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The last of the kings of Srirangapatna, Tipu Sultan fought like a Tiger against British Imperialism in the 18th century. He succumbed to the East India Company's power in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, and is survived by the immense architecture and legacy that dots Mysore in places today. He was succeeded by the Wodeyars of Mysore, who currently inhabit the Mysore Palace.
Tipu's summer palace in Srirangapatna is a well-crafted example of Indo-Islamic architecture. The walls are carved from teak wood, and lined with gold, silver, and precious stones. It houses the remains of the dynasty that Hyder Ali, Tipu's father, established in the princely state. Coins, artillery, clothes, and paintings are displayed in the ground floor of the palace, while the first floor is reserved for the view of the gardens from the pristine balconies.
The balconies of the summer palace overlook the stunning gardens Image source: wikimediawikimedia
The weapons that Tipu's army used in the Anglo-Mysore wars were sourced from the French, with whom Tipu Sultan was affiliated. His treaty with Napolean Bonaparte aided him immensely in protecting his authority over the state of Mysore. But the British managed to outsmart his efforts. The large wooden cannon that stands the end of the museum is perhaps the only surviving artifact of Tipu's army.
Outside the summer palace, elaborate, expansive gardens are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Back in the day, Mysore was known for its climate and natural beauty. Near the palace stands Ranganathittu bird sanctuary which is considered a paradise for thousands of bird species that migrate here every year to breed. It sits near the banks of the Cauvery River sangam.
The wooden walls are decorated with elaborate motifs and designswikimedia
After Tipu's death, the palace was briefly used by the British Administration as its Secretariat. Later on, it was converted into a museum which is open to the public every day between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm. Tipu's fort in Bangalore is sometimes confused with his summer palace owing to its large size, but it is only the fort that protected against invasion into the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore. Between the bordering hills and the state of Mysore, there is a place called Tipu's drop, where it is believed he used to drop the criminals from a great height, or hang them off a metal rack. It is believed that he himself died on the roadside, owing to injuries from battle. The most famous painting of his bravery is the Storming of Seringapatnam (Old name of Srirangapatna) which is displayed in the darbar (court) room of the summer palace.
Keywords: Tipu Sultan, Kingdom of Mysore, Srirangapatna, Summer Palace
One day Jamsetji took a foreign friend of his for dinner at one of the few tolerable hotels that existed in Mumbai, then known as Bombay. The doorman promptly held the door open for the foreigner but refrained Jamsetji from entering the hotel. He told Jamsetji that his guest was welcome but regrettably he was not. The hotel was "FOR EUROPEANS ONLY". Jamsetji was dumbstruck and later found out that all the existing tolerable hotels in Bombay catered primarily to the English, a few even banned Indians completely. That evening Jamsetji decided that he would build a hotel that would be the pride of India and would attract travellers from all over the globe to Bombay.
Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata was an Indian pioneer industrialist, who founded the Tata Group, India's biggest conglomerate company. He established the city of Jamshedpur, which is the first planned industrial city of India. He is widely regarded as the legendary "Father of Indian Industry". It is said that the first prime minister of free India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru referred to Tata as a One-Man Planning Commission.
A century later The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel still stands tall like the much grander Statue of Liberty. Photo by AaDil on Unsplash
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel stands tall overlooking the ever populous Bombay harbour. On the waterfront, to the left of the Taj, stands the magnificent Gateway of India. The grand entrance was erected to commemorate the landing of King George Ⅴ, who in 1911 came to visit India. He was the first and the last British monarch to do so. The harbour is dotted with a slew of launches and a barrage of ships are ever waiting to dock in. In the distance, on the mainland, warped in the shadow of the hills, burns the bright flame of an oil refinery. When in 1900, Jamsetji first conceived the idea of building a hotel, neither the Gateway of India nor the refinery existed.
It is said that Jamestiji himself toured Europe in 1902. In spite of having a weak heart, he walked the streets of Dusseldorf and other European countries to make first-hand purchases of soda and ice-making machinery, a laundry, elevator and electric generators. The hotel then boasted to have a Turkish bath, a post office, a chemist's shop and a resident doctor on call 24/7 to attend sickly guests.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel stands tall overlooking the ever populous Bombay harbour.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel commenced operations on the 16th December 1903 and had only seventeen guests during its inaugural day. It was the first public building in Bombay to be lit by electric lamps. The lamps used to be lit as dusk time fell over the city. The ritual was so popular that every evening an awestruck crowd used to gather outside the Taj, just to be mesmerized by its glittering facade.
A century later The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel still stands tall like the much grander Statue of Liberty, which invites the tired and the homeless from all over the world to the New World. Looking at The Taj invokes bittersweet memories in the minds of the natives. On one end The Taj is seen as a symbol of pride and prestige of the city and likewise the country too but on the other end, it is marred by the history of a bloody terror attack. The Taj doesn't have any visible tell-a-tale signs of the terror attack but the rattling sound of the automatic gunfire of the AK-47's still echoes in its wide spacious corridors.
Keywords: Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Jamestji Tata, Gateway of India.
By Renata Nathania
Writers and literary figures who put more than just words and stories into literature are recognized and immortalised through laurels, which live on after them, passing from one generation to another, becoming parts of history. Every year, poets, authors, and eminent writers who have contributed to literature and language are chosen for the Bharatiya Jnanpith Award. Considered the most prestigious recognition of talent and intellect in the field of literature, the Jnanpith award propels its winners into a class of creative individuals who signal change.
In 1904, for the first time, the Kannada language was recognized as a field of literature within which resided such writers, when Kuvempu won the Jnanpith award for his work on the Ramayana. Sri Ramayana Darshanam, written across nine years is Kuvempu's take on the epic by Valmiki. It is a poet's vision of how humans evolve solely by cosmic intervention. Kuvempu, who is regarded as a pioneer of Kannada poetry, through this work, hailed a new era of Kannada poetry, and greatly added to its linguistic and cultural value.
Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre was the second poet who was awarded the Jnanpith, nearly 60 years later. He brought about a renaissance in the literature of North Karnataka with his work Naaku Tanti (Four Strings). His writings reflected a complexity of adversity and great joy. He was sent to prison for three years owing to the controversial nature of his poem Narabali (Human Sacrifice). He translated the suffering of this period of his life into poetry that stands out for its inspiration and philosophy.
Shivaram Karanth was awarded the Jnanpith in 1978 for his work in the literary movement Navodaya. He was a man who was well-versed in all spheres of knowledge. Having written many encyclopedias, he was known as "Bhargava of the Coast", or "Mobile Encyclopedia". His poems and novels are regarded as modernist, as they are experimental and do not compromise in any way, on the truth he wants to convey. He is also regarded as the "Tagore of Modern India".
Chikaveera Rajendra by Masti Venkatesha Iyengar won the 1983 Jnanpith award. Masti (meaning "treasure") was called so because of how eloquent his poetry was. He initially began writing in English, and then switched to Kannada. He served as a civil servant for 26 years which influenced his writing. He was even honoured by the then Wadeyar ruler of Mysore in for excellence in Kannada literature. His highly academic writing is said to be challenging to the reader, fraught with intellectual complexity.
Masti Venkatesha Iyengarwikimedia
Inspired by Bendre's works, Vinayaka Krishna Gokak's writing career took off on a very intellectual note. He had served in multiple academic capacities at various stages of his life, but his literary stint began when Bendre commented on his proficiency in English and how much it would benefit Kannada literature if he channeled it there. Since then, Gokak began writing in Kannada, and won the Jnanpith in 1990 for his epic Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi.
A pioneer in the Navya Kannada movement, U. R. Anantha Murthy won the Jnanpith award in 1994. His works are renowned internationally for their unique style. He writes from the psychological perspective of his protagonists, posing important social questions as he unravels his stories. Towards the end of his life, he contested the elections for the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha which were unsuccessful. Since his work in Kannada has been translated in many other languages, his contribution extends to other cultures as well.
Girish Karnad's works are celebrated in Kannada literature, and he is remembered for being a stalwart in the realms of theatre and writing. He largely wrote mythical adaptations from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, adding his flavor of social conflict, and modernity. Hayavadhana has been translated widely in many European languages. Karnad was a polymath, eloquent in many languages. His lengthy film career and directorial tenure for many films stand testament to his love for language. He was awarded the Jnanpith Award in 1988.
In 2010, the Jnanpith award was conferred on Chandrashekhara Kadambara, for his contribution to Kannada theatre and poetry. Like Bendre, Anantha Murthy, and Gokak, Kadambara blends modernity into myth, and uses the north Kannada dialect to do so. His plays are a mixture of folk and modern forms. He has made significant contributions to Kannada literature through his service in the Karnataka Legislative Council.
Keywords: Jnanpith, Kannada, Writing, Language
By Renata Nathania
From the snow-covered Himalayas, to the three waterbodies in the south, Tagore's vision of India was wholesome, in his rendition of Jana Gana Mana. It is not just an anthem that is esteemed by every Indian, but a complete map of what India stands for as a nation, and as a people. On Independence Day, and Republic Day, the national anthem pierces the skies across the country, as India's citizens raise their voices, and sing, chests bursting with pride, and voices echoing the years of love and loyalty.
Tagore visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing in May 1924wikimedia
Rabindra Nath Tagore, India's poet, artist, composer, philosopher, Nobel laureate, and social reformer, hailed the era of Contextual Modernism in India, through his works. His ideas represent the divine through nature and metaphors. The National Anthem of India is one such instance, where he weaves together the cultural, religious, and geographical heritage of the country. The anthem begins with a description of the mountains, rivers, and the states of India.
Tagore, very interestingly, provides a map of India that circles in the anticlockwise direction, from north to south, and back to the north. He says that these regions come together to seek the blessings of the Bharata Bhagya Vidhaata, or the Dispenser (Creator) of India's Destiny. The lesser-known stanzas of the anthem detail the religious and traditional richness of India. The practice of pilgrimages, and the motherly image of the country, along with descriptions of revolutions guided by the sound of a conch shell, weave the idea of an all-inclusive, nationalistic, and nurturing country.
RabindraNath Tagore at iowa university.wikimedia
As one sings the anthem, it is inevitable to recreate mental pictures of what the freedom struggle might have looked and felt like. The music is metered to the point where at each crescendo, with every drum roll, one cannot help but feel proud of being an Indian. It is believed that at the time the anthem was written, in 1911, it was to hail the arrival of King George V, the new Emperor of India, who is referred to as the Dispenser of India's Destiny. But Tagore, himself, has refuted this claim, stating that no George could ever be the Lord of Destiny for India.
When the Constituent Assembly adopted our National Anthem at the earlier reckoning of Subhash Chandra Bose, the last line, "Jai Hind" was employed as the national slogan. This year marks the 75th year of Independent India. Tagore's India has been left, as our country has advanced into new realms of scientific thought, technological initiative, political discourse and global distinction.
The singing of the national anthem does not elicit feelings of victory against the British regime anymore, rather, it serves as a reminder of the journey from the past, to resolve once more to become a part of a magnificent Indian history.