Monday October 23, 2017

Mysuru: The land of demon king Mahishasura

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By Nithin Sridhar

Mysore – the city of palaces is a well-known religious, as well as a tourist destination. It has a rich cultural history and was for a long period ruled by the Royal dynasty of Wodiyars who had made it their capital.

The name of the city ‘Mysuru’ or ‘Mysore’ is actually derived from the name ‘Mahishasurana Ooruu’ which means ‘the city of demon Mahishasura’.

Legend of Mahishasura

Mahishasura was one of the prominent Asura (demon) kings who managed to control all three worlds and oust the Devas/gods from the heavens, according to Hindu mythology. Mahisha means ‘Buffalo’. It is said that he was a shapeshifter as he could take the shape of any animal, especially that of Buffalo or human.

Devi Bhagavata Purana describes how demon Rambha had performed intense austerity in the worship of Agni, the fire god, and in return had got the boon that a powerful son would be born to him, who would conquer all the three worlds. Thus, was born Mahishasura.

Mahishasura then performed austerity to Lord Brahma asking for the boon of immortality. As a fruit for this austerity, Lord Brahma granted him that he could not be slain by any man or animal and only a woman could kill him. Mahishasura, who perceived women as weak, gathered his army and attacked the heaven.

A great battle ensued between the Devas and the Asuras that went on for hundred years, but didn’t see any end. Realizing that they were in no position to defeat Mahishasura and his power was growing with each passing year, the Devas decided to unite the powers of all the Devatas and invoke the Supreme Nirguna Shakti in a female form.

Thus, was born the Great Goddess Chandika, who was the sum total of all energies in the Universe. Seeing her manifest, Mahishasura sent her a marriage proposal, which was calmly rejected by the Great Goddess. Angered by this, Mahishasura sent his army to imprison or slay the Goddess, and they were completely destroyed by the Goddess.

Thereupon, Mahishasura himself attempted to kill the Goddess. He tried to attack her by assuming various forms, like those of buffalo, elephant, and lion. Finally, the Goddess cut his body into two pieces using her chakra and ended the menace of the demon.

A similar story of the slaying of the demon Mahishasura can also be found in Durga Saptashati that appears in Markandeya Purana.

Local beliefs in Mysore

It is believed by the locals that this war between Mahishasura and the Goddess was fought on the top the Chamundi Hill, which is located 13 Kms from Mysore, overlooking the city.

Speaking to NewsGram, BK Sridhara, a retired bank employee, who is staying in Mysore for more than twenty years, said:

“It is widely believed that the war between the Durga and Mahishasura happened for nine days atop the hills, and on the 10th day the demon was slain by Durga.”

He further added that this 10th day is now celebrated as Vijayadashami in the city.

The Goddess Durga, who is called as Chamundeshwari in the city, because she also killed demons Chanda and Munda, is said to have stayed back permanently on the top of the hills for the protection and welfare of the people of the city. It is for this reason, the Goddess is the presiding deity of the Mysore royal family.

As if to corroborate this story from the Puranas, a temple dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari exists on top the hills. The temple is at least 800 years old, and the original shrine is believed to have been built by Hoysala rulers. Later, Vijayanagar rulers, and the Mysore Wodiyar rulers have renovated and maintained the temple for many centuries.

On the outskirts of the Chamundeshwari temple, there is a giant statue of Mahishasura that stands as if symbolically reminding everyone who visits the temple, that a long time ago he was the king who ruled Mysore.

(Photo: www.manymanyimages.com)

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Mysore Fashion Week: Showcase of Crocs with Kanjeevaram Sari, Tribute to Paris Attack Victims

Three-day gala will also feature a collection dedicated to the Paris attack victims as well as one with India's national flower lotus as an inspiration

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Mysore Fashion Week to give tribute to Paris attack victims
A civil service in remembrance of November 2015 Paris attacks victims. Wesern Europe, France, Paris, November 14, 2015. Wikimedia

Mysuru, Sep 15, 2017: Would you wear a pair of Crocs with a traditional Kanjeevaram sari? This new fashion trend and more will be showcased at the fourth edition of the Mysore Fashion Week, which begins here on Friday.

