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By Gaurav Sharma
Renowned for his soul uplifting music through which he pierced the barriers and segregations splintering the human race with spontaneous ease, Robert Nesta Marley, better known as Bob Marley, was an artist par excellence.
Behind the curtain of artistry, though, was a man grounded in a deep spiritual tradition. A societal non-conformist, Bob Marley was an experience to be gained by the consciousness, not merely to be understood by the deluding mind.
Born in a Catholic family, Marley’s inclination starting bending towards Rastafari beliefs when he moved back to Jamaica after working as a lab assistant in the US district of Du Pont, Delaware.
The Rastafarian Way
Started in the 1930s, Rastafari is primarily an Abrahamic religion, whose followers worship a single God who they refer to as Jah, a term synonymous with the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as mentioned in the King James Bible.
However, Rastafarianism differs from the Biblical religion in that it believes that half of the Biblical story has not been told.
Rafataris believe Haile Selassie I (Ras Tafari Makonnen), the emperor of Ethiopia in 1930 to be the incarnation of Christ, and his message irrevocably revolved around Pan-Afrocentrism; the unification of the African continent which was being plundered by foreign rule during that time.
During a 1963 United Nations speech, which provided the inspiration behind Marley’s song War, Selassie clearly elucidated the Rastafarian ideologue as an all-inclusive way of life:
Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; That until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.
Marley as a Rastafari Musician
Reggae, the genre of music for which Marley was most widely known for, incorporated elements of Rastafarianism. It started generating in Jamaica in the late 1960’s and was further popularized when Marly expanding it from the socially deprived areas to the international music arena.
When asked by a scribe what it means to be a Rastafarian, Marley candidly answered:
I would say to the people, Be still, and know that His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is the Almighty. Now, the Bible seh so, Babylon newspaper seh so, and I and I the children seh so. Yunno? So I don’t see how much more reveal our people want. Wha’ dem want? a white God, well God come black. True true.(Bob Marley biography by Steven Davis).
Marley’s songs were directed towards inspiring people to fight for who they are as a person, crawling out of the “mental slavery” imposed by the richer and more privileged sections of the society.
To divide and rule could only tear us apart;
In everyman chest, mm – there beats a heart.
So soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionaries;
And I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.
These ennobling words of Marley in the powerful song Zimbabwe, best define him as freedom fighter, a liberating revolutionary.
Such clarion calls for looking within one’s heart are further echoed in songs such as Exodus; an appeal to the people of Jah or God to evade the elusive wealth of the West by styming the flow of mass migration.
Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?
We know where we’re going;
We know where we’re from.
Marley–The Cannabis Lover– symbolic of Indian Sadhus
Marley was an advocate of Marijuana legalization, a move which drew suspicious glances from the West at the time but has now been happily adopted by major states in the United States such as Colorado, Washington and New Jersey.
The federal prohibition on medical marijuana was further ended by the Obama administration in December 2014.
For Marley, smoking herb was as natural as grass is to cow. But he attributed spiritual phenomenon to the plant and considered it a sacrament that cleanses the mind and the body, exalts consciousness and brings it closer to Jah or God.
The Indo-Carribean Ganja(a generic name for Cannabis) sacrament, however, has its roots connected with the importation of Indians.(Campbell 110).
In fact, the Rastafari’s fondness for cannabis bears uncanny resemblance to the ascetic Indian Sadhus love for smoking Ganja in chillums ( a pipe for smoking). The dreadlocks borne by Marley is further symbolic of the Sadhus concept of Jata, a vow not to cut something as natural as hair and as sacred as inherent energy in human beings..
Both believe that the smoking of the herb awakens one to religious growth, making one wiser and more receptive of one’s own nature and becoming closer to God or Jah.
“When you smoke herb, herb reveal yourself to you. All the wickedness you do, the herb reveal itself to yourself, your conscience, show up yourself clear, because herb make you meditate. Is only a natural t’ing and it grow like a tree”, revealed an enlightened Marley.
Apart from music, Marley was a football aficionado. Playing the game in parking lots, fields and even recording studios, Marley was a keen follower of the Brazilian club Santos and its superstar Pele.
Allan Cole, another famous football personality once became his tour manager, such was his passion for the sport.
The craze for football so defined his life that when a journalist wanted to know about Marley, he forthrightly asserted, ““If you want to get to know me, you will have to play football against me and the Wailers.”
Death and Legacy
Marley died of cancer in July 1977. Decades after his death, Marley’s message continues to reverberate through his pristine songs.
The youth and sections of society which have been disillusioned and isolated by the societal formation, particularly seek solace in Marley’s soul-stirring musical lyrics.
For example, the indigenous communities such as the aboriginals of Australia continue to honor his memory by burning a sacred flame in Sydney’s Victoria Park.
Numerous documentaries have been directed on Marley’s life, with the iconic Rastafari symbol of Red, Gold and Green transforming into a global sensation in the form of countless merchandize.
Throughout India, many restaurants, festivals and shops organize themselves on Bob Marley’s ideals of freedom and moving beyond petty labels and isms.
Words fall short while accurately deciphering the enigma that was Marley. Perhaps, the then Prime Minister Edward Seaga’s own words eulogize Marley most befittingly, ”Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter.”
