Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
BY MEGHA SHARMA
The eminent director, Anand Patwardhan, records his journey of picturising his most controversial movie, “Ram Ke Naam” (In The Name Of God), in a recent article. Produced in 1992, the movie is one amongst the trilogy of the director describing the “rise of religious fundamentalism”. First being “Una Mitra Di Yaad Pyaari/ In Memory Of Friends”, second is Ram Ke Naam/ In The Name Of God and the final one is “Pitra, Putra aur Dharmayuddha/Father, Son and Holy War”.
India has long witnessed a communal conflict and the religious sects have never tried to put an end to it. Moreover, the political parties mould the events in ways that would benefit their own agendas. The noted director puts forth the events in his article that paved ways for a long communal riot over the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya. He argues that where on one hand the Hindu community claimed it to be the built at the birthplace of Lord Rama, historians have not found any traces of such a place birth place though they came up with it to be an ancient Buddhist city of Saket.
This whole argument was heated when in 1949 a temple priest, Shastriji, broke out in the Mosque premises and installed an idol of Lord Rama, claiming the Mosque built by Mughal Emperor Babar being a transgressive act. He asserts: “The rationale for this act of destruction and construction was that Babar had supposedly built this mosque after demolishing a temple to Lord Ram that had marked the exact location of Lord Ram’s birth.” The Director worked in a two-member crew consisting of him and his colleague Pervez who passed away before having a look at the final editing.
To answer what could have been the reason of such claim he says: “Today, Ayodhya is full of Ram temples and at least 20 of them claim to be built at the birthplace of Ram. The reason is obvious. Any temple that establishes itself as the birthplace of Ram gets huge donations from its devotees.” His film encompasses the Rath Yatra in 1990 when it reached Bombay, but it has a longish context to it.
Bothe the crew members traced the events that took place in the name of constructing a Temple taking over the Mosque. The Muslim-Hindu trajectory turned out to be such that the place where one was majority the other was an oppressed minority. On October 30, 1990, a mob went to Uttar Pradesh in order to attack the Babri Mosque despite of the swearing that Mulayam Singh Yadav provided of not letting even a bird in. The day became exemplum for later days showcasing what all can be seen in proving one’s religion as superior. An official count of 29 deaths was recorded; however, later hyperbolas of some leaders reported it reaching to a thousand and the bodies being thrown away into the Saryu River.
The filmmaker furthers with his own struggle of telecasting a disputed movie. Even after winning “a national award for Best Investigative Documentary as well as a Filmfare Award for Best documentary”, the movie was regarded anti- Indian by some great personalities. He even had to go through a bias at the television broadcasting at Doordarshan, against which he later had to file a case. After 5 years of contest, he finally was able to make it reach to a larger audience but the reputation of the movie didn’t let it to be a huge success.
Though the court has settled the dispute now by giving spaces to the Temple, the Mosque and the Akhada. However, this never-ending dispute has not been settled. one has to look into the matter to find an impasse to this. The movie exposes the audience to the reality of the situations.
Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her Masters in English and has also done her studies in German Language. Twitter: @meghash06510344
Diwali is arguably one of the most auspicious and celebrated holidays in South Asia. It is celebrated over the span of five days, where the third is considered most important and known as Diwali. During Diwali people come together to light, lamps, and diyas, savour sweet delicacies and pray to the lord. The day has various origin stories with the main them being the victory of good over evil. While the North celebrates the return of Lord Rama and Devi Sita to Ayodhya, the South rejoices in the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over evil Narakasura.
Narakasura- The great mythical demon King
Naraka or Narakasur was the son of Bhudevi (Goddess Earth) and fathered either by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu or Hiranyaksha. He grew to be a powerful demon king and became the legendary progenitor of all three dynasties of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa, and the founding ruler of the legendary Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.
Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.
Narakasura was created, grew up to be strong and powerful but he was not satisfied with it, so he decided that he would worship Lord Brahma. He performed severe penance and was driven by the power of his penance; Lord Brahma appeared before him. Narakasura knew his mother loved him dearly so he asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon that he would only die by the hands of his mother, Bhumidevi. Lord Brahma smile and ultimately granted him the boon.
Narakasura burst out laughing as Lord Brahma vanished. He thought no mother would kill their child so Lord Brahma had made him immortal. Drunk and maddened by his own power Narakasura brought all the kingdoms under his control and targeted Swargalok (Heaven). Even Indra (King of Gods) and demi-gods had to retreat in front of Narakasura. He kidnapped and took 16,000 women from the palaces as prisoners. Troubled by Naraksura's deeds the gods rushed to Lord Vishnu for a solution.