Being held in association with the brand Crocs at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel here, the three-day gala will also feature a collection dedicated to the Paris attack victims as well as one with India’s national flower lotus as an inspiration.

Jayanti Ballal, the event’s Director and also a fashion designer, is excited to showcase her unique collection where the models will flaunt rich Kanjeevaram saris with Crocs footwear.

Also Read: India-UK Year of Culture 2017: Three Indian designers to showcase at the London Fashion Week 

As an ode to the rich cultural heritage of Mysuru, Ballal has come up with a line of designs that will feature heritage jewellery designs created on saris.

As for the event, she says the attempt is always to try and implement something different every time.

“The models walking for the ramp are new faces because we believe in giving opportunities to new people. The only criteria we have when looking for a model is the minimum height which should be 5 ft 7 inches and this year we have a transgender model named Anjali as well,” Ballal told IANS.

Crocs Mysore Fashion Week will have more than 50 models, and 10 of these will be men.

The showstoppers at the extravaganza include actress Chitrangada Singh for Rebecca Dewan, Adah Sharma for Ballal and acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi for Jaheena.

Dewan has worked up creations using chantilly. Her festive pop collection titled ‘belle âme’ is her way to pay tribute to the Paris attack victims.

“Paris has always been a welcoming city for fashion and it should remain so. I started my brand’s journey with chantilly and hence I felt it fitting to feature it in my latest collection. This collection is for the discerning bride who dares to be exceptional, pushes boundaries and values individuality,” said Rebecca.

The event will also feature the works of designers and brands like Vijaylakshmi Silks, Trinetra by Raja Pandit, Krishna Dembla by Ramesh Dembla, Reshma Kunhi, Posh Affair by Roshan and Dinendra, Maanay by Ashok Maanay, Zubhe by Kanchan Sabharwal, Shravan Kumar, Crocs Exclusive Showcase, Asif Merchant, and the grand finale by Archana Kochhar.

It will be a riot of different inspirations ranging from an Indo-western line inspired by the lotus flower, where the silhouettes will be traditional in fusion for the modern woman to a celebration of brides and grooms, clothes reflecting the moods and emotions of humans who are looking for a ray of hope, the classic Gingham (medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn) weave and more.

As for the Crocs showcase, it will have sequinned to embellished styles in bright colours. There will be a variety of comfortable clogs, sneakers, heels and wedges, stylish sandals and slides.

The backstage team for this fashion event is from the Queens Fashion Designing School. An average of 40 students from the institute are going to be a part of the show. (IANS)

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24 years after Converting his Faith to Islam, 52-year-old Sheshadri from Mysore Returns to Hinduism

What was the reason for his conversion from Islam to back to his original religion Hinduism?

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Sheshadri originally belonged to a Brahmin family
(Representative image) Sheshadri originally belonged to a Brahmin family. Wikimedia
  • Sheshadri lost his mother when he was only 2 years old and he also lost his father while he was studying in class 10
  • No one from his community came to help him and to survive he had to take odd jobs at hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru 
  • He adopted Islam religion as he developed a liking for that religion

 Mysore, Karnataka, August 25, 2017:  Sheshadri, an old man from Mysore who is  59 yrs old and earlier belonged to a Brahmin family and Shree Vaishnava Pantha Brahmin community. He later adopted Islam religion. Now, after a long duration of time, Sheshadri and his 20-year-old son Syed Ateek have converted back to Hinduism.

Here’s how a Brahmin man who first converted to Islam and later came back to his own religion- Hinduism:

  • Sheshadri is a resident of Jakkanahalli (a small village which falls in Mandya district) town Shree Ranga Pattana in Karnataka. His profession is that of a lorry driver in Mandya.
  • His father’s name was late B Govindaraju, who was a priest and follower of Ramanujacharya, a Hindu theologian and held a belief in Vishishtadvaita (non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy).
  • His mother’s name was Kamalamma, who was a Shaiva Brahmin and follower of Adi Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta (a type of Hindu philosophy and religious practice, they believe that their soul is not really different from God). 
  • But his parents didn’t have an easy life as they had to leave the town as the community opposed their marriage.

