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Tales for a Home: Speak Tibet to live Tibet (Part 3)

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By Sagar Sethi

Mujhe Indian citizenship nahi chahiye’ (I do not want an Indian citizenship).

Agar mein le loonga, toh mein Indian ban gaya. Mera baccha hoga aur aise aise hi Tibet –ka culture khatam ho jayega’ (Once I take it (Indian Citizenship), I will become an Indian. I will have kids, and they will someday take it too; and that is how the Tibetan culture would fade!).

Tsering Phuntsok has been residing in Majnu ka Tila for the last thirty nine years. Well versed in speaking the old Tibetan language, it seems his birth in India did not impinge on his cultural rearing.

Tenzin Kalden
Tenzin Kalden at a restaurant in MKT

He did express hope to see his home in Tibet, but not with much optimism, as he tells us, ‘Koi guarantee nahi hai. Humaara generation mein toh mushkil hai’ (There is no assurance. In my lifetime, a free Tibet is almost impossible).

Then why fear? Become a citizen of India, and live Tibet style.

Tenzin’s father journeyed to India more than fifty years ago; for religious reasons and settled down in Majnu ka Tila. This nineteen year old Tibetan refugee reveals how aloof he feels from his motherland – ‘I don’t want to see Tibet, as only the Han Chinese live there,’ says Tenzin.

Also born in India, Tenzin has been groomed within a westernised India; a diversely religious, caste-ridden society that interacts constantly with the ideals and notions of western modernisation and models of development.

He tells us how he can’t speak the Tibetan language, unlike his father. Instead he is well versed in English, and pursues a career in film making. He even prefers eating his chow with a fork, not with chopsticks!

There are many others like Tenzin in Majnu ka Tila. We don’t know how far Tibet’s culture has already faded.

Tenzin’s isolation from Tibet’s culture Andrew Martin Fischer writes in his The Disempowered Development of Tibet in China– derives mostly from the fact that he cannot speak the Tibetan language. Is linguistic unity the only hope?

Tsering Phuntsok (on the right) with his friend Tempa (1)
Tsering Phuntsok (on the right) with his friend Tempa

In his ‘Preserving a Heritage Facing Threat of Extinction’, Geshe Lhakdor writes, “Today we can proudly say that the entire Tibetan culture in its authentic form is available in exile.”

The significance of preserving this ‘rich, compassionate and non-violent’ Tibetan culture, he further writes, becomes even more significant in this “conflict ridden world, where people pay more importance primarily to financial power and military might.”

“They bring in big weapons and tanks…special air forces. We are Buddhist monks, we have no weapon, and we have no military. Only Buddhist texts, that’s all.” (Cited from the video below)

 

For more, read:

Tales for a home: Tibet towards freedom (Part 1)
Tales for a Home: Tibet marches from exile to extinction? (Part 2)

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Showing Support to The Chanderi weavers Amid Lockdown

In tough times, it is difficult for weavers to sell their products, showcasing their work online can be immensely helpful

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Chanderi weavers
Lending support to Chanderi weavers in these times becomes immensely important. IANS

In tough times, it is difficult for weavers to sell their products and sustain their craft during these difficult times. Showcasing their work online can be immensely helpful. One needs understand that the lockdown has had a severe impact on artisans as it has severely affected their sales and production.

“With artisans and weavers having been hit badly because of the lockdown, Weaverstory a specialised online marketplace, has decided to give reasonable prices, so that customers can buy different products from across India and abroad too. This is helping the weavers sell their products to sustain during these difficult times. Every artisan or weaver is given a separate space to exhibit their products and this is the first time they are trying something like this,” said Nishant Malhotra co-founder of Weaverstory.

WeaverStory launched an “Authentic Chanderi Collection” which helps artisans to become self-reliant. Chanderi, from central India is one of the best-known handloom clusters, particularly famous for its sarees, made with a mix of silk and cotton.

weavers
India is one of the best-known handloom clusters, particularly famous for its sarees, made with a mix of silk and cotton. Pixabay

“Most of them sustain themselves only by selling their products and what is really important is to sell their products on time. Hence, this is the only way to sell whatever they have produced in the past two months. We ensure that the money goes to the artisan’s account within three working days and provide financial support to them during the lockdown,” Malhotra added.

