வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை …” வான வேடிக்கை “

வான  வேடிக்கை ….
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
இடி மின்னல் வேடிக்கை காட்டி வானம்
நான் தப்பாமல் நனைக்கிறேன் உன் மண்ணை !
வேடிக்கை காட்டியே  இந்த உலகுக்கு  உயிர்
கொடுப்பது  என்  வாடிக்கை !
உயிர் கொடுக்கும்  எனக்கு நீ கொடுக்கும் பரிசு
என்ன தெரியுமா உனக்கு ?..மகனே !
வான வேடிக்கை என்னும் பெயரில் வானம்
என் நாடித்  துடிப்பையே அடக்க நினைக்கிறாயே !
மகனே …இது நியாயமா ?
நீல வானம் வேண்டும்,  மாசில்லா காற்று
வேண்டும் எனக்கு என்று மேடையேறி பேசி விட்டு
எந்த ஒரு வெற்றி விழாவுக்கும் வேண்டும் ஒரு
வான வேடிக்கை என்று நீ கேட்பது வேடிக்கையிலும்
வேடிக்கை மகனே !
கரி எடுத்து என் முகத்தில் பூசி விட்டு ,வேண்டாம்
எனக்கு கரு வானம் …வேணும் எனக்கு
ஒரு நீல வானம் என்னும் உன் வாதம் ஒரு
ஒரு வேடிக்கை வினோதம் , மகனே !
My Kavithai in http://www.dinamani.com dated 23rd Oct 2017
Natarajan
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The Buddhas of Bamiyan….

 

On the cliff face of a sandstone mountain, visible from the ancient Silk Road near the town of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, are two massive voids left by two monumental statues of Buddha that once stood there. In 2001, the nearly 1,500 year old statues were blown to bits by the Taliban in an act of violence that shook the entire world, and set a disturbing precedent which has been imitated in recent years by Islamic State fighters in the Middle East.

For a long time, Buddhism was an important religion in the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, having been introduced during the early Kushan period, in the 1st century. Along the Silk Road, on which Bamiyan lies, are several Buddhist monasteries, chapels and sanctuaries constructed inside caves carved into the mountains. In several of the caves and niches, often linked by galleries, there are remains of wall paintings and seated Buddha figures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 175 feet high Buddha statue in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, destroyed in 2001. Photo credit: Afghanistan Embassy

The two most prominent figures were the giant Buddha statues destroyed in 2001. The larger of the two stood 175 feet tall, and was one of the largest standing Buddha carvings in the world. The second figure was also enormous and measured 120 feet in height. Both figures were carved into niches of the cliff side in high relief. The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating had worn away a long time ago, but in the early days, it served to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands, and folds of the robes. Both statues were originally painted—the larger one in carmine red and the smaller one in multiple colors. The area near the heads of both Buddha figures and the area around the larger Buddha’s feet were carved in the round, allowing worshippers to walk around as a form of worship.

Much of what we know about the monumental Buddha sculptures comes from the travelogue of the Chinese monk Hsuan-Tsang, who traveled to Bamiyan in the 7th century. Hsuan-Tsang described Bamiyan as a flourishing Buddhist center “with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks”. He also noted that both Buddha figures were decorated in “dazzling golden color and adorned with brilliant gems”. Historians believe that the monumental Buddha sculptures were carved into the cliffs between the 3rd to 6th centuries A.D. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region attracting numerous pilgrims from all around.

After the Islamic invasion in the 9th century, the presence of a large Buddhist cultural icon in Afghanistan greatly disturbed the Muslim rulers. The 17th century Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, and the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, both tried to destroy the statues by using heavy artillery but failed to inflict any noticeable damage. It was the Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan who eventually managed to destroyed its face.

In 2001, the leader of the Taliban movement ordered that all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the different areas of the Islamic Emirate must be destroyed. Accordingly, in March the same year, Taliban fighters laid explosives at the base and the shoulders of the two Buddhas and blew them to pieces.

Later in an interview, the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar defended his actions by saying:

I did not want to destroy the Bamiyan Buddha. In fact, some foreigners came to me and said they would like to conduct the repair work of the Bamiyan Buddha that had been slightly damaged due to rains. This shocked me. I thought, these callous people have no regard for thousands of living human beings – the Afghans who are dying of hunger, but they are so concerned about non-living objects like the Buddha. This was extremely deplorable. That is why I ordered its destruction. Had they come for humanitarian work, I would have never ordered the Buddha’s destruction.