ALSO READ: Tamil Brahmin’s transformation to urban middle class 

  • Sheshadri didn’t have a normal childhood. He lost his mother when he was only 2 years old and he also lost his father while he was studying in class 10.
  • During those tough days no one from his community came to help him, to survive he had to take odd jobs at hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru.
  • In 1993, he started working as a lorry driver with Syed Keezer from Kollegala. At that time, Sheshadri adopted Islam religion as he developed a liking for that religion.
  • Sheshadri married Fahmida, who was a relative of Syed Keezer and with her, he had two sons- Syed Ateek and Syed Siddiq.
  • But even his marriage didn’t last long as Fahmida left Sheshadri 2 years ago because of some conflict and after it, she started living with her parents and took her younger son Syed Siddiq along with her.
  • This event affected him in a huge way, leaving him frustrated and thus he decided to convert back to the religion he originally belonged to that is Hinduism.
  • His elder son Syed Ateeq joined him in conversion and changed his name to Harshal.
  • Sheshadri talked about the reason for conversion from Islam to Hinduism. According to Banglore Mirror report, he said “I embraced Islam and married a Muslim woman due to restrictions from our community. I was always eager to come back to Hinduism. I will now persuade my wife and the other son to convert to Hinduism.”
  • There was a Ghar Waapsi (homecoming) programme held for Sheshadri, conducted by Pramod Mutalik, Sri Ram Sene chief at the Arya Samaj Mandir, Mysore.

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In USA, Texas University looks into the Indian-American Author Raja Rao’s Works to advance their Research on Arts and Humanities

Raja Rao was honored with India's highest award in the field of Literature, the Padma Bhushan Award, in 1969, and also the Padma Vibhushan Award in 2007

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Books by Raja Rao. Image courtesy: Pete Smith
  • Raja Rao, an acclaimed Indian-American author had also received the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award 
  • University of Texas has acquired his works for further research on humanities
  • Rao completed his education in Aligarh Muslim University and later moved to France for specialized studies

Globally acclaimed Indian-American author and philosopher Raja Rao had built quite an exquisite collection of his works over the years in the form of novels, poems, short stories, essays and talks, often departing from the generic western novel theme and mixing a dab of indigenous ways  of assimilating his material. Today, 10 years after he passed away, University of Texas has acquired his works to advance their research on arts and humanities, said a NDTV report.

Raja Rao
A Portrait of Raja Rao. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Raja Rao (1908-2006) is well known for his “The Great Indian Way: A Life of Mahatma Gandhi” (1998), which is about Gandhi’s life in Africa. His other notable works include ‘Kanthapura’ (1938), ‘The Serpent and the Rope'(1960) and ‘The Chessmaster and his Moves’ (1988). Apart from these, his works include a few written in Sanskrit, French and native Kannada.

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Raja Rao's typed manuscript of "The Serpent and the Rope." Image courtesy: Pete Smith
Raja Rao’s typed manuscript of “The Serpent and the Rope.” Image courtesy: Pete Smith

Raja Rao was honored with India’s highest award in the field of Literature, the Padma Bhushan Award, in 1969, and also the Padma Vibhushan Award in 2007. His genius helped him win the prestigious Indian National Academy of Letters’ Sahitya Akademi Award for Literature in 1964 for the philosophical novel ‘The Serpent and the Rope,’ a novel revolving around the breakdown of his marriage.

The Harry Ransom Center is an archive, museum and humanities research center in the University of Texas in Austin, that specializes in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts across Europe and the USA. While praising Rao, the Ransom Center said to NDTV, “It’s a notable acquisition in part because Rao is widely considered to have been one of India’s most noted authors, having received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature and other honours”.

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Raja Rao
Harry Ransom Center. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Raja Rao completed his primary education in the Muslim schools of Aligarh Muslim University and the University of Madras, after which he moved to France to study at University of Montpellier. Rao is known to have researched about Indian influence on Irish literature in his years of study.

Born on 8 November, 1908 in Mysore, Rao breathed his last in 2006 in Austin, Texas.

-written by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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