Friday October 20, 2017
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Bar dancers staring at extinction

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By Arka Mondal

It might be Rosy, Pinky or Susie. It does not matter. No one gives the real name in the first encounter. You ask her for her number. If she gives a number, it is false. If she mentions the place where she lives, usually it is a lie.

One comes across a neon-lit hoarding along an array of shops, a small door, usually wooden and carved, with some innocuous or sometimes suggestive title board declaring the name of a restaurant as a decoy. Tune your ears, and you can hear the soft thump of Hindi film music in the distance. Taxis or private cabs halt at the gate, men get off and hurriedly enter through the narrow door lest being seen by someone familiar.

A man attired in a dinner jacket and a bow tie smiles and signals you into a large dimly lit room. Lights of various hues flood the hall with their rhythmical motions, creating an ambiance where one needs time to adapt to the queer luminosity. Cigarette smoke adds to the mystery.

There is an elevated round empty stage strategically placed in a way so that it can be viewed from all angles of the hall. The decibel increases and with no formal announcements, the shrill sound of famous Bollywood dance number begins and ushers in young girls clad in glittering outfits known as ‘bar dancers’.

The dancing girls and women are clad in traditional ghagra cholis and navel-revealing skirts, low-cut blouses and colorful and glittering accessories. The show begins as they ravishingly lure customers to shower cash on them. The dance moves are pathetic as very few of them know how to shake a leg, for they just shake their hips and bodies to the thumping sound of the music and pretend to ‘dance’.

The more they try to make it better, the more pathetic it gets. After all, they won’t get an award for their moves but showing flesh and enticing the customers would give them a livelihood. Their dance moves have no meanings or rhythm, rather they are gestures that provoke man’s fantasy and the latter throws in currency notes till his carnal desires go a notch up.

They wear a heavy make-up, but it is debatable whether their make-up is to lure customers or to conceal an untold tragic story. They are treated as if born to flatter rich patrons and bow to their whims for livelihood.

The beginning and the end

India is a culture enriched nation which has seen the evolution of many dance forms. India has been a male-dominated, patriarchal society, right from the times when the kings and queens ruled the country; a large number of female folks would entertain the males with their dance moves.

However, in modern times classical performers are counted among artistic aristocrats but

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www.blogs.reuters.com

things were quite different in yester years. Being married and performing in public or in front of men were entirely mutually exclusive social roles for women. India’s professional female performers could not marry as they were not considered ‘respectable’. Despite many kings and courtesans admiring and adulating the patronage-based traditional performers for their art, skill and performance, their communities were of low social status.

The early 19th century witnessed the dancing girls of India losing their patronage. This can be attributed to the fact that Victorian morality and purity campaigns in British India dealt a virulent blow on them. Branded as prostitutes, they lost the meager dignity they possessed.

Consequently, the British and Indian patrons started boycotting their performances. At the same time, courts were being diluted by British rule, and the courtesans, dancing girls and other court performers too gradually lost patronage. Courtesans and the dancing girls started to enter into new forms of livelihood, particularly, the cinema.

However, before long they were hugely stigmatized and substituted by the crème de la crème, ‘respectable’ women belonging to high society who had the pedigree of the culture. But, classical performing arts were being re-invented as bourgeois, concert arts, away from courtly patronage. The traditional, hereditary performers known as the dancing girls were, hwoever, blatantly excluded from this new world.

With new independent India, princely courts were abolished, and large numbers of courtesans and female court performers abruptly lost their livelihood. Subdued with stigma and inability to enter into the respectable world of classical arts, these women had no option but to indulge in increasingly illicit, sexualized forms of performing arts that existed beneath the radar of the re-constructed official ‘Indian Culture’. Many had to take up prostitution, including in some cases entire communities.

Strange but true, bar-girls in India to some extent emerge out from the same non-marrying lineages of the dancing girls and courtesans. Despite courtesans being portrayed as a romanticized figment of India’s feudal past, they are not considered to be a part of India’s present. In fact, purity campaigns and social cleansing reforms in the new Indian society created an entire realm of illicit performing arts and vast economies of sex work instead of saving the girls from indignity and exploitation or saving the nation from the social evil of prostitution.

Bollywood and Bars

The romance between Bollywood movies and dance bars are very much evident in plenty of movies. While dance bars are usually the favorite haunts of villains in cinema, in real life dance bars are places haunted by Bollywood songs.

The relationship between the two is a curiously tangled one. ‘Babli Badmaash Hai‘  an item number from Shootout At Wadala portrays bar girl Priyanka Chopra as ‘Babli Badmaash’ who dons skimpy clothes while strategically positioned finger guns aim to up her oomph factor.