The only silver lining in the cloud was, that after the destitution, several new caves and wall paintings were discovered, including fragments of a previously unknown 62-foot long reclining Buddha.

Sources: Wikipedia / Khan Academy

Source…. Kaushik in www. amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை… ” நிசப்த வெளியில் …”

 

நிசப்த வெளியில் …
———————
கருவறை வாசம் மட்டுமே   நிசப்த வாசம் ஒரு சிசுவுக்கு
இந்த மண்ணில் வந்து பிறந்த  நேரம் முதல் சத்தம்
சத்தமே எங்கும்  எதிலும் !
சப்தம் தவிர்த்து நிசப்தம் தேடி ஓடுவது எங்கே ?
வாழ்வில் ஒலியும்  சப்தமும்  தேவைதான்
ஆனால் வாழ்வே சப்தமாகலாமா ?
ஒளி மயமான எதிர் காலம் தேடும்  குழந்தைக்கு
கிடைப்பது ஒலி மயமான இரைச்சலும் அலைச்சலும்தான் !
அண்ட வெளியிலும் இல்லையே இன்று நிசப்தவெளி !
நாளும் பல  விண்கலம் அண்டவெளியில் சுற்றி சுற்றி
நிசப்த வெளியின் தனித்துவமே தகர்ந்து விட்டதே !
சப்தம் மறந்து நிசப்தம் தேடி ஓடுவது எங்கே ?
நிசப்தம் தேடி நாம் ஓடிட வேண்டாமே  …நம் வீட்டைத்
தேடி ஓடி வரும் நிசப்த வெளி நாம் நினைத்தால் !
வாரம் ஒரு நாள் …ஒரே ஒரு நாள் …கொடுப்போம்
விடுமுறை நம் வீட்டு தொலைக் காட்சிப் பெட்டிக்கு !
எப்போதும் சிணுங்கும் கைபேசிக் குழந்தைக்கும்
தப்பாமல் தர வேண்டும் ஒரு நாள் ஓய்வு !
இரைச்சல் இல்லாத ஒரு ஒரு வீடும்  நிசப்த
வெளியே !  அலைச்சல் இல்லாத வழியும்
இதுதான் நிசப்தம் தேடி ஓடுவோருக்கு !
My Kavithai in http://www.dinamani.com dated 16th oct 2017
Natarajan

Joe Reginella’s Memorials to Disasters That Never Happened…!!!

 

Most remember October 29th, 1929—also known as Black Tuesday—as the day when the New York stock market crashed. However, it was also the day when one of the most horrific tragedy involving human-animal conflict happened at the Brooklyn Bridge.

On that awful day a trio of three circus elephants, including the star attraction—a thirteen-foot-tall African elephant named Jumbo, was to cross the Brooklyn Bridge and into New York. The event was greatly publicized and crowds of people came from miles around to see Jumbo. While crossing the bridge, something caused the animals to panic and what was to be a slow and deliberate cross suddenly became a deadly stampede as the three elephants charged into the cheering crowd. Aside from scores of human casualty, two of the elephants died in the stampede, while Jumbo escaped to freedom through the Holland Tunnel and lived out his days at an elephant sanctuary.

 The memorial to the 1929 Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede. Photo credit: Joe Reginella

When a new bronze memorial to the tragedy was unveiled at the Brooklyn Bridge Park last month, it left visitors scratching their heads because no one ever remembered hearing or reading about the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede of 1929. That’s because the tragedy never happened. It’s a satirical piece of art by sculptor Joe Reginella.

Last year, the prankster-artist erected another memorial to yet another fabricated tragedy—the so-called Staten Island Ferry Disaster—in Battery Park. The story goes, that on November 2nd, 1963, a Staten Island Ferry with over 400 people onboard was attacked by a giant octopus and was pulled beneath the water resulting in the death of all passengers. According to Reginella, the disaster went almost completely unnoticed by the public because it was overshadowed by another more “newsworthy” tragedy that occurred that day—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

As part of the hoax, Reginella created a fake documentary, fabricated newspaper articles and distributed flyers to puzzled tourists sending them to a nonexistent museum on Staten Island.

 

 

The memorial to the 1963 Staten Island Ferry Disaster. Photo credit: Ula Ilnytzky

The idea for the hoax came to him when Reginella was taking his 11-year-old nephew on the ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island. To satisfy the kid’s curious questions, such as if the waters were infested with shark, Reginella fabricated the story of a giant octopus attack.

