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Mysore Palace lit up during the Dasara festivities

Dasara, or Navratri, and Vijayadashmi, celebrated in the months of September-October signify the victory of good over evil. All over India, the festival is marked with elaborate celebrations, theatre performances, dances, and bonfires. In Karnataka, it is celebrated with the iconic elephant procession, or jambu savari.

The history of Dasara begins from the Hindu myth of Chamundeshwari. Shiva is said to have danced a thandava with the body of Shakti in his hands. Vishnu is then said to have fired a chakra and cut Shakti's body into 52 parts. The part where Shakti's hair fell is where the Chamundeshwari temple stands. Chamundeshwari is the incarnation of Durga, who battled Mahishasura, for ten days, and ten nights. The city of Mysore is named after Mahishasura, and means, 'the place of Mahishasura' from the Kannada 'Mahishasurana ooru'.

Crowds throng the streets of Mysore to witness the procession Image source: wikimedia commons

The Wodeyars, the royal family of Mysore, take active part in the Dasara celebrations. The reason for this is the tradition set right from the days they were part of the Vijayanagar Empire. Raja Wodeyar, who was the vassal king of the empire, decided to overthrow the king, Tirumalaraja, who was ill. He then stole the queen's jewels. The angry queen cursed the dynasty with childlessness. This curse is said to be in power even today, as every alternate generation is childless. The current ruler of the Wodeyars, Yaduveera Chamraja Wodeyar is the adopted son of the previous rulers. Raja Wodeyar decided to show his power despite the curse, and began the long tradition of elaborate Dasara celebrations in Mysore, the then capital of the state. Each year, the Wodeyar family performs pujas and hosts a variety of performances during the ten days of the festival. The Dasara festivities are, thus, considered the Nadahabba, or the State festival of Karnataka. The celebrations within the palace are very private, witnessed by only a few of the courtiers. The king sits on a golden throne and is greeted by the people. Music is played the court musicians.

Jambu savari where the elephant carries the golden houda Image source: wikimedia commons

The Government of Karnataka hosts an exhibition during the months of Dasara, and it traditionally lasts for two months. Performances relative to the culture and history of Karnataka are showcased in front of the palace which is brightly lit during this time. Nearly 250 light bulbs are changed every year, to ensure a smooth progress in the celebrations.

On the last day, a statue of Chamundeshwari is placed in a golden houda and carried by elephants in a procession around the city. Earlier, the king would also sit on an elephant and lead the procession, but recently, only the statue is carried. The houda weighs nearly 750 kg. The elephants that carry this houda are specially trained. They are brought to the palace a few weeks before the festivities begin. Many tableaux representing various parts of Kannada history, and stunt riders take part in the procession. The festival concludes with a torch-lighting ceremony outside the city.

Keywords: Dasara, Mysore, jambu savari, Chamundeshwari temple, Wadeyars


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"Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived."

Malgudi, a small fictional town in South India has been part of the childhood of most Indians. It is an old, shabby, and peaceful town that is unruffled by politics. The stories set in this small town ring the sense of belongingness in the hearts of its readers. The familiar feeling that feels like home resonates with their soul. And teaches important life lessons to the readers through simple tales. Malgudi Days is one of the books that every Indian child should read. The book is a compilation of 32 short stories that paint a beautiful picture of small-town in India around the '60s and '70s

R. K. Narayan, one of the most well-known and popular writers within India and outside India is the creator of this town and the occurrences of this town. The stories follow the characters Swami and his friends through their everyday lives. Be it the story of fake astrologers who scam and loot the people by his cleverness, or the story of a blind beggar and his dog where the money blinded the man with greed; each story has a lesson to learn, morals and values hidden in it. As the stories are simple, easy to understand yet heart-touching it makes it easy for the kids to connect with each character and imagine the story as if the reader themselves were the protagonist of the story. In simple words, we can say that R.K. Narayan simply told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.

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Hugs, caress scenes, extramarital affairs, vulgar and bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couples are being glamourised in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society," PEMRA stated

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has directed Pak TV channels to stop airing what it calls indecency and intimacy in dramas, Samaa TV reported.

A notification issued by the authority states that it has been receiving numerous complaints from viewers who believe that the content being depicted in dramas does not represent the "true picture of Pakistani society".

"PEMRA finally got something right: Intimacy and affection between married couples isn't 'true depiction of Pakistani society and must not be 'glamourized'. Our 'culture' is control, abuse, and violence, which we must jealously guard against the imposition of such alien values," said Reema Omer, Legal Advisor, South Asia, International Commission of Jurists.

"Hugs, caress scenes, extramarital affairs, vulgar and bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couples are being glamourized in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society," PEMRA stated, as per the report.

The authority added that it has directed channels time and again to review content with "indecent dressing, controversial and objectionable plots, bed scenes and unnecessary detailing of events".

Most complaints received by the PEMRA Call Centre during September concern drama serial "Juda Huay Kuch is Tarah", which created quite a storm on social media for showing an unwitting married couple as foster siblings in a teaser for an upcoming episode. However, it only turned out to be a family scheme after the full episode aired, but by that time criticism had mounted on HUM TV for using the themes of incest to drive the plot, the report said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Pakistan, Islam, Serials, Dramas, Culture, Teachings.