The success of Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Chandni Bar’ invigorated Bollywood’s interest in dance bars. ‘Man Saat Samandar Dol Gaya‘ from the film which is set in a dance bar manages to be both peppy and soulful. Preity Zinta singing ‘Deewani Deewani‘ in ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’ not only set the silver screen on fire, but the film portrayed a bar girl’s yearnings to be like other normal respectable woman.

The movie ‘Maximum’ boasted of superstars like Naseeruddin Shah, Sonu Sood, Neha Dhupia, and Vinay Pathak in pivotal roles, but it was Hazel who stole the thunder with the bar based item number ‘Aa Ante Amalapuram‘. There are numerous other films where dancing bars have been actively used for the symbolic representation of hamlets or the places where heroes take refuge after being emotionally beaten.

Whatever might be the case it’s the bar girls that come to the rescue. In the modern era, it is the bar but in earlier days we saw Shah Rukh Khan going to the Madhuri Dixit to get solace.

Of late there have been police drives across cities in India to eradicate the bar dancing culture. However, it must be realized that they too are a product of the so-called ‘respectable’ society we live in. Verily, we are not in a position to judge whether it is ‘majboori’ or a way of making fast bucks that have led the girls to take up such a profession.

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Influence of Indians Upon Western Intellectuals

Book called ‘Great Minds on India’ by SalilGewali, which answered my question and took my knowledge of the ancient Indians much further than I could have imagined. Indian sages asserted the Earth as spherical many centuries before the Greek’s speculation over this idea.

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Einstein_and_Tagore Great Minds on India
Einstein and Tagore Berlin 14 July 1930. Wikimedia

-by Bernie David Holt

  • This fabulous book by Salil Gewali demonstrates to us how old Indians impacted present-day science, mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and others.
  • The book initially alludes to a standout amongst the most eminent individuals ever – Albert Einstein. It lets us know inside the book that Einstein said ‘without Indians, no advantageous logical revelation would have been made’.

Sitting on the beach, staring at the pale blue sea, wondering, is the world really spherical? I could clearly see the flat, never-ending sea of water and thought to myself, how did we find out the world was actually a spherical shape? Thanks to my Yoga teacher and my association with this ancient discipline that brought me to lay my hand on the amazing book called ‘Great Minds on India’ by Salil Gewali, which answered my question and took my knowledge of the ancient Indians much further than I could have imagined. Indian sages asserted the Earth as spherical many centuries before the Greek’s speculation over this idea. I quickly realized the science and the literature of the Modern times far behind when compared to the ideas expounded by the ancient Indians. This book truly demonstrates that India affected the cutting edge world; these are cases of extraordinary individuals that helped society in different ways, who credited India’s disclosures and speculations.

The book initially alludes to a standout amongst the most eminent individuals ever – Albert Einstein. It lets us know inside the book that Einstein said ‘without Indians no advantageous logical revelation would have been made’ on the grounds that without the “numeric framework”, that Indians made, it would not have been conceivable.

ALSO READ: A Look Back In History: Contribution of Indian Mathematicians in the field of Mathematics

Dick Teresi recognized that Indians discovered that the earth circles the sun and realized that a planet’s path is elliptical, a great many centuries previously the thought was acknowledged inside Europe and the created areas. Dick Teresi is an exceptionally famous author and columnist, who was best known for authoring ‘Lost Discoveries’.

Archibald Wheeler trusts that the Indians knew “everything” and in the event that it was conceivable to decipher their old dialect, we would have every one of the responses to every one of our inquiries. He was the co-creator of ‘The component of atomic splitting’ by Niels Bohr.  Wheeler is the researcher and coined Black Hole, who is also instrumental in the development of Hydrogen Bomb.

Erwin Schrodinger, a splendid physicist, trusted that blood transmutation from India is an unquestionable requirement as it spared otherworldly pallor. Schrodinger was the designer of Wave Mechanics, which is one of the best logical creations of the twenty-first century.

Great Minds of India Salil Gewali
Great Minds on India is a book written by Salil Gewali. Facebook

One of the best hypotheses, the ‘Hypothesis of relativity’ is a hypothesis made by the old Indians, and is “light years”. Light years are there utilized as a part of room terms right up till today and is educated in science ponders within school foundations. This was said by Alan Watts, who was a logician and a standout amongst the most productive scholars of the previous century.

