Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Get rid of timestamp in Blogger

If that Date and time in your blog post is unwanted, if your blog is more about content that does revolve around events, if you do not want your blog to be in a diary format with everything centered around time, if you want the blog to be in a Book format, and if your blog is more about articles, them surely getting rid of Time Stamp makes sense.

And here is the simple way to do it:
The basic template for my blog is Minima, but I guess the method would be same for all the other templates.

In Dashboard, goto Edit HTML



Just to be safe, take a full backup of the template first using Download full template option.

Once done, select the option Expand Widget Templates

Now, search for the following line of code


<h2 class='date-header'><data:post.dateHeader/></h2>

and replace( or comment it out) with

<!--<h2 class='date-header'><data:post.dateHeader/></h2> -->

Save and you are done. Now, you have a timeless blog.

5 “Must have” books on Cinema

The History of World Cinema by David RobinsonThe History of World Cinema
by David Robinson

David Robinson, a British film critic who first started writing for the much respected Sight and Sound, the journal of the British Film Institute, in the 1950s and later in 1973 went on be the film critic for The Times (London), a post that he held right until 1990. The book, first published in 1973 and updated in subsequent editions, unlike most film histories that tend to be US centric, covers European Cinema, especially Polish and Central European filmmakers. Among the Indian filmmakers, the book covers work of Mrinal Sen and not just Satyajit Ray. Similarly, the book covers not just the three masters of Japanese Cinema - Yasujiro Ozu,Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa, but also other lesser-known artists like Tadashi Imai.

The Contemporary Cinema by Penelope HoustonThe Contemporary Cinema
by Penelope Houston

Penelope Houston, a British film critic edited Sight & Sound magazine from 1956 to 1990. She also contributed to The Times. Her book The Contemporary Cinema was first published 1963. The slim book starts from post- War period and tells us what the writer felt and thought about landmark films – of Jean-Luc Godard and Truffaut for instance – on first viewing. The French New Wave was just starting to build up and the book gives some refreshing insight into the inception of the phenomena.


The Cinema Book by Pam CookThe Cinema Book
co-authored and edited by Pam Cook

The book is purely academic but one without the expected forbidding vocabulary. In 1985, the year when the book was first published, Pam Cook, Associate Editor of Sight and Sound, had this to say:

"The Cinema Book began life as a catalogue of the film study extract material held by the British Film Institute Film and Video Library, selected over the years by the BFI Education Department to facilitate the teaching of film"
The book covers history of cinema, cinema technology and various movements in cinema; alternatives to Hollywood and evolution, standardization and departures in Various Hollywood genres; genre, auteurs and theoretical frameworks. Besides walking us gently through the thicket of semiotics and structuralism, the book also introduces one to feminist film criticism.

Hitchcock-Truffaut by François Truffaut Hitchcock-Truffaut
by François Truffaut

A very unique book, first published in 1967, that saw two of the greatest master of Cinema, François Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock , engaged in a remarkable conversation that covered topics like: superior villains, suspense, movie-time vs. real time and Hitchcock's tendency to move his camera 'from the farthest to the nearest.' François Truffaut, who was also an influential film critic, managed to get Hitchcock, an otherwise guarded man, to open up and in the process together they ended up creating one of the most important testimonies by a filmmaker ever.


Now, for the all-time favorite of Cinema lovers, a book that is must to complete any film buff’s library:
A Biographical Dictionary of film by David ThomsonA Biographical Dictionary of film
by David Thomson

First published in 1975 and written by David Thomson, who used to teach film studies at Dartmouth College, the book for more than thirty years the best of what the print media could offer Cinema. The book has more than 1300 magnificent essays on as many entries about: directors, actors, producers, cinematographers and screenwriters. His essays are “wonderfully opinioned” but then his opinions are supported by persuasive arguments and a seductive way with words. The success and renown that it has maintained for more than thirty years just proves the brilliance of the writing.

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Acknowledgment:
Based on an article Celluloid tome: Some books film buffs must possess by film critic Maithili Rao. The article was published in January, 1999 issue of Gentleman.
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Allegory, Abrams and Hesse

M. H. Abrams, the American literary critic in his A Glossary of Literary Terms says:

“an allegory is a narrative in which the agents and actions, and sometimes the settings as well, are contrived not only to make sense in themselves, but able to signify a second, correlated, order of persons, things, concepts or events. There are two main types:
He further defines two types of allegory:

(1) historical and political allegory, in which the characters and the action represent, or ‘allegorise,’ historical personages and events, eg. Dryden’s Absalom & Achitophel, in which David represents Charles II, Absalom his natural son, the Duke of Monmouth, and the biblical plot allegorises a political crisis in contemporary England.

(2) the allegory of ideas, in which the characters represent abstract concepts and the plot serves to communicate a doctrine or theses.(eg. Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, much of Spenser’s Faerie Queene.)”
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Each phenomenon on earth is an allegory, and each allegory is an open gate through which the soul, if it is ready, can pass into the interior of the world where you and I and day and night are all one. In the course of his life, every human being comes upon that open gate, here or there along the way, everyone is sometime assailed by the thought that everything visible is an allegory and that behind the allegory live spirit and eternal life. Few, to be sure, pass through the gate and give up the beautiful illusion for the surmised reality of what lies within. 

- Strange News from Another Star, Hermann Hesse

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How many paths of torment we pursue, go deep into the cavern of our rubble filled soul, eternal suffering hero, eternal Odysseus! But we go on, we go on, we bow ourselves and wade, we swim, choking in the slime, we creep along smooth noxious walls. We weep and despair, we whimper in fear and howl aloud in pain. But we go on, we go on and suffer, we go on and gnaw our way through.
- Hermann Hesse

Talking Tibet: tashi delek


Flag of Tibet
Flag of Tibet

This was originally written as a response to the post Evaluating China’s Role in Tibet written by my friend Aniket.

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The utter failure of the rebel Tibetan army in the 1960s due to lack of popular support. The CIA had trained over 2,000 Tibetan exiles in its facility in Colorado, and parachuted them into Tibet but over 90 per cent of them were captured or killed. It was similar to CIA’s Bay of Pigs misadventure in Cuba but less well known.

I had no idea that it was so little well known that one could compare it with Bay of Pigs.

CIA working closely with Gyalo Thondup, Dalai Lama’s elder brother, trained around three hundred Tibetan rebels on a remote Pacific Island of Saipan, and later at Camp Hale in Rocky Mountains in Colorado. These men, dressed in chubas and equipped with rifles, mortars, hand-cranked Morse radios and cyanide capsules, were parachuted into Tibet by night from US planes. These men were not going in to start as popular rebellion instead they were going in to fight the Chinese. According to the few survivors it was “like throwing meat into the mouth of a tiger.” More so, they found it difficult to link up with Chushi Gangdrug, the indigenous rebel movement that started in 1950s as a religious army whose men riding on their ponies used to carry raids on Chinese posts. Chushi Gangdrug (Four Rivers, Six Mountain Ranges) as its military badge bore the lines “ Guardians of Religion in the Land of Snows.” It is worthwhile to note that Chushi Gangdrug didn’t just have members from a particular superior social background but included serfs too. Of course, these serfs did not know about the greatness of Marx and Lenin.

In the 1960s, instead of training Tibetans in US, a large operation was set in Mustang, a mountainous region of Nepal bordering Southern Tibet. The plan was to arm Tibetans with mortars, carbines and 55mm recoil-less rifles, setting up guerrilla units to conduct raids inside Tibet. CIA was spending nearly US$ 2 million annually on this operation and giving Dalai Lamas private office around US $ 180,000 a year. When stories of Mustang base spread, Tibetan refugees began to make way in hundreds to fight. This influx coincided with a ban on covert over flights by Eisenhower – following the shooting down of U2 spy plane in May 1960. This meant that supplies could not be dropped to the rebels. According to filmmaker Tenzing Sonam: “There were more than two thousand people up in the mountains with nothing to eat. They were even boiling shoes and eating the leather. People died.”

