Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
cordially invites you to a Public Lecture
 in the series, 'India and the wider World'

at 3.00 pm on Wednesday, 3 April, 2013
in the Seminar Room, First Floor, Library Building


India and Southeast Asia:
The iconography of early cultural interactions’


Dr. Parul Pandya Dhar,
University of Delhi, Delhi.


Cultural interaction systems that linked pre-modern India and Southeast Asia were based on an intense and long-standing exchange of ideas, knowledge systems, objects, and people traversing vast expanses over land and seas. Until the 1960s, the historiography of these interactions had remained entrenched in the ‘Indianization’ paradigm, with terms such as ‘Greater India’ being suggestive of a kind of cultural colonialism. Since then, attention has shifted to processes of ‘localization,’ moving away from notions of homogenous cultural monoliths on both sides of the Bay of Bengal to a more textured understanding of regional and sub-regional diversities. More recently, in the last quarter of a century or so, the archaeology of cross-cultural interactions in South and Southeast Asia has opened up fresh horizons, with exciting new discoveries about the earliest encounters between the regions.
From an art historian’s perspective, the visuality of early cultural encounters between India and Southeast Asia attains maturity, diversity, and complexity from about the sixth-seventh centuries of the Common Era.  Interpreting the resultant imagery – iconic, narrative, and architectural – brings to focus a web of complex inter-relationships between the cultural zones of contact. This talk attempts to set the span for and explore the possible range of meanings that may be generated in reading these ‘iconographies’ of early cross-cultural encounters. In doing so, it draws attention to emerging frameworks for a more nuanced understanding of pre-modern Indian and Southeast Asian interactions as viewed through the prism of art and architectural remains.

Dr. Parul Pandya Dhar is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of History, University of Delhi. Her research interests cover ancient and early medieval Indian art history and Asian cross-cultural interactions. Major publications include The Torana in Indian and Southeast Asian Architecture (2010, authored), Indian Art History: Changing Perspectives (2011, edited) and Cultural Interface of India with Asia: Religion, Art and Architecture (2004, co-edited), besides research papers and chapters in various journals and books.

Istituto Italiano di Cultura- New Delhi 
in collaboration with
 Nomad Dance Festival 
International Festival of Dance, Music and Cultures
cordially invites you to
Gypsy Roots
Dances and Music of the gipsy route
Artistic Director: Monica Maya Devi
MAYA DEVI- Italy/India – Rajasthani, Kalbeliya dance & Flamenco
ALMORAIMA-Italy, Flamenco Arabic and Southern Italy sounds
RAFFAELLA CIPOLLATO –Italy – Oriental & Arabic Dance
GIULIA FRANCESE – Italy –Dances from Southern Italy
 Thursday4th April 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Tessitori Hall
Istituto Italiano di Cultura-New Delhi
50-E, Chandragupta Marg,
(Entry from Nyaya Marg), Chanakyapuri

For security reasons, please carry the printout of this e-invite with you.
Istituto Italiano di Cultura-New Delhi
(Italian Cultural Centre)
50-E, Chandragupta Marg,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110 021

West Bengal Panchayat polls: State EC moves court

The Petition filed by the West Bengal State Election Commission to the Calcutta High Court seeking rejection of the Panchayat Elections dates will come up for hearing on Tuesday.
The State Election Commission on Monday moved to Court against the unilateral announcement of the panchayat polls by the State Government on 26th and 30th of this month without consulting to them.
The Commission in its petition sought direction from the court that the poll dates should be announced by the Government in consultation with State Election Commission.
The State BJP has also filed a case to the Calcutta High Court appealing the notification issued by the State Government on panchayat polls should be rejected.
A delegation led by the opposition Left front Chairman Mr. Biman Basu met the State Governor M. K. Narayanan in Kolkata this afternoon and sought his intervention to resolve the impasse.
AIR Kolkata correspondent reports that the standoff between the Government and Commission surfaced over the dates of poll and deployment of Central force during the elections.
The State Government announced two phased elections under supervision of State police while commission suggested three phased panchayat polls and deployment of central force to ensure free and fair elections.

Odisha celebrating 77th foundation day today

Odisha is celebrating its 77th foundation day today with much fanfare. Capital city Bhubaneswar glitters on the occasion of Odisha Divas or Utkal Divas as the state celebrated the anniversary of its formation.
All major government buildings such as the Odisha Legislative Assembly, State Secretariat and many others dazzled with colourful lights. On this occasion people of the Odisha remembering state’s great leaders, who were architects behind the formation of Odisha.
The state government has organized a cultural extravaganza including a laser show at the Exhibition Ground at Bhubaneswar to remember the contributions and sacrifices made by eminent leaders of Odisha .
The show will depict the movement and revolution which led to the formation of Odisha as a separate state. Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, bollywood actors Rahul Roy and Padmini Kolhapure are scheduled to grace the occasion.
The state government has also organised colourful programmes in the evening at Exhibition Ground at Bhubaneswar to celebrate the Utkal Divas. The second Lokakala Mahotsav, a festival of folk performing arts will be held on the occasion.

