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Artists and Lawyers joined hands to raise awareness on Environment related issues

“Environment, even in the eyes of law is often considered only a commodity, and we believe art has the power to change this. Can this power hold in a legal courtroom, this is what this staged trial will seek to question.”

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Representational Image of Enviornment Protection , Source: Pixabay
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New Delhi, April 4, 2017: In one of the unique crossovers between environment, law, and art, some known artists and lawyers will attempt to raise awareness through a mock court trial on green issues.

The project has been directed by artist Zuleikha Chaudhari in collaboration with Khoj International Artists’ Association.

Titled “Landscape as Evidence: Artist as Witness,” the event will be conducted as a mock trial or a “Staged Hearing Before the Commission of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952” in which participants are a retired judge, practicing lawyers and artists.

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“Environment, even in the eyes of law is often considered only a commodity, and we believe art has the power to change this. Can this power hold in a legal courtroom, this is what this staged trial will seek to question,” Zuleikha Chaudhari said.

The event, directed by Chaudhari, staged as part performance and part real legal proceedings, will have a judge, practicing lawyers like Anand Grover and environmental lawyer Norma Alvares will be opposing counsels, artists like Navjot Altaf, Ravi Agarwal, and Sheba Chhachhi will be the witnesses and artworks will be the evidence. The artworks (or the evidence in this case) that will also be displayed are video works by Navjot Altaf, Ravi Aggarwal, and Sheba Chhachhi.

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“Khoj has been working around the themes of ecology and environment since 2002,” says Radha Mahendru, curator at Khoj International Artists’ Association, “and since this is our 20th year, we wanted to revisit issues of ecology through this unique collaboration between artists and lawyers”.

The hearing before this “Commission of Inquiry” is requesting that it consider the recently cleared River Linking Project under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. The matter has been referred to it by a direction of the Lok Sabha pursuant to a petition. The petitioners, Khoj International Artists’ Association and Zuleikha Chaudhari oppose the River Linking Project on the basis of the devastation caused to the environment.

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The staged hearing before the Commission will look into the merits of an enlightened perception of justice and how to measure loss, premising art as valid evidence and artists as valid witnesses.

The project, set to be held at Speakers Hall in the Constitution Club of India on April 7 here, is in collaboration with Vienna’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. IANS

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC