four mermaids at the base of statue which double as fountains also.
These have been barricaded to prevent the theft as the pieces of original were taken away. The Times of India published the following picture of restored monument.
Koh-I-Noor Size: 105.602 carats (21.1204 g) Colour: Finest white Cut: Cushion Discovered: Date unknown in India
The name means” Mountain of light” in Persian language. Once known as the largest diamond in the world. It is believed to have originated in Andhra together with its double called”Darya-ye-Noor” meaning “Sea of light”.
It was originally owned by Kakatiya Dynasty which installed it in a temple as the EYE of the goddess. It has had a troubled history having been stolen, confiscated or taken over as war loot by various invaders.
Presently it is a part of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth having been confiscated from its owners in 1850 by imperial powers.
It started in Patiala state of Punjab in India. Patiala rose to prominence amongst many princely states of Punjab before independence. Phul means flowers and Kar means the work. So Phulkari literally means Flower Work on the rough heavy cotton.
Throughout the Punjab, in the Hindu,Muslim and Sikh communities alike, women embroider Odhanis (veils) or Chaddar (wraps) ornamented with Phulkar, literally “flower work” and Bagh, garden, a variation where the embroidery completely covers the support material.
The support fabric is most often an auspicious dark red, or more rarely, an indigo blue or a white reserved for elderly women, on which the embroidery is executed in untwisted floss silk called pat, sourced from Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bengal and dyed yellow, orange, burgundy, bright pink, purple, blue and green in Amritsar and Jammu.
Darning stitch is used to embroider from the reverse side of the fabric, with the longer float on the face, thus allowing large surfaces to be densely embroidered with economy. Aside from their everyday use as veils, the Phulkari is integrated into the lives of the women. and is an indispensable element in ceremonies, especially those concerning birth,death and marriage.
When a girl child is born, the women of the family organize a great feast, marking the beginning of the task of the child`s grandmother in creating the future bride`s trousseau. The most significant items of the trousseau are the chope, a reversible Phulkari worked double running stitch and wrapped around the bride after the ritual bath two days before the wedding, and the suber phulkari, composed of five eight petaled lotuses, worn by the bride when she walks around the sacred fire during the wedding ceremony.
A phulkari is also worn 11 days after the birth of a son, when the mother goes out for the first time after delivery, and when visiting a temple during religious festivals to request prosperity and happiness for loved ones.
Ever since Madhuri Dixit returned to India she is trying very hard to enter the Indian film industry. She is sitting as one of the judges in the dance show on television channels where her songs are extolled by the dancers.
Also doing a couple of advertisement endorsing the toothpaste that remove all the tooth troubles and shines our teeth. She has appeared in item songs against Ranbir Kapoor and worked in the Dedh Isquiya against Naseerudin Shah.
But she is still to hit the limelight. One of the negative factors is her advancing age and availability of fresh faces in plenty. She seems to be desperate.
In her hey days, she really set the screen ablaze with her sensuous dances. One of these was from the movie Beta and it was titled “Dhak Dhak”. It was so provocative that she earned the eponym of being the “Dhak Dhak” girl.
The song was not original as is the case with many songs which have been lifted from South Indian movies and foreign movies. It has been happening since old days. The only difference is that in those days due to the lack of so many sources of information nobody could suspect the copy. But today with the explosion of information available through internet nothing remains hidden long and soon becomes exposed.
So this song was adapted from an Illayaraja composition called “Abba nee teeyani debba” from the Telugu movie Jagadeka Veerudu Atikola Sundari featuring superstar Chiranjeevi and Sridevi. Sridevi looks much graceful and devoid of any sensuousness.
Rani ki vav or the Queen’s Stepwell at Patan, Gujarat has been bestowed with this honor a few days back under criteria i and iv which say. First criterion is the structure represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and second criterion says the item under consideration is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Step well) at Patan, Gujarat is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD.
Rani or the queen Udayamati commissioned this vav or step well, in 1063 in the memory of her husband King Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty.
Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsman’s ability in step well construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions.
Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality. The vav was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati River and silted over until the late eighties, when it was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India, with the carvings found in pristine condition. Rani Ki Vav is among the finest step wells in India, and one of the most famous legacies of the ancient capital city.
The vavs of Gujarat are not merely sites for collecting water and socializing, but also simultaneously hold great spiritual significance. They were originally constructed quite simply, but became more intricate over the years, perhaps to make explicit this ancient concept of the sanctity of water by carving it out in stone deities thus representing a subterranean temple.
The steps begin at ground level, leading you down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below. There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures among seven galleries.
The central theme is the Dasavataras, or ten incarnations of Vishnu, including Buddha. The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, Brahmins, and apsaras (celestial dancers), painting their lips and adorning themselves.
At water level you come to a carving of Sheshashayi-Vishnu, in which Vishnu reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent Shesha, where it is said he rests in the infinity between epochs.
The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank of 9.5 by 9.4 meters, at a depth of 23 meters. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft, 10 meters in diameter and 30 meters deep.
It is a natural dye derived from green henna leaves and is used to decorate the body with intricate designs in India and Pakistan. The hands and legs of the brides and her friends are adorned with intricate designs using a paste made from ground henna and juice of lemon. Motifs include birds, animals and geometrical patterns.
Application of henna causes a cooling effect. It is also a fact that longer this stays on the hands more is the color darker. So after application to prevent the paste from flaking off, small amounts of lemon juice and sugar are applied. Usually after the night, it dries off. It is scraped off and hands are washed leaving behind an auburn colored dye designs on the body. It stays there for many days.
The paste is prepared from the green leaves of Lawsonia inermis, a small tree that grows in warm, arid regions of the world such as India, Pakistan, and Northern Africa. Numerous artifacts found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, dating back to 1400 B.C., show women with henna patterns on their hands. The earliest writing on an artifact that refers to the specific use of henna as an adornment for a bride or a woman’s special occasion is an inscription on a tablet from about 2100 B.C. found in northwest Syria.
It is commonly used as a hair dye. The material can also reduce dandruff, kill ringworm and head lice, act as a sunscreen. As it produces a cooling effect, in India, especially in desert areas where the temperatures are extremely high, henna was cool the body.
Staining properties of henna are due to the presence of the compound 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, also known as lawsone, hennotannic acid, or natural orange 6. It is present in the leaves. The leaves are plucked and dried and ground into a paste.
Henna paste is prepared by mixing crushed dry henna leaves with a mild acidic ingredient like juice of lemon which helps in releasing the dye from the petals. Different oils and herbs may also be added to enhance the scent of the paste.
At room temperature, it normally takes about a day for the acid to activate the dye and three days for the paste to lose its staining capabilities. The process is faster in hotter environments.
Lawsone dye infuses skin, hair, and porous surfaces but does not permanently or chemically alter them. The dye molecules, which are about the same size as amino acid molecules, migrate from the henna paste into the outermost layer of the skin. After the dried paste is scraped off the skin, air oxidation or perspiration can further darken the stain over the next 48 hours.
I am sure many young people may not be knowing his name but be humming the songs written by him. The young writer hails from Malerkotla, Sangrur, Punjab. His name is Irshad Kamil. He has breathed a freshness in the Bollywood film songs. It is just a beginning. I am sure, he shall blaze a trail in this field.
Man of many gifts, he has dabbled in various professions like a reporter for newspapers in Chandigarh. He wrote scripts of many serials for television. Some of the films he had written the songs for are Jab We Met, Rockstar, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani.
Recently, I watched his interview on Rajya Sabha television. Besides discussing so many things, he told the interviewer about a popular romantic song from Jab We Met. He met a woman who told him that she listens this song daily in the morning as a prayer song. Just have a look at the lyrics.
Na hai yeh pana,
Na Khona hi hai,
Tera Na hona jane Kyun,
hona hi hai
Tum se hi din hota hai
Surmaiye shaam aati hai,
Tumse hi tumse hi
Har ghari saans aati hai,
Zindagi kehlati hai,
Tumse hi tumse hi
It is just a matter of perspective. Lyrics are just like a prayer. Kamil said he was himself surprised and went through the lyrics in his mind and realised that they are really like a prayer in the praise of God.