Syrian rebels set on fire 3 oil wells

In Syria, the Government has alleged that the rebel groups have set on fire three oil wells in the east of the country under seize by the rebels.The regime and the opposition groups have blamed each other for the killings of 11 people in Homs.
Syrian State News agency SANA reported that three oil wells have been set on fire by terrorists in Deir al-Zour after fighting broke out among the rebels on the share of the oil.
It alleged that so far 10 oil wells have been set ablaze leading to loss of hige quantities of oil and natural gas. Rebels have seized large areas of territory in Syria’s oil-rich east, including a number of oil fields.
In Aleppo,heavy shelling has been reported in rebel held areas while in Homs the rebels alleged that 11 people were killed by the Syrian troops in the town of Talkalakh.The Syrian regime blamed rebels for the massacre, saying they stormed the area, killed 10 people and looted homes and shops.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Syrian National Opposition coalition, Moaz Alkhatib has said that the group’s military chief would visit the Arab nations to seek military assistance.

Hamas to introduce separate schools for boys and girls in Gaza

Men will soon be barred from teaching at girls schools in Gaza, according to new rules set by the Education Ministry of the Islamist Hamas movement. Schools will also hold separate classes for boys and girls beginning from age nine.
The law, which was published Monday, will come into force in the next school year. It will be applied in private, Christian-led, and UN schools.
The move has been strongly criticized, and has been seen as a way for the Islamist movement to force its ideology on society.

Burmese Muslim school hit by deadly blaze in Rangoon

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A fire at a Muslim school in the Burmese city of Rangoon has killed at least 13 people including children, officials say.
Police officers said the fire was caused by an electrical fault and not due to any criminal activity. Most of the children escaped unharmed.
The fire comes amid an upsurge in violence between Buddhists and Muslims.
At least 40 people have been killed since 20 March and curfews have been imposed in some areas.
Police spokesman Thet Lwin told the AP news agency the two-storey building – part of a mosque – in eastern Rangoon sheltered about 75 orphans.
It was not immediately clear how many children were among the dead.
Most of them escaped by running out of a door after police knocked it open, he said.

Jobar Synagogue in Damascus destroyed

Damascus synagogue destroyed

Screenshot from youtube.com @Jobar Revo
 Holiest Jewish site in Syria – the 2,000-year-old Jobar Synagogue in Damascus – has been looted and burned, and its roof blown off. The Syrian army and rebel forces have both blamed each other for the demolition of the historic landmark.
Jobar Synagogue, is one of the world’s oldest, built atop a cave where the Prophet Elijah once hid from persecution. One of the earliest historical mentions of the synagogue can be found in the Talmud.
Israel Radio, reports the rebels claimed that the Syrian government looted the synagogue before burning it to the ground. Meanwhile, the government alleged that the rebels had burned down the synagogue. It has also been claimed that “Zionist agents” stole historic artifacts from the holy site as part of a planned operation, Al-Manar Television reported.
Earlier this year, the Jobar synagogue was damaged by shells reportedly fired by Syrian government forces. A video uploaded by the Syrian opposition in early March exposed the damage done to the structure.
The synagogue is regarded as Syria’s holiest pilgrimage site for Jews. In the past, the sick were brought to the cavern below the synagogue and left there alone at night, in hopes that Elisha’s spirit would heal them.
There is an inscription in English at the synagogue: “Shrine and synagogue of Prophet Eliahou Hanabi since 720 BC.” During the medieval period, it served a large Jewish community.
In 2011, Syrian President Bashar Assad approved the renovation of 11 synagogues across the country, including the Jobar Synagogue in Damascus.
Screenshot from youtube.com @Jobar Revo
Screenshot from youtube.com @Jobar Revo
Syria is home to six UNESCO world heritage sites: The ruins of Palmyra, the citadels of Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din, the city of Bosra, its ancient northern villages and the Old Cities of Damascus and Aleppo.
The 12th-century Crac des Chevaliers fortress, which used to be one of the most-visited landmarks in Syria before the conflict began, was seriously damaged by artillery fire as the Syrian army attempted to clear out a rebel encampment.
Fierce fighting in Damascus and Aleppo has resulted in the destruction of many historic landmarks; UNESCO has repeatedly called on the international community to protect Syria’s cultural heritage. Earlier this year, ancient mosaics depicting scenes from Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ were illegally excavated at an archeological site and smuggled to Lebanon.
Also last year an 8th-century-BC Aramaic gold-plated bronze statue was stolen from a museum in Hama, which has become a battlefield in the conflict between the army and rebels. In December 2012, the statue was put on Interpol’s ‘Most Wanted Works of Art’ poster. Media agencies
Many Christian churches have been destroyed during the ongoing conflict in Syria, and Christian minorities are being forced to flee their homes.
“Our churches have been attacked in all provinces,” Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Luke told RT. “In Saidnaya the monastery was under fire, but, thank God, a miracle happened – the shell landed in the yard, breaking through the wall, but didn’t explode.”
“Everywhere – in Harasta, Arbin, Zabadani, Daraa, Aleppo and around Damascus, our churches and our people have been attacked. Our cathedral in Raqqa has been severely damaged,” Bishop Luke said.