“The story just rolled off the top of my head,” he told The Guardian, and it evolved to become “a multimedia art project and social experience – not maliciously – about how gullible people are”.

In the early few days after the memorial was unveiled, Reginella sat close by with a fishing pole pretending to fish so that he could eavesdrop on the conversations. Sometimes he overheard people wondering why nobody ever heard of it. Others simply stared out at the water and walked away.

While the Staten Island Ferry Disaster never happened, there is actually a bit of interesting history behind Reginella’s latest hoax—the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede. Elephants belonging to the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus did actually cross the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884, when the circus came to town. One of the elephants, a thirteen-foot and seven-ton African, was actually named Jumbo. He was accompanied by twenty other elephants, seven camels and ten dromedaries in what was known as Barnum’s legendary “elephant walk.”

Neither memorials are permanent, and are displayed only on specific days and times. Consult the memorials’ websites for timing before you decide to visit.

www.sioctopusdisaster.com
www.bbelephantstampede.com

Source….Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

 

India”s Most unusual Post Offices….Our Country Celebrates National Postal Day today…

E-mails may have overshadowed the concept of snail mail, yet post offices still hold a special place in the Indian way of life. Having long had a presence in local communities, they have served as exchange posts for news, gossip and much more.

As the country celebrates the National Postal Day today, here’s a look at three of India’s most unusual post offices.

Send a postcard from any of these unique spots, and you are sure to score some travel bragging rights!

1. The Post Office at Hikkim

 

 

 

Perched at 15,500 ft above sea level in Himachal Pradesh’s strikingly beautiful Spiti Valley, the hamlet of Hikkim is reputedly home to the world’s highest post office.

A small hut with whitewashed walls and a red postbox hanging outside, the quaint post office is 23 km from the town of Kaza and has been functioning since November 5, 1983. With no internet and patchy cell phone signal, the facility is the only conduit to the world for Hikkim’s residents.

This inconspicuous little post office is single-handedly managed by Rinchen Chhering, who has been the branch postmaster for over 20 years. He was chosen for the post when he was just 22 because he could run fast and owned a bicycle!

Every day, two runners take turns hiking to Kaza on foot to deliver mail that is then taken by bus to Reckong Peo, onward to Shimla, further by train to Kalka, from where it is taken to Delhi and sent to its final destination. In winter, everything in the valley freezes – the rivers, the lakes, the mountains. As the snow cover cuts off Hikkim from the rest of the world, the village’s post office also shuts down for six months.

2. The Post Office at Antarctica

Dakshin Gangotri Station                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located in Dakshin Gangotri, India’s first scientific base in Antarctica, this post office first became operational on February 24, 1984, after it was established during the third Indian expedition to the frigid ‘White Continent.’ It was a part of the base’s multi-support systems that also included including ice-melting plants, laboratories, storage and recreational facilities.

The Dakshin Gangotri PO was brought under the Department of Post at Goa on January 26, 1988. Scientist G. Sudhakar Rao, who went to Antarctica as a member of the Seventh Indian Scientific Expedition in 1987, was appointed as its first honorary postmaster. Interestingly, in its first year of establishment, nearly 10000 letters were posted and cancelled at this post office.

However, in 1990, Dakshin Gangotri PO in Antarctica was decommissioned after it got half buried in ice. The post office was then shifted to the new permanent research base, Maitri.

Over the years, the unusual spot has become a favourite stop-off for tourists from cruise ships who came to explore the frozen continent and learn about its unique ecosystem. They send out postcards and letters that take between two and six weeks to reach their destinations via Hobart (in Australia).

3. The Post Office on Dal Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Built on an intricately carved houseboat, the Srinagar’s Floating Post Office claims to be the only one of its kind in the world. Here you can avail all regular postal services while being afloat on the Dal Lake. A heritage post office that has existed since colonial times, it was called Nehru Park post office before it was renamed by the then chief postmaster John Samuel in 2011.

After a pretty little philately museum and souvenir shop were added to it, the Floating Post Office was formally relaunched in August 2011. Interestingly, the seal used on everything posted from the this is unique, and tourist-friendly post office bears a special design — of a boatman rowing a shikara on the Dal Lake — along with the date and address.