The Mustang fighters lacked the military or financial backing to establish a proper resistance force inside Tibet, and by the late 1960s the operation was mired in internal feuding between the CIA – trained generation of fighters and the original Chushi Gangdrug leaders. Chushi Gangdrug has sSoon America did what it does best - it tactically withdrew support. The resistance came to an end with Nixon’s rapprochement with Beijing in 1972. All funding stopped. Dalai Lama asked th fighters to lay down the arms, but rather than surrender, many preferred to die. One senior officer Gyen Pachen, slit his own throat, and Wangdu, the commander of Mustang was shot dead in an ambush by Nepalese army. Tibetans were no longer of any use to Americans and were easily discarded in the same manner as they were by the British two decades earlier. It was the British who first started arming Tibetans (an act that aggrieved Chinese a lot), flamed their claim of separate nationhood and yet at the same time failed to officially acknowledge special status of Tibet. India was no different. Soon after Independence, under the leadership of Nehru sold Tibet new rifles, Bren guns, Sten guns, mortars, explosives and ammunition. But when in 1950, forty thousand Chinese soldiers invaded Kham. India stood aside worrying that accession of Hydrabad and Kashmir might be questioned.

In 1950s, when Tibetans sought foreign backing, Mao was to say in a party meeting:


There’s a group in Tibet who want to set up an independent kingdom. Currently this organization is a bit shaky…There is a place in India called Kalimpong, where they specialize in sabotaging Tibet. Nehru himself told the Premier [Zhou Enlai] that this place is a center of espionage, primarily American and Britis. If Tibet wants to be independent our position is this: if you want to agitate for independence, then agitate; you want independence, I don’t want you to have independence. We have a Seventeen Point Agreement.
The attitude of China has since remained unaffected.

You said:

Over the past five decades, the social and economic development of Tibet has matched the Chinese mainland and Tibetans have access to education, medical care and economic opportunities. In almost all respects, the condition of the Tibetans is much better than it ever was under Dalai Lama’s rule. But what Tibetan’s lack today is not food, shelter, clothing or work. They lack freedom.

And then you said:

Therefore, it appears that the present unrest in Tibet is similar to these daily rebellions of the Chinese working people against the restoration of capitalism in China.

Certainly, it appears that you too feel the pinch of lack of credible news coming in from the region. And rightly it has been said: Free Tibet without Free China makes no sense.

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According to Patrick French, Flag of Tibet, featuring red and blue stripes and a pair of snow lions, actually was a regimental banner devised in 1920s by a wandering Japanese man. It was displayed at the Asian Relations Conference in India in 1947.

The sense of Tibetan nationhood was created in exile. The Dalai Lama’s birthday became a day of popular celebration for the nation in exile. A song written by the Dalai Lama’s tutor Trijang Rinpoche (regarded by Tibetans as an incarnation of the Buddha’s chariot-driver) was adopted as national anthem of Tibet. According to China, at the Asian Relations Conference:

[…]Tibetan delegates sang a song called The Beauties of the Plum Flower River, which was then played at the conference. This was originally a song popular in Shanghai in the 1920s to 1930s. Later on, it somehow got into Tibet and was used as the Tibetan army song with new words in praise of the Dalai Lama. Now all of a sudden it served as a "national anthem."

There is a Chinese vesion of almost every event in Tibet's History.

Most of the information presented in this article is from Patrick French’s insightful book Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land. Besides history and interview with veterans of Free Tibet veterans, the book also has accounts of his journey inside Tibet and his talks Tibetans living there. Incidentally, during his visit to Tibet, China was organizing something akin to regional Olympics there. Not so incidentally, Tibetans were boycotting the games.

