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Sunday, 30 March 2014

aadhar is glad to unveil the fifth issue of ‘Samvaad - a dialogue on heritage’.
Samvaad is a quarterly online publication by aadhar.
aadhar is a charitable trust working to Revitalise Traditional Arts and Crafts of India since year 2002.

Samvaad was initiated in 2013 to provides a platform to everyone to share information, observation and opinion concerning heritage.
Click on the above image to download your copy of Samvaad.
Please feel free to forward this email to unable reach this heritage dialogue to interested individuals & organisations.
Thank you,
Team aadhar

Friday, 17 January 2014

CM Inaugurated Ngadak Gompa In South Sikkim

CM Inaugurated Ngadak Gompa In South Sikkim

CM inaugurated Ngadak Gompa in South Sikkim
CM inaugurated Ngadak Gompa in South Sikkim
15 Jan, Namchi : ( source:Voice of Sikkim)The ‘Ngadak Thupten Shedup Dhargay Choeling Gompa (Monastery)’ was inaugurated today in Namchi by the Chief Minister Mr Pawan Chamling in the presence of the Taklung Tsetrul Rimpoche of Shimla. Taklung Tsetrul Rimpoche performed the Consecration ceremony wherein the Chief Minister with wife Mrs Tika Maya Chamling and other guests attended the puja ceremony inside the monastery.
It maybe recalled that the Chief Minister himself had laid the foundation stone of the Gompa on May 20th 2007. The vision, of the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as accentuated in his public speech, is to make Sikkim the Pilgrimage and Religious Destination for people of all faiths and religions from all walks of life in the days to come and renovate Sikkim into a holy place for all faiths in the world. Today his vision has materialized another step ahead with the inauguration of the Ngadak Gompa.
The centuries old historical Ngadak Chyangter Gompa (Monastery) located in Ghurpishey Namchi South Sikkim has been taken up under South East Asian Regional Buddhist Cultural, Traditional and Heritage Study Centre in the form of a project which has been initiated and conceived by the State Government to incorporate this Monastery as a museum and a centre for Learning and Preservation of Buddhist Culture, Tradition and Heritage. In this context, Ngadak Monastery will be another historic Buddhist institution to be added in the list of other prominent tourist spots like statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdrupste, Char Dham at Solophok and Buddha Park Rabongla in the South District. This monastery which is located a few kilometers above Namchi Bazaar can be reached through a short road that deviates from the highway that leads to the premises of the monastery. The history of Ngadak Monastery is noteworthy as it relates to the era of monarchial system in Sikkim as well as foundation of the Buddhist religion here.
It must be mentioned that the old monastery has not been torn down, it is still there for the visitors to see with everything including all the old features persevered and intact. At present the state government has put up metal prop around the old structure of Ngadak Chyangter Monastery because of its fragile and dilapidated state after the earthquake of 1989 which rendered the monastery unsafe, adding upon the centuries old architect and materials used which consist of timber beam and post framework. This old monastery is a two storied structure built completely in the ancient style, the ground floor has stone and mud flooring and the first floor has timber planks and mud with husk in between the floor and ceiling.
According to the technical details presented by the Chief Engineer Buildings and Housing Department Mr Rinzing Dorjee, the total cost of the project till date has been revised to Rs.2076.79 lakhs owing to the additional works of the project. The other notable features of the new monastery include i) the yabring in the foreground of the monastery ii) Intricate traditional carvings on the wood and concrete, paintings, religious decorations in the exteriors of the monastery iii) and most importantly are the huge statues of three eyed Guru Rigzin Thongdup, Cherezig and Guru Dorjee Dakpo Chal (Yap Yum) crafted at the site and installed in the Altar said to be rarest and important combination of divine status. The main monastery has the plinth area of 48300sft. The project was completed with the collaboration of various teams like Ecclesiastical Department, Buildings & housing Department and Ngadak Duchi Committee. Artisans from Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim were engaged in the project.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

