What has happened to Indian Sahitya?

Did you know that Bankim Chandra Chaterji wrote “Rajmohan’s wife” in English published in 1864?
With advent of English and English writers on the scene of Indian literary world with the awards such as Booker’s, there has been considerable increase in the number of Best Sellers, that too in English and in India and by Indian Writers. That is the point where trigger of Indian Literature scene has been catapulted. Today there was one hastag #1yearofSOI on twitter trailing or trending. I thought what has happened to our own Indian rich heritage of Sahitya?
Many years back I was waiting with lot of enthusiasm for a telecast on Doordarshan of award ceremony of Smt Mahadevi Verma ji. Iron Lady Mrs Margret Thatcher and Smt Indira Gandhi were there to give away the award. It was most contrasting and most amazing moment in my life. An English PM was there to felicitate a Hindi Writer and that too an Indian. It was in 1982? After that I have searched the photograph of that event I was not able to see it on internet? There were MoortiDevi, Jnanpith awards in all Indian languages, I think English was also included in it. Since that’s why Nayantara Sahgel and Anita Desai got awards for their works in English in India?
With the wining of awards by Arundhati Roy scene changed. Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai also made news. Even as English writers I knew Nayantara Sahgel, Smt Anita Desai. But before that RK Narayan and MulkRaj Anand (purple or untouchable??) and also Ruskin Bond I knew.
Later Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathhi, Patnaik, Ira, few other are now Best Sellers?
But I was amazed that the works on SHIVA (and trilogy ?), RAM, Mahabharata, SATI, etc are the topics of best sellers, that too written in English.
Has our rich heritage of literature SAHITYA got set back? Kalidas, Jaidev, PremChand, Dwedi ji, Dinkar, Nirala, Mallikarjun, Renu, Nagar. I admired Krishna Sobti, Shivani ji, qurtulin Hyder, Ismat chugtai (though I read les of her works) Many more… do they have to be written in English to be known? Something has happened to our own languages and Sahitya?
It has to be thought while preparing the EDUCATION POLICY?



Smt Sunaina Hazarilal or Sunayana, how does it matter

Many years back when I saw a dance program on black white doordarshan, I never thought that one day I will be using an invention which is most powerful tool for search  i.e. Google. That dance program was of Smt Sunaina Hazarilal ji. The TV screen was black but I saw various colors and emotions on the screen. Sunaina Hazarilal ji, a dedicated dancer of old world charm. As was the Nritya Samragyi Smt Sitara Devi ji05ndfrlvr_GE636AJIA_743273g

I grew up watching several program of Smt Sitara Devi ji on TV but I don’t quite understand, why I could not see much of Smt Sunaina Hazarilal. Why?? Was she not available for Doordarshan or Doordarshan never wanted to record her. I am talking of that time when I was in school 1980s. I saw a thumri where she emoted the Radha. Radha was complaining to Krishna of coming late and why he was late? Where was he during this time?, and with whom?.  She cursed Krishna. The gestures Sunaina ji used were of a style of bygone era, that had its own charm. But somehow these are not used now a days.  It is not fault of today’s generation.

Society has undergone several changes. The language, punctuation, Usage, the meaning and the context and also the culture has changed. Thus with this change, various gestures which were required to convey a message or the said words all has been lost now. If we see a Tamil film of 1946 or 1950s then we can see many such gestures which are not in use now in Chennai. Similary in Bengali or Hindi films.. They may look awkward. Similarly the change is observed in all part of country. The dress, fashion, way of talking and language has changed. While speaking in Tamil a young person in Chennai uses more words of English than Tamil in a sentence. Similarly people from all walks of life in city use English words. Young People e Manipur, Assam use and understand more words of English and Hindi than their elders. Since they are exposed to new Mass media, technology tools, and many of them have travelled outside their state-They got education in Delhi, and other Metro cities.

Thus when I say “Old world charm”, I mean to describe that change which has caused to use that word- Old world charm!!.     sun1When I typed the word “Sunaina Hazarilal” into the google, No Wikipedia link was there?. I was totally surprised and more shocked. How is it possible that Wikipedia do not have a page on Smt Sunaina Hazarilal???  But I was wrong. When you type the word “Sunayana” instead of Sunaina then only a link of Wikipedia comes up in the list. But the page was very short. I felt bad.