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Read more about:

Chushi Gangdruk at this website (In the header of the site, we can see an inset image of George Bush cozying up with Dalai Lama)

Read more about the history of flag here

Forgotten Kashmir: A Collage of Old Photographs

Old Photographs of Kashmir, Srinagar, Dal Lake, valley
(Click to enlarge)
(Update:
Now may enjoy these photographs of Kashmir in video!
Also you may like to visit my Kashmir blog: Search Kashmir)
‘who has not heard of the vale of Cashmere,
With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave,
Its temples, and grottos, and fountains as clear,
As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave.’
— Popular lines from Thomas Moore's poem Lalla Rookh

For a man who never visited Kashmir, Thomas Moore certainly had a clear image of the fabled Kashmir. He saw Kashmir through writings of other writer who had seen Kashmir. A generation later people were to be enticed by the images captured by the photographers traveling through the ‘happy Valley’ Kashmir.

This collage comprises of some of these very images and few of the oldest photographs of Kashmir.

About the Photographs:
Starting from Top Right, the photographs in first row are by Samuel Bourne, who visited Kashmir in 1864.

  • Kashmir - The Srinagar Bazaar on the Jhelum
  • Poplar Avenue - Srinagar, Kashmir
  • View on the Jhelum at Srinagar, Kashmir

Found these three photographs here at harappa.com

  • Photograph of a boat in Munshi Bagh, Srinagar from the Brandreth Collection: 'Views in Simla, Cashmere and the Punjaub' taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s. Srinagar the capital of Kashmir is a city of lakes and waterways, gardens and picturesque wooden architecture. The caption states, 'One of the Maharaja's boats such as lent to the Comr or Resident on duty & to others, as myself. He has several of these each with 20 rowers.
The next two rows of photograph are by Fred Bremner

  • Kashmiri Minstrels (called Bhand) , 1900
  • A Village Girl, Kashmir , 1905
  • Specimens of Kashmir Carving, 1900
  • Soonamurg, Top of the Sind Valley, 1900
He writes:
"I arrived at Soonamarg, top of the Valley, early in November, when their happened to be a fall of snow, and interesting were the pictures which I obtained there. Soonamurg is at an elevation of 8,000 feet and some years ago it was looked upon as the resort for a residence of several months, and many were the Europeans who used to camp in and around the meadow."
(Forty Years, pg. 52)

  • The Jhelum River, Kashmir, 1900
"Passing through the Jhelum Valley and river the steep mountain sides are clad with pine, deodar and other trees of stalwart height, and in the depths of the valley below, some 3,000 feet, the river winds its tortuous way, just as the road winds through the mountains as far as the river below and rising again to the summit of a few thousand feet - their eye may sometimes rest on a figure slowly gliding through mid-air with no apparent support whatever. Coming to close quarters one sees a crossing by rope bridges. It is a curious way of engineering these people have. One of the bridges is merely a single rope made of tough twisted cowhide and secured at both banks of the river. The passenger is seated in a small suspended cradle. He then lets himself go and his own impetus carries him fully half-way over and he is pulled across the remaining distance by a smaller guiding rope."

  • View on the Jhelum River near Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, 1900
"Leaving the city one cannot do better than be rowed up to the Dhal Lake, which is aid to be one of the most beautiful spots in Kashmir. . .. Entering the Dhal Lake, which measures about 4 miles by 2 1/2, one cannot help but admire the works of nature which are depicted in a variety of beautiful ways in the stillness of the water combined with mirror-like reflections of the mountain ridges."
(Forty Years, pp. 48-49)

  • The Dhal Lake, Kashmir, 1900
"The stillness and clearness of Dhal Lake make it comparatively easy to catch fish with the aid of a spear instead of by rod and line. Boatmen are the class with whom visitors to Kashmir come most intimately in contact. They are said to claim Noah as their ancestor, and certain it is that if they did not borrow the pattern of their boats from Noah's Ark, Noah must have borrowed the pattern from them! Families live permanently on the boats, and they all have their little cooking places on board, and an enormous wooden pestle and mortar with which women and very often children pound the rice or grain."
(Forty Years, pg. 48).