2 NE storytellers in Frank O’Connor Award longlist

Source: iSikkim 
New Delhi, April 17, 2013
Two Indian storytellers – Prajwal Parajuly and Janice Pariat – are among 75 authors longlisted for this year’s Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Sikkim-born Parajuly “The Gurkha’s Daughter” and Meghalaya-born Pariat’s “Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories” are in contention for the Euro 25,000 award, regarded as the world’s richest prize for a short story collection.
A shortlist of up to six books will be selected in late May and the winner will be announced in July.
In “The Gurkha’s Daughter”, Parajuly blends rich colour and vernacular to paint an eye-opening picture of a unique world and its people.
“Boats on Land” is a collection of 15 stories set in and around Shillong, Cherrapunjee and pockets of Assam. The tales span over the course of a century, beginning in the 1850s and ending in the contemporary, modern world.
Jhumpa Lahiri is the only Indian to have won the award for her “Unaccustomed Earth” in 2008.
boats on land - janice pariat2
Among other authors in the longlist are previous winner Ron Rash, previous shortlistee Peter Stamm, Hollywood actress Molly Ringwald and recent winner of the Sunday Times Short Story Award, Junot Diaz.
The award is in memory of renowned short story writer late O’Connor and is presented in his hometown of Cork in Ireland.
The prize is awarded to the author of the book judged to be the best collection of stories published in English for the first time anywhere in the world.
The award, into its ninth year, will be presented at the culmination of the Cork International Short Story Festival in September.

Friday, 1 February 2013

India Art Fair

Highlights of the India Art Fair

An artwork on display at the India Art Fair, which opened in New Delhi on Friday.

Sajjad Hussain/Agence France-Presse
Getty Images An artwork on display at the India Art Fair, which opened in New Delhi on Friday.

NEW DELHI —All roads in Delhi lead to the Okhla Industrial Estate this weekend, where the India Art Fair opened to the public on Friday.
At a preview on Thursday, a well-heeled crowd took in over 3,000 works of art by 105 exhibitors from 24 countries. Eleven interactive art projects, works on loan from the artists, are also on display, as well as Jitish Kallat’s installation of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s letter to Adolf Hitler advising him against war.
Although there’s plenty of art to take in amid all the air-kissing society folks, be sure to wander past the following booths:
GALLERYSKE: The gallery’s director, Sunitha Kumar Emmart, shows a stellar lineup of contemporary artists, including Sudarshan Shetty, Srinivasa Prasad and Prabhavathi Meppayil. Where: booth C-2.
Gallery Espace: Works by Zarina Hashmi, who is currently showing at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Nilima Sheikh, Rajinder Tikoo and Rina Banerjee. Where: booth B-2.
Samdani Art Foundation: The nonprofit based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has on display “My Daughter’s Cot,” a baby crib made of stainless steel razor blades, by the artist Tayeba Begum Lipi. Where: booth D-6.
Tasveer: Powerful photography and photo-based art by Maimouna Guerresi, Steve McCurry and Raghu Rai. Where: booth D-9.
