Tag Archive: India


raja ravi varma old oil paintings kerala india portrait

25 Best Oil Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma – 18th Century Indian Traditional Paintings

f117 25 Best Oil Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma   18th Century Indian Traditional Paintings

 

raja ravi varma old oil paintings kerala india portrait

raja ravi varma old oil paintings kerala india portraitraja ravi varma old oil paintings kerala india portrait

 

Lakshmi Loves To Shop

“Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home “…Marvin Gaye

I love the words to this song. Obviously when you travel you don’t want your hotel to be just like home otherwise you would never travel at all. However, when I travel, the hotels I stay in are my “home” for those few days. I don’t need the perfection of five-star hotels but I do look for certain things to make my stay perfect.

  • Cleanliness is top of the list. I don’t mind a little faded and jaded as long as it is clean.
  • Safe and secure.
  • Character is very important. I love staying at places with little details that catch the eye.
  • Location is the key to getting the most out of your stay.
  • Great staff are the icing on the cake that complete your stay.

If you are visiting Fort Cochin in Kerala, India The Old Courtyard ticks all…

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Tree House in India

 

Excerpts from :- How Meditation Can Help You Get Calm, Relaxed, Healthy & Happy.    http://www.thedailyzen.org/2012/02/4-informal-ways-to-meditate.html

1. By cultivating awareness, meditation can help you find peace in the present moment.  
In some forms of meditation, you practice non-judgmental awareness of the present moment by bringing your attention to the cycles of your breath. This centers you in the present moment whenever your mind wanders into the past or the future. By learning to keep the mind’s temporal pendulum in the center, you become mindful in every moment, even when you’re under pressure. Anxieties and traumas from the past begin to fade as you become more involved in the present and less fixated on the story of how you got here. Experiences that previously appeared dull and bland become textured and nuanced leading you to be more involved and interested in your life.
2. By bringing your mind into sharp focus, meditation can help you be your best.
In these forms of meditation, you keep yourself focused on a visualization, a chant, music, a person’s voice, a prayer, or some other object of attention. You may be instructed to imagine a desired future or re-contextualize past experiences.  After a short period of time you’ll, find yourself drawn into your focus and you’ll be effortlessly attentive. This state is very similar to a trance and is extremely useful for achieving specific goals like overcoming fears, becoming more productive, or letting go of dependencies. Many athletes and business-people practice this form of meditation without even realizing that they’re meditating. It can also be of great benefit for spiritual growth such as gaining greater compassion, acceptance, and universal love.
3. When you transcend your ego, meditation helps you discover yourself.
In these forms of meditation, the ideal outcome is to transcend the ego and intellect and directly experience a deeper, unbounded aspect of the self. …………………..Most techniques in this category use mantras (simple repetitive sounds), chosen for their calming effect and sometimes specifically tailored for the individual. Unlike the focus techniques, though, you’re not supposed to keep your mind fixated on the mantra, but rather go through a cycle of repeating it and letting it go; allowing the mind to follow the mantra into quieter states of consciousness.
4. When you control your breath, meditation energizes your body.
You may be surprised to know that some forms of meditation are supposed to energize the body and mind rather than calm it. When you hear someone say “exercise is my meditation,” this is what they are talking about. The runner’s high is a well known experience in which inner calm is combined with maximum performance. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience runner’s high and athletes could benefit greatly from refining it. The most common techniques for energizing the body revolve around breath control. In India, the subtle energy flow from the breath is called “prana.” In China, it’s referred to as “chi,” but whatever you call it the result is the same. The nervous system is stimulated and balanced leading to a feeling of flow. In this state, you feel tapped into a deeper source of energy; you’ll be less prone to injuries when you run and you’ll be able to move deeper into your yoga poses.

4 Informal Ways to Meditate

We sometimes think of meditation as being this rigid activity that must be performed under such and such circumstances.  Seated Zen practice is the ideal, but not the only option.  Meditation isn’t about sitting there and thinking you’re doing something important; it’s about detaching from thought and existing as purely as one can in the present moment.  

As you can imagine, this can be achieved in many activities.  In Zen monasteries, every menial day-to-day activities are attended to as means of meditation.  Monks ritually clean the floors, do their dishes, trim the bushes outside and rake the gardens.  There are a remarkable amount of meditative activities.  Here’s a very short list…

1.  Do the dishes.

“A monk asked Zhaozhou to teach him. Zhaozhou asked, “Have you eaten your meal?” The monk replied, “Yes, I have.” “Then go wash your bowl”, said Zhaozhou.  At that moment, the monk was enlightened.”