Next six rows of photographs are by John Burke and appear in the book From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of John Burke

  • Ruins of the Small Temple at Pattan, 1864-68
  • Resident's Boat on the Dhul Canal, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1868-72
  • Akbar's Bridge on the Dal Lake, 1868-72
  • Old Bridge on the Mar Canal, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1868-72
  • Two Nautch women from Kashmir, 1862-64. The name of woman on the left is given as Sabie, a prominent Nautch woman of her time

  • A Group of Dancing Girls, Kashmir
  • Down the Jehlum river from the 3rd Bridge of Srinagar
  • The Fakir and Cave of manusbal(Manasbal) and the next photograph is of Ladakhians
  • Azeezie, seems to have been a popular nautch girl, a fact testified by her numerous photographs in the Burke collection. These Nautch girls were a prominent feature of Kashmir and most of them stayed and worked in Shalimar Gardens. ( Read more about Nautch girls of Kashmir)
  • A Gentleman, Srinagar, 1862-64
The next bunch of photographs are mostly uncredited:
  • Group of Famous Brahmin Pundits, circa 1900
Found it at Kamat.com
  • Two photographs of Brahmins of Kashmir. The second photograph one is from 1875.
  • Much extolled Beauty in Kashmir, 1910 (Read more about fables of Kashmiri beauty)
Back of the card reads - Printed: Views of India Series Printed in Saxony

Another set of Photographs by John Burke

  • Pillar Near the Jumma Masjid in Srinagar, 1868




    Gateway of enclosure, (once a Hindu temple) of Zein-ul-ab-ud-din's Tomb, in Srinagar. Probable date A.D. 400 to 500 (?), 1868. John Burke. Oriental and India Office Collection. British Library. Photograph of the gateway and enclosure of Zain-ul-abidin's tomb at Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, taken by John Burke in 1868. This photograph is reproduced in Henry Hardy Cole's Archaeological Survey of India report, 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir' (1869), when Cole wrote, 'In the Panels of the Gateways, there is proof that buildings had previously existed, in which columns play a part...The break in the roof is also remarkable as occurring in conjunction with the simplicity of the enclosing wall, and indicates, I think, that the Gateway is probably more modern than the wall, and may perhaps have been set up by the Mahomedans out of some of the materials of other ruined temples of which a quantity lies strewn all over Srinagar.' Zain-ul-abidin (ruled 1421-72) was one of Kashmir's greatest rulers from its Islamic period, under whose reign it enjoyed peace and prosperity and progress in the arts. His father Sikandar has been tainted in Kashmiri history as Butshikan or idol-breaker, but Zain-ul-abidin was tolerant towards his Hindu subjects. The fertile valley of Kashmir offered a retreat from the crossroads of Asia in the high Himalayas, and developed its own distinctive architecture. Buddhism was established here from the 3rd century BC but was eclipsed by the 8th century AD by the flourishing Hindu Vaishnava and Shaiva cults. Kashmir finally became a great centre of the Shaiva religion and philosophy and a seat of Sanskrit learning and literature. By the 14th century Kashmir came under Islamic rule. Most of its early temples were sacked in the 15th century and their remains were sometimes incorporated in later Islamic monuments. The tomb of the mother of Zain-ul-abidin was built in c.1430 on the foundations of an old Hindu temple, and was decorated with glazed tiles. Immediately to the north of this building is an enclosing wall and gateway made of Hindu materials, which contains a number of tombs, one of which is said to preserve the remains of the Sultan himself.
  • Temple at Pathan (Pandrethan), 1868
  • Temple at Pandrethan, 1868
  • Three photographs of Sun Temple of Martand, 1868
  • Another photograph of the temple at Pandrethan
Found these photographs here at Harappa.com