Lord Krishna and Devi Satyabhama were born to kill Narakasura
Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Krishna and Narakasura's mother Bhumidevi took the avatar of Krishna's wife Satyabhama. As Satyabhama, Bhumidevi was unaware of the knowledge of Naraksura being her son. Aditi the mother of all gods approached Satyabhama crying for help with bloodied ears as Narakasura had torn off the glowing earrings from the ears of Aditi.
Satyabhama was furious on gaining the knowledge of Narakasura's atrocities she asked Krishna to fight the demon king while she fights alongside him. Krishna agreed and they attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama.
The furious battle unleashed. Krishna defeated Narakasura's general Mura and came to be known as Murari (the killer of Mura). Narakasura used several divine weapons against Krishna, but Krishna slew all those weapons effortlessly. The demon hurled a shakti towards Krishna, which mildly hurt Krishna and he fell unconscious. Upon this sight Satyabhama was enraged, she furiously pulled out a weapon of her own and hurled it at Narakasura's chest. Anxious Satyabhama turned to her fallen Lord, Krishna got up with a smile and he was completely fine. He was only playing his part. It was Satyabhama who was an incarnation of Bhoomidevi, whose hands were destined to slay Narakasura.
ALSO READ: Choosing Environment-Friendly Diwali
Lord Krishna and Goddess Satyabhama had put an end to the Narakasura's kingdom of evil. As Narakasura lay on his deathbed he realised that Satyabhama was no one but an avatar of his own mother. He requested a boon from his mother, for no one to mourn his death. Instead, he wished for people to celebrate it with light and colours. They freed the 16,000 women who later married Lord Krishna to restore them of their honour in society, retrieved Mother goddess's earrings. This day is celebrated as 'Naraka Chaturdashi' popularly known as Choti Diwali - the day before Diwali as the triumph of good over evil.
Keywords: Diwali festival, goddess Laxmi, demon king, Lord Krishna, Satyabhama, the festival of light, Naraksura, Narak Chaturdashi
For all the great inventions that we have at hand, it is amazing how we keep going back to the safety pin every single time to fix everything. Be it tears in our clothes, to fix our broken things, to clean our teeth and nails when toothpicks are unavailable, to accessorize our clothes, and of course, as an integral part of the Indian saree. Safety pins are a must-have in our homes. But how did they come about at all?
The safety pin was invented at a time when brooches existed. They were used by the Greeks and Romans quite extensively. A man named Walter Hunt picked up a piece of brass and coiled it into the safety pin we know today. He did it just to pay off his debt. He even sold the patent rights of this seemingly insignificant invention just so that his debtors would leave him alone.
Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement in the 70s. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Later, he even invented the sewing needles and a couple of other important inventions but never kept any of the patent rights.
When the punk rock tradition took over in the seventies, safety pins became a fashion rage. They were used as piercings and to patch clothes together. Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement. In some cultures, the safety pins have become symbols of good luck.
Keywords: Safety-pins, Punk Rock, Brass, Accessories, Walter Hunt
In South India, Deepavali marks the end of the monsoon and heralds the start of winter. The festival is usually observed in the weeks following heavy rain, and just before the first cold spell in the peninsula. The light and laughter that comes with the almost week-long celebration are certainly warm to the bones, but there is still a tradition that the South Indians follow to ease their transition from humidity to the cold.
Just before the main festival, the family bathes in sesame oil. This tradition is called 'yellu yennai snaana' in Kannada, or 'ennai kuliyal' in Tamil, which translates to 'sesame oil bath'. The eldest member of the family applies three drops of heated oil on each member's head. They must massage this oil into their hair and body. The oil is allowed to soak in for a while, anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. After this, they must wash with warm water before sunrise.
Women applying oil to the heads of men Photo credit: Indians in Kuwait
In some parts of the peninsula, soap is not used to wash off the oil because it nullifies its effects. Some cultures who do not like the oil to remain in any way on their skin wash it off with shikakai and herbs, which is a paste that is traditionally used as a substitute for soap. Sometimes, the oil is heated with flowers and spices as well and is less sticky than in its pure form.
The purpose of this ritual is to cleanse the body, detoxify it, and produce heat in it. Sesame is a very heaty substance and tends to heat up the body. This heat, or 'usshna' in Kannada, prepares the body to face the sudden cold that comes to the peninsula immediately after Diwali. South India has no smooth transition weather-wise from monsoon to winter. There are a few days of stable, rainless weather, and suddenly the cold winds descend.
In many ways, the celebration of Diwali is centered around preparing for winter, considering the amount of heat and light the rituals consist of – lighting lamps, bursting crackers, and consuming warm treats. Those who practice these rituals earnestly find the shift in seasons and weather quite pleasant.
Keyboards: Sesame Oil Bath, Diwali Ritual, Traditional Sesame Oil Bath