Dec 28, 2012

Rustic expedition ... Tagore's Santiniketan

Had decided to visit a rustic place in and around Kolkata this time. What a better place than Santiniketan and that too during 'Poush Mela'. To maintain the atmosphere of this trip all travel was by train and rickshaws - no fancy cars this time. The 'baul' on the train made it worth a ton!

Went to Howrah Station after a decade ...

Santiniketan Express covers the less than 150 km in a bearable 2½ hrs from Kolkata.

The air conditioned chair car is comfortable and "reserved" in the true sense ...
... other compartments and you better be ready to be jostled a bit !
We were lucky - this being the only train running after the derailment near Burdwan (all other trains cancelled / re-routed). 
Matir bhander cha

The 'Matir bhander cha' (Tea in a clay pot), the 'Jhalmudi' and the 'Mihidana' at Burdwan took me back to the childhood years.
Santiniketan Tourist Lodge - neat and inexpensive. 
The ambiance of Santiniketan merges well with the WB Govt tourist lodge. The murals on the external walls, the names of the cottages after Tagore's houses... Nice little cottages with a lawn in front and play area at the rear - a slide and a swing for the kids. The deluxe a/c cottage was the only available one during the Poush Mela (the Dec fair), and it was more expensive than usual Govt rates. Would have rather preferred a room heater than the AC, with the mercury dipping below 7 deg C. Walking down the road with kids not finding a rickshaw in the chilly night was the high point !

The hunt begins ...
The pup smothered with affection by the dots ...

Vishwa Bharati campus reminded of IIT - V (BHU).
Rabindra Bhavan


Rickshaw stand outside the station
The fair ground was 2 km away and the rickshaw charged 30 bucks (seasonal hike). Pretty crowded and the wares very cheap. The temporary stalls near the fair entrance had better stuff and we purchased handicraft items and Palm jaggery out there. Rabindra Bhavan is a must-see although the original Nobel was stolen and is substituted by a replica - now well guarded !
Bidding Bolpur station adieu ...

Nov 24, 2012

Never never on a Sunday

An asian musician playing the 'Santoor' - an Indian string instrument of Persian origin - at the Brussels Central Station, Belgium. Nov 2012.

Some more pics ....

Oct 12, 2012

First step in solving a problem ...

US : Once ....
We stood up for what was right ... We fought for moral reasons ... We never beat our chest ...  Acted like men ...


Aug 15, 2012

Jinnah's forgotten speech

Watching various I-day programmes on TV, Gandhi, Jinnah, his India & Parsi connections, Partition and then a flash of Jinnah's speech of 11 Aug 1947 and ... did I hear correctly?

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan …You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
                                                                                                     ...The 11th Aug speech
And we all thought he wanted a Muslim state of Pakistan ! Then a little bit more searching and more surprises about this Muslim gentleman who married a Parsi (and so did his daughter) :
No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.

Speech at a meeting of the Muslim University Union, Aligarh (10 March 1944)

In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.
Broadcast to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan (February 1948)

Political compulsion? Makes one wonder !

Does anybody remember these words in the country which he gave life to? Seems from some searching that Pakistan lost the recording of this speech of its creator. Some Pakis feel even the spirit of Quaid-e-azam's speech is lost! Hope Pakistan changes some day.