While enthusiastic tourists row to the post office every day to send postcards back home, for the locals, the post office is more than an object of fascination. The islets in Dal Lake are home to over 50000 people (farmers, labourers, artisans and shikaraowners) for whom this state-run facility is the nearest source of postal and banking services.

Source…SanchariPal in http://www.thebetterindia.com

Natarajan

 

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை….” காந்திக்கு ஒரு கடிதம் “

 

காந்திக்கு ஒரு கடிதம்
———————-
விடுதலை பெற்று தந்தாய் என் தாய்
நாட்டுக்கு …உன்னையே விலையாகவும்
கொடுத்தாய் மத பேதம் இல்லா புதிய
பாரதம் ஒன்று படைக்க !
ஆனால் …
விடுதலை பெற்ற என் தேசம் இன்னும்
புது விடியலை தேடுதே …அது ஏன் ?
மதவாத அரசியலில் ஆதாயம் தேடுதே
ஒரு பெரும் கூட்டம் !
அது ஏன் ?
மூலைக்கு மூலை உன் சிலை
வைத்து காந்தி ஒரு பொம்மைதான் எங்கள்
அரசியல் விளையாட்டுக்கு என்று சொல்லாமல்
சொல்லுது ஒரு கூட்டம் !
காந்தியா …அது  யார் என்று கேக்குது
இன்னொரு கூட்டம் …காந்தி உன்னையே
மறந்த கூட்டம் காந்தீயக் கொள்கை கிடைக்குமா
ஒரு விலைக்கு என்று அலைவதும் உண்மை இன்று !
வேற்றுமையில் ஒற்றுமை என்பது வெறும் பேச்சு
மட்டுமா ?  ஒளிமயமான வலுவான பாரதம்
பிறப்பது எப்போது ?  என் தேசம் புது விடியல்
காண்பது எப்போது ?
சிலையாய் இருக்கும் காந்தி நீ இப்போது
எடுக்க வேண்டும் மீண்டும் ஒரு பிறவி !
காந்தி சிலைகள் எல்லாம்  உயிர் பெற்று
பல நூறு புதிய காந்திகளாய் என் மண்ணில்
பிறக்க வேண்டும் இப்போதே !
என் மண்ணின் விடுதலைக்கு ஒரே ஒரு
காந்தி நீ இருந்தாய்.. இன்று
இந்த  மண்ணின் புது விடியலுக்கு  பல  நூறு
காந்தி வேண்டுமே  அய்யா !
மறுக்காமல் நீ பிறப்பாயா அய்யா மீண்டும்
என் மண்ணில் ? ஒரு புதிய பாரதமும்
மலர்ந்து ஒளிருமா என் கண் முன்னால் ?
My kavithai as published in http://www.dinamani.com on 8th Oct 2017
Natarajan

The Fascinating History of the Iconic Mysore Sandal Soap…

A soap that has held a special place in the hearts of Indians for more than a century, Mysore Sandal Soap’s legacy is intricately interwoven with Karnataka’s history and heritage.

There is something beautifully Indian about the fragrance of sandalwood. Sweet, warm, rich and woody, it is a scent that is deeply interwoven with the nation’s history and heritage. This is, perhaps, one of the many reasons why the Mysore Sandal Soap has held a special place in the hearts of Indians for more than a century.

Here’s the fascinating story behind India’s most-loved sandal soap.

One hundred and one years ago, in May 1916, Krishna Raja Wodiyar IV (the then Maharaja of Mysore) and Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (the then Diwan of Mysore), set up the Government Sandalwood Oil factory at Mysore for sandalwood oil extraction.

The primary goal of the project was to utilise the excess stocks of the fragrant wood that had piled up after World War I halted the export of sandalwood from the kingdom of Mysore (the largest producer of sandalwood in the world at the time).

Two years later, the Maharaja was gifted a rare set of sandalwood oil soaps. This gave him the idea of producing similar soaps for the masses which he immediately shared with his bright Diwan. In total agreement about the need for industrial development in the state, the enterprising duo (who would go on to plan many projects whose benefits are still being reaped) immediately got to work.

A stickler for perfection, Visveswaraya wanted to produce a good quality soap that would also be affordable for the public. He invited technical experts from Bombay (now Mumbai) and made arrangements for soap making experiments on the premises of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Interestingly, the IISc had been set up in 1911 due to the efforts of another legendary Diwan of Mysore, K Sheshadri Iyer!