In the book which I had studied while doing the Madhayama course in Kathak from Akhil Bhartiya Gandharv Mandal, Miraj, Mumbai, there were few bols. They had very different words, other than ta thai tat. we never had learnt that kind of bols in our class. It was published at Prayag- Allahabad. It had so many pictures of Nayikas. That described the various types of nayikas, Khandit nayika, Garva,,,,,Swadheen… etc . Those pictures or illustrations were very good and clear. They were like pencil sketches but beautifull. Later I found those gesture sketches in a website of a dancer based in Japan. I mean all over the world people are using those pictures. But they do not give credit to that book, or to the person who might have created those sketches. I had studied Kathak Under Guru Shri K D Srivastav, he was teaching at Mahatma Gandhi Sangeet Mahvidyalaya, Kanpur near Bada Chauraha. He always praised various artists. Smt Damyanti Joshi, Teerath Ram Azad, Smt Madhavi Mudgal, etc. He used to play tabla while teaching us. I used look at him with amazement. How he was able to play tabla, and speak those Kathak bols also. He was master in Vocal music also.

Thus the Kathak or any art was a Saadhnaa to those belonging to that “OLD world Charm”. They perfected every aspect of art. Not like us who often think in which art i am master??? and find answer as  “None”.

Sunaina Hazarilal is one artist who have worked with full devotion and always tried to keep that old tradition alive without compromising. Not many left following that Banaras Gharana and more so of Janaki Prasad Style of Kathak. Their style had uniques features. Few bols were so different from what we were taught-may be due to fact that our guru was from Lucknow style. But I always called myself as student of all gharana, as my guru had talked about Smt Damyanti Joshi ji, thus i thought he might have learned from Bombay gharana, and also from Lucknow. Thus i got to know both.

Smt Sunaina Hazarilal or Sunayana Hazarilal had always used her old style of gharana tradition, If i can say so she is a purist, which is not bad at all. She has alone worked all these years. She is truely as a flag bearer of her guru’s gharana. Banaras has been Bhoomi of Bhakti. Thus her dance was full of bhakti elements also.

though Banares, Varanasi is home to many. Sitara Devi ji (see this link), GopiKrishna ji (click this link), Janaki Prasad, guru Jitendra, Kamalini and Nalini sisters and many more… But each one of these have their own individual style.

I dont know when i can again see her thumri or any of dance on Doordarshan.

unko mera sat sat naman

Gangu Bai Hangal- A life full of struggle, as i remember

The powerfugangu1ll voice, that spelt magic for almost 75 years was of none other than our great Dr GanguBai Hangal. Her’s was a life full of struggles. When she Sang in hall L7, IIT Kanpur it was a great moment for me to be there, and to witness her singing on the stage. Later Back Stage I touched her feet for blessings and told her that I am a student of Kathak,  “Good” She said, and told she stop learning Dance, as her mother or someone said Dancing may disturb her vocals.

Since childhood she had to struggle on daily basis. As a girl she must have felt bad  when fellow neighbours commented over her family, her vocation etc etc. She later told someone, who wrote her biographical work that she used to feel very bad when she traveled 30 Km by train to go to home of her guru Sawai Gandharv for music class and on the way people commented and crowded to see a “Ganewali”. She was a young girl that time. How cruel people were at that time. I can imagine people crowding on streets and laughing and sounds of their comments, which were like missiles reaching the ears of a tiny girl, who was on her way to learn music. What was her fault, if she was born into that family? Is’nt the father or the society was responsible for this condition of a girl, who was left to learn music, just to entertain the society, MEN (?).  In those times “singing” was not considered a good profession.220px-Gangubai_Hangal

On the other hand people of higher caste used to keep a lady belonging to a community who was considered as low caste. They lived with these ladies and several children were born but they did not own these ladies or their biological children. These men were from upper caste, were married and had their own families. Despite of all they exploited these ladies, Owing to a “tradition” or prevalent social custom mostly suiting to these men.

