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Dubai-based Indian Painter Akbar Saheb to draw a Masterpiece in Tribute to the Indian Army

Saheb plans to put the paintings on the auction block, with all the proceeds going to a charity that focuses on helping Indian soldiers and their families.

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Indian Painter
Akbar Saheb. Twitter
  • Indian painter based in Dubai, Akbar Saheb, is creating a masterpiece in tribute to the Indian Army
  • The tribute comes as the Independence Day of India nears
  • During Modi’s 2015 UAE visit, the artist gifted the PM a series of paintings

August 11, 2017: A Dubai-based Indian painter will be showcasing his artwork here inspired by the hardships and sacrifices of Indian Army personnel ahead of India’s Independence Day next week.

Artist Akbar Saheb hails from Karnataka and his latest paintings dedicated to the Indian armed forces will be unveiled over the weekend, Khaleej Times reported on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Kerala NRI Painter Sedunath Prabhakar’s work titled “Pride of Australia” draws huge response in Victorian Parliament

Saheb gifted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a series of paintings during his 2015 visit to the United Arab Emirates. He also gained the distinction of being the only artist with illustrations in Modi’s book, Mann Ki Baat, unveiled in May in New Delhi.

He said Indian Army personnel face lot of hardships while serving the country.

“India has borders with Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The Indian soldiers are securing our country and our lives. There are a lot of terrorist attacks too. But, still, the soldiers everywhere are taking care of our country,” he told the daily in an interview.

“In places like Kargil, it is so cold that they can’t even breathe properly. They have to be alert 24 hours a day no matter what. If they are neglectful, they might take a bullet.”

“They are struggling a lot. But the normal public doesn’t really think about the soldiers, or what they are doing,” the artist said.

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After the weekend exhibit, Saheb plans to put the paintings on the auction block, with all the proceeds going to a charity that focuses on helping Indian soldiers and their families.

Many of his paintings, Saheb noted, are inspired by a longing for his homeland. “I miss my country. I miss the culture. There are thousands and thousands of languages, and that sort of culture is what I miss,” he said.

He came to the UAE more than 20 years ago and composed well over 1,000 works of art on a variety of topics.

Saheb’s other notable works are paintings dedicated to the UAE’s leadership as to Emirati soldiers martyred during Yemen conflict in 2015. (IANS)

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Prime Minister celebrates Diwali with Soldiers at LoC

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Facebook

Srinagar, October 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived in the border town of Gurez to celebrate Diwali with soldiers protecting the country’s borders.

Official reports said in summer capital Srinagar that the Prime Minister arrived at the Dawar Brigade headquarters of the Indian Army in Gurez border town on Thursday to celebrate Diwali with soldiers protecting the Line of Control (LoC).

Sources here said the Prime Minister is also visiting the far-flung Tulial area near the LoC in Gurez sector to spend some time with the soldiers there.

A day ahead of Modi’s visit, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat had visited the area on Wednesday to review the security situation in the Kashmir valley.(IANS)

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For the first time, 874 Women will join the Military Police: Indian Army sanctions

Each year 52 new women jawans will be included in Military Police

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Indian Army sanctioned that 874 Women will join the Military Police
Indian Army sanctioned that 874 Women will join the Military Police. Wikimedia

New Delhi, India, September 9, 2017: Opening more doors of opportunity for women in the force, the Indian Army has inducted 874 women in Corps of Military Police.

It’s another cause of celebration for womenfolk as on 7th September India saw Nirmala Sitharaman become the first full-time woman Defence Minister.  This is a praise worthy move taken in the direction of promoting the entry of more women in the armed forces.

The major decision has been taken by the Indian Army to include 874 women jawans in Military Police. Not only this, each year 52 new women jawans will be included in Military Police.

Also Read: Dubai-based Indian Painter Akbar Saheb to draw a Masterpiece in Tribute to the Indian Army

As per an Army briefing on 8th September, the Adjutant General of Army Lt. General Ashwani Kumar said that a need for inclusion of women personnel was felt because of investigation of the cases dealing with gender-based allegations and crime. It felt like an important step to include women corps in the Military Police.

To join the military police, women will have to go through the training period of 62 weeks, the same duration is required for training of male soldiers. The process of including w the men in the military police will get started from 2018 as its modes are being worked out.