From the talent involved in the research happening at IISc, he identified a bright, young industrial chemist called Sosale Garalapuri Shastry and sent him to England to fine tune his knowledge about making soap. Affectionately remembered by many as Soap Shastry, the hardworking scientist would go on to play a key role in making Visveswaraya’s dream a reality.

After acquiring the required knowledge, Shastry quickly returned to Mysore where the Maharaja and his Diwan were waiting anxiously. He standardized the procedure of incorporating pure sandalwood oil in soaps after which the government soap factory was established near K R Circle in Bengaluru.

The same year, another oil extraction factory was set up at Mysore to ensure a steady supply of sandalwood oil to the soap making unit. In 1944, another unit was established in Shivamoga. Once the soap hit the market, it quickly became popular with the public, not just within the princely state but across the country.

However, Shastry was not done yet. He also created a perfume from distilled sandalwood oil. Next, he decided to give the Mysore Sandal Soap a unique shape and innovative packaging. In those days, soaps would normally be rectangular in shape and packed in thin, glossy and brightly coloured paper. To help it stand out from the rest, he gave the soap an oval shape before working on a culturally significant packaging.

Cognizant of the Indian love of jewels, Shastry designed a rectangular box resembling a jewellery case— with floral prints and carefully chosen colours. At the centre of the design was the unusual logo he chose for the company, Sharaba (a mythical creature from local folklore with the head of an elephant and the body of a lion. A symbol of courage as well as wisdom, the scientist wanted it to symbolise the state’s rich heritage.

The message ‘Srigandhada Tavarininda’ (that translates to ‘from the maternal home of sandalwood’) was printed on every Mysore Sandal Soapbox. The aromatic soap itself was wrapped in delicate white paper, similar to the ones used by jewellery shops to pack jewels.

This was followed by a systematic and well-planned advertising campaign with cities across the country carrying vibrant signboards in neon colours. Pictures of the soapbox were noticeable everywhere, from tram tickets to matchboxes. Even a camel procession was held to advertise the soap in Karachi!

The out-of-the-box campaign led to rich results. The soap’s demand in India and abroad touched new heights, with even royal families of foreign nations ordering it for themselves. Another important turning point for the company was when, in 1980, it was merged with the oil extraction units (in Mysuru and Shivamoga) and incorporated into one company called Karnataka Soaps and Detergent Limited (KSDL).

However, in the early 1990s, the state-run firm did face a rough patch due to multinational competition, declining demand and lack of coordination between sales and production departments. As losses started rising, it was given a rehabilitation package by BIFR (Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction) and KSDL grabbed the lifeline with both hands.

The company streamlined its way of functioning and soon it had started showing profits again. Thanks to rising profits year after year, it had soon wiped out all its losses and repaid its entire debt to BIFR by 2003. The company also successfully diversified into other soaps, incense sticks, essential oils, hand washes, talcum powder etc.

Nonetheless, the Mysore Sandal Soap remains the company’s flagship product, the only soap in the world made from 100% pure sandalwood oil (along with other natural essential oils such as patchouli, vetiver, orange, geranium and palm rose). Due to tremendous brand recall and loyalty associated with the soap, it also bags a prized position on the shopping lists of visiting NRIs.

In 2006, the iconic was awarded a Geographical Indicator (GI) tag — that means anyone can make and market a sandalwood soap but only KSDL can rightfully claim it to be a ‘Mysore Sandalwood’ soap.

Thanks to this near-monopolistic presence in the market for sandalwood bathing soaps, KSDL has also become one of Karnataka’s few public sector enterprises that turns consistent profits. In fact, the company registered its highest gross sales turnover (of ₹476 crore) in 2015-16.

Such is the legacy of sandalwood and this earthy, oval-shaped soap in the state that even Karnataka’s thriving film industry calls itself Sandalwood!

Today, there are a multitude of branded soaps in the market but Mysore Sandal Soap continues to hold a distinctive place among all of them. Its production figures continue to rise, even as the availability of sandalwood is on the decline.

To counter this, KSDL has been running a ‘Grow More Sandalwood’ programme for farmers, that provides affordable sandalwood saplings along with a buy-back guarantee.Working in partnership with the forest department, it is also working to ensure that for every sandalwood removed for extraction, a sandalwood sapling is planted to replace it.

The story of Mysore Sandal Soap and its enduring appeal is an inspiration not just for Indian PSUs but for the entire FMCG sector. Here’s hoping that its future is aromatic as its history!

Source….www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan