Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Confluence of East and West at Deityless Temple

On the 8th February, 2013, I had the good fortune of watching a programme called ‘Fastest Feet in Rhythm’ organized jointly by Odissa Tourism and U S Consulate General, Hyderabad. It was a unique and amazing Jugalbandi by Kathak maestro Pandit Chitrsh Das (creator of Kathak Yoga) and the Emmy  Award winner American Tap dancer  and choreographer Jason Samuels Smith. It was a fusion of the classical Indian Kathak dance and Western tap dance. They performed against the backdrop of the famous Rajarani Temple at Bhubaneswar. The receding winter, neither cold nor warm, provided a perfect atmosphere for this open-air presentation.

The first part of the programme was an innovative Kathak dance by Chitresh Das. After presenting Shiva Vandana in the classical style, he moved to his innovation. By skilled footwork he created the sounds of a galloping horse and then a running train and the crossing of two trains. In the second part, Jason started with the usual tap dance, moved over to dancing to the playing of Indian musical instruments and then to the ‘tapping’ effect with swift footwork.

In the third part, the duo danced with perfect synthesis. There was a perfect fusion between the Indian classical music and dance with Jazz music and Western dance.

Tap dancers use their feet like drums to create rhythmic patterns and timely beats. The sound is made by shoes with metal ‘tap’ on the heel and toe. The term ‘tap dancing’ is derived from the tapping sound produced when the small metal plates fixed to the dancer’s shoes touch the hard floor.  Tap dancing has two major variations: Rhythm (Jazz) Tap and Broadway Tap. Rhythm Tap focuses more on musicality while Broadway Tap emphasizes more on the dance.

It was a very enjoyable evening.

The previous evening, the two performers  spoke to a leading national newspaper about their unusual collaboration and the kind of reaction they get from the audience. Chitresh Das, who is 68, said that he felt younger when he performs with Jason. Jason said that their collaboration started at the backstage of the American Dance Festival in 2oo4.
Interestingly, Rajarani temple, probably built by Somavanshi kings,  has a mystery about it. There is no deity in it and no puja is performed here. Nobody knows whether there ever was a deity in this temple. Some believe that it was a pleasure resort of Raja (King) and Rani (Queen) and hence the name but other historians show evidences to disprove this theory. Some historians say the original name of the temple was Indreswar Temple but later it came to be known as Rajarani temple as it is built of Rajarania, the fine-grained yellowish sand-stone. Both in art and architecture, it has all the features of a temple-structure. Beautiful statuettes and carvings adorn this temple which as tall as any other such structure. Some historians say it was a Shiva temple while others say its presiding deity was Lord Vishnu.  

A beautiful and well-maintained park and a lawn have been laid out around 
this temple. The precinct comes to life every year in January when the 3-day Rajarani Festival is organized here. Noted Indian classical vocal and instrumental artistes from all over India perform in this Festival and the temple reverberates with notes and strains of captivating music.

I am a regular visitor of this Festival.  

Friday, 8 February 2013

India's National Anthem And Song

Just as our country has two official names, India and Bharat, it has two national songs – one national anthem and a national song, Jana Gana Mana  and Vande Mataram  respectively.

Soon after Independence in August, 1947, the national anthem of India was to be played at the U N O. There was no Indian National Anthem at that time. Government of India, as a provisional measure, advised the Indian Delegation to play Jana Gana Mana. A gramophone record of the song was played at the U N.

Two days before the Constitution of India came into force on the 26th January, 1950, the Constituent Assembly adopted Jana Gana Mana as our National Anthem on the 24th January, 1950. That day, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly made this Statement:

“The composition consisting of the words and music known as Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to alterations in the words as the Government may authorize as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Mana Gana and shall have equal status with it.”

Two songs had been used during the struggle for independence. The more widely used was Vande Matarm which appears in  Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s novel Anand Math published in 1882. However, its origin dates back much earlier, to perhaps the 17th or the 18th Century. It was sung at the session of Indian National Congress in 1896. This song was set to music by Rabindranath Tagore. It was a popular song during the ant-partition movement in Bengal. It was sung during the Bengal Provincial Conference held at Barisal in April. 1906. Later in that year, Tagore himself sang it on the opening day of the Congress session.  

In 1937, the Congress Working Committee appointed a sub-committee consisting of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Acharya Narendra Dev to examine, in consultation with Rabindranath Tagore, the suitability of this song as the National Anthem. The Committee decided that only the first two stanzas of the song Vande Mataram should be sung at national gatherings and that any other song of an unobjectionable nature could be sung along with it.     

Jana Gana Mana, composed by Rabindranath Tagore, was published under the title Bharat Vidhata in the January, 1912 issue of Tattvavodhini Patrika of which Tagore was the Editor. It was sung on the 27th December, 1911, the second day of the Congress session. Vande Mataram had been sung on the first day of Congress session as usual.

There was a controversy that the phrase ‘Bharata Bhagya Vidhata’ referred to the British King George V who happened to be on a visit to India at the time. Tagore himself rubbished this interpretation saying, “ I should insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity.”

Azad Hind Government of Subhas Chandra Bose rendered the song from Bengali to Hindustani and adopted this version as its national anthem.      

There is a view that the reason why Jana Gana Mana was chosen over Vande Mataram was probably that the latter did not lend itself to harmonization

In a statement made on the 25th August, 1948 in Parliament (The Constituent Assembly functioned as the Provisional Parliament till the First General Elections under the Constitution in 1952.) Jawaharlal Nehru said, “It is unfortunate that some kind of argument has arisen between Vande Mataram and Jana gana Mana. Vande Mataram is obviously and indisputably the premier national song of India with a great historical tradition. It was intimately connected with our struggle for freedom. That position is bound to retain and no other song can replace it. It represents the passion and poignancy of that struggle, but perhaps not so much the culmination of it.”

The standard time for a formal rendition of Jana Gana Mana,  India’s National Anthem is 52 seconds.

Vande Mataram!  Jai Hind!


Friday, 1 February 2013

The Great Worrier

When my children were young, a frequent conversation between them, overheard by me, ran like this:

Daughter I  : What is the small difference between Napoleon, the Great and our

Daughter II : Napoleon and Mom? Why, Napoleon was a world-conqueror and   
                     Mom is Mom!

Daughter I : That is a big difference. What is the small difference?

Daughter II : Small difference?

Daughter I :  Napoleon was a great warrior and Mom is a great worrier!

The wife used to worry a lot over small things. If the school-bus would be late in any morning, she would prod me to drop them at their school; if it would be late in the afternoon, she would telephone to me and pester me to go to the school to bring them, worrying all the while that the bus would have broken down or would have met with an accident or the driver would have fallen ill etc..

I can’t say that I am not a worrier at all. All of us worry.

We are raised and trained to worry. Parents expect their children to worry. “It is time to stop wasting your energy and start worrying about your exam.” is frequently heard. We are not considered ‘grown up’ if we don’t start worrying and till we perfect this art. “You’d better start worrying about your future.”, we are advised when we are in teens. We become a ‘responsible adult’ only when we start worrying!

‘What if…?’ is the question that constantly crops up in our mind and tortures us. What if my daughter/son does not do well in the Board Examination? What if it rains on my wedding day? What if the train reaches late and I am late for the interview? What if there is a riot in the town and my husband is stranded? What if my wife falls ill on the day of our anniversary party to which I have invited a lot of my friends?

( By the way, in Financial Management ‘ What if… ‘ is a good tool in Sensitivity Analysis for remaining prepared to face any business uncertainty. ‘What if the price of raw materials rises by say 10%?’ is a question in profitability-management.)

 If one does not worry, one is called uncaring.

It is possible to care without worrying. To be concerned is not the same thing as worrying. Concern opens up love-energy and the person becomes more alive.

There is a difference between ‘fight-or-flight’ response which is a necessary and healthy reaction of the body to immediate danger and ‘worry’ which is a psychological problem. If the imminent danger is of manageable magnitude, the body prepares to fight it; if it is enormous, the self-preservation instinct makes us to flee from the place, prompting us that discretion is better than valour. Worry is a state of anxiety, sometimes, without assessing the magnitude of the coming problem or even without knowing for sure whether problem is actually going to come.

Worry is negative imagination; it is misuse of one’s faculty of imagination. Imagination is a beautiful thing and can be better used in planning the future.

 “Worry is the interest paid on trouble before it is due.” , says William R Inge. 

A typical worrier will think about all the negative possibilities about the future and fret about a situation.Some people even worry over how many worries they have!

We brood over something which happened in the past and worry about what is going to happen in the future. We worry about the past which we cannot change and worry about the future which has not come. As Carrie Ten Boom has said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.” Let us live in the present.

Murphy’s Law teaches us that if anything can go wrong, it will. Let us be prepared in stead of worrying about anything going wrong. In this world, there is no one who does not have problems. Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our problem!

Let us not worry in advance, about any hurdle that may come on our way. Of course we should remain prepared. As it has been said, we shall cross the bridge when we come near it. The philosophy of one step at a time teaches us that it is better to take one step at a time without worrying about imagined dangers and pitfalls of the whole journey. We should concentrate on 'here and now' on that one step after the last and before the next. We should see the challenges we face as opportunities to learn and grow.  

As Swami Sukhabodhananda says, we should not worry about two things: things we can't change and things we can change. There are many things which we can't change. Then why worry about them? We have to accept them and live with them.Similarly, there are somethings which we can change. In such cases, one has to act rather than worry.

He suggests an easy way to handle worries: Put all the worries in an imaginary box which he calls the 'Friday Box'. Do not think of any worry before Friday. Every Friday go back to this Box and you will find that most of the worries and fears have been solved. Put the remaining worries in another imaginary Box which you will open on the last Friday of each month. By that time, most of the worries would have gone. Write out 20 ways to solve the remaining problems. If you are calm, most of the problems will be solved; if you creative, the remaining problems also will be solved. Any problem still remaining unsolved even after these, will make your life humble and challenging.   

So, don’t worry; be happy. If any problem comes, remember – this will pass.


A 'hypochondriac' is a person who excessively worries over his/her health.


Don’t worry, some of them happen.:))))))))))))

A confirmed worrier fears every time the tide goes out that it won't come in again.
2.”It is funny that when a man does not have anything on the earth to worry about, he goes off and gets married!” – Robert Frost    
3."90% of the things we worry about never actually happen. So I'd like everyone to do a lot  more worrying." 

4. The human body is 60% water and 40% stress! 

5. I wasted all day today worrying about yesterday that nobody will remember tomorrow! 

6. There is no need to worry about the future; by the time you reach there, it becomes past!