Decorating Goddess Durga

The prominence of the worship of Durga dates back to a time in history that can best be described as the hoary past often considered to be similar in nature to the gradual development of mother and nature worship across the globe. The ornamentation is evolving through the ages. There were mainly two kinds of embellishments or saaj that used to be made then – sholar saaj and daker saaj. But nothing remains forever. Now, Durga idols are decorated with colourful sarees and ornaments. Continue reading Decorating Goddess Durga

World Humanitarian Day | 19 August

Each year, World Humanitarian Day (August 19) focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers. This year, the highlight is on the immediate human cost of the climate crisis by pressuring world leaders to take meaningful climate action for the world’s most vulnerable people. Continue reading World Humanitarian Day | 19 August

Sri Aurobindo | Prophet of Indian Nationalism

Today as we celebrate the 75 years of Independence of India, it’s also the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. The bedrock of the political philosophy of Sri Aurobindo was his concept of spiritual nationalism and the divinity of the motherland. His theory of Spiritual Nationalism is a great synthesis of philosophies of both east and west integrated into one philosophy. His philosophy of Spiritual Nationalism is for the benefit of humanity and not just Indians. He envisaged a new society and a new civilization. Continue reading Sri Aurobindo | Prophet of Indian Nationalism

Bahurupi | Dying Folk Culture of Bengal

A Bahurupi is a street performer, dressed up in various characters in different times and it is considered one of the ancient professions. For most performances, there is a story structured into the persona of the performer himself within his make-up, costume and role. Historically, these bohurupis would dress up as Hindu gods, goddesses, or mythical characters like Ram, Shiva, Kali, and so on and perform in front of Kings and zamindars. My first encounter with a bahurupi happened through one such immensely popular literary work titled Srikanta by ‘Katha shilpi’ Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Continue reading Bahurupi | Dying Folk Culture of Bengal

Hate Speech Isn’t Freedom of Expression

Hate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of principle, hate speech must be confronted at every turn and be tackled in order to prevent armed conflict, crimes and terrorism, end violence against women and other serious violations of human rights, and promote peaceful, inclusive and just societies. Free speech is sacred to any democratic society. Hateful statements, from a legal perspective, can be classified as opinions. However, the sometimes painful bite of unfettered speech leads many to ask two perfectly logical questions: At what cost? And for what pain? Continue reading Hate Speech Isn’t Freedom of Expression

A Musical Evening in Baghdad

Attended a live musical concert performed by the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra at the National Theater in Baghdad, Iraq. The performance of the orchestra was pretty good. The theatre was quite full. The audience enjoyed the live classical music performance with silence and applause at the end. It was a wonderful musical evening. I enjoyed it very much. Continue reading A Musical Evening in Baghdad

Sarna | Grove of Faith in Jharkhand

Groves, which are being worshipped since times immemorial are a cluster of trees where gods, goddesses, spirits are believed to reside. No one really knows for sure when and how humanity embarked on the veneration of trees and groves. The sacred groves are significant spots of biodiversity too are a priceless heritage of our nation that should be preserved for posterity. Continue reading Sarna | Grove of Faith in Jharkhand

Nabapatrika | Unique Ritual of Durga Puja

Nabapatrika was a popular ancient ritual performed by the peasants/farmers worshipping Mother Nature for rich and bountiful harvest. With the popularity of the Durga Puja, this ritual was assimilated in the festivities. This important ritual of Durga Puja is an example of inclusiveness — harmonious synthesis of Vedic and ancient non-Vedic rituals. As we cry for climate change and environment, here is the highest form of regard for the environment where goddess Durga is symbolized by the Banana Plant and the important plants and trees are worshiped for the preservation instead of devastation. Continue reading Nabapatrika | Unique Ritual of Durga Puja

Shops Without Shopkeepers | Mizoram

Hidden from the world’s eye in between Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, and Myanmar, the North Eastern region of India seems detached from the rest of the nation — even on the map. Inside the deep jungles of Mizoram, just two to three hours from the state capital Aizawl, the local Mizo community practices a unique tradition: nghah loh dawr or shops without shopkeepers. The people of Mizoram are true role-models for us to be inspired from. We should all aspire to reach their collective sense of honesty and integrity. Continue reading Shops Without Shopkeepers | Mizoram

Reverse Migration in India | COVID-19

Post COVID-19 lockdowns in India, thousands of daily wage labourers belonging to the unorganised sector have been leaving big cities in droves. They have no other alternative but to return to their villages though their future there is also bleak. Having no public means of transport, many have left on foot to remote places like UP, Bihar, and West Bengal from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, etc. Some have taken rickshaws to reach their destinations. Continue reading Reverse Migration in India | COVID-19