Rest of the photographs are uncredited

  • Butchershop called as pujwaan in Kashmiri Language, Kashmir
  • Chenar Bagh, Srinagar, Kashmir
  • Photograph of Fatheh Kadal, 1941
  • A typical rural household from Kashmir
  • Lotus flowers called as pamposh in kashmir, Dal Lake, 1943
  • Fisherman or Gad'e Henz., Dal lake, 1940.
  • Jhelum River winding through Kashmir Valley, 1890
  • A Labourer at Dal lake , 1941
  • Gade'wol Man with catch of fish, 1937.
  • Shankaracharya Temple, Kashmir. Also known by the name Tukt-I-Suliman or The Throne of Solomon

The oldest temple in Kashmir, both in appearance and according to
tradition, is that upon the hill of "Takt i Suliman," or Solomon's
Throne. It stands 1,000 feet above the plain, and commands a view of
the greater part of Kashmir.

The situation is a noble one, and must have been amongst the first
throughout the whole valley which was selected as the position of
a temple. Its erection is ascribed to Jaloka, the son of Asoka,
who reigned about 220 B.C.

The plan of the temple is octagonal, each side being fifteen feet in
length. It is approached by a flight of eighteen steps, eight feet
in width, and inclosed between two sloping walls. Its height cannot
now be ascertained, as the present roof is a modern plastered dome,
which was probably built since the occupation of the country by the
Sikhs. The walls are eight feet thick, which I consider one of the
strongest proofs of the great antiquity of the building.
From: Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet by William Henry Knight
  • Dal Lake, 1937
  • Vegetable Shop or Sabzi' wan. Wan being the Kashmiri word for 'Shop'.
  • Woman rowing a Sikara, Dal Lake, 1944
  • Kashmiri potter, rural Kashmir
  • Saraf Kadal on Mar canal, Srinagar, Kashmir
Not without a reason was Srinagar called the 'Venice of the East'
The Mar canal formed an interesting waterway meandering through the city. Wherever the back waters of the Dal lake flowed through the city, it was known as the Mar canal deriving its name from the beautiful Marsar. The major portion of the water of the Dal lake came from the Marsar lake situated beyond the Harwan water reservoir. There was a network of Mar canals flowing through the city. An interesting clustering existed along the canals, some of the houses belonged to the rich merchants, as can be deciphered from the scale and magnificance of the buildings along the waterway. The canal has since been filled up to form a road. An interesting feature here is the row of shops along the bridge which formed an interesting walking experience across the canal. The shops appear to project out along the length of the bridge, as can be seen, with the help of timber columns resting on the banks on both sides. At Sekhi dafar there was an interesting streetscape. It was probably an important street within the cluster along the waterway. There was a row of shops on the ground floor of the houses along the street. The houses overlooked the waterway on one side and the street on the of the houses along the street. The houses overlooked the waterway on one side and the street on the other.
Read more here


  • A view of Srinagar City
  • A locality in suburb of Srinagar
  • Shankaracharya Temple, 1942
  • Backwater of Dal Lake, 1941
  • The Maharajah's State Barge, 1873
  • A Kashmiri grocery store or Kiryan'wan
  • The daily life of Kashmiri Woman in rural Kashmir
  • A Sketch of Floating Gardens of Kashmir. These are known as raadh in Kashmiri
  • Women working in field, weeding, while a royal guard looks on.
  • Papier machie work in progress
  • The weir at Chattabal, a suburb of Srinager ,1934. That's the place where I was born.
  • Habakadal, Srinagar
  • On the Dhul canal with Tukht (throne), 1864-68 by John Burke.
  • The bank of river Jhelum, 1937
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The pictures (towards the end) having the watermark India Pictures are from the website IndiaPictures 
. Most of these photographs were taken by famous photographer Ram Chand Mehta  for Royal Geographical Society in 1930 and 1940s.

Also thanks to those that I may have missed!
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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. If you choose to use this or any part of this post on your site please link back to this page.

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