Living in a basic utilitarian apartment without space for a fancy dishwasher, my roommates and I share the responsibility of dish-washing.  I often find myself doing them as a form of meditation.  The repetition of an activity like cleaning a bowl or a utensil (which pile up to incredible heights over time, might I add) serves a similar purpose to counting the breath or repeating a mantra.  The whole point is just to practice mindfulness.  

2.  Walk.
Walking is akin to sitting with your eyes closed.  That sounds ridiculous, right? Not at all.  It’s been said that closed eyes are like a ‘movie screen for the ego’.  When you close your eyes and try to meditate for the first time, thoughts bombard you from every which way.  

Walking involves a similar level of constant stimulation.  As you walk, your field of view is constantly changing, and you have no choice but to pay attention to it.  Meditative walking involves treating the sights you come across as one treats thoughts in meditation.  Just let them pass naturally and don’t dwell.

3.  Clean your desk.
This is another highly productive meditative task.  Throw things away.  Sort papers.  Clean your keyboard.  Do some dusting.  Before long, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in these activities.  Your desk will also end up pretty damn clean.  

4.  Eat
I’ve discussed this before here.  Fully involve yourself with your food.  Stare at it.  Smell it.  Savor each bite.  This is preferably done in private, since you don’t want to be the strange person at the restaurant who looks like he’s about to make passionate love to his food.  

Modern culture teaches us to wolf food down in mass quantities without any appreciation or acknowledgement of what we’re eating.  Take a minute and meditate on the act of eating.  You’ll enjoy your food more, eat less compulsively, and find mindful tranquility in the process.

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 )

India Bridal Fashion Week 2013: Part 2: Falguni & Shane Peacock, Raghavendra Rathore & Rohit Bahl.    been a long time fan of R.Rathore – persona and designs ,both elegant………  but rohit Bal is my fav from the  fashion week

Rohit Bal, India Bridal Fashion Week, IBFW, bridal, wedding, reception, sari, lengha, saree, mughal, royal, JJ Valaya, Shantanu & Nikhil, Falguni & Shane Peacock,  men, groom, sonam kapoor, anarkali

Rohit Bal, India Bridal Fashion Week, IBFW, bridal, wedding, reception, sari, lengha, saree, mughal, royal

Rohit Bal, India Bridal Fashion Week, IBFW, bridal, wedding, reception, sari, lengha, saree, mughal, royal, JJ Valaya, Shantanu & Nikhil, Falguni & Shane Peacock,  men, groom, sonam kapoor, anarkali, neha dupia, raghavendra, rathoreRohit Bal, India Bridal Fashion Week, IBFW, bridal, wedding, reception, sari, lengha, saree, mughal, royal, JJ Valaya, Shantanu & Nikhil, Falguni & Shane Peacock,  men, groom, sonam kapoor, anarkaliRohit Bal, India Bridal Fashion Week, IBFW, bridal, wedding, reception, sari, lengha, saree, mughal, royal, JJ Valaya, Shantanu & Nikhil, Falguni & Shane Peacock,  men, groom

JJ Valaya, IBFW, 2013, India Bridal Fashion Week, bride, India, Couture, Bridal, White, Sari, Lengha, Kabir Bedi, Kangana Ranaut, fashion, Maharajas, Maharanis, Iberian, embroidery

Iberian-esque Boleros and embroideries

JJ Valaya, IBFW, 2013, India Bridal Fashion Week, bride, India, Couture, Bridal, White, Sari, Lengha, Kabir Bedi, Kangana Ranaut, fashion, Maharajas, Maharanis, Iberian, embroidery

Sheer Paneling and Off the Shoulder detailing at JJ Valaya IBFW

Shantanu & Nikhil, India Bridal Fashion week, 2013, IFBW, white, gold, sari, lenghas, bridal, bride, india, fashion

Shantanu & Nikhil Whites & Golds IBFW 2013

Shantanu & Nikhil, India Bridal Fashion week, 2013, IFBW, white, gold, sari, lenghas, bridal, bride, india, fashion

Styles I didn’t like from Shantanu & Nikhil’s IBFW 2013 collection

Kotwara by Meera & Muzaffar Ali, fashion, bridal, India Bridal Fashion Week, 2013, IBFW, sari, saree, lengha, wedding, gold,

White on White at Kotwara by Meera & Muzaffar Ali

the asian fashion journal

30th July 2013

Get ready for two weeks of all things WEDDING on The Asian Fashion Journal! I will be covering India Bridal Fashion Week in three parts and will be introducing a new regular on the blog tomorrow- Wedding Wednesday!

Day 1: JJ VALAYA & SHANTANU & NIKHIL

JJ VALAYA

JJ Valaya kicked off the week. His signature rich and opulent Mughal Maharanis & Maharajas were this season given an Iberian twist. Beautiful rose embroideries reminiscent of traditional flamenco scarves, a palette of blacks, whites, reds and blues as well as bolero-esque and off the shoulder shapes all hinted at his Spanish inspiration.


I’m not sure about the long jacket over the Sari on the left, what do you think? but love the Trompe L’Oeil jewelry on the far right.

HOT TREND ALERT: Manish Malhotra’s last collection featured sheer paneling between borders on lenghas and anarkalis and JJ Valaya…

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JK -Freedom from conditioning

You can choose. – http://teachingsofmasters.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/you-can-choose/

You can choose between blue cloth and red cloth, and that is about all   Your life is shaped, controlled by the society which you have created. You have created the wars, the leaders; you have created the organized religions of which you are now slaves. So your life is predetermined. And to be free, you must first be aware that your life is predetermined, that it is conditioned, that all your responses are more or less the same as those of everybody else throughout the world. Superficially your responses may be different; you may respond one way here, another way in India or in China, and so on, but fundamentally you are held in the framework of your particular conditioning, and you are never an individual. Therefore it is absurd to talk about freedom and self-determination. You can choose between blue cloth and red cloth, and that is about all; your freedom is on that level. If you go into it very deeply, you will find that you are not an individual at all.But in going into it very deeply, you will also find that you can be free from all this conditioning -as a German, as a Catholic, as a Hindu, as a believer or a nonbeliever. You can be free from it all. Then you will know what it is to have an innocent mind, and it is only such a mind that can find out what is truth. – Jiddu Krishnamurti,Hamburg 1956,Talk 4

Let’s dance – The Hindu. Excerpt

 In a city where Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music are often the preserve of the privileged, Kalakshetra serves as a counterpoint, offering a life-altering experience to its students, many of whom come from deprived backgrounds

“Have you eaten, akka ?” Kali asks politely, before picking up a stainless steel plate and helping himself to a dosa . He’s a third-year dance student, and his journey from Kovalam (a fishing village on the outskirts of Chennai) to Kalakshetra has been the stuff of dreams. V. Kali never imagined that he would, one day, learn dance at this premier dance institute, much less chit-chat over dosa and coffee with dancers from Russia and France. …………………………………But he’s been dancing since he was in Std. II. “I thought I was dancing Bharatanatyam,” he laughs. He couldn’t have known, as there was no money for dance lessons. Kali’s father died when he was six-months-old; his mother, a coolie, raised him and his three sisters. Kali, in fact, had never heard of Kalakshetra until his sponsor, Tara Chand, saw him dancing for the inauguration of the ‘Tsunami Kuzhandai Valarchi Maiyam’ in Kovalam. Recognising his talent, she brought him to Kalakshetra, where he got an admission and, from the second year, a scholarship. “If I hadn’t come here, I would’ve had to go to work.”

Except, Kalakshetra itself was hard work. “The first year, my body ached from dancing; I cried, but I was also keen to learn. Teachers and friends helped. They taught me how to walk, talk, and dress. You know, I spoke no English when I came here, and I was very shy to speak up. Now, I can!” he says in a mix of English and Tamil. Dressed in a striped kurta , his wavy hair smartly cropped, Kali tells me about visiting home every other Saturday to see his mother. “She’s very soft. I want to earn money and look after her. And I want to choreograph; I want to go abroad…”

Outside the 100-acre campus, established by Rukmini Devi Arundale, Kali’s dream might remain one; after all, Chennai’s classical dance and music scene, besides being fiercely competitive, is often seen as the preserve of the moneyed and/or the understudy of the famous. Classes are dominated by the upwardly mobile, often hailing from communities steeped in the classical arts; and many of the budding artists are privately tutored and personally groomed. But here, Kali stands a fighting chance — and all that’s demanded of him is commitment, a willingness to work hard and of course, a passion for the arts.

“Rukmini Devi laid the foundation for a very democratic access to arts, cutting across economic strata and communities not normally associated with arts,” says Karunakaran Menon, Director-in-charge, Kalakshetra. “Where else but Kalakshetra,” he asks, “do you find a boy from a fishing village, a labourer’s son and a Mexican dancing to the same Sankarabaranam varnam , side-by-side?”

Founded in Adayar (inside the Theosophical Society) in 1936, Kalakshetra moved to the current location in Thiruvanmiyur in 1962 and has since garnered for itself the reputation of one of India’s premier dance schools. (Besides dance, music and arts are offered at the Diploma level.) Overseas students add to its cosmopolitan character, and its alumni today teach in every corner of the world. Together, they inspire the next generation, especially aspiring male dancers; only, not many are from Tamil Nadu.

If numbers are anything to go by, small-town Tamil Nadu isn’t sending (to Kalakshetra) as many dancers or musicians as Kerala; an irony, given that the art forms originated in the state. Several reasons are cited for these skewed numbers, among them, Tamil Nadu’s penchant for professional degrees, and the arts seen as something worthy of being pursued only part-time. “Moreover, Tamil Nadu has several government music colleges. But those who can afford it opt for private lessons anyway,” says musician Sai Sankar, former student of Kalakshetra and a teacher here since 1986.

Classical dance is, moreover, not perceived as aspirational enough. Tamilselvan M., a first year dance student, faced stiff opposition from his family when he left his job (as draughtsman) and joined Kalakshetra. His decision meant that the family was once again dependent on his father’s income as a security guard. With no knowledge of dance or music, they resented him — a potential breadwinner — choosing dance over a career. “But my friends are sponsoring my fees. Even if I earn one rupee from dance, it will give me more happiness than what I earn being a draughtsman,” he says.

But for Keralite brothers, Kailasanathan and Geethanadhan, studying at Kalakshetra was a childhood dream; one that their parents encouraged. Hailing from Kannur, the family has some connection with the arts (their father, a carpenter by profession, also dabbles in theatre). But it was the famous alumni from the region — Dhananjayan, Janardhanan and, more recently, Shijith Nambiar — who inspired them, even as children, to tell everybody they were going to be dancers.“Kalakshetra’s male dancers are very famous for their bani (style); men, here, dance like men. Naturally, we want to be performers, but we also have to teach; only then we will earn money,” they say, pragmatically.It is the same pragmatism that Venugopal K. echoes. Speaking in Malayalam — laced with Tamil for my benefit — the young, slim student says he’s very keen to be a performer. “But you can be a full-time performer, only if you’re from a rich family. Jeevika kaasu venum illaya, akka (you need money to live, isn’t it sister?),” he says simply.Photos: R. PRASANA

There are plenty of job opportunities for Kalakshetra students, especially in private institutions in Tamil Nadu and Kerala (Government jobs, unfortunately, elude them as the students are only diploma holders — and not graduates — when they complete the four-year programme). Sunitha E. is waiting to take up one such job in Ooty. She needs to work and send money home to repay the loan taken for her sister’s wedding. “But the four years here have been great! I’ve learnt English. I’ve made good friends, and I’ve even forgotten non-veg food!”

……………………………Walking past the airy classrooms, we reach the big banyan tree; under its enormous canopy, students sit cross-legged, on floor mats; teachers sit in a semi-circle, on a raised platform; among them isGuru A. Janardhanan, former Principal of Kalakshetra, who trained under Rukmini Devi. The assembly begins right after the bell. A tanpura sets the pitch, crows caw in accompaniment, and voices rise in prayer and song.

Mohammad Rashan is standing on the second row, a little to the left of the Ganesha idol under the tree. He sings the praise of Goddess Saraswathi, with his eyes closed, hands raised, palms facing the sky. He’s from Kurunagale, Sri Lanka, where his father works as a mechanic. Rashan had previously trained in Kandian dance; here, he’s learning Bharatanatyam, but his family is not aware of that. What do they think he’s up to? “Costume designing,” he says, his cheeks dimpling as he smiles. “My mother’s family is very orthodox — some think dance and music is haraam ; they will not accept dancing as a career.” But Rashan wants to follow his religion as well as his passion. “I do namaaz five times a day, I fast during Ramzaan and I also want to dance. Now, I will go to Colombo and start a dance school,” he says, a little unsure how his six siblings will receive the news…

There’s clapping under the Banyan tree, whose stout roots are etched with names of past students. Janardhanan is distributing certificates for the prize-winners of the past year. Sai Komala, third-year music student, is awarded a certificate for the highest percentage of attendance for her year. The great granddaughter of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar, her journey to Kalakshetra was neither easy nor straightforward. She had no parental support, and lived in an orphanage before coming here. “When I saw this campus, I really liked it. At the orphanage, they asked me to go the Government Music College. I insisted on coming here, as the teaching is better”.

Devi. P, a first-year PG dance student is here for the same reason. “When I told my mother — a cook in a doctor’s house in Tiruvannamalai — that I wanted to pursue dance, she asked me to learn in Tiruvannamalai itself”. As the only parent (Devi’s father died years ago), with a son working as a lorry cleaner, her mother felt Kalakshetra was out of their reach. “But it’s precisely for candidates like her that Rukmini Devi introduced scholarships,” says Janardhanan. “She felt poverty should not stop you from learning the arts”. “And I want to, in turn, inspire students from small town Tamil Nadu to take up dancing”.

The infrastructure at Kalakshetra is clearly a boon for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. For many here, routine visits to the sabhas — to listen to a Carnatic recital or watch a dance-drama — wasn’t part of their childhood. “But their challenges are not very different from the ones that foreign students face. To ramp up, they practise with their classmates, before and after their lessons. There are no restrictions on hostel timings. The talented and hardworking children show great progress, and catch up with their peers by the second year!” says Sai Sankar.

…………………………………..“Rukmini Devi envisioned this years ago — art touching and transforming lives — long before we used words like ‘cultural exchange and outreach programmes’,” says Menon. Indeed, Kalakshetra, the institution she founded, teaches one to live with the arts.

The courage of love

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.

 

Stages of life are like the passing clouds …..

Vintage Indian photography

 

Vintage Indian Clothing

The Artful Pose

A few pictures from The Artful Pose, Early Studio Photography, c 1855-1940.  All the photographs are by Shapoor Bhedwar to the best of my knowledge.

There are girls in short tunics worn with sarees (looking like early versions of Hakoba) with Grecian hairstyles in the picture titled The Flower Girl.

The picture with the holy man (The Mystic Sign/The Yogi – The Lesson) suggests Hindu women in short cholis and sarees.

One photograph features a Maharashtrian family, the women in traditional nine-yard saris with contrasting blouses.

There is a young girl in a drape and without a blouse in the picture titled Rose Bud.

There is the photographer himself, dressed like a saheb (it gets my approval, I love flat caps:)).  His mother is in a Parsi style sari, the children in clothing common for young Parsi children at the time (including little…

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Labour nourished with cameraderie.

100 days of hope – The Hindu. Excerpt

When she spots the camera lens, 72-year-old Rukku flashes a radiant, toothless smile. Her peers quickly catch on the infectious smile, transforming a place of hard labour into something else entirely.

It was at a Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) site that I met Rukku, from Nilgiri district, and a curiously harmonious group of middle-aged and older workers.

“I now don’t need to depend on my relatives for money. I can now buy my grandchildren whatever they want,” Rukku says.

The MGNREGA guarantees a hundred days of wage-employment every year for its members. The unskilled manual work offers livelihood and better financial security in rural areas. Rukku herself earns about Rs. 4,000 a month. She is among the thousands over the age of 65, who work regularly as beneficiaries of the scheme.

Lakshmi, now 65, lives with her husband in Erode. Her children are grown up and live in another city. They do not send her money. Her husband is unwell and too weak for manual labour. She is now the breadwinner of the family.

The scheme also seems to foster a habit of regular savings among the workers.

Under the scheme, these men and women build civic utilities like ponds for ground water recharge, roads, footpaths, children’s playgrounds and burial grounds. The scheme has enabled creation of thousands of farm ponds in the lands of small and marginal farmers and in the farmlands owned by SC/ST communities.

An important feature of implementation of MGNREGS in Tamil Nadu is the active participation of the differently-abled, facilitated by a separate Government order stipulating a special schedule of rates. The tangible benefits have translated into a healthy work atmosphere.

Saravanan, an Assistant Engineer at the site, explains, “Though advanced in age, the workers here are quite able. The camaraderie and a sense of independence from their kin tend to help them get back their health.”

Work is all they’ve ever known. It’s what they do even now, in the evening of their lives. The only difference is that the work now happens amid meals cooked on charcoal fires, the laughter of their grandchildren and the camaraderie of 200 of their peers.