But with a great determination and hard struggle She and her mother achieved a great success. It is written that her mother AmbaBai, who was a singer stoped singing Carnatic music when she came to know that her daughter GanguBai has liking to Hindustani. Mother then arranged lessons for Hindustani. Thus the mother sacrificed her singing lest her singing may influence the young GanguBai, who has started leaning Hindustani. Both these ladies had to manage their livelihood and keeping a TRADITION of Music alive. They had to keep PURITY of Music- Ragas etc. Thus with a great struggle GanguBai achieved a Name for herself.

Had She been a Boy, she could have lived with her GURU-Sawai Gandharv as Pt BhimSen Joshi lived. She was a girl she could not do that thus she had to travel 30 Km by train and then go walking to her guru’s home just to learn music for one or two hours. It was her passion for music that drove her or kept her overcoming all the hazards of journeygangu7

She Died on 21 July 2009. Thus in this month of July we remember her.

Her simplicity is still remembered by most of the people of her time. Here in these photos you can see her with all time greats. HiraBai Bordekar, Ravishankar, Kishan Maharaj, Pt BhimSen Joshi, Mallikarjun Mansoor.Pt Jasraj and the below is the picture of humility a great voice- the Saraswati of India, Lata Mangeskar bowing at the feet of a great doyen of 216922_2264969505478_4415900_nClassical Music Smt GANGUBAI  HANGAL.

As the Great MS has one favorite that was her daughter Radha. Smt GanguBai also had star of her eyes that was Smt Krishna.gangu11



Smt Krishna used to accompany her mother. But She died at age of 75 and her death left Gangu Bai ji traumatized.  But she carried on with her life.

  gangu3 gangu14     gangu17

        gangu18 gangu21




Immortals.    They belonged to an era, that was an golden era of Hindustani music or so to say our great Indian Music. They will always be immortals, till the time Music remains on this land She and other such greats will always be remembered.

Once she was invited to sing in some congress meeting. Mahatma Gandhi was supposed to attend. She sang but her mind was preoccupied with the thought that during the lunch time she would be asked to have lunch separately from others.. That time she might have been good singer of some status, that’s why she might have been invited to sing at such gathering. But just imagine the thought she was suffering… it was social stigma.. she had to fight the social stigma attached to the profession. But inspite of all odds she lived on her life. fighting all lows and ups and downs. Even day to day needs to run the family. We will always remember her for her strong will power.    She was a true BHARAT RATNA…. Sat sat Naman

Ashoka, the TV serial

The known to all story of Ashoka is very different to what is being currently shown on the Colors TV.
The most surprising was the Amma ji of serial “Lado na aana is desh”. The Character of Amma ji was larger than life. But we do not complain since the TV serial or Natak to be exact should be filled with Drama. Unless a natak doesn’t has a drama element it is not complete. The character had an IMPACT, that will remain with me throughout my life. 
Now this Ashoka has started with aplomb. First few episodes were the best, As it happens with every serial. When I saw that serial runs for whole one hour. I was so engrossed with the idea that “now atleast a serious TV serial producer has born” The most incredible thing was that serial ran full for one hour without any break or commercial advertisement. Some serials were made only for commercial advertisement purpose. But when I found that there is no break I felt happy at heart. And thought to appreciate the producers. But mummy of Jaivardhan cursed the producers as now for whole one hour my son had to sit in front of TV and that too without any break. His final exams were approaching and we all were encouraging him to work hard and prepare for his exams. But now this Ashoka came and he would sit in front of TV for full one hour.

I was happy that at last some serial has come with serious agenda to highlight the ancient Indian civilization and help it to regain its glory.

As once did the Ramayan and Mahabharat. The history of TV will be not without these two serials. History was made by HUMLOG. Then there were TAMAS, BUNIYAAD.
When Ashoka was aired without any break I thought history has been made. But I was proved wrong very shortly there after. Much to relief of mummy of Jaivardhan, my son.
The Chanakya has come in a new Avatar. The writer, screen play writer, the director, The dialogue writer, the set designer, casting director (I don’t know whether casting director had any role in it ?) all are to be praised.

