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Jayati Bhasin is a graduate in Humanities from the esteemed University of Delhi, and has been involved in the process of reading and writing since a very long time. She is a fan of the moon, paperback books, mountains, sunflowers, handwritten letters, music, history, language, feelings, and everything old.
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Renowned feminist activist, author, and a face of the women's rights movement in India, Kamla Bhasin, passed away today morning at the age of 74.
The news of the same was shared by activist Kavita Srivastava on Twitter. The tweet said, "Kamla Bhasin, our dear friend, passed away around 3am today 25th Sept. This is a big setback for the women's movement in India and the South Asian region. She celebrated life whatever the adversity. Kamla you will always live in our hearts. In Sisterhood, which is in deep grief."
Bhasin, since the 1970s, has been an advocate of women's movement not just in India but other South Asian countries as well. In fact, in 2002, she founded a feminist network named as 'Sangat', which only motive was to work with underprivileged women from rural and tribal communities, often by using non-literary tools like plays, songs, and art.
Having a Master's degree in literature, Bhasin has written many books on gender theory and feminism, and interestingly, many of them have been translated into more than 30 languages. Another quick fact revolving around Bhasin is that the chant of 'Azadi', which is often heard at protests and rallies, was first popularised by her as feminist slogan against patriarchy.
Bhasin was awarded with the "Laadli Life Time Achievement Award" in the year 2017 for her commendable work.
Keywords: Kamla Bhasin, Feminism, India, Patriarchy, Literature, Feminist, Women, Rights
It is true that street performances has been existing in India since ancient times. But, it was Philip Astley who brought the concept of circus in India in the 1880s. Interestingly, Astley is known as the father of modern circus.
Birth of the Great Indian Circus
In 1879, the Royal Italian Circus by Giuseppe Chiarini came to India. Before any of his shows, he would often say that India did not have a proper circus, and apparently, the country would have to wait for many years in order to develop the "circus trend".
Once, Balasahib Patwardhan, who was the king of the Kurundwad state of Sangli (today's Kolhapur) went to watch the circus. He was accompanied by Vishnupant Chatre, who was the keeper of his stable and also a riding master at the stables. As it was ritual, before starting with any performance, Chiarini used to challenge the audience by saying, "a thousand British Indian rupees and a horse would be given to anyone who would repeat his daring effects within six months". Interestingly, this time, the challenge was accepted by Chatre, and he announced that he will perform the same in Kurundwad within three months. And if he fails, he promised Chiarini that he would return "ten thousand British Indian rupees and top ten horses. On March 20, 1880, Chatre came to perform his circus at the Kurundwad Palace Grounds. But Chiarini did not come to see it.
Soon after this, Vishnupant Chatre bought most of the circus equipment from Chiarini, and within a year, he formed a new circus company called the "Great Indian Circus". This is referred to as the first circus company in India. Chatre's Great Indian Circus toured various parts of India and the world. Later on, Chatre merged his circus company with his cousin's company to launch a new company by the name of "Karlekar Grand Circus".
Other Famous Circuses of India
After the coming of Karlekar Grand Circus, many circuses came into being in India. In 1904, the Malabar Grand Circus, which was the first circus company in Kerala came into being under the leadership of Pariyali Kannan. Another circus named the Great Royal Circus was started in 1909. Though, its previous name was Madhuskar's Circus. One of the famous circuses of India was also the Grand Bombay Circus which was founded in the year 1920 by Baburao Kadam. Since a long time, tradition of circus as an art has been prevalent in India, though slight decline in its practice is evident now.
Keywords: India, Circus, Tradition, Art, Performance, Great Indian Circus, Philip Astley, Culture
Khadi fabric, which is also known as khaddar fabric, is a hand woven natural fibre made with cotton. There are other variations of Khadi fabric, too, which includes silk and wool. Historically, Khadi fabric originated during the time of Mahatma Gandhi when he led the Swadeshi Movement in 1905. In appearance, this fabric has a rugged texture and feels very comfortable when worn during winter season and also makes one feel fresh when worn during summer season.
History of Khadi in India
The first Khadi fabric was made in India when the Boycott Movement began. As a part of the Swadeshi Movement, all foreign goods were banned in India. Gandhi Ji, who led this movement, was of the belief that more than sales, this handwoven Khadi fabric would bring better changes to the daily lives of people. At the same time, he also encouraged people to weave their own yarn and wear it with pride in order to establish and maintain the heritage of the country. Later on, in 1925, All India Spinners Association officially launched Khadi fabric. Since then, advanced weaving techniques have emerged and they continue to flourish even after independence.
Khadi in the Twenty-First Century
Now, with advance and dynamic techniques, Khadi fabric has become widely available, and that, too in multiple variations. With handworks like Kantha and Block Print, this fabric captivates beauty with its subtle weaves. Earlier when Khadi fabric was only limited to Nehru Jacket, now it is widely available in the form of shirt, trousers, dresses, sarees, coats, etc. Though, it's a bit sad to see how modern machinery has taken over the traditional hand-making Khadi procedure. But, it is good to see how people are widely advocating Khadi, which is also advocating India and it's culture!
Interestingly, every year Khadi Day is celebrated on 19th September. At the same time, as per the Indian Flag Code, only Khadi fabric is acceptable to create the Indian flag. And, if it's made with any other material, then there's imprisonment of three years and also a fine punishable by the law.
Keywords: Khadi, Mahatma Gandhi, Swadeshi Movement, India, British, Independence
Sabrimala Temple is a famous Hindu temple situated on a hilltop in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. The temple is surrounded by almost eighteen hills in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, one of the well-known reserves of India. The temple is said to be dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is the God of growth. From all around the world, the temple attracts Hindu pilgrims in the days of Mandalapooja in November-December, Makara Sankranti on January 14, Maha Vishuva Sankranti on April 14, and the first five days of each Malayalam month.
Origin of Sabrimala Temple
The temple is said to be of ancient origin. In fact, for almost three centuries, reaching Sabrimala temple was almost impossible because there was no way. But, then in the 12th century, a prince of the Pandalam Dynasty named, Manikandan, rediscovered the original path to reach Sabarimala Temple. Interestingly, this Prince is considered an Avatar of Lord Ayyappa. It is also believed that Prince Manikandan meditated at Sabarimala Temple and became one with the most divine.
Beliefs Followed in the Sabrimala Temple
It is believed that the pilgrims have to observe celibacy for forty-one days before going to Sabrimala Temple. At the same time, they are also required to follow a strict Lacto-vegetarian diet, refrain from consuming alcohol, let their hairs and nails grow and not cut them. Apart from doing all this, the pilgrims are also required to bathe twice a day and visit local temples daily before en routing to Sabrimala Temple. Once the pilgrims have reached Sabrimala Temple, they only wear black or blue clothes and do not shave until the completion of their pilgrimage. Also, all the pilgrims smear vibhuti or sandal paste on their foreheads.
Entrance of Women in the Sabrimala Temple
For centuries, there has been a strict ban on the entrance of women in the premises of Sabrimala Temple. This is because it is believed that Lord Ayyappa, who is the main deity, was celibate. In fact, in 1991, the Kerala High Court restricted entry of women above the age of 10 and below the age of 50 saying that this is the menstruating age. But, in 2018, the Supreme Court lifted the ban saying that discrimination against women on any grounds, even religious is unconstitutional. To this, the head priest of Sabrimala temple showed his disappointment. Moreover, this took a political turn when Shiv Sena, a political party of India, warned of "mass suicides" if women set foot inside the Sabarimala temple. Following this, protests intensified near the date of opening gates for women as hundreds of women devotees set their way to reach the temple.
Keywords: Sabrimala Temple, Shiv Sena, Supreme Court of India, Beliefs, Women, Hindu Temple