The chanderi saree is a handwoven variety from the traditional weavers of Madhya Pradesh. Woven predominantly in cotton and silk yarn, the material has a subtle sheer surface. The assortment has in store the variety of sarees, dupattas, suits in vibrant colours, royal blues, and red and mustards.

Also Read: Yoga: A scared gift, with Love from Hinduism and India to the World

There have been changes in the methodologies, equipment and even the compositions of yarns over the years, but there is a heritage attached with the skill associated with high quality weaving and products. The weavers from this area a have even received appreciation and royal patronage. WeaverStory has been focussing predominantly on the weaves, reviving designs from museums and traditional forms, and working with weavers themselves. (IANS)

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Author Maria Wirth Shares Her Opinions on The Idea of Hinduism

Author Maria Wirth speaks on Religion, Indian Culture, etc

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Maria Wirth
A picture of Author Maria Wirth. Facebook

By Muskan Bhantagar

Author Maria Wirth belongs to Germany and has been living in India from past 38 years.  She is the author of the book ‘Thank You India: A German Woman’s Journey to the Wisdom of Yoga’. Newsgram gets in a conversation with her over a telephonic interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Muskan Bhantagar: 38 years back when you came to visit india, what was the thing about indian culture or precisely hinduism that made you fall in love with it and stay back in India?

Maria Wirth: Actually, it was not too much India that attracted me. When I was in Germany still i had many questions like i was very much intrested in what is life and what is the meaning of life and I was reading on Buddhism at a time and I was not connecting Buddhism to India strangely, and i knew very little about India. So a friend convinced me to stop over in India and only when i bought a book by Swami Vivekananda, i discovered what great treasure is in India. I had no idea, anything about what Hinduism is about. it’s just what you hear usually in the west, is about caste systems,etc. So I didn’t associate India with anything positive actually and then by chance, I discovered there’s such a great treasure here and it is such a pity that we don’t know about it.

Maria
Maria recalls how initially she could not relate India with anything positive. Pixabay

Muskan Bhantagar: As we read in your articles that Islam and christianity have been promoting and propogating their religion for years now, but the hindus don’t do so. What do you think can be the reason behind this? 

Maria Wirth: Well I think, I was just writing an article I mean when you think how much Hindus have suffered over the last thousand years. So many were beheaded and tortured under the Muslims and then again under the British also. British were also very very brutual, especially after 1857 and etc. And hindus had no way to stand up for their religion. And I think this has gone very deep into the system of Hindus.

And then ofcourse after Independence, this secular education and even Hinduism is now put down even more than earlier. Earlier, education was not so under the Muslims, they had to lie low but they could still have gurukuls and their schools but not now.

So I think one reason is that you have been intimidated so much and also expect so much and like Arun Shourie, in his book he writes that 6th standard students learn in school, etc in Bengal that Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treat the human beings with dignity and equality. I mean such sentences. When you’re a child, it goes into you and then you just look down on it. And I think slowly slowly, even parents of these children say they have been brought up already like this.

Maria
Maria says that Hindus were previously tortured under the Islamic Community. Pixabay

Muskan Bhantagar: A large number of Indians are unaware about their own culture and heritage. What do you think can be a solution to this problem?

Maria Wirth: I mean it should get also in the schools. I was so shocked when I came to know that nothing is taught in Indian schools. Neither Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishad. Upanishad is philosophy, there is nothing to do with religion. It was very insidious that the British kind of bend or this stuff from being taught, because it doesn’t help them because it would make people strong. They wanted to destroy Indian sanskriti, Indian culture because it has lot of strength. Now like the young generation in India, they were brain-washed into believing that Hinduism is not worth anything. It’s so wrong, so wrong.

Author Maria Wirth spoke to us over various topics. We’re thankful to her for taking out time to talk to us and share her wise opinions. We hope to get more of her soon and help viewers know her better.

