Category: the hindu


World Bicycle day

The United Nations has declared June 3rd as International World Bicycle Day, by adopting a resolution on April 12th 2018, during the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly.

https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/four-cyclists-travelling-the-world-with-a-mission/article27371466.ece

https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/dhruv-bogra-on-surviving-some-of-the-worlds-deadliest-terrains/article27372625.ece/photo/2/

Irish best-selling writer, Marian Keyes, on how she survived her spell of poor mental health. And how life changed after it

Helen Walsh, the youngest of Marian Keyes’ fictional Walsh sisters, is a brave, scrappy, wasp-tongued slip of a thing who works as a private investigator, dates a “beautiful Viking” called Artie and is “abnormally, almost psychotically contrary”. She is also highly depressed.

On a Skype call from Ireland, Keyes explains why it was Helen, heroine of her 2012 novel The Mystery of Mercy Close, who had to wrestle the black dog. “People have been asking for a book on Helen, but I didn’t think it was possible,” says the best-selling author, whose books are, “always about women who go through something unpleasant and emerge different”. Therein lay the problem as far as Helen was concerned. “Helen has a core of steel. Nothing frightens her and I couldn’t imagine her heart being broken by a man. So, there had to be something almost outside of her that would be her story.”

Then, by the end of 2009, Keyes encountered crippling depression that lasted almost four years. “When I wrote the book, I was going through my own spell of horrible mental health, and it suddenly seemed right that Helen would be dealing with this, too,” she says. By February 2011, she had hit an all-time low, “an 18-month spell where everything plunged”.
Being Marian

On being a feminist
I am very aware of the power imbalance between men and women. And every book I have written, has addressed it in some way or another. I suppose I was a feminist without knowing that I was one.
On the Walsh family
We are five siblings with big personalities like them. And yes, Mammy Walsh is similar to Mammy Keyes.
On the book she is working on
I have just started a book about three brothers and the women in their lives. They all have secrets, something happens and many of the secrets unravel one evening. Hopefully, it will be received with warmth and people will laugh.
On creating flawed protagonists
I think absolutes can exist only in an unreal world. There are no entirely good people and no entirely bad people. We all do things that clash with our core moral values.
On writing
My writing connects me to people. I feel very lucky to have found what I was meant to do.

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Simply herself

Marian Keyes always loved reading and storytelling, but she never thought she could make a career of it. “Also, I thought because I was Irish, nobody would want to hear my stories. I didn’t think we were interesting enough,” says Keyes, whose soft, lilted voice gives away her Celtic roots.

Instead, she went on to study law and accountancy and take up a series of jobs, none of which gave her much pleasure. Alcohol seemed to, instead, and she soon developed a dependence on it. “I always felt different, like a bit of an outsider. But when I drank, I felt the way normal people feel all the time,” she says.

By 30, she was alcoholic and ended up having to check into rehab, like Rachel Walsh, protagonist of her second novel, Rachel’s Holiday. “I thought it was going to be very glamorous and full of massages and treatments and yoga. Instead, it was overcrowded and I had to peel potatoes,” she laughs.

[5mpmarianbook]

Not just Irish Blarney

It was around this time that she started writing. “I do think the two were connected — I started writing in September 1993 and got sober in 1994,” says Keyes, whose first book, Watermelon, came out in 1995. A dozen or so more novels about other “ordinary women who go through extraordinary stuff”, soon followed. happily-ever-after ending, leaves you feeling all warm and happy.

“It is the way I was brought up, a very Irish thing,” says Keyes. Laughing at something painful, once you get a distance from it, is healing, believes Keyes. It is also a way of knowing how well you have gotten, “when you look back at something terrible and can raise a smile”.

Saved by cake

Keyes says that she tried a number of things including medication, mindfulness and exercise but help came from the strangest of sources: cake. Her book Saved by Cake: Over 80 ways to Bake Yourself Happy, a chatty, colourful recipe book of sorts, also offers glimpses of her struggle with depression and explains how embarking on this new hobby — baking — kept her going. “It is impossible to overstate how important it was; it literally kept me alive,” says Keyes. Weighing butter, sifting flour, mixing things together, working with colour and icing was an exercise in mindfulness, she remembers. “It was the only thing that calmed me back then.”

By 2014, however, the depression went away, just as suddenly as it had come. “The clouds parted and I could feel like I was coming up from a dark, dark place,” she says. She still thinks of it as an illness that both came and left very suddenly. “I never thought I would feel normal again. And that is why I love to tell people — anyone who is in the black hole now — to hang on.”

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She is immeasurably better today, she says, adding, however, that “it is impossible to have come out of something as huge as this and stay the same”. She backs out of stressful situations, for instance, refusing opportunities or cutting back on work and travel if needed. “Earlier, I was always exhausted because I pushed myself. Now, I live my life and have more fun; I see the beauty and happiness in the small things,” says the writer. “My mental health is more important than anything else and I value feeling normal.”

http://www.thehindu.com/society/a-strangeness-in-our-mind-a-bipolar-journalist-asks-what-is-sanity/article20103052.ece

Madness is miserable, yes, but it makes sanity an ideal. Dialogue, I learnt, is more effective a cure than discourse

It is precisely this separation of the personal and the political that further exacerbates the despair of those afflicted by mental health disorders. By reducing internal turmoil to a set of physical symptoms, commentators like Joseph make it harder for patients to exceed their suffering.

Only sanity can help one transform the terror of madness into delight, but sanity, I would argue, can only be found in an embrace of the other. Confinement, when solitary, does not afford levity or reconciliation.

Jonathan Hollander    “India stands out in the world for having eight distinct classical dance forms and hundreds of folk dance forms so the richness of Indian music and dance can never be fully understood or explored. There’s always more material to discover,” he explains. The company has also been conscientious about its work in dance as a means of ‘social cohesion’, most prominently in conflict zones around the world, including Thailand, Iraq, Israel-Palestine and North and South Korea. They are also known for their workshops and programmes that reach out to schools and young talent about the importance of dance. Among the most significant of these programmes is the 20-hour ‘Dancing to Connect’ programme conducted by their dancers in over 62 countries. The company, led by Jonathan, was also instrumental in establishing arts education at the school levels in New York Public schools.

When we undertake a programme like this, it inspires us, makes us love our art form even more because we see that it can do something for people. It can bring joy and reveal capacity to other people that they didn’t know they had.” This stems from their deep concern for the world and the need to understand what they, as dancers can do.

“As a team we contribute a lot. When we do this, we set tasks in motion. Young people like to dance, you are not going to teach somebody to dance in 20 hours, but you can create an environment where they feel free to experiment and innovate.

Languet 

Weight of Joy was devised exploring the title’s seemingly contradictory ideas — weight and burden, paired with lightness and joy. Languet asks, “What is the price to pay for a joyful moment? For there are both pure moments of bliss, and others that can harm people.” He began by “asking each dancer for his/her definition of not happiness, but joy. Then my interest lay in the conditions of emergence of joy, where does it come from”…….Creating ways to enable disabled and non-disabled people to dance together, Languet explains, is about moving away from preconcieved notions of a so-called standard model of movement for a normal body. Instead, he gives “everyone tools to develop their own repertoire of movement. It is about re-assessing what can be beautiful.”

Hakanai  

Hakanaï converges the technology zeitgeist with a cathartic dance to evoke nuances of evanescence.Hakanaï, which is Japanese for ‘fleeting’and ‘delicate,’is described as a “choreography that draws the evanescence of dreams and the impermanence of things.” This emotive digital art and dance was created by Claire Bardainne and Adrien Mondot of the Adrien M et Clair B Company in 2013 after careful formulating with a large team of programmers, scenographers, sound designers and visual artists.

The poetics of the precise

….Neha Lavingia’s small-format works may be described as visual haiku. They speak of the precise, the poetics of the minimal. “In the push, pull and shove of life, how often do we take the time to stand, to stare, to wonder, to feel, to experience?” …….

 

Madhvi Subrahmanian, another Mumbai artist, is known for her larger-than-life ceramics that emulate the human form. They evoke a gamut of textures, shapes and shades, but she has scaled down the size of some her works and those are the ones that fit in perfectly with this show. She continues her exploration of and reflection on the urban environment and its disconnect with nature, as she had done in her recent solo show, ‘Mapping Memory’. ‘Mappa Mundi’ maps the routes of her daily journeys while ‘Dilli’ is constructed with cones as markers of time. Her work titled ‘Blue Print’ juxtaposes the city map with a house, directing attention to the human desire for congregation and dwelling.

The works of the three artists are united by their architectural feel and their quietness. While Minimalism as a movement was primarily dominated by male artists (as was painting itself), in the early 1960s artists like the late Nasreen Mohamedi and New York-based Zarina Hashmi created a space for women artists to experiment with minimalism. Mohamedi’s retrospective at The Met Breuer in New York created waves among the cognoscenti.

The spartan nature of her straight lines and grids said much more than daubs of paint could. Her work unwittingly broke several assumptions about ‘women artists’.

It is generally assumed that women paint decorative canvases and dwell only on feminine subjects. While this might be true of many women artists, several male artists too create decorative and autobiographical works.

Gender does not and should not decide the stylistic domain of any artist. One would be best advised to ignore the gender of the artist and enjoy the art, given that it is a universal language that urges us to uncomplicate our lives and go for the simple.

The reclaiming of public spaces is the running theme at this year’s Urban Lens Festival

He could have raged on about it, but was advised by a confidant to get creative instead. The expression of dissent would then last forever, not just stay relevant for the moment. So Prabh Deep started articulating angst and anguish in his rap songs. He now has a loyal SoundCloud following and revels in the endorsement he has been getting, not just from family and friends but, as he puts it, from his “hood” (neighbourhood) as well.

Music gives meaning to his life, makes him feel alive; the street where he has been living for almost two decades is his anchor and inspiration. And the two passions come together in a song called ‘Delhi 18’ (an ode to his pincode). The defiance reflected in their music stems as much from circumstances and situations as it does from the claustrophobia (physical and psychological) they feel in their homes and lives.

The journey of immigrants in Daphna Awadish’s enchanting Journey Birds is across countries. The unique animation presents individuals as hybrids between human beings and birds, those who have flown far away from their original nests to build homes elsewhere. Four narratives — of Nona, Irene, Abraham and Karen — provide commentary as Awadish explores the aching for a homeland and the curiosity for a new habitat. I still don’t know where I want to be, says one of the immigrants. I can’t say whether I am at home here, says another.

 

Fashion

Sustainable fashion in IndiaSustainable fashion in India

 

Plants …urban jungle and auroville

https://stanflouride.com/2016/11/26/nasa-guide-to-air-filtering-houseplants 

Interesting site about houseplants,greenhouses and interiors – https://www.haarkon.co.uk/explore-blog/

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/heaven-in-the-eyes-of-the-beholder/article19706338.ece
“My biggest inspiration is my life in Auroville,” she says, over a Skype call from the experimental township where she lives and works. The rolling landscapes and unfettered spirit of Auroville are her muse. “Her untamed wilderness often hits my heart. And I always work spontaneously following a mood in my heart.”
Much of her latest collection, “…so many heavens…”, which will open at the Centre d’Arts Citadines, Auroville on September 16, is a paean to Auroville. “We had a bad monsoon last year and lands were starving for water,” she remembers. Her work at that time was dark, “shades of brown and bronze, with pools of blue,” to symbolise “this longing for water”.
Then there would be one shower and in two days, star-like wild jasmines would light up the gritty dryness. “It was glorious; this alternation between seeming death followed by abundance and optimism. And this would make me weep that we are surrounded by so many heavens… each a universe in itself.  “We all carry seeds, many different kinds of seeds,” says Sundaravalli. But like a plant, it needs the right environment to blossom, she smiles.  

Research – http://www.sacar.in/index.php

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, a poet and author who rose from poverty, segregation and the harshest of childhoods to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page, has died. She was 86.

Angelou died on Wednesday morning at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, her son, Guy B. Johnson, said in a statement. The 86-year-old had been a professor of American studies at Wake Forest University since 1982.

“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace,” Mr. Johnson said.