Initially the Rani Dharma, Ashoka emerged as hero.  Artists did full justice to their roles.           The serial is best as of today as I found, be it concept, costume, DRAMA, suspense, Screen play, artists.
Actor who has played the role of Chanakya has actually tried to go deep into the characterization. The dialogue rendition is very good. Credit can also be given to editing. The set designing reminds me the sets of Bharat Ek Khoj by Shyam Benegal, (I don’t remember if Nitin Desai was there). And then there was CHANAKYA by the “chanakya” Prakash chandra Dwedi ji. The artist playing Chanakya is to be praised for his acting. SUPERB. Every act of his face is doing justice to the role. I have never seen such portrayal by any artist before. I can say only Meena Kumari and Nutan were two artists to name few. I liked.
The ashoka serial people have done lot of research on the topic.
I think TV has got or invented a “KING”. He looks like a king(Not many can). He was first seen in Rani Laxmi Bai. He played the role of king of Jhansi who married laxmi bai. Then he played the role of King Shuddhodhan, father of Gautam Budhdha of Kapilvastu.   He played the role effortlessly. His gait and mannerism are shown like of a king. I could guess that he is a Marathi actor, due to his accent.
The fact that mother and Ashoka was not known to Bindusaar while they continued to ive in Patliputra was new to me. She was a daughter of a Shresthi of Ujjain, who followed the JAIN or jeevak (or pra jeevak) lifestyle and/or similarly the wife of Ahoska was also from a Shresthi of Ujjain.?? I don’t know?. But in TV i think they have shown Rani Dharma (Shubhadrangini)  as daugtherof Brahmin. 
Till today I had never seen “Helena”, the daughter of Selucus. Although I knew through the history lessons about that marriage, but never seen in TV or films.
She was married to Chandra Gupt. Culture were different. Language might have been a great barrier. Isnt it? Interpreters were engaged or not? God knows?
Her son was also there, a completely new information for me. Not much was known to me about the Charumitra the first wife of king Bindusaar.
The status of Chanakaya was larger than anything else. Once, a dwarpal was ordered not to let anyone enter without permission. Later Chanakya stood at the gate. On recognizing the Chanakya, the dwarpal did not stop him from entering the palace. Since Chanakya had acquired a status larger like a king or kingdom. His devotion and faithfullness towards the Magadh- the mother land was quite extraordinary and well known throughout the kingdom. Even Kings could not disagree on that. 
As we write in ACR- the appraisal forms for the integrity- Beyond doubt… often blindly we write it there. The Chanakya is also said to have mobilized all persons loyal to the Magadh and brought them together to work for the King. Even if they personally did not agree with Chanakya. That’s the true character of Chanakya. He wanted people who will work for Magadh not for a person, and not for their personal gains. A true lesson for today. He brought back the Rakshash.
Now I have started appreciating the acting of the lady playing the role of Helena. The screen presence(as we call it) combined with the background music spells magic. I am thinking who this expert lady is? Is she an Indian (anglo-indian) or a foreigner? If she is not from India then hats off to her courage and caliber.. She is a true drama artist. The face of cuckoo of old Hindi films comes to mind. But few of her gestures suggest that she if from other nation. But when she emotes and conveys the emotions through facial gestures it becomes difficult to imagine that lady actor do not understand the hidden meanings of words of Hindi? Though the accent has been kept un-indian..That actually  justifies the acting.   However as good serial. Looks authentic, and looks appealing too. That’s what is required for a good serial.