Additionally, Lt. Gen. Ashwani Kumar also talked about the established of 2 new state of the art centres in Guwahati and Bhopal, so that the childless couple need not have to unduly wait for their turn. These centres are established in addition to the existing ones which are in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai.


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“Ants Among Elephants” by Indian-Origin Author Sujatha Gidla is Creating Waves in the US

Interview with Sujatha Gidla, who recently wrote a memoir capturing the life of Dalit community in India

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Dalit Women protesting against exploitation
Dalit Women protesting against exploitation. Wikimedia
  • Many instances of discrimination and humiliation that she and her family were customarily subjected to
  • This Independence was not real independence, it was only transfer of power
  • Caste-based discrimination is uniquely cruel

New York, USA, August 27, 2017:  The nation has just celebrated Independence Day with great pomp and fervor but does this special occasion evoke similar sentiments among the Dalits living in the country? No, contends an Indian-origin author Sujatha Gidla, who was born an “untouchable” and is now creating waves in US literary circles with a provocative memoir capturing the life of her community in India.

Until recently, Sujatha Gidla was just another New Yorker, working as a conductor on the City Subway. But her recent memoir, “Ants among Elephants: : An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India”, which not only details her memories of growing up as a Dalit woman in India but also lists the many instances of “discrimination and humiliation” that she and her family were customarily subjected to, has thrust her into the limelight.

On how she responds to special occasions like Independence Day, the author said that, as children, they would admire iconic figures like Gandhi and Nehru, and celebrate the day but things changed gradually as they become more aware.

ALSO READ: Religious minorities, Dalits face discrimination in India: A report by US Commission on International Religious Freedom

“When I joined the RSU (Radical Students Union) we were told that (this) Independence was not real independence, that it was only transfer of power. And now we don’t feel anything because we are not made to feel that we are Indians like other Indians.

“It is the same thing in the universities where I studied. I don’t have that pride of my alma mater because we were not treated as equals. None of us have that pride, not even my mother,” Gidla told IANS in an email interview from New York.

The author further quipped that, by and large, “this is not independence” for members of her community.

“There have been many types of discrimination in various parts of the world. As far as I know, caste discrimination is uniquely cruel. There is racism in America, but I will never compare it with caste and rather say that caste is much worse.

“I will also say this: Blacks here are murdered, they have been lynched. But I have never read about another place where untouchables are fed excreta, made to drink urine and paraded naked. Even under slavery, the slave owners took care to feed their slaves in order to keep them fit to work. Untouchables in India never even had that,” Gidla said.

Sujatha Gidla reiterated that untouchability is neither a religious nor a cultural problem. It is rather a social problem and that there has to be “some sort of fundamental change”; otherwise the Dalits will “continue to suffer”.

Elaborating on the “suffering” that she repeatedly mentions in the book, Gidla said most Dalits in India, particularly those trying to fight against the caste system, live under constant duress due to verbal attacks and the threat of physical violence.

“Our neighbors in India have been actively trying to kick my mom out of her apartment. Her (upper) caste colleagues hate the fact that her daughter wrote a successful book.”

“That is the irony; we cannot even celebrate the publication of the book because we are afraid that it will make people around us unhappy. Even fellow untouchables are not posting it on social media for fear of being exposed to their colleagues and (upper) caste friends as untouchables,” she elaborated.

Also Read: Dr. Kallol Guha: Anglophonic Education will not uplift Dalits

Gidla’s grandparents converted to Christianity at the onset of the 20th century and were educated at Canadian missionary schools. She too, with the help of Canadian missionaries, studied physics at the Regional Engineering College in Warangal, in what is Telangana today. She was also a researcher in applied physics at IIT-Madras.

Gidla initially worked as a developer in software design, then moved to banking but lost her job in 2009 during the economic crisis. Finally, she took up the job of a conductor at the New York Subway.

This book, Gidla said, initially began as an investigation into the caste system but finally took the shape of a memoir as her family members also enriched its pages with their personal experiences and reflections.

So what would bring “freedom” in the true sense to Gidla and her family, as also to over 300 million Dalits in India?

“True freedom is equal access to everything in society -education, jobs, etc. When that is achieved, the prejudices will begin to disappear, but only gradually, not instantaneously. Without having equal access to economic betterment all these words about caste being an evil practice or we should treat untouchables with respect are meaningless,” she maintained.

The book has been published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan publishers, and is yet to hit the Indian market. (IANS)