Tall and regal, with a deep, majestic voice, Angelou defied all probability and category, becoming one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and thriving in virtually every artistic medium. The young single mother who performed at strip clubs to earn a living later wrote and recited the most popular presidential inaugural poem in history. The childhood victim of rape wrote a million-selling memoir, befriended Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and performed on stages around the world.

An actress, singer and dancer in the 1950s and 1960s, she broke through as an author in 1970 with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which became standard (and occasionally censored) reading, and was the first of a multipart autobiography that continued through the decades. In 1993, she was a sensation reading her cautiously hopeful On the Pulse of the Morning at former President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. Her confident performance openly delighted Mr. Clinton and made the poem a bestseller, if not a critical favourite. For former President George W. Bush, she read another poem, Amazing Peace, at the 2005 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the White House.

Angelou was a mentor to Oprah Winfrey, whom she befriended when Ms. Winfrey was still a local television reporter, and often appeared on her friend’s talk show program. She mastered several languages and published not just poetry, but advice books, cookbooks and children’s stories. She wrote music, plays and screenplays, received an Emmy nomination for her acting in Roots, and never lost her passion for dance, the art she considered closest to poetry.

“The line of the dancer — If you watch (Mikhail) Baryshnikov and you see that line, that’s what the poet tries for. The poet tries for the line, the balance,” she told The Associated Press in 2008, shortly before her birthday.

After renaming herself Maya Angelou for the stage (“Maya” was a childhood nickname), she toured in ‘Porgy and Bess’ and Jean Genet’s ‘The Blacks’ and danced with Alvin Ailey. She worked as a coordinator for the civil rights group Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and lived for years in Egypt and Ghana, where she met Malcolm X and remained close to him until his assassination, in 1965. Three years later, she was helping King organize the Poor People’s March in Memphis, Tennessee, where the civil rights leader was slain on Angelou’s 40th birthday.

“Every year, on that day, Coretta and I would send each other flowers,” Angelou said of King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006.

Angelou was little known outside the theatrical community until I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which might not have happened if James Baldwin hadn’t persuaded Angelou, still grieving over King’s death, to attend a party at Jules Feiffer’s house. Feiffer was so taken by Angelou that he mentioned her to Random House editor Bob Loomis, who persuaded her to write a book.

Angelou’s memoir was occasionally attacked, for seemingly opposite reasons. In a 1999 essay in Harper’s, author Francine Prose criticized Caged Bird as “manipulative” melodrama. Meanwhile, Angelou’s passages about her rape and teen pregnancy have made it a perennial on the American Library Association’s list of works that draw complaints from parents and educators.

“I thought that it was a mild book. There’s no profanity,” Angelou told the AP. “It speaks about surviving, and it really doesn’t make ogres of many people. I was shocked to find there were people who really wanted it banned, and I still believe people who are against the book have never read the book.”

Angelou appeared on several TV programs, notably the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries Roots. She was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 for her appearance in the play Look Away.

In this November 21, 2008 photo, poet Maya Angelou smiles at an event in Washington. Ms. Angelou, author of

https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/my-picks-from-brainpickings/

https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/still-i-rise-by-maya-angelou/

 Excerpt from the hindu :

Evolutionary mismatch

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” — Socrates.

Darwinian evolution has become outdated and its place is taken by the Lamarckian hypothesis of evolution by environmental compulsions. Darwin himself agreed with Lamarck but the neo-Darwinians, who have a big business interest in keeping the status quo, are at it even now. Even Erasmus was for environmental evolution long before Darwin came into the picture. Most of our pathophysiology of diseases is based on the Darwinian model unfortunately and it has to change for good. Earlier the better.

Daniel E Lieberman is an evolutionary biologist at Harvard. He has written a new book, The Story of the Human Body . I feel this is the right step in the right direction. Unfortunately, medical doctors do not go into evolutionary biology, even if a few of them go into biology. Poor patients have no access to evolutionary biologists. The result is that many of our lifestyle diseases have no clear cause known to the medical world. We are clever people, though. We cloak our ignorance is high-sounding Latin jargon. Words ‘idiopathic’ and the like simply tell us about our colossal ignorance. Even the use of steroids in many of the autoimmune diseases defies logic. They only palliate and the fire is still smouldering under steroid cover. The latter might even make the patient more vulnerable.

The Palaeolithic man is yet to fully evolve to match the much more evolved cultural evolution in the last 200 years. That might take a hundred more years. Thanks to technological advances, life on earth for the so-called civilised man has become vastly different from what it should have been had we just followed the environmental evolution that our ancestors in the Palaeolithic period have achieved. So there is a vast difference between the rate of natural evolution of man and the rapidly evolving cultural evolution that has happened in the society we live in.

One example will suffice. What our ancestors ate and what chimpanzees eat today compared to what we eat in the so-called modern society are poles apart. While most of us have developed a sweet tooth eating lots of sweet foods and refined carbohydrates, our ancestors in the forest were eating very little sweet food. Even today, chimpanzees eat raw food with the best fruit that they eat in the forest being less sweet than carrot! Our need for sweet foods and carbs was necessitated by the demand for more calories to cope with the cultural evolution which has gone much faster than the human body’s evolution.

Lieberman has convincingly showed how many of our killer lifestyle diseases, which might even be called modern diseases like Type II diabetes, many cancers, heart attack, strokes, acid reflux, acne, anxiety, asthma, depression, flat feet, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, lower backpain and osteoporosis have their origins in this evolution-cultural growth mismatch.

Over thousands of years in evolution the human body has acquired a survival mechanism to protect us from our predators. The autonomic nervous system and the RAAS (renin angiotensin aldosterone system) have evolved to keep us alive under stress which is an integral part of life in the hostile environment. These two are useful in any emergency for the fight, flight and fright reaction.

If a man sees a tiger approaching him in the forest he must try to run away. The above mentioned two systems are there to help him run away from the wrath of the angry tiger. Adrenaline and cortisol are the two hormones through which the two systems keep one away from danger. Such a Palaeolithic body today is placed in a very hostile modern society of monetary economy and technologically advanced society where life has got itself transformed into a heartless, cruel rat race.