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The COVID-19 Impact Might Not Be All Bad For Indian Weddings

COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that all businesses associated with weddings are going to suffer

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Wedding
Not all is gloom and doom for the Indian wedding scenario. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN                                                                                                            When it comes to Indian weddings, there’s a lot one can say about the wastage, over-the-top expense and outrageously grand exhibits that people indulge in. With wedding guestlists capped at 50 people, venues and banquet halls in lockdown, and a financial crunch for a majority of the population – the Indian wedding has no option but to downsize, and that may not be a bad thing.

While weddings may be smaller, the grandeur of the Indian wedding will far from pale. The rise of intimate, micro-weddings (though none the less lavish) has the wedding industry believe the ‘big fat Indian wedding’ might have a long wait before it makes an appearance.

Technology is allowing couples to get married and have their family and friends attend their ceremonies over Zoom calls. Over 500 people can attend a celebration in this manner even if they are miles away. Many couples have embraced the concept of intimate weddings after the sudden outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a The Knot Worldwide survey, around 80 percent of Indian couples who were planning to get married between April to August 2020, have chosen to postpone their weddings to the latter half of the year, over cancellations.

What would change?

“Taking safety into consideration, international pre-wedding shoots and destination weddings might take a back-seat depending on how the global scenario changes in the coming months. At present, couples are discussing weddings within their home city. Some are also planning on making road trips to places near their home city,” Ankur Sarawagi, India Country Head, The Knot Worldwide told IANSlife.

Indian weddings
The grandeur of Indian weddings will be pale post lockdown. Pixabay

“75 percent of couples do not plan on reducing their guest list. They will design and segregate their guest lists for separate wedding celebrations. Attention to details also plays a major role in big budgeted marriages. In case there is a dip in the number of guests, we can expect more tailored experiences like customised wedding seating ideas, wedding favours,” he added.

According to a Weddingz. in survey, a majority said that in the next 2-3 months, they would prefer intimate weddings with a smaller guest list.

Post-COVID era will force families and the bride and groom to re-evaluate their plans and priorities. Personalised and more meaningful guest experiences will take precedence. Personalised menus, change in traditional seating arrangement, and decor will all be part of the collective guest experience at any post-pandemic wedding. According to our recent customer survey, most respondents said that they would prefer in-house catering to ensure high-quality standards in procurement and food preparation, notes Sandeep Lodha, CEO, OYO’s Weddingz. in.

“Domestic destinations for weddings will be the norm with limited access or restrictions to international travel in the foreseeable future. Destinations that can be reached by road will be preferred to guarantee the safety and social distancing in a post-pandemic era. Unarguably the spend on destination weddings will be limited owing to limited international options.”

“Weddings will see a definitive shift to the virtual world. Couples and families will look for photographers and videographers that are well-equipped to live-stream events for their friends and family from across the globe. Families will be willing to pay a premium for good service and technology here,” Lodha told IANSlife.

Weddings
Many couples have embraced the concept of intimate weddings after the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. Pixabay

Not all gloom and doom

The COVID-19 “does not necessarily mean that all businesses associated with weddings are going to suffer” and some businesses may boom. With reduced number of guests, the expenditure on banquet halls, fancy decors, large scale food catering, extensive honeymoon travels will go down, but jewellery might not be all that badly hit, Rohan Sharma, Managing Director of RK Jewellers, South Extension-2 told IANSlife.

“Jewellery is an asset that one builds at their wedding and families would now probably spend more on jewellery than anything else. During the lockdown, we have experienced an increase in inquiries for gold jewellery. People have seen that in the time of need, gold is the only stable asset,” Sharma said.

Also Read: Get Through Summer With These Tips For Patients with Cardiac Issues

As and when things return to normalcy, weddings will slowly but surely become the quintessential elaborate gathering as always, planners are certain. Couples will focus on venue sanitization, frequent disinfection of common facilities and hygiene while serving guests, and prefer open, larger venues to ensure social distancing. (IANS)