By Plabita Sharma
The World Vegan month of November usually brings with itself an increased amount of dialogue and searches about Vegan lifestyle, sustainable living and clean beauty. Before pondering any further, it is important to understand what the Vegan lifestyle is and how it goes beyond the concept of consuming a plant-based diet. Veganism essentially is a lifestyle that is driven by compassionate choices and an increased awareness of one's actions on the world. Thus motivated by the two, a vegan individual usually carefully curates their day-to-day practices in a manner that does little to no- harm to the planet, the people and all of its inhabitants.
Beauty as industry has time and again been scrutinised for its effects on the consumers and the ecosystem - this can be during the manufacturing process or the effect it has on the consumer's thought processes. Now, as the world moves towards adopting Global Sustainability Goals, committing to a world that works with the natural resources instead of against them - it is only fair for each individual to be curious about making the right choices to make their beauty bag as consciously curated as possible. With multiple brands coming up with new standards of vegan and sustainable beauty, many consumers are left confused and doubting the authenticity of these claims. So here is a quick guide that can help you make the right choices:
Vegan and cruelty free labels: Keeping true to the traditional meaning of Vegan - any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. Similarly, cruelty-free as a label means that the ingredients or the final product did not test on animals or harm any animals during the production process. One way to test the authenticity is to check if these products are legally certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), or verified by Vegan organisations as The Vegan Society and others. Cruelty-free and vegan products are also generally categorized by having cleaner and gentler formulas as they are mostly deprived of harsh chemicals and solvents.
Any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. | Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash
Ethical and natural ingredients: It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. Since most vegan products tend to be plant derived it is of utmost value to ensure that while the source is nature, the impact of manufacturing is also minimal so that there is no harm done to the environment. Often the face scrubs used by us are most damaging not just to the face and to the marine life as well; thus opting for more natural ingredients rather than synthetic ones is quite beneficial. Some natural scrubbing ingredients are sugar, salt, coffee which are safe for the coral reefs and far gentler than synthetic scrubs.
It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Sustainable and ecofriendly packaging: While the ingredients and formulation can be certified, it is also important to pay attention the quality, material and nature of the packaging in which the product is being stored. With an increase in clean-beauty standards, the consumption of such products has also increased, thus giving brands the opportunity to further develop their packaging in a manner that is sustainable and its increased quantity does not harm the environment. This could translate into using raw materials that are recycled and can be renewed or even introducing the concept of up-cycling the product packaging for decoration or storage purposes. Fore example, The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic that can further be recycled thus continuing the recycling system. Their makeup brushes also have wooden handles instead of plastic ones this adds to their classy appearance and use of ecofriendly material.
The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic. | Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash
The above is a small snippet in a long list of things that can help contribute to a cleaner and more consciously lifestyle. Where demand increase, supply follows - as people begin to demand ethical, responsible production and products, more and more brands have begun to deliver. Household names such as The Body Shop have pioneered conversations on clean, green and sustainable beauty for decades - thus making them a frontrunner for several old time vegan people.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Beauty, makeup, clean, November, World Vegan month, New Standards , Vegan, Conscious
Designer Payal Singhal launched her first ever shop in New Delhi at Aza, Ambawatta One, Mehrauli. At this new location, she also unveiled "Suroor" her Winter Festive' 2021 collection for Women that stays true to the brand's DNA of deconstructing and reimagining traditional Indian silhouettes for the modern aesthete.
The collection is replete with hybrid lehenga with cut-outs, sharara sets, kaftan kurtas and anarkalis; all enhanced with intricate mukaish, zardozi, gota, nakshi, pitta and mirror work. Statement yokes, the latest take on the House's signature back-tie choli, and a new burst of #PSPrints are also an integral part of the collection. For the first time, Payal has worked with bandhanis developed in Jaipur, but with her inimitable twist - using the technique on tussar instead of silks. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Winter, Suroor, New Delhi, Designer, Payal Singhal, shop
Today marks the 114th birth anniversary of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a renowned Indian poet. He is popularly known for his poem ‘Madhushala’.
Early life of Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivansh Rai Bachchan was born on the same date in 1907 in the village of Bahupatti, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in British India. From the year 1941 to 1957, he taught English at the Allahabad University, and after that, Bachchan spent the next two years at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, completing his PhD W.B. Yeats. Interestingly, when Harivansh Rai started writing, instead of using his real surname, Shrivastava, he started using Bachchan.
Career of Harivansh Rai Bachchan
It must be noted that Harivansh Rai Bachchan was well fluent in many languages including Hindustani and Awadhi. Though, Bachchan did not know how to read Persian script, still he was very much influenced by Persian and Urdu poetry. Omar Khayyam was one such personality who influenced Bachchan big time. Some of the most celebrated works of this stalwart are Madhushala (1935-36), Agneepath, Khadi Ke Phool (1948), Dhaar Ke Idhar Udhar (1957), Jal Sameta (1973), etc. Bachchan was awarded with the esteemed Padma Bhushan in the year 1976.
So, on the occasion of 114th birth anniversary of one of the greatest poets of India, we must pay a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Harivansh Rai Bachchan for leaving behind his golden words!
Keywords: India, Artists, Poets, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Literature.