Our greatest stress today is to acquire mundane things. In that rat race where the world is too much with us we spend most of our energy getting and spending. We have no time to see the good things in nature that give us tranquillity and pleasure. We seem to have sold our soul to the devil. It is a sordid boon. In this rat race we encounter many tigers in life. Our Palaeolithic body produces the same fight-flight response producing adrenaline and cortisol. The latter would be used to run away from the forest tiger in our Palaeolithic age. But the tigers in life today (stresses) do not let you expend the two hormones by running.

The hormones that thus accumulate in the system are the cause of most of the killer diseases. While this is the leading mismatch, there is another equally important mismatch in that our cultural evolution vis-à-vis our biological evolution leaves us today much more sedentary than our ancestors who had to trek miles daily to get their next meal. We hardly move around as the technological comforts have brought everything to our global village. Some of us use our vehicles even to go to the toilet. This compounds the stress hormone damage, causing more grievous injury to our systems.

Although technological advances make life “comfortable,” they do damage our system, causing killer diseases in the bargain. The technological feats add thousands of cancer-producing chemicals to our surroundings adding insult to injury. The bad “Hygiene Hypothesis” or the Germ Theory of disease made all our friends and close relatives, trillions of germs, into our enemies to be destroyed. The antibiotics and antiseptics have started killing us now instead.

Our cultural evolution has been only external without a concurrent internal development to understand the meaning of life on earth and our societal obligations. This self-ignorance leads to more stress in life. Most of us try and change the world to suit our convenience little realising that we should, on the contrary, change ourselves to suit the world to have less stress.

In The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease , Lieberman traces these troubles back to their origins.

This seems to be a more plausible explanation for many of our idiopathic diseases. My own hypothesis of the origin of the many autoimmune diseases has its root in our mind. Whereas every cell in the human body, of which there are more than one hundred trillion in all, loves one another and also the cells of others in the world, our hostility towards fellow human beings confuses our cells. If that mental attitude deepens further into a trait, a time will come when our own cells start hating our other cells, auto-immune disease. I call this the you-me concept.

Let us try and understand human illness in its entirety and try to achieve Whole Person Healing , the future hope for mankind on this planet.

“During moments of strife and ‘dis-ease’, check your flow and redirect your focus to that which is naturally good.” — T.F. Hodge

This article set me on a musing trajectory ……….( I think this wud be a befitting end to this and a gud start for the next – to start striving to take nature as a role model , the lesser the artificial burdens , the easier to be free and sway with the flow like the mighty old tree  – grand yet humbly supple to be swayed by the wind , retaining its  core at the same time – easier  said than done – but worth making a start

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.Albert Camus  

Iconoclast till the end – The Hindu.

………………. carved out a place for himself in the intellectual history of the modern world. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 and became a world icon with a lasting legacy.  Camus left behind an impressive crop of writings comprising fiction, plays, non-fiction, letters and essays that still continue to be read and widely admired. He pioneered a new literary-philosophical movement with a fresh idiom and a remarkable style of narration whose parentage he disowned. He introduced a new world view that was avidly picked up by the members of the counter culture everywhere, encompassing the conscientious objectors to the beat generation. He was inspiration to a whole generation of writers and translators in the postcolonial societies who saw in him and his art an effective antidote to the establishment.

 

Camus broke every stereotype and rule of the game. He survived an early attack of tuberculosis in 1930, and fought under the name of Beauchard (as the novelists George Orwell and André Gide did during the Spanish Civil War) for the underground Resistance in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. He opposed the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and was against the two power blocs during the Cold War. He gave up a lucrative association with the UNESCO in the 1950s for the world body granting membership to Franco’s Spain.

Charismatic and ebullient both in life and letters, Camus led a chequered life. Married twice, he was friend to some of the most illustrious men and women of his times including Jean Paul Sartre. It is with Sartre that he is generally associated for the literary philosophical movement best known as existentialism. In some quarters, Camus is also known as a major exponent of the Absurd Movement in literature and drama. Both claims have a ring of truth, and yet both must be open to necessary caveats.

 

On different occasions, both Camus and Sartre denied their affiliation to existentialism as it has come to mean in the literary-philosophical circles, while Camus shows a qualified and nuanced approach to the notion of the absurd in his literary works. The best treatment of the theme of the absurd in Camus is seen in his iconic works such as L’Etranger (The Outsider), 1942, La Peste (The Plague), 1947, L’Homme Revolte (The Rebel), 1951, the play Caligula, written in 1938 and performed in 1945, and several essays such as ‘Reflections on the Guillotine’ and the collection of essays posthumously published in 1961, entitled Resistance, Rebellion and Death.

 

To put the question simply: How does the individual deal with the sense of meaninglessness and the sense of the absurd in life? In his pivotal work, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus shows that ‘the total absence of hope’ has ‘nothing to do with despair’. It must not be ‘confused with renouncement and a conscious dissatisfaction’. And thus, Meursault, the protagonist of The Outsider who faces imminent execution for manslaughter and is offered the prospect of salvation by the Christian priest in the prison, makes a paradoxical affirmation of life as evidenced towards the end of the novel in Part Two. Similarly, Dr. Rieux in The Plague must serve the citizens of Oran afflicted with the dreaded disease and the ensuing horror. …………….. It is the need for personal responsibility that can finally redeem our life and add meaning to our actions.

 

 

Camus lived as he wrote — on his own terms. An iconoclast till the very end, he saw the need for action in a world beset by horror and the spectre of war. He believed in the need to change the world, but rejected the doctrinaire approach. Camus’ protagonist may have remained an ‘outsider’ to his world, but he remained true to his individual conscience. As Camus wrote in typically Blakean terms: “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t , and die to find that there is.”

 

Prose over verse 

At Shantiniketan, 1932.

The Hindu Archives At Shantiniketan, 1932.