VHP will declare Gujarat a “Hindu state” by 2015: Togadia

VHP Will Declare Gujarat A Hindu State By 2015: Togadia

April 1, 2013 by
Invoking the issue of the “insecure Hindu”, Togadia said, “To protect and prosper, Hindus themselves have to gear up, by becoming true practicing Hindus, aware Hindus and active Hindus”
Praveen TogadiaAhmedabad, March 31, 2013: VHP will declare Gujarat a “Hindu state” by 2015 besides having its presence in all 18,000 villages of the state in the next two years, the outfit’s leader Pravin Togadia claimed today.
“In two years, the VHP will have a presence in all 18,000 villages of Gujarat and by 2015, we will declare Gujarat a Hindu state,” VHP’s international working president Pravin Togadia told VHP followers who gathered here for a ‘Hindu Sangam’ event.
The event was organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to launch a new movement called ‘Hindu Ahead, for Hindu Security and Prosperity’, which aims to reach out to Hindus in villages, towns, cities and tribal areas.
Invoking the issue of the “insecure Hindu”, Togadia said, “To protect and prosper, Hindus themselves have to gear up, by becoming true practicing Hindus, aware Hindus and active Hindus”.
The absence of Narendra Modi at the function was conspicuous though the VHP organised the event in the area which falls in the Gujarat Chief Minister’s constituency.
In the past, the Gujarat VHP has been at loggerheads with Modi over a range of issues including demolition of illegal temples in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
The VHP, through its ‘Hindu Sangam’ announced plans for the resurrection of the organisation, which would celebrate 50 years of its inception in 2014.
Raising the issue of Ram Mandir, Togadia said, “Unless and until we will become Hindus, not only by our behaviour, but with our practice and awareness, only then will our dream of building Ram Mandir at Ayodhya be fulfilled.”
VHP’s joint organisational secretary Vinayakrao Deshpande talked about dwindling support for the outfit in Gujarat. He mentioned that 10 years ago there were more than 10,000 committees in the state which has come down to 6,000 at present.“We will have to bring that to 10,000 by this year end,” Deshpande said.
Jagruti Pandya, wife of former Gujarat Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, was also present at the gathering along with some Gujarat Parivarta Party (GPP) members.
Meanwhile, former VHP leader Atul Vaidya — one of the accused in the Gulberg massacre case — alleged that Togadia had “ignored” them for all these years.
“VHP workers who were made accused in rioting cases have been passing through social and financial problems. Where was Togadia during all these years? He is spending lakhs of rupees for this ‘Hindu Sangam’ but he didn’t have money to support us,” Vaidya told reporters here, earlier in the day.
- pti
Upwas abhi lamba chalega: Arvind Kejriwal
On the 10th day of Arvind Kejriwal Upwaas, protest letters signed by 7.92 lakh Delhi-ites would be delivered across to Shiela Dikshit’s residence today. This is probably the first time, when such a large number of people have come forth to register their protest by pledging not to pay the inflated bijli-pani bills. Would Shiela Dikshit listen to the plea of aam aadmi of Delhi now or to Tatas, Ambanis or foreign firms who fill their pockets with money meant for the poor?
Yesterday, in a single day, more than 1.5 lakh people pledged their support to civil disobedience movement and vowed not to pay their bills, taking to total to 792665. The movement which started with 7000 volunteer initially, has now multiplied many folds with people owning up the responsibility of getting the letters signed from others.
Despite extreme weakness, Arvind Kejriwal’s health parameters are in normal range. His Blood Pressure is 109/74, Pulse is 76, Sugar is 128 and Ketones is between 2+ and 3+. When volunteers and people who had gathered there requested him to break his upwas, Arvind Kejriwal said, “Upwas abhi lamba chalega. Ye jo aap log keh rahe hai, ye aapka pyar hai, lekin main ye puchna chahta hun, Bhagat Singh ki zingagi zaroori nahi thi? Subash Chandra Bose ki zindigi zaroori nahi thi kya? Gandhiji ki zindigi zaroori nahi thi kya? Desh zada zaroori hai aur desh ko bachane ke liye zindgi ko daav pe lagana padega. Zindagi ka kya bharosa? Aaj yaha se bahar niklal ke accident ho gaya to, heart attack aa gaya to? Zindgi aapke hath me nahi upar vale ke hath me hai..Me apna khun jalane ko tayar hun, aap apna paseena bahaye.”
Representatives from 272 wards led by Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh in auto rickshaws left for Shiela Dikshit’s residence. They would be delivering the letters written to Shiela Dikshit by people of Delhi. Yesterday, DCP North East, had visited Sunder Nagri and denied permission for the same, in response to which Arvind Kejriwal had dared Shiela Dikshit not to restrain the activists. All the people who would be a part of the procession were advised not to break any laws while proceeding towards Delhi CM’s residence. If the police stops us at any point, we would peacefully sit there till the time we are allowed to proceed further.

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