Photoink: Great photography, with Vivan Sundaram riffing on the work of his late aunt, Amrita Sher-Gil, and compelling contemporary photos by Dhruv Malhotra. Where: booth F-7.
Seven Art: A must-see is Martand Khosla’s “Site Reconsidered 2,” made of brick dust. Where: Booth C-15.
Scream of London: Pakpoom Silaphan’s “Triple Gandhi on Pepsi” attracted a lot of eyeballs. The gallery’s works have already sold out, according to the fair’s founder, Neha Kirpal. Where: booth A-5.
Imaginart Gallery/Tasneem Gallery: Big-name Spanish artists you don’t typically get to see in India, including works by Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso. Where: booth B-9.
TAG Fine Arts: A wall of black butterflies created by Jane Dyer. Where: booth D-5.
Dhoomimal Art Center: A collection of the Indian master Jamini Roy’s works, from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Where: booth J-2.
The Swiss curator Mirjam Varadinis is offering curated walks through the fair.
There are also several don’t-miss Speakers Forum talks:
“Art in the Age of Uprising” includes panelists Ravi Sundaram, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies; Chus Martínez, chief curator of the El Museo del Barrio in New York, and Juan Gaitán, the curator of the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Monica Juneja, chairwoman of global art history at Heidelberg University in Germany, moderates. When: Saturday, Feb. 2, noon to 1:30 p.m.
“The Museum of the 21st Century: A Working Model?” includes panelists Barbara London, a curator from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Liu Yingjiu, from the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, Sandhini Poddar, from the Guggenheim in New York, and Professor Tapati Guha-Thakurta of Kolkata. Professor Kavita Singh of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University moderates. When: Sunday, Feb. 3, noon to 1:30 p.m.
There are also various events and in and around Delhi timed to the fair:
This year’s four finalists for the Skoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art offer something for everyone at the National Gallery of Modern Art. Curated by Girish Shahane, the exhibit includes art by a younger set of contemporary artists, including Shilpa Gupta, L.N. Tallur, Srinivasa Prasad and CAMP. Kids especially will love Mr. Prasad’s “Igloo” and “Rebirth,” both of which involve climbing in and out of structures.
At the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, “Homelands,” a British Council-sponsored exhibit curated by Latika Gupta, explores the idea of nationality, home and identity in 80 works of photography, painting, sculpture and video, many shown for the first time in India.
If you’re an audio buff, don’t miss an “Evening of Sound” on Feb. 2, organized by the artists’ residency Khoj. Arrive at their newly renovated studio, across the street from Select City Walk Mall in Saket at 6 p.m. to hear live performances by Chi-Wei Lin, Rudi Punzo and Robert Millis, then wander to nearby DT Cinemas to hear a sound exhibition curated by Alexis Bhagat and Lauren Rosati. Khoj’s studio is at S-17, Khirkee Extension. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Launching of digital copies of Non-Priced Publications of NAI on Website