 

 

The year 1913 was important for Rabindranath Tagore. It was the year four important works (including Gitanjali) were published in translation. His output during this period — innovative works in diverse genres (poetry, drama, novel, essays) — invites reflection, as does his contribution to the shaping of the modern Indian literary tradition. Tagore’s poetry has become the dominant lens through which we remember him. The Nobel citation spoke of “his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”, and acknowledged the “consummate skill (by which) he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”

This is why he was appreciated by modernist poets such as Yeats and Pound. But    But many of these poets eventually grew disillusioned with him. Often, they diplomatically blamed the translations. Perhaps it was always a little odd that some of these modernist poets lauded a poet writing in an openly spiritual register in the old lyric mode. Even if the beauty of some of these spiritual ideas could not be denied, this alone does not make great poetry. In poetry, there needs to be a closer marriage of the sound of words and the ideas they carry. The problem is compounded when poems travel between languages.

His prose, however, poses no such problem. And though there were extraordinary achievements in many prose forms (letters, memoir, essays, drama), Tagore’s most comprehensive achievement was, perhaps, his novels.

Tagore wrote around 12 novels, ranging from large, sweeping works such as Gora (1910) to miniature novellas such as Chaturanga (1916, translated as Quartet) and Dui Bon (1933, translated as Two Sisters). His novels span the period of the coming of age of the Indian novelistic tradition, which had its earliest beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century, and reached maturity in the first half of the 20th in almost all the major Indian languages.

The influence of Tagore’s novels is evident in the oeuvre of writers not only in Bengali, but also in languages such as Hindi. Premchand’s correspondence with Jainendra, another great Hindi novelist, is full of admiration (and some competitive envy) for Tagore’s imagination of the feminine voice. The novels are arguably Tagore’s greater legacy. They have too often been sidelined by the immediate beauty of his poems and songs. However, the novels travel further, unencumbered by Tagore’s brand of 19th century Advaitic spiritualism, which is not always intelligible or accessible to contemporary readers

  ………………..the more sublime Tagorean qualities — the facile creation and shifts of mood, the light touch with which he paints a world, the kaleidoscopic quality of his novelistic architecture.

Breaking free of the shackles of lyric spirituality, Tagore emerges a more lithe-limbed, incense-free contemporary novelist, with more concrete, more useful, more modest, and thus ultimately more powerful things to say to us today.

Slow food – Asia

  • Knead the dough. Photo: Shonali Muthalaly
    The Hindu Knead the dough. Photo: Shonali Muthalaly
  • Asia’s first big Slow Food gathering focussed on introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours that will change their perception of food.

 

…………………Namyangju, in South Korea, may have been chosen to host Asia’s first big Slow Food gathering – AsiO Gusto — because of their organisational skills and exhibition space. However, over the six days that the festival runs, drawing more than 5,30,000 visitors, the locals also show the Slow Food movement the simplest way forward: Create a generation that cares about what they eat by introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours.

Slow Food, an international member-supported non-profit organisation, which began in Rome in the 1980s has grown far beyond its original mandate, a simple opposition to fast food. Now this eco-gastronomic movement — once criticised for being Europe-centred and elitist — works with grassroots organisations around the world to fight for food that is “good, clean and fair,” and promote biodiversity.

………………………..“Think of your favourite food. Then think about eating it every day — breakfast, lunch, dinner. We need diversity. We love tasting something new.” Reade suggests that teaching people to appreciate quality food “removes much of the need to learn about sustainability, ecology, nutrition, distribution and food systems.” He adds, “People have to learn to taste. Learn to listen to the components to food. Taste enables you to recognise nutrients and toxins.” We are a generation biased towards sweet and salty flavours, thanks to a lifetime of processed food, layered with sugar, salt and fat. As a result our taste buds are so over-stimulated that we crave exaggerated and familiar flavours constantly. The market responds with dumbed-down food, creating a vicious cycle.

Former lawyer Heliante Heman, who supports Indonesian artisanal ingredients, talks of how her country once had 7,000 types of rice in purple, pink, black and white, all nurtured by indigenous wisdom-based agriculture. Discussing how she brought up her baby on food from her garden, she states, “You don’t need to be rich to bring your baby up on a healthy diet; you just need to be informed.” Then adds, “This is not just poetry… We need to go directly to the communities.  Build alliances and organic organisations. Demonstrate that sustainable agriculture on a small scale has a future. It’s the only way to ensure that everybody has access to food that is good and healthy.”

It’s worthwhile to remember that most farmers don’t eat what they grow for the market, because they know how pesticide-laden crops theirs are, choosing instead to keep a separate organic garden for their families’ food.

A Japanese farmer at the conference talks of how he realised the chemicals were making him sick, and then switched to organic farming, committing to protect and preserve native seeds. Seed-banks like these are an insurance against a future of flat flavours. Which brings us back to the children. Benedict Reade suggests it’s time to focus on educating them. And expanding their palates. “Teach them what a good carrot is. When you taste a carrot from the ground it can be an epiphany. I can tell when it was picked and where it was grown.” Introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours will change their perception of food. “It will change what they like eating,” says Reade, adding, “And what future generations will eat. It will change what’s available in stores. If we have good taste we have a healthy ecology… Because the markets will respond as they always do.”

The new jungle drums

 

CGNetSwara Calling. Photo: Purushottam Thakur

A unique cell phone-based networking system in Chhattisgarh helps Adivasi Gonds share local news and air grievances.

The phone call that Bunkar made is part of a unique cell phone-based social media networking system called CGNetSwara, which operates inside sensitive territory termed ‘Maoist areas’. Set up by former BBC journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, CGNetSwara gives the Adivasi Gonds of central India a voice that reflects their interests, their local news and events.

CGNetSwara’s Bangalore-based server was set up by Bill Thies, a researcher in Microsoft and a self-confessed IT geek whose interest in user-generated technology aligned with Choudhary’s ideas. Using open-source code and a simple desktop computer with a modem, Thies built a piece of software with 10 voice lines that automatically call the caller back and record his or her message. “It’s going to sound very strange for a computer nerd to tell you, however, that technology is not the secret ingredient here,” says Thies. “The secret ingredients are Choudhary’s social contacts and the community itself.”

CGNetSwara now gets up to 400 calls daily. The callers talk about local happenings, a lot of it related to their interaction with government schemes. Bunkar is very happy with CGNetSwara’s sphere of influence. He says that earlier efforts like dharnas in front of the Assembly in Raipur, agitating for land rights for Adivasis, had not worked,

“There is no need for a newsroom”, says Choudhary. “Geography is now history.”

