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“Priyamanasam”, a Sanskrit movie is all set to release this September. It is a 90 minutes movie based on the life of 17th century Keralite poet Unnayi Warrier. The movie is being directed by award winning director, Vinod Mankara.
The movie will depict the hardships and mental turmoil that Warrier faced while he had penned his magnum opus “Nalacharitham“, a Kathakali play.
“A movie in Sanskrit may not create ripples in theatres, may not excite box offices, there may also be difficulty in getting theatres for its release. Still, I have been cherishing an intense desire to do a movie in Sanskrit all these years since I watched G V Iyer’s films” Vinod Mankara told PTI.
Priyamanasam is going to be the first Sanskrit movie in almost two decades and only the third one till date. Previous two movies were made by the legendary director, G.V.Iyer who was known as “Kannada Bheeshma” (Bheeshma of Kannada).
The first Sanskrit movie, released in 1983, was “Adi Shankaracharya” and it won four national awards at the 31st National Film Awards, including Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Audiography.
The movie revolves around the life of Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century Hindu philosopher, reformer and yogi* who consolidated Advaita Vedanta** and reformed Hindu society. The citation of the award says that the award is being given for “its dedication, depth and power and the impressive skill with which it captures the Indian philosophical tradition.”
The second Sanskrit movie, released in 1993, was “Bhagavad Gita.” It premiered at International Film Festival of India, and it also won National Film Award for Best Feature Film.
Meanwhile, a crowd-sourced animation movie is being made in Sanskrit by V. Ravi Shankar, a techie from Bangalore and A.V. Girish, an animator.
The movie will be based on “Punyakoti”, a Kannada folk song that tells the story of a truthful cow named Punyakoti. The movie aims to explore the theme of man-animal conflicts.
These upcoming movies have raised interest among Sanskrit enthusiasts and may well prove to be a blessing for the revival of Sanskrit.
According to 2001 census, only 14,135 people reported Sanskrit as their native language. It is a spoken language only in few villages like Mattur in Karnataka, Kaladi in Kerala, Jhiri in Madhya Pradesh, Ganoda in Rajasthan, and Shyamsundarpur in Odisha.
But, all is not lost yet.
Many organizations like Samskrita Bharati, and Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan are working to teach spoken Sanskrit to common people. Apart from traditional pathshalas (schools), there are many modern universities dedicated to Sanskrit. Post-Independence, around 3000 Sanskrit works have been created.
There is a growing interest among the Indian Diaspora abroad.
In 2010, Uttarakhand had declared Sanskrit as the second official language of the state. It has been reported that a USA committee is providing assistance to various Sanskrit theatre groups in Dehradun. Further, a department dedicated to Sanskrit is present in the state secretariat at Dehradun and many officials are working out various ways in which Sanskrit can be linked to the job market.
Nowadays, urban people are also showing an increased interest in learning Sanskrit. This can be witnessed in the rapidly growing followers of “Sanskrit Appreciation Hour” conducted by UK based Rohini Bakshi on Twitter (#SanskritAppreciationHour).
Therefore, this decade may prove to be a turnaround period for Sanskrit and finally enable it to make a comeback. Only thing that was missing till now was creative interaction between Sanskrit and people.
Initiatives like Priyamanasam and Punyakoti will go a long way in filling this vacuum. They will provide a platform for common people, especially in urban areas, to interact with Sanskrit language and its creative side through audio and video.
These initiatives will further inspire others to produce music and movies in Sanskrit and to sponsor various creative activities like poetry, plays, and books in the language.
In near future, these creative platforms may turn out to be the driving forces behind Sanskrit’s revival.
*Yogi– an accomplished practitioner of Raja Yoga.
** Advaita Vedanta– A non-dualist philosophical school within Hinduism.
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.