Union Minister of Culture Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch and former Governor of West Bengal Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi jointly launched the digital version of the catalogue of publications (till June 2012) of National Archives of India (NAI) on the website ( under section “List of Publications”.

This catalogue is not merely a list of publications brought out over the last seventy years in pursuance of the approved publication scheme in 1942; rather it unfolds the history of the publication policy of this Department since its origin. Over the last seventy years, approximately 101 titles have been brought out with many of the titles having several volumes. Out of these 101 titles, 40 are priced publications, 49 are non-priced, 8 are reprints and 4 are facsimile copies of the manuscripts preserved in the National Archives of India.

In the first phase of the digitalization of publications of this department, only non-priced publications which are in single volume have been made available for download. In the second phase Annual Reports of National Archives of India (1891 onward) and Report of the Director General of Archives and other non-priced publications in various volumes would be made available on the website. The last phase of digitalization will deal with all priced publications of the department.

The digital copies initiative of non-priced publications by NAI will help scholars, historians, academicians, administrators and users of archives. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

The story goes that the Taj Mahal was built by 22,000 workers who consumed petha for instant energy in Agra's hot summer month

Agra, Dec 2 — There's no doubt that no one thinks of Agra without also thinking of the Taj Mahal. But Agra has much more to offer than Mughal monuments, say local artistes, businessmen and culture-activists, and that is its entrepreneurial excellence.
"The whole Braj Mandal, roughly the area now under the Taj Trapezium Zone, has a vibrant centre of entrepreneurial excellence that catapulted Agra to the forefront decades ago," says historian Raj Kishore Raje, and author of "Bharat mein Angrez" (Englishmen in India).
No other city in India can boast of producing a range of items for which raw materials are not locally available.
"Agra is famous for iron foundries, glassware, leather shoes, its peculiar sweet called petha, and also handicrafts. But the raw material for all these industries is not locally available. It is the skilled workers, the artisans, craftsmen, the entrepreneurial class in Agra that has made the city rank among India's top industrial towns," Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, told IANS.
Gourd, from which petha is made, comes from Maharashtra and other southern states. It is processed and turned into a sweet by skilled workers in Agra.
The story goes that the Taj Mahal was built by 22,000 workers who consumed petha for instant energy in Agra's hot summer months.
Iron foundries depend on supplies of pig iron and coal, as well as natural gas from outside the state.
"But it is the dexterous hands and "desi" (local) technology that evolved over years, to produce cast iron products including manholes that found markets even in America. Now a whole range of products are cast. During the green revolution, Agra's iron foundries provided solid support manufacturing pumps, agricultural implements and diesel generators," says Srimohan Khandelwal, a leading industrialist.
Marble and coloured precious stones come from Rajasthan and various other places, but the expert in-lay artistes and craftsmen here create intricate artistic pieces.
The glassware and bangles of Firozabad, earlier part of Agra but now a neighbouring district, are famous the world over.
The glass manufacturers use soda ash and silica sand, which come from Gujarat and Rajasthan. "But it's the expertise, the skills of workmen, that really contribute to the growth and advance of this industry," says senior journalist from Firozabad, Raghvendra.
How and why Agra became the chief centre of the leather shoe industry, nobody knows. For the past 80 years, Agra has continued to remain number one in terms of production and exports of leather.
Leather and other raw materials come from Chennai and other centres. The leather shoe industry employs more than 100,000 workers directly and sustains 200,000 more in various ways.
"The local workers, designers, cutters, and others are not just hard-working but have very creative talents and keep coming up with new ideas to stay ahead in the race," according to leading exporter Harvijay.
Talking of the entrepreneurial genius of the local 'banias', retired banker P.N. Agarwal says: "The first loan to the East India Company in 1640 to build a factory at Surat was given by a local bania. Another local seth funded Aurangzeb's brother Murad to raise an army to rebel against the emperor. Agra's industrial base and entrepreneurial class were highly evolved and had far-reaching interests and networks," Agarwal told IANS.
K.C. Jain, president of the Agra Development Foundation, regrets that the traditions and legacy of the city have long been neglected.
"More attention these days is focussed on stones and monuments as tourism brings money. But for society's balanced growth, arts, culture, cuisine and industry are all to be seen as heritage," Jain said.
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at

Read more:

GANGTOK, 02 Dec: Annual chaam and prayers were performed on 01 and 02 December here at the Pabyuik Monastery situated in East Sikkim falling under Syari constituency. The programme was attended by area MLA and Speaker, SLA, KT Gyaltsen as the chief guest today.
The Chaam [“five gods dance”] was performed by monks of the monastery. The chaam and prayers were held to propitiate the Gods and Deities for peace and prosperity for the people of Sikkim and also to ward off evil omens. The programme was organized by Bara Kagui, Pabyuik Tashi Chiling Gumpa, which has 12 members in the committee.
The prayer was led by Kagyu Tulku Rinpoche Nowang Tempa Gyaltsen. A mela was also held at the venue today.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Stories of Jhamphey Mung reach Mumbai

GANGTOK, 27 Nov: ( Source:Sikkim Now)