In another instance of the government taking notice of CGNetSwara, Thies talks of CGNetSwara’s recorded reports of malaria cases in the villages. “CGNetSwara had more malaria incidents in a single year than what the government reported in a decade; we even had reports of government health workers dying of malaria”. The Swara reports made the government machinery pay attention to the malaria cases, and the reported figures rose more realistically thereafter.

But CGNetSwara appears to have taken root in tribal Chhattisgarh. Choudhary calls it citizen journalism of a different kind. In an area neglected by mainstream media (unless the news concerns Maoism), there is now a system to get across local Adivasi news to others in the community. CGNetSwara has spread, purely by word of mouth, to Adivasis in the central Gondwana belt in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh — an expanse that Choudhary calls the ‘media dark zone’. “We are trying to create another paradigm in the term ‘development,” he says. “This communication system could well become the ‘Google of the poor’.”   The area’s ‘Maoists’ have taken note, issuing threats to Choudhary, but he feels they are threatened by the concept of self-empowerment that CGNetSwara brings to its users. Bunkar, though, thinks the system works better in areas that are ‘Naxal free’, away from Chhattisgarh’s borders with AP and Jharkhand. He says, “Naxals gather strength from cross-border infiltration.”

Any wonder, then, that CGNetSwara is fast becoming India’s new ‘jungle drums’?

Fridays in France: Six Decadent Places in Bordeaux

The Decadence Project: Bordeaux France

#1:  The Burdigala Hotel

Burdigala Hotel3First, let’s check into the ultra-chic Burdigala Hotel and let the refined elegance of the five-star oasis cover us like a soft cashmere blanket. Feel that? Ahhhh, that’s relaxation at its finest.

hotelEvery inch of the Burdigala is classy and chic, yet comfortable. No pretenses here, just lovely luxury.

Burdigala Hotel2At La Bacchus Bar inside the hotel, the region’s delicious wines are samples and nibbles served.

Burdigala Hotel4Every room, from the “regular” to the opulent suites, are designed to make you feel like you’ve died and gone to Style Heaven. (yes, I said that. Style heaven.)

#2: The Café Opéra

Cafe OperaDo you like your fries with a side of opulence? Then Café Opéra is calling (singing?) your name! Located inside Bordeaux’s famous Grand Opera House, the lovely cafe is perfect to stop in for a quick lunch on the terrace or inside the chandelier-dripping main dining room.

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#3: L’Autre Petit Bois

L'Autre Petit Bois4

L'Autre Petit Bois2…………….wine bars in Bordeaux are like churches in the Bible Belt: plentiful. But L’Autre Petit Bois is a stand-out that will leave you smitten. Not only do they serve a variety of local tastings, but the decor is unmatched. Chandeliers hang among the tree branches, furniture whispers of Baroque-style France and whimsical elements keep things fun and casual. Sip, sip!

#4:  Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux)

bordeaux cathedralII

BordeauxCathedral3Bordeaux features several stunning basilicas and cathedrals, all with their own charm and history, but the Bordeaux Cathedral (also called Saint Andres or St. Andrews) is a must-see. The Romanesque house of worship was originally built back in 1096 and has been continually renovated over the last thousand years. Dramatic interior architecture, including soaring rib-vaulted ceilings and pointed arches, will take your wine-infused breath away.

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#5: Walk the rue Sainte-Catherine

Rue-Sainte-CatherineI don’t know about you, but I love strolling through French streets. No purpose. No agenda. Just seeing what I might see. That means I’d love the rue Sainte-Catherine. Considered the longest street in Europe (1.2 kms!) it is lined with lovely shops, a fountain, a bell tower, and even a cemetery. Explore quickly, explore slowly, but take time to really indulge in all the little secrets that rue Sainte-Catherine wants to share.

#6: Place de la Bourse / Place Royale

Place de la Bourse

place_de_la_bourseAlthough gorgeous during the day, with it’s symmetry and jaw-dropping architecture, Place de la Bourse (Place Royale) is best seen at dusk. That’s when the square, built in the 18th Century in honor of King Louis XV, begins to glisten. As darkness falls, the surrounding buildings (and famous fountain!) are illuminated, suddenly adding a touch of magic to the monument.

The siren song of Santorini

  • A view of the town of Fira. Photo: Priyadarshini Paitandy
    A view of the town of Fira. Photo: Priyadarshini Paitandy
  • Boats docked at Nea Kameni. Photo: Priyadarshini Paitandy
    Boats docked at Nea Kameni. Photo: Priyadarshini Paitandy
  • The zig zag route to Thirassia. Photo: Priyadarshini Paitandy
    The zig zag route to Thirassia. Photo: Priyadarshini Paitandy

http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/travel/the-siren-song-of-santorini/article5006806.ece

Sweeps the culinary vote

Blend of Local Food on a Plate. Photo: Sonia Nazareth

  • Blend of Local Food on a Plate. Photo: Sonia Nazareth
  • Serving Qahwa Outside the Grand Mosque. Photo: Sonia Nazareth
      Serving Qahwa Outside the Grand Mosque. Photo: Sonia Nazareth

There’s much more to Omani cuisine than just sun-dried dates and fresh coffee, finds Sonia Nazareth.

Oman’s reputation as a land of striking contrasts — of desert sands and azure seas — is as well-established as its reputation as a culture of boundless hospitality. Dates and qahwa (strong aromatic coffee that combines a rich blend of freshly roasted coffee beans and pungent cardamom powder) are central to any ritual of welcome.

I remember people shaking their heads at me in despair, at a gesture so uncivilised, as my offering to pay for the aromatic coffee and sun-dried dates in the Bedouin homes I visited.

The capital city of Muscat does the big city thing and offers a variety of international cuisines. But Khargeen Cafe is perfect if you want to try local fare rooted in tradition. The waiter in this low-lit atmospheric restaurant — with its trees glimmering with fairy lights and the music of sizzling kebabs — takes brisk charge to keep pace with the stream of customers flowing in, “You’ll be wanting shuwa, everyone loves our shuwa,” he declares with pride. This traditionally Omani and Eid-celebratory dish of roasted goat or lamb, elaborately cooked in a large fire pit dug in stony earth, lives up to its succulent juicy and exceedingly tender reputation. It needs to be eaten with khubz rukhal, a wishbone-thin bread as light as a feather. Despite the fact that we’re partaking in a meal of shuwa without the accompanying camel races, and dances by men with shields and swords that usually go with this festive food, it sweeps the culinary vote.

