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Showing posts from March, 2011

Pamphlet Art Kashmir, 1948

Cross posted from my Kashmir blog -0- "The pamphlet cover displayed above is from a title published in 1948 by the Kashmir Bureau of Information in Delhi. The design is arresting, and clearly leftist in inspiration. The designer (the name is in the bottom left hand corner) was Sobha Singh , at the time a young progressive artist. In later years, he became better known for his religious paintings of the Sikh Gurus. The woman in the foreground depicted lying on the ground and aiming a rifle is Zuni Gujjari, a woman from a milkman's family who became renowned as a militant supporter of the National Conference, the main Kashmiri nationalist party. The black and white photograph is of members of the Women's Self Defence Corps, a women's militia set uplargely by Communist supporters of the National Conference in October-November 1947, when Srinagar was in danger of being overrun by an army of Pakistani tribesmen." Found it at the site of Andrew Whitehead a

Kumkum does that thing

She does that thing. Kumkum in 'Dagha Dagha Vai Vai Vai'  from Kali Topi Lal Rumal (1959). It's a gif than can be easily made using any of the tools easily available online. Displaying a gif in Blogger though needs a little trick as blogger doesn't support gif. I first uploaded the gif to Google Docs, then set its share setting to everyone, took the image link url and then used it here. That's the easy part. Now, here's the  real mindbender. Created using a Python script created by Philip Guo  (at It basically takes a static jpg image, adds a user defined Zoom effect to it (using a beautiful logic that let's a person even control the 'Zoom' area) and then outputs it as a gif (using ImageMagick , making which work with the script in Fedora proved the first hurdle. I kept running into "x11"  problem that was finally solved by: yum groupinstall " X Software Development".) The Python script is meant to

The Return of Rajni Nimbupani

Came across this rare second coming of Mario Miranda's famous creation Miss Rajni Nimbupani - the famous Film Star, in NFDC publication called 'Cinema in India',  July 1990. -0- Mario Miranda, Previously

Holi Afternoon

Almost post-apocalyptic. Holi afternoons. Sparse traffic. No shops open. Roads open and wide. Pink faced men slow paddling their cycles. Often half-inebriate. An occasional school of boys and men on bikes or cars, or on foot, a wall of sound, men happy about something, screaming. Definitely inebriate. Men sleeping in ditches or right next to one, at a spot carefully picked, in shade. A woman. Some kids still not tired. A man on a bike with his two kids and a wife. A bunch of men sitting under a tree working on their dholaks, out of tune, singing about women or gods. Holi Hai! Holi Hai! Previously:   O yea! by  Nazir Akbarabadi

Moon around my Neck

Called T'chandram among Kashmiri Pandits. It is supposed to keep the mind calm. It was supposed to cure me of books.  A 'Janara' or the Moon amulet from Naples. From the chapter 'The evil eye and allied Notions', in a work mostly written in Kashmir, 'The Symbolism of the East and West' (1900) by Mrs Murray Aynsley. According to author, 'the lower orders in Naples' thought of Janara or Moon as the wife of Janus, the Sun. And if one Neapolitan 'lower order' woman called another woman a 'Janara', the word implied a 'witch'. -0- "Super Moon". 20/3/11. Using Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens at 1/200s, f/22.0, ISO:400. Not bad considering I wasn't expecting much. -0- "Super Moon". 6/5/12. Using Nikon D3100 with 55-300 mm lens at 1/160s, f/5.6 ISO:100.

Original Indian Supermodels

The previous post with a suspected 'Persis Khambatta sighting' got me chasing names like Yasmin Daji(turns out it may have been her and not Persis!), Reita Faria, Meher Mistry, Nayyara Mirza, Anjuman Mumtaz Beg, even Colleen Bhiladvala...till I gave up and settled for something rare. Persis Khambatta. Miss India 1965. Meher Mistry. Miss India 1964 Meher Mistry, 25, (left), Fowzia Kardar, 24, and Persis Khambatta, 21, (below). Persis looks like she is accompanying her elder sister on a vacation. The photographs were taken during their Australia visit in 1968 (or 1970?).  These and a couple of more photographs of this trip can be found in the digital archives of State Library of Victoria [ Search Link , Copyright held by The Herald & Weekly Times Limited ] The photographs may be rare, but names are famous except for Fowzia Kardar. That got me interested. Rare. Notice the heading: 'See-through mini from Sari-land' Fowzia Kadar at a show in Singapo

Lure - Yasmin Daji Ad

Yasmin Daji Ad for Lure Beauty Mask. Early 1970s. Model: no clue but uber. -0- Update: Model is in fact famous Persis Khambatta [Thanks, Geetali ! You are awesome!]. I had a hunch but didn't pursue it because of previous 'no she is not' experience . It's incredible how her looks changed through the 60s - Miss India and 'Bombai Raat Ke Bahon Mein', 70s - the ads and then the 80s - the Star Trek head shave.  -0- Update: Thanks to an anonymous tip-off (check comments) we have another (more  probable) name - Yasmin Daji., who was crowned Miss India in 1966 by Persis Khambatta. Apparently this same image was used by Persis Khambatta in her coffee table book 'Pride of India' (1997). -0- Update: I checked that book and it is indeed Yasmin Daji. And this image is used in the book.

Faizi's Love Story

Manmadin (Kamadev) by Pierre Sonnerat "The Hindus, unlike any other religious sect, say that every one can get to heaven in their own way, at the same time maintaining that theirs is the most expeditious method. In the time of Akbar their Vedas, or sacred writings, had not been translated from the Sanscrit; accordingly, Akbar's secretary and great friend, Abul Fusl, the historian, tried by a ruse to investigate the principles of their faith, and sent his young brother Feizi, then a mere boy, to Benares to the Brahmins, in the character of a poor orphan of their tribe. This fraud was practised upon a learned Brahmin, who received him into his house, and brought him up as his own son. When, after ten years of study, Feizi had perfected himself in Sanscrit, Akbar took measures to ensure his safe return. Feizi, it seems, on attaining manhood, had fallen in love with the Brahmin's only daughter, and her father, seeing the mutual affection of the young pair, offered him


Vyjayanthimala in Amrapali (1966)

Saint Bhoori's Convent

Somewhere in Ghaziabad, around 20 Km from Delhi. 2011.

is your nation's head

March 12, 2011 Came across an interesting article in today's HT. 'The national body' by Gopalkrishna Gandhi [ HT link ]offers his musing and anecdotes on the whole popular business of Bharat Mata's Body - Kashmir is the crown head, Delhi is the heart, then there is pancreas, liver, so on, left, right, down, lower, there are some unmentionable but nevertheless important parts, so on and so forth.  You get the idea - the national body. Gopalkrishna Gandh devotes quite a few lines to the crown, Kashmir, as the article was triggered by the fact that someone had asked him to 'chief guest' an event about great treasures and antiques of Kashmir. The event was to be called 'Crown of India'. The print version of this article carries an inset image of 'Bharat Mata' [ image ] famously drawn by Abanindranath Tagore in 1905. Towards the end of the article Gopalkrishna Gandhi writes a bit about the beauty of Abanindranath Tagore's vision of Mata, how

'A' frame, between the legs

brash bath

Welcoming Summer. Welcoming City. HUDA City Centre, Gurgaon.  6/3/11

Thamas Kuli Khan's Loot

While tracing the family history of Nehru Clan, Dom Moraes in his book Mrs. Gandhi (1980) gives the reader an account of Nadir Shah's saking of Delhi. He tells us that on May 16 1738 when Nadir Shah finally left Delhi, along with the famous Kohinoor and the famous Peacock throne his soldiers, after having killed Thirty thousand people in five hours, also carried along with them to Persia more that thirty million pounds sterling in cash, jewels plate...and other valuable property...also... thousand elephants, seven thousand horses, ten thousand camels, a hundred eunuchs, a hundred and thirty writers, two hundred builders, a hundred mason and anticlimactically two carpenters". The pathos of this section from the book ( which Moraes based on Sir Wolsely Haig's Cambridge History of India Vol. IV, 1922) is built upon realization that Nadir Shah's great campaign ended anticlimactically with enslavement of two carpenters. In wars and related matters hundreds, thousands, mis