Acoustic Traditional’s work in Sikkim, especially in Dzongu, and neighbouring Darjeeling over the last few years seems to have finally received the nation’s attention. Yesterday Mid-Day, the afternoon English daily in Mumbai, carried a full page article on Acoustic Traditional [AT], the NGO behind the hard work, and Dzongu storytellers with their tales of Yeti or Jhamphey Mung.
“This is really great news for us and for the storytellers with whom we have been working all this time. Mr. Merek and Mr. Netuk Lepcha have been pictured in the article with their testimonials. It’s great because there is so much in our oral literature to tell. What people think is that our stories are just as much as they have come to know through books or documented works. Everything in the region is so much about storytelling that it is hard to believe that we have that much. Our oral traditions are as old as the sacred Earth and there is so much to know and listen to. It’s inspiring to know that interest in our work in growing. It’s time to tell our stories again, this time to the world,” said Salil Mukhia Kwoica, founder AT.
The article comes at a time when Acoustic Traditional is busy preparing for their upcoming Confluence, Festival of Indigenous Storytellers at Darjeeling between 07 and 09 December at the Windamere Hotel. Now in its 3rd year, the Confluence actually was initiated in Sikkim with the support of State Culture and Heritage Department. Last year, it was held in Bangalore.
The Confluence is a travelling Festival of Storytellers and the reason why it travels is because it aims to focus on a region’s folklore and storytelling. The focus in 2010 was Sikkim where around 12 storytellers from across various communities participated. In Bangalore, the focus was on the Southern tribes. This year, it is on Darjeeling. From Sikkim, storytellers from Dzongu will be participating this year.
AT will be nominating storytellers from the region to participate at the global Tera Madre Movement being organised in Shillong around 14 December 2012. “We are hoping that one storyteller from Sikkim and one from Darjeeling could be supported to represent there,” added Abhishek Pradhan, Programmes and Communication Manager, AT.
For the Confluence festival, AT is providing a concession especially for community-based associations to encourage their participation. The registration fee with concession is Rs 800 for three days as compared to the Rs 5,500 for non-regional participants.
For more information on how to register, please contact: 8972 313 930

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Stuntmen riding cars inside a makeshift cylindrical structure known as the "Wall of Death." The performance is part of Jhiri fair, an annual fair held in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir.

Channi Anand/Associated Press
Stuntmen riding cars inside a makeshift cylindrical structure known as the “Wall of Death.” The performance is part of Jhiri fair, an annual fair held in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir.

A year after the creation of the Pangthang Semi Hi-tech Nursery

Nursery malis prepare Bhadrasey seeds for plantation

Dechen Lachungpa
Under the JICA assisted Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project a semi hi-tech nursery was created at Pangthang last year. The nursery was created in order to propagate species of wild edible fruit plants that are found growing in forests areas of Sikkim. Certain species of wild edible fruits need care at the time of seedling stage. Species like oaks whose “natural regeneration” is nil has to be raised in the nursery and then transplanted. It is the policy of the Department of Forest Environment and Wildlife Management to have a well balanced forest comprising of 10% fodder species, 30% wild edible fruit species and rest locally available indigenous species. The Department encourages the public to plant trees in their private holdings for which these forest nurseries provide seedlings free of cost to the public for plantation in their private land.

Root trained seedlings in Panthang nursery
In this semi hi-tech nursery the seeds are directly dribbled in special pots called as root trainers. Growing of tree species in these root trainers is indeed a very scientific manner of propagation. The use of root-trainers reduces significantly the use of plastic polybags and moreover it can be re-used over a period of many years. Also, as shown in the photographs the roots of seedlings grown in these root-trainers become highly developed and well trained. Because of the hole at the bottom of the root-trainer, the roots automatically becomes air pruned, coiled and hence the soil is well bundled by the roots. At time of plantation the “ball of earth” that should necessarily be maintained for successful plantation is compact and well set in plants grown in root-trainers. Seedlings grown in root trainers can be planted during any season. Moreover the transportation of seedlings grown in these root-trainers is easier and it occupies less space in comparison to seedlings grown in poly bags. This type of propagation of seedlings is highly advantageous, there is efficient use of manure, soil and for water conservation (volume of soil and manure used in root trainers is far less than in polybags). The quantity and quality of seedlings produced in this small area of polyhouse is far higher that that of the seedlings raised outdoors. Also since the nursery is under cover the man power available in the nursery can be well utilized even at time of unfavourable conditions during monsoons.


NAMCHI, 22 Nov: Preparations at Borong Tsa Chu, the Borong hot spring, located on the banks of river Rangeet under Ravangla Sub Division in South Sikkim are underway full swing to host pilgrims who come to visit this hot-spring for a rejuvenating dip. This hot spring is popular among visitors as it is believed to have strong curative powers and hundreds of visitors come every year to take a dip in it. The arrival of visitors is expected to peak from the end of this month.
President, Organizing Committee Borong Tsa chu, Devilal Sharma, informed that preparations to host the pilgrims are in the final stages. Every year the committee sets up temporary huts for visitors but warm clothes, bedding and utensils have to be brought by the visitors themselves, he informed.
During the two-month season, hundreds of pilgrims come from across the state as well as Bhutan and Nepal, said Mr Sharma and added that this spring has also been a major source of income for the villagers and unemployed youth of Borong.
A team from the South district Zilla Panchayat also visited the location to oversee the ongoing preparations. The was headed by ADC Development, DK Pradhan and he was accompanied by Deputy Secretary, Bandhana Chettri, the newly elected ward panchayat Karma Bhutia and organizing committee member, Chewang Bhutia.
The team visited the site and to make the stay comfortable for visitors an amount of Rs 1 lakh was sanctioned in order to construct a community toilet at the spot.( Source:Sikkim Now)


Source:Sikkim Now
GANGTOK, 23 Nov: The year could not have been better for writers from Sikkim, with three of them finding their way into the national and international publishing scene. Yishey D’s work was featured in a Random House publication, Chetan Raj Shreshta has been signed up by Aleph Book Company [a collaboration between David Davidar and Rupa publications], and finally Prajwal Parajuly who managed to bag an international two-book deal with UK-based Quercus. A formidable sign that Sikkimese writing in English is coming of age.
Prajwal’s debut, ‘The Gurkha’s Daughter’, a collection of short stories is being launched in India on Saturday. The Indian edition is being distributed by Penguin Books India. The book is being released by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai and renowned author, Namita Gokhale at the India International Centre in New Delhi on 24 November.

Prajwal speaks to NOW! on the launch of his debut book:
How does it feel now that your book is finally being released?
The release wasn’t happening until January of next year, but things changed. The initial plan was to launch the book internationally first and then in India. I had plans of being in New York for Thanksgiving, which I had to abort, but I don’t mind because it’s an exciting time to be in India. Delhi is beautiful in November, people have been very kind and the media very generous.  I am looking forward to the Delhi launch and launches after that. We shall have one at Rachna Books, my favorite place in Gangtok, soon, and I am pumped.

Even before its release, The Gurkha’s Daughter has generated quite a lot of interest among readers, especially online. How do you feel about that?
It’s been nice. Nice and undeserved. At times, all the coverage made me feel guilty. At others, I feigned embarrassment in public and felt smug in private. I claim that I don’t Google myself because I don’t want to see what’s being written about me or the book, but that’s a big, fat lie. I try not to take the sobriquets coming my way too seriously.

What should readers expect from this book? Tell us a little about the stories.
The Gurkha’s Daughter is a collection of simply written stories. I have two stories based in Gangtok, one in Kalimpong, one in Darjeeling, one based on the Bhutanese-refugee situation, one in Kathmandu and one that happens on a road journey between Kathmandu and Birtamod. Some stories entailed weeks of research and “field visits”. Others were all in my head, so it was simply a matter of getting them down.

In present times, short story writing has not been a very popular choice when it comes to publishers or writers. How did the choice of this particular genre for your debut book come about?
I think it came down to choosing the easy way. Writing a novel would have been intimidating. I think a lot of first-time writers dabble with short stories before moving on to novels. I hadn’t really written much fiction before I started my collection of short stories. When I wrote the book, I had absolutely no clue about the short-story market. A good thing because had I known how bad things were, I’d probably have never written the book. Everyone at Oxford told me to write a novel if I had any hope of selling my short-story collection. One would think that the busier people got, the more of short stories they’d read because novels are too long. Interestingly, I found writing the novel a lot easier than I did writing the collection.

And how easy or difficult was it to get a collection of short stories revolving around the Nepali speaking community published?
Writing the short story collection may not have been very easy, but getting it published wasn’t that hard. I got lucky. Once I put together eight stories, we circulated the manuscript among my agent Susan Yearwood’s contacts in London publishing circles. To be in a position to choose was wonderful. We eventually chose Quercus because Jon Riley, the editor in chief, and I immediately connected. He had been editor in chief at Faber before, and I love Faber. He talked about how he worked as an editor, and I talked about how I worked as a writer – it was the perfect fit.