The constant in traditional Omani cuisine, whether at home or at a restaurant, is all fresh ingredients and generous quantities. The one meal I ever partook of in an Omani household saw the table shifting uneasily under the weight of the feast upon it. Msanif (small patties of shredded meat, flavoured with a pungent coat of seasonings, covered in light batter and fried), Mishkak (bite-sized pieces of meat, basted in honey or date syrup, marinated in the juice of limes and skewered on date palm sticks); Samak bil narjeel (fish in coconut sauce). Besides being delicious in itself, the fish is a rich reminder of Oman’s sea-faring trade.

………….If scented candles could be made out of the air here, the candles would smell of an enticing mix of cloves, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and black peppercorns. These spices when ground together are called bizaar. The man selling them, with pride written all over his youthful face, recalls a time when Omani sailors set sail with cargos of frankincense, horses, dates and copper to trade for spices, silk and porcelain……………………….Fresh dates may be boiled to a pulp and strained through muslin to make a honey-like syrup. This is then used as a dip or spread for bread. The pulp is added to rice and other traditional dishes.

To eat or drink ethnic food as close as possible to its cultural context and in the vessels that were crafted for it can transform an everyday encounter into an extraordinary experience. But the feeling of cultural satiation stems from more than good food and drink. It stems from the generosity and kindness, which clearly makes any experience here more than the sum of its parts.

Food at this makaan

Food at this makaan – The Hindu.

Reading this sent me into a reminiscent mode……LM and ofcourse Nishrinkala (q-m-play). Though famous for the samosas , loved the Nimboo Pani – quenching the parched throat after rehearsing ( shouting ) the lines umpteen times with your partner . The essential ingredient was V mam , who made this experience ( first and last for amateurs like myself ) , a worthwhile ride …..Thank you mam .

(P.S  just noticed the THE paani was mentioned in the article too …..totally  worth it )

  Loss and loneliness – The HinduExcerpt

The poetry of cinema can teach one to care deeply.

  …………..Some of those Indian films which best spoke on those eternal themes of enduring art: love, loss, loneliness and longing.

It is more than 30 years since I first watched Aparna Sen’s sensitive and observant 36 Chowringhee Lane , but I still feel a twinge of grief at the thoughtless betrayal of the lonely, ageing Anglo-Indian school teacher, played to perfection by Jennifer Kendal. Unmarried, her brother is senile and confined to a nursing home, and her friends are slowly dying around her. Her secluded life lights up after a chance encounter with her old student and her boyfriend. They visit her often and fill her home with youth and laughter, and she believes they are her friends. But their only interest in the old teacher is to use her flat for lovemaking when she is away at work. Her eventual discovery of how they used her, her heartbreak and dignity long haunt the viewer.

One of the most aesthetically accomplished Hindi films of all times is Abrar Alvi’s Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam (Master, Wife and Servant). Set at the turn of the last century, it maps the hopeless and ultimately tragic rebellion of a woman, memorably played by Meena Kumari, married into a decadent feudal household. Unwilling to accept the traditional station of a landlord’s wife, she feels humiliated by her husband’s drunken nights spent in the company of courtesans. She demands respect. In a desperate bid to attract him, she even takes to drinking alcohol like the dancing girls. But he scorns and spurns her, and she ultimately slips into a melancholy alcoholism. As the years pass, and the fortunes of the decaying feudal household crumble, she cannot shed her craving for liquor, and the family ultimately has her killed. In her tortured discontent, we observe the incipient stirrings of feminism, even though her revolt is not against men’s domination as much as their disrespect; and her defeat in achieving a measure of dignity in her marriage destroys her.

(Clockwise from top) Stills from ‘Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam’, ‘Mathilukal’ and ‘Apur Sansar’. (Below) Nutan in ‘Bandini’.

A similar lingering melancholy pervades Ritwick Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara (A Star Covered by a Cloud). Sombre and poetic, it describes the fortunes of a young woman in a refugee family in Kolkata from East Pakistan impoverished by the Partition. She supports her family in their penury and hardship, but is cynically used by each of them, unmindful even as she sacrifices her own happiness and dreams. The protagonist’s aching longing is denied by her own goodness and her exploitation by those she most loved. In the haunting final sequence, as she lies dying of tuberculosis, she cries out to her brother: “I want to live”, words that became embedded in the hearts of a whole generation in Bengal to symbolise our doomed yearning for all that we have lost.

……………………..A much lesser known film, but one close to my heart, is Jahnu Barua’s Konikar Ramdhenu (Ride on The Rainbow). It depicts stolen childhoods in a juvenile home for children in conflict with law. A young boy escapes the violence of his alcoholic stepfather to work in a garage in Guwahati. But the garage owner tries to sexually assault him, and the boy hits him with a rod on his head which kills him instantly. The cold, loveless abuse of the juvenile home in which he is incarcerated is powerfully recreated, relieved only by the kindness of the superintendent.

These themes of loss and loneliness are most exquisitely evoked in Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar (Apu’s World).

Bimal Roy’s lyrical last film Bandini (Imprisoned

………………..The wistful longing, the pain and humanity of many of these films became part of my own growing years. I learned from them the poetry of cinema; I suffered with their protagonists; but maybe they also taught me to care more deeply.

More @ http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/loss-and-loneliness/article4818915.ece

A voice for Palestine

 A voice for Palestine – The HinduExcerpt from the interview

Michelle Cohen Corasanti, a Jewish-American writer, uses the Israel-Palestine conflict as the backdrop of her debut novel, The Almond Tree , which tells the inspiring story of a poor Palestinian boy called Ichmad, who despite living under the ruthless Israeli military rule, achieves great success in his life. In this interview, the author talks about herself, her book and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Excerpts:

What made you write The Almond Tree ?