Indians also investigated the importance of natural laws, (many yet to be discovered by the modern scientists and philosophers) the nature of the soul, the birth of the universe, and what is past the cycle of life, birth, and demise, the connection between body, mind, knowledge, and soul. Their vision addressed the idea of holiness, the preeminent planning power that may underlie normal laws. To put it plainly, they tried to know everything that the psyche can appreciate — from the particle to unendingness, the making of the universe, and its significance. The source of different branches of science, craftsmanship, and theory ascribed to this human advancement are genuinely exceptional results of India’s “Jijnyasa”, or urge to want to know with clear vision.

But, I’ve found shockingly disturbing contrary fact in India and among Indians. Over 90% of Indian origin do not subscribe to their own rich civilization and spiritual culture. Just going over the news media and acclaimed literary works published from India astonish us that how there certain powerful people openly hate their own cultural values.

Even the half-literate love to quote Milton, Eliot; and shake themselves in a musical beat of rock-n-roll. This country’s government has found itself in the tangle of controversies while convincing its people about the practical benefits of Yoga and meditation.

I believe, the excellent publication of Gewali’s book will serve the purpose since Indians will get to know about Indian wisdom and spiritual knowledge from their Western masters. The research-based book of over twenty-five years, which has been translated into eleven languages, has recently been prefaced by a world-famous NASA scientists – Dr.KamleshLulla of Houston. Finally, I choose to invoke a very profound quote from the book by a pioneering philosopher of German romanticism August Schlegel – ‘Even the loftiest philosophy of the European appears like a feeble spark before the Vedanta’.

(Bernie David Holt 36a Slade Gardens, Erith, England)

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Diwali Puja 2017: Everything You Need To Know About Timings, Muhurat

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Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped
Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped by devotees on the day of Diwali. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 18, 2017: Diwali is around the corner and everyone is busy with the preparations. On the eve of Diwali, the most important ritual is to perform Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja during the right muhurat (time) and with the right rituals(vidhi).

Here are some of the things you must take care of:

Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja Rituals

It is important that on the day of Diwali, you wake up early in the morning and pay homage to your ancestors and worship gods of your family. It is advised to observe a day-long-fast until the Ganesh-Lakshmi puja is performed in the evening.

Kalash pujan
Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja kalash. Wikimedia

Preparations For Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja

Families can embellish their home and office with Asoka and Marigold flowers, banana and mango leave on the day of the puja. Mangal Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut should be placed at both side of the main entrance of your house.

For puja preparation, place at the right hand side a red cloth on a hoisted platform and put in idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on it after gracing them with jewellery and clothes. Once this is done, Navgraha gods must be placed on the left hand side on a hoisted platform under white cloth. Prepare carefully nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for placing Navgraha on white cloth and sixteen slots of wheat must prepared for the red cloth. You should perform puja with all the important rituals.

Idols of Ganesh-lakshmi are being worshipped on the eve of Diwali. Wikimedia

Timings (Muhurat) for Lakshmi Puja

Pradosh Kaal muhurat is the time during which puja needs to be performed. It starts after sunset and lasts for about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Goddess Lakshmi will stay in your home if you perform Lakshmi puja in the Pradosh Kaal when it is Sthir Lagna time. Sthir refers to ‘immovable.’  Before you do the puja, make sure you find out Pradosh Kaal (time) for your city or area. It is important that you know the right time to perform the puja.

– prepared by Siddheshwar Sharma. Twitter: @MancSiddheshwar

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Shahid Kapoor Applauses Brother Ishaan for Bollywood Debut

By sharing a sweet picture with younger brother Ishaan, Shahid Kapoor took to Instagram for confirming the former's bollywood debut produced by Zee Studios

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Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor and his brother Ishaan Khattar. Instagram

New Delhi, October 14: Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother Ishaan Khattar is all set for his Bollywood debut with ‘Beyond the Clouds’ and Shahid is very excited about his brother’s upcoming and wished him good luck on Twitter.

The ‘Haider’ star took to Instagram and wished his brother by sharing a sweet picture of himself with Ishaan along with the caption,“How time flies. In 4 hours a new star is born. May you fly #beyondtheclouds Ishaan. Proud of you.”

Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor posted his wishes for brother Ishaan on Instagram.

Ishaan is making his acting debut with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s next, which is said to be a story revolving around a brother-sister relationship. The shooting of the film, which was initially titled ‘Floating Gardens’ and has now been allegedly changed to ‘Beyond The Clouds’, starts in South Mumbai today. Interestingly, this is the same Majid Majidi project for which Deepika Padukone had done a look test.

The film has already premiered at the British Film Institute London Film Festival in the competition category.

Produced by Zee Studios along with Shareen Mantri Kedia and Kishor Arora, ‘Beyond The Clouds’ is a story based on relationships focused on human values.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana