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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 the painter had not transposed Bharat Mata 'onto a geopolitical map of India.' The really interesting part for me was the he ends the article with a reference to the rather obscure Kashmir series by  Abanindranath Tagore. Last year, I stumbled across that incredible series in a travelogue called 'The Charm of Kashmir' (1920) by V.C. Scott O'connor (available in public domain at archive.org). About a year back, I shared the images from that Kashmir series by Abanindranath Tagore over my Kashmir blog. I am quite happy at this public consumption and public reclaimanation of those works of art by the master.

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Looking for India in Chinar leaves

Kheer Bhawani in village Tulamulla of district Ganderbal near Srinagar is probably the holiest shrine of Kashmiri Pandits. The place in fact is in fact a small island surrounded by a river and mash land. The origin of this place mentions a Mulberry tree, hence its popular name Tulamulla, but the only trees to be found on this island are old and new Chinar trees.

During my 2008 visit to the place I found the usual Hindu pilgrims from India participating in a rather curious exercise of recent origin that in part may have been affected and initiated by more than two decade long  presence of Security forces on this island. The visitors, often on advise of other visitors or on advise of a security man equally fascinated by the 'miracle' are asked to look up at the big branches of Chinar trees from a particular spot on the ground and observe the distinct shape of India being formed by the leaves on intertwined branches of those magnificent old tees. At the end of  the exercise, that involves lot of pointing up at the trees, everyone agrees that those leaves do form the shape of India.

Looking for India in Chinar leaves. 2008.

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Comments

  1. Who reads you?

    Right now if anyone googles for those images he will find my Kashmir post about those paintings by Abanindranath Tagore. If that article got anyone interested in checking out the said paintings, one look at my stat and I would know. I just checked. Zero, nada, zilch people googled for those paintings.
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    Note to self: look for his 'Last Moments of Shah Jehan’

    ReplyDelete
  2. Read your post. Thanks for writing. Feel slightly enlightened.

    ReplyDelete

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