As a Jewish American, I was taught that after the Holocaust the Jews found ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’ and that Jews went to ‘the land of Israel’ (i.e., Palestine) and made the desert bloom. In high school, I went to Israel to study Hebrew and Judaism. I soon learned that Palestine had neither been a land without a people nor all desert. Palestine had been the home of a multi-religious society that had a high standard of living and a rich culture and heritage. I lived in Israel for seven years and witnessed the miserable life the Palestinians led there. Through my novel, I wanted to shine a light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and show that there was a better way.

As a Jewish-American, wasn’t it difficult to write in the voice of a Palestinian?

I got the idea from a Palestinian man I met at Harvard. I met his family, saw where he came from and felt I knew who he was at the core. So, the voice of a Palestinian boy was a natural choice. I had many Palestinian friends in Jerusalem. I heard their stories. I bore witness to their lives — where they came from, how they were treated, what their dreams were.

Novelist Robin Yassin-Kassab once said, “Palestinians, in the West at least, lack a popular counter narrative. Palestinians are reported on, met only in the news.” Do you agree?

I definitely agree. After the Holocaust, the West was quite happy to give Palestine to the Jews and to buy into the fallacy that Palestine was a land waiting for a people.

The first Zionists were from the West and they spoke western languages, were well organised, had money and made the story they wished to tell the world whereas the Palestinians mostly spoke Arabic and didn’t have anyone to tell their story to the western audience. As time went on, the Zionist narrative was the only one heard.

How well has The Almond Tree been received in the U.S. and elsewhere?

I’ve been shocked to see that the book is being embraced by people on all sides of the conflict as well as those with no involvement whatsoever. I was expecting a backlash from Jewish readers, but I have found the opposite.

What do you wish to achieve through your writings?

I hope my writings can shine a light on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I would like to debunk fallacies. I want to help the Palestinian narrative to be heard because I don’t believe one can solve a conflict if they only hear one side.

You have said that Zionism is actually harming Judaism. What is the difference?

Judaism is a monotheist religion. We follow the Ten Commandments and the Torah. Rabbi Hillel (an ancient Jewish saint) summed up the Torah thus: “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another. That is the whole Torah, the rest is just commentary.” Zionism is a concept of nationalism that arose as a result of the rise of anti-Semitism at the time. Zionists decided that the Jewish people needed their own country and set their sights on Palestine.

What, according to you, is the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict?

I believe there can be no peace without justice, which is based on the truth. The Palestinians need to be compensated for all that they have suffered just like the Jews were after the Holocaust. I believe in a secular democratic country where everyone lives with equality and freedom. I believe the Palestinian refugees should be allowed to return. The majority of Israelis in Israel came today from the Arab world. This way, not only will the Palestinians be free, but so will the Israelis. One can’t be free when oppressing another people.

What is your next project?

I hope to write another book that shows the benefits of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Photo: Vipin Chandran

The courage of love – The Hindu.

Social reformer and scholar Asghar Ali Engineer devoted most of his adult life heroically fighting not one but three battles. The first was against religious hatred and violence, for promoting peace and harmony among people of diverse faiths. The second was a painfully lonely lifelong struggle against the oppression of the leader of the Bohra sect into which he was born. And a third was to reclaim ideas of a humane, peaceful, tolerant, and gender-just Islam.

Over many decades, in times of strife and mass violence, his voice steadied us with its compassion and reason. For his beliefs, Engineer routinely suffered death threats, deathly attacks and social boycott. Yet he never wavered. In the years I was privileged to know him, I never heard a word of personal rancour or bitterness. With the passing of this man of extraordinary humanity, dignity, learning and courage of convictions, the country is much poorer.

Engineer inherited a long tradition of social reformers in India — which latterly includes also Gandhi and Maulana Azad — who were simultaneously deeply religious and deeply secular, and saw no contradiction between these two. Instead, Engineer believed that true religion could never teach you hatred, prejudice or violence against people of other faiths.

……………..Another influence was his encounter with Marxist writings, which moved him profoundly. He struggled to reconcile his new Marxist convictions with his religious faith, and found solace in poet Iqbal’s words that socialism along with God makes Islam. He concluded that it was not necessary to be an atheist to be a Marxist, and both Marx and his religious beliefs nourished his values of justice, equality and compassion for the suffering of others. Engineer’s interpretations of Islam, in over 70 books which he wrote, and his life-long practice, represent a creative construction of liberation theology in Indian Islam.

…………………………..The next major riots after Jabalpur were in Ahmedabad in 1969, from where he reported gruesome brutalities. The next year, Bhiwandi burned. Engineer took leave from the Bombay Municipal Corporation, and his friend, actor Balraj Sahni, from films, to spend 15 days in the May heat together touring Bhiwandi town and the countryside appealing for peace. They were devastated by the violence they saw in many villages, in which isolated Muslim families were killed and their bodies thrown into wells. Back in Bombay, actors and poets joined him in appeals for peace. This remained a recurring motif of Engineer’s life right until his death. I doubt if there is another like him, who tirelessly visited every site of communal violence in free India, to tell its story and to appeal for peace.

The second battle which consumed him was against the despotic tyranny of the high priest of the Bohras, the Syedna, who exercises absolute authority over all Bohras in religious as well as secular matters. The Syedna retaliated against Engineer’s calls for reform by declaring him a social pariah, commanding all Bohras to socially boycott him. He was barred even from attending the weddings or funerals of his closest friends or relatives. Even his mother, who could not bear to be cut off from her siblings, relatives and friends, finally moved into a separate house he bought for her and met him only in secret.

He was also assaulted half a dozen times; his face was once slashed, and his house looted and ransacked, including his beloved books. Even in his death, he was an exile: denied a resting place in the Bohra burial grounds. He was buried in a Sunni graveyard.

He spoke to me once about the loneliness of this cruel, lifelong boycott by his extended family and community. He regretted also that none of the country’s political leaders openly sided with his battle for fear of alienating the powerful Syedna. This could well have felled a lesser man. But not Engineer.

In his autobiography, Engineer quoted poet Rumi: “A heart without love is nothing but a handful of dust.” Engineer’s life was one devoted above all to the pursuit of love. Like the Sufis, he derived from his love for God the brave love of all humanity.