Any particular reason for choosing ‘The Gurkha’s Daughter’ as the title?
Oh, god, there were many titles before that. And they were horrible. Let me make a list. HIMALAYAN SUNSET. Eww. SUNSET IN THE HIMALAYAS. Phew. Then there was WARPED IDENTITIES in the beginning – that one makes me laugh. Jon and I looked at all the stories and thought, “Why not THE GURKHA’S DAUGHTER?” The title was already there – sitting right in front of us. Hunting high and low for something as hackneyed as WARPED IDENTITIES was silly!

Can you tell us something about any future projects that you are working on?
We’ve been approached by an independent film company in the U.K. about adapting one of my stories into a movie. We’ll see how that goes. I have loosely adapated one of my stories into a pathetic screenplay and may work on it a little. I’ve been thinking about the idea of an anthology of stories from the northeast – select a brilliant writer or two from every state and show off our talents to the world! It’s interesting that the northeast has all these English-speaking people, all these English-reading people, all these English-language-loving people but not that many writers. Perhaps the anthology would give some brilliant, if unpublished writers, a national platform? A publishing house has been talking to me about doing a travelogue – a tongue-in-cheek compilation of Facebook notes I wrote while traveling around India with my college roommate. Let this craziness subside, and I shall choose a project.

Finally, how did you manage to get a blurb for your book from Hope Cooke?
This concept of getting blurbs for your debut book is absurd. You approach a writer and beg him or her to endorse your book. I wasn’t going to do that! Or your editor does it for you. I didn’t want my editor to do that. My professors are lovely people and reputed writers, but using them for blurbs felt slightly … exploitative? I’d be uncomfortable saying, ‘Oh, hey, you taught me, so endorse my book, please’. In April, I read Hope’s TIME CHANGE. It’s a fascinating book –  so well written. It’s a shame it hasn’t been published in India. It’d be amazing if someone published the book here. Someone told me the book was banned in India – is that right? I thought it’d make sense for Hope to write the blurb – she was familiar with the region, she’s a writer for whom I have a lot of respect, and she was lovely things to say about my book. I am grateful. Please smuggle TIME CHANGE into the country if you can!

What do you think about the current reading and writing scene in Gangtok?
It has changed, grown so much. Could it have started with THE WEEKEND REVIEW? I think it was in some ways responsible for spawning a number of writers’ careers. I grew up on an overdose of that publication. It was started when I was 13 or 14. Gangtok has some excellent writers. I remember Serah Basnet’s HARES B’NET column. I read and re-read it. And then prank-called her to grill her with questions. Yes, guys my age prank-called girls their age. I called writers! There was Karchoong Diyali who once wrote a hilarious piece about the proposed pedestrianization of MG Marg – something about having to carry his bags and sick grandma to a building in the middle of town had cracked me up no end. Then there was Coco – so irreverent and delightful. Chetan Raj Shrestha’s story A VICTIMISED TRANSFER, which was published in NOW!, was brilliant. He will soon be published – readers should know they are in for a treat. Yishey D., too, had her start with THE WEEKEND REVIEW, didn’t she? She’s now a published writer. Amazing! There was Gakila Phemphu whose piece on new movies leaving little to the imagination was hilarious. TALK SIKKIM is thriving. And Tenzin C. Tashi needs to stop wasting that enviable talent of hers on books on the Raj Bhawan and concentrate on a proper book on Sikkim’s history. God, all that knowledge juxtaposed with all that lyrical dexterity – it’s criminal that she hasn’t seriously worked toward getting published. I recently chanced upon a blog called KALIMPONG CALLING, and there was some excellent writing there. See, we have the talent. And we are reading, thanks to Rachna Books. I read about a library for children that’s opened up at Mist Tree Mountain – excellent stuff. Takstse is doing some wonderful things to encourage reading.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Heritage week begins today

TNN | Nov 19, 2012, 01.42 AM IST

NEW DELHI: With heritage week starting from Monday, Intach Delhi Chapter announced a series of seminars and events that are lined up for whole week in an attempt to spread awareness about the city's rich heritage. With Delhi in the queue for world heritage city tag from Unesco, the events are all aimed at involving as many citizens as possible in the nomination process.

While a theater workshop will be held on Monday, a quiz will be organized on Tuesday to test the awareness of students on Delhi's history. The quiz will be an inter-college/university quiz and the special theme will be Delhi's rich heritage. There will also be a panel discussion — titled 'the socio-economic imperative impact of preserving Delhi's heritage' — on the thousand plus monuments in the city, alongwith an exhibition on the last maharajah of Punjab later in the week.

Films preach 'save heritage' message

TNN | Nov 20, 2012, 03.09 AM IST

.KOLKATA: As you glance through the slides, you will be gripped with a sense of remorse on seeing that priceless heritage structures the city once had were pulled down one after the other to make way for concrete structures.

As you glossed over the slides you were suddenly gripped with a sense of remorse. Priceless heritage structures that we once had were pulled down one after the other to make way for concrete structures.

The slides were shown by Intach, an NGO that works for heritage conservation, as part of a world heritage week programme organised at the Victoria Memorial. Two films on heritage preservation were also screened.

Be it the Bank of Bengal building, the senate building of Calcutta University that gave way to the centenary building, or the original building of Bengal Club - all are lost forever.

"What we need is awareness and activism on the part of the citizens of the city. Otherwise, it would be difficult to preserve our built heritage," said G M Kapur, state convenor of Intach.

The first film was based on the high-profile restoration of The Last Supper by Zoffany, a mammoth painting that the artist gifted to St John's Church. This one of its kind art restoration was done under the guidance of Renate Kant, a restorer from Singapore and had brought a lot of media attention in 2010.

On the other hand, the second film focused on Stefan Norblin, a Polish painter who sought refuge in India during World War II. Norblin's paintings adorned walls of palaces in Morbi, Jodhpur and Mumbai. These were mammoth in size and brought with them a new style to India where you saw Indian characters having prominent European features.

The film called Chitranjali celebrated the art deco style of architecture that was a common feature during the time of Norblin both in palatial India as well as in Poland.

TN to launch clean-up drive at 10 Tamil Nadu heritage sites

TNN | Nov 22, 2012, 04.37 AM IST

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu tourism will soon take up a cleanliness drive at 10 heritage tourist destinations in the state. The project, to be carried out along with Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), will include maintaining the tourist spots round the year.

The decision was taken at meeting chaired by tourism minister S Gokula Indira on Wednesday. The drive will be carried out at Mamallapuram, Thanjavur Big Temple, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram, Tranquebar, Meenakshi Temple, Srirangam Temple, Tiruvannama-lai Temple, Velankanni, Ooty and Kodaikanal.

"Intach will prepare and submit the action plan within a week. To help implement the plan, a period of one year has been fixed and more sites will be taken up in the future," said a tourism department official.

A five-member committee formed for each site will inspect and implement an action plan for the areas selected. The department also hopes to rope in local self-help groups to ensure cleanliness in and around the buildings.

Five-year pact to save monuments

TNN | Nov 24, 2012, 06.31 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Friday finally signed a new MoU with Intach Delhi Chapter for conservation and protection of 155 unprotected monuments in the city.

The last MoU had expired over a year ago and included only 95 monuments out of the 250 structures identified in 2008. The new agreement is for five years.

Fifteen monuments that were conserved in Phase I of the agreement are still waiting for the final notification to protect them under Delhi Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 2004. These include Badarpur gateways, Gol Gumbad, Darwesh Shah ki Masjid.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A camel herder arriving with his livestock for the cattle fair, held annually, in the Pushkar town of Rajasthan. 
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A camel herder arriving with his livestock for the cattle fair, held annually, in the Pushkar town of Rajasthan

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Narendra modi

Modi in traditional dress of Gujrat