Art in changed India…

I have been watching TV Channels for many years now. Earlier I was quite happy with the Doordarshan (the Lucknow doordarshan from 1977 to 1982). Then 1982 happened and I saw the National Telecast in my home. In 1982 a TV came to my home. UPTRON TV. Black and White. But those were most happier times. I was able to see Chitrahaar, Films, Natak, Chaupal, Phool khile gulshan gulshan, the morning programme from Delhi on Sunday, Shri Pawan Duggal was the anchor then. On sunday Hindi films and in night any regional films used to be tele-casted. Or in the noon times also regional films were telecasted. Shobhana Jagdish, Smt Nirmala, etc then from Delhi Sadhana Srivastav, Smt Roy (She was almost like Meena Kumari ji), Sarla Maheswari, Sulma Sultan, Mr Soni, Mr Narang, Smt Komal GB SIngh, Tejinder Singh, Minu, USHA AlBERQUEQUE(I am sorry I dont remember the Spelling), Shobhana ji from Lucknow later went to Delhi also.
One interview I saw on TV in which Smt Bella Bose was interviewed by (If I am correct Smt Tabassum) or Smt Tun Tun (Real Name Uma Devi ji if I am correct, please correct me if i am wrong ). Then there was program by Smt Ila Arun on sunday evening 3 or 4 with lots of music and musti having folk flavour.
The New Central Production Centre of Doordarshan started and rolled out few programmes. National Program of Dance was one such program. Malvika Mitra was once featured.
In black and white TV I could see the colorfull performances of Smt Mrinalini Sarabhai- Chandalika, then There was choreographed piece by Smt Rukmani Arundale, Gopi Krishan was shown by Lucknow doordarshan, Smt Sunaina Hazarilal, Smt Damyanti Joshi I saw in black n white TV.
Later with the advent of color TV in market but at our home was content with Black and white for some time more. (it was costly affairs then)
Later Yamini Krishnamoorty, Smt Sonal Mansigh, Sanjyukta Panigrahi, Uma Sharma, Raja Radha Reddy, Padma Subramaniam, alongwith Madhavi Mudgal, Swapna Sundari, Alarmel Velli, Malvika Surrukai, Mallika Sarabhai, came on TV in our house.
It was due to TV we could see GURU Kelucharan Mahapatra, Pt Durga Lal, Sitara Devi, Birju Maharaj, Rohini Bhate, Smt Lele, Leela Samson, Sucheta Chapekar, Guru Singhajit Singh (Manipuri). The Doordarshan and its DD Bharati is now airing the dance and music programs.

Now there are so many TV Channels that it is impossible to have a count on the numbers of channels in country. But sad part is that how many of them are promoting Arts and culture? Is Art and Culture in India is so bad or not economically viable so that TV channel can not promote it. Strange it may be that in a country where we boast of a Rich and glorious Heritage of arts and culture. but TV channels cannot promote it?

However few news channels did show the news item when great ZOHRA Sehgal passed away. But how many show Smt Teejan Bai?? She is the one of great artists we have.  She is the most energetic personality. Once she steps on stage, immediately the character takes over be it Bheesma, Bheema or Arjun of Mahabharat. The most pleasant thing was the voice of the accompanying artists who usually says “achcha”. Her voice quality is also rich.

Due to TV only we could see the Kalavantalu, i mean the real ladies from Andhra Pradesh who have conserved the art of dancing in rural Andhra Pradesh, credit goes to Smt Swapna Sundari, who has researched it. I hav forgot the name of one kalavantalu with whom Swapna Sundari was studying.

Now days i dont find coverage of culture in Tv. There are infinite number of Tv channels. But not much attention is givien to our arts. No channel promote these activities, besides only promoting realty shows etc. that tells arts are not economical viable option.

There are so many institutions in India, teaching arts, Music and dance. Every year lot of students pass out. But what market is available to them? how they get employment?

Only ICCR or such related centres established abroad employ these artists. I had seen many Kathak dancers passing out of Kathak Kendra have got jobs in variuos countries in the centres either promoted by ICCR or such organisation/ambessay etc.

Or few students get jobs in Government colleges, and teach there till retirement. What is their contribution? no body seems to evalute? Why to? Since in all other govt sectors there is no mechanism of evaluation, why to imply in arts?

crores of schools, colleges, univesities are there. Why the standard of education is low in govt schools? Not all but in most of schools the condition is same.

Coming back to TV, where is the TV channel where dancers artists can come and perform. Where is the audience? Is the audiance is ready or want to listen to artists on Tv channels?