We have been looking at various sites that find a mention in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. I’m extremely sorry to have kept postponing the last part of the series for so long again. But I was really caught up in work. Hope you guys are still interested in knowing the latest additions to the UNESCO list from India.
“India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it….”
We have been reciting this pledge for more than 10 years of our schooling. We have pledged our devotion to our country and to its rich and varied heritages. But what exactly are we striving to be worthy of? What is heritage? And further, what is cultural or intangible heritage?
India has always been a riot of colours. There will be very few countries as colourful as India. Each region, state, village, and street is animated with colours as if a collage from an art book! There are cities named after colours like Jaipur – The Pink City and Jodhpur – the Blue City of India, etc. Colours and their significance in our day to day life is much a part of our Indian consciousness. Their symbolism stands out and controls every aspect of life in India. These vibrant colours are a common thread that ties together the diversity of our country. This diversity was also evident in India’s art of painting, with each region developing a culturally unique style of paintings!
The written word has an impact far greater than that what is heard. It has a farther reach, can be authenticated easily and preserved in a better way than just in memory. Communication and transfer of knowledge, in Ancient India, was more popular through oral means. We have a reference in Chanakya Niti, where Chanakya says “Knowledge reduced down to the book, like loaned money, will be of no use in time of need.” However, as time progressed most of the things began to be written down in various texts and treatises, Chanakya Niti included. This art form has served multiple purposes since its inception including the duplication of religious texts and as a form of basic communication.
As rich were the oral traditions of India so was the art of writing and calligraphy. Starting from the earliest undeciphered traces of inscriptions found in the Indus Valley Civilisation to the beautifully crafted calligraphies on the monuments, our history of the art of writing and calligraphy spans a variety of languages, scripts, writing materials and styles. While the art has easily morphed and adjusted itself in the modern digital world, the ancient style of calligraphically writing and documenting forms an alluring part of our heritage.
The World Heritage Week that commenced from yesterday aims at spreading awareness about one’s culture and past. India, being one of the oldest civilisations in the world, has no shortage of history and heritage. Protecting and caring about monuments is relatively easy, but the protection and preservation of intangible heritage is hard. Our abstract ideas, ways of life, religion and traditions form a part of this intangible heritage. One such inseparable part of our “Indian-ness” is the ability to tell stories! We are the most dramatic and animated storytellers of the world. And this oral tradition of bringing alive a story is deeply embedded in our identity as an Indian.
World Heritage Week, as declared by UNESCO, is celebrated around the world from 19th to 25th of November every year. In a way, we all celebrate our cultural heritage every day, simply by living our lives in a way that represents who we are and where we came from. But one day (18th of April: World Heritage Day) and one week (19th to 25Th November) is set aside each year to celebrate the history and heritage of the entire world. Continue reading Celebrating World Heritage Week #1
Have you ever looked up at the moon and seen a rabbit or a hare? For some reason I see something that resembles a Mickey-Mouse walking! Or perhaps Bugs Bunny – which is a rabbit per say but not the conventional one that the rest see…well, did you know there are many legends around the world about this rabbit that lives on the moon?
Continue reading Deer? Rabbit? What do you see on the Moon?
I have been eyeing the Photo Prompt Portal posted by Sue Vincent for the entire week now. It’s such an intriguing click. So many plots ran through my mind and I tried writing on a few of them. But somehow I couldn’t. The images of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil and all the fearless Freedom Fighters who proudly walked up to the gallows through such narrow passages is stuck in my mind!
Continue reading A walk to the gallows #writephoto
“Who is it? Who’s there? John is it you?” Denise got up from the bed, wrapping a bed-sheet around her she slowly crept down the stairs. The house was quiet except for that nagging sound.
“John..honey?” On most of the nights she slept very soundly, but today even the softest of the breeze was waking her up. But this noise…like churning of old rusted iron blades, like a giant windmill…ccrrrr…cccrrrr ccrrr…It was driving her nuts!
What could it be? The ceiling fan in the kid’s bedroom was making a strange sound for the last few days but the kids were sleeping in the smaller bedroom tonight. Who had turned it on then? The slow rusty sound was making her skin crawl.
As she walked down the hallway, she tried to calm herself. Steve, her youngest, was not happy about having to sleep in a different bed. Maybe he came down to sleep here. There was no need to get angry on that poor little soul.
She could see the TV in the living room, John must have slept on the sofa with the TV on. She let her head rest on the door, steadying herself. She was sure Steve would not have came down alone, he would have dragged Jane with him too. Breathing deeply, she pushed open the door…
“AAA AAAAAAA NO…No..Oh god!! Johnn…Noooo”
“What happened. Danny.. are you alright? Danny What’s wrong?”, John shouted as he came running down the hallway.
“AAhh..the kids…John the kids…the fan….it fell…..blood everywhere…..the kids……John save them!! OUR KIDS JOHN!”
He looked in the darkroom and then down at his wife who lay withering in pain. His knees gave way and he too collapsed beside her…the pain too much to bear. Not tonight.
“Ssh…It’s ok..” He took her in his arms as he tried to pacify her, patting her back. “It’s ok..don’t worry!”
“No John…how can YOU not worry! Our kids John…The fan..it fell! Noo..Please..”
“Danny it’s okay. It was a dream…Shh..’
“Noo… I saw..but..how..the kids..blood…Where’s Stevie and Jane?” Denise got up and staggered into dark the room, looking around. “Stevie…Janey..sweeties where are you? Are you hurt?” She bent down to look under the bed.
“Danny…please don’t do this…please. It was just a dream”
“The kids John..where are they!” She shouted back, facing him, tears running down her wrinkled face.
Speechless he just stared at her. How was he to explain all this to her? How was he supposed to go through this again, as if that one time was not enough!
He had thought that the Alzheimer’s would have wiped clean the memories. Was he not relieved when she was diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s disease? Wasn’t he happy for finally, she would forget that fateful night?
But even after 40 years and after losing most of her memories, these dreams kept haunting her, keeping those painful events still alive. And every time she dreamt, she lived through the nightmare of finding their kids dead…all over again!
© 2017 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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