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Legend of Diwali- An Asian uniqueness

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Diwali, the celebration of lights is one such festival which is an amalgamation of various religious sentiments, social outlooks and monetary ventures too as many Businesses in India recognize the day after Diwali as being the first day of financial new year. Although Diwali is best known as Hindu festival, it has religious significance on other cultures like Jainism and Sikhism. In Jainism it marks the ‘Niravana’- the spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira and for Sikhs its was the day of freedom from imprisonment for Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru. In accordance to the popular Legend, Diwali is an Indian festival marking the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya and perhaps this belief or the triumph of Rama had spread far and wide as the presence of Diwali celebrations can be seen in rest of South East Asia which can also be further connected to the  existence of Asian versions of Ramayana. This could be a reflection of a wonderful huddle of various Asian cultures coming together thr…

The Nine nights of Womanhood

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It’s the arrival of one of the most vibrant festival of India which is announced by today’s blessed morning. We are all set with complete fervour and enthusiasm to welcome the nine nights of worshipping Devi – our Mother Goddess with open doors of our homes and hearts. Navratri is such a cherished festival of India that every street and corner is decorated like a newly wedded bride, the one who is decked up with all ‘Solah-Shringar’ and why not after all it’s the festival which celebrates every aspect of feminity which in itself has myriad shades.

There is worship & devotion, art, dance & drama and praises sung to various divine forms of Devi in every part of the country in their own unique ways. While the two forms of  this celebration which tops the list of popularity are Garba & Dandiya Raas of Gujarat and Durga Puja known as Mahalaya in West Bengal, there are other diverse and fascinating ways of Shakti being worshipped in Indian culture, rituals and traditions.

Down …

The ancestors of Bhageeratha

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In the popular story of King Bhageeratha, one of the ancestors of Rama who propitiated Brahma and with the intervention of great ascetic Shiva brought the holy river Ganga from heaven to earth for the salvation of his ancestors, the penance and efforts of Bhageeratha are eulogised which remains the widely known version. But who were those legendary ancestors which were finally redeemed due to Bhageeratha? In this story we learn about those Kings in the generations earlier to Bhageeratha who also attempted to bring Ganga on earth but could not succeed in their attempts. This tale is narrated by Vishwamitra from Ramayana as the account of their ancestors to Ram and Lakshman after the episode of slaying Tadka. Ram and Lakshman bathed in the holy river and rishis made lustrations to their forbears. They performed pujas and cooked their food. Over meal, they sat around and Vishwamitra at the request of the two princes told the story of Ganga. Himaavan king of mountains had two daughters fro…

Divine Sita & Illustrious Draupadi, now it's time to narrate the tale of clever Damayanti

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For centuries, in many literary texts, in the minds of thoughtful writers and in varied societal perspectives, Sita and Draupadi consistently remained two profound female characters of Indian mythology which depicts epitome of feminity, grace, patience and forgiveness. They are the archetype of ideal wife, sacrificing mothers and the women mistreated also often misrepresented. Both Sita and Draupadi have been the flag bearers of egalitarianism, challenging the notions of heroism and male protagonist. These magnificent and eulogised women have been source of inspiration for many generations now, they persisted in the face of heartbreak and injustice meted out to them by their own keith and kins, as an outcome of a male-dominated society which eventually aroused their determination and self esteem setting them up as a role models for the songs of feminine revolution. These motifs implied the peculiarity of the milieu in which their characters were developed. But now as we stand on the fo…

Hidimbi- the Wife of Madhyama.

She was sitting on a rock in the midst of a deep dark forest which she had always known as her only home. Whenever she looked at the tall trees of this forest, she felt blissful. This forest terrified people, they feared to get lost into the depths of it but in the darkness of it Hidimbi always re-discovered herself. 
“I was born among these wild woods which gave me warmth and affection as a family. This forest played with me as my childhood mate, it protected me as a possessive parent and mentored me as my Guru. There is nothing which this forest has not taught me. It saw me falling in love, it celebrated my marriage, it rejoiced with me on the birth of my child and it cried with me when I was left heartbroken and alone. It has been my entire world”. Hidimbi reminisced fondly moving her hand on the large trunk of a firm banyan tree nearby.
Just then Hidimbi’s reverie was broken when she heard a thudding sound some distance away, she immediately knew where it came from. Hidimbi looked a…

GANDHARI-THE PRINCESS OF VALLEYS

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She was standing near a small window of her magnificent bedroom chamber, her face beautiful but her eyebrows tensed and her hands moving nervously. A few miles away, a war had already started between cousins of Kuru clan and the prophecy was Gandhari’s hundred evil sons will vanquish in this war. “Are my sons evil?” She shuddered at the thought. She felt a cool breeze on her face, which should make her feel better instead there was a typical stink. The smell of dead bodies lying in the battle field was filling in the air. She was petrified when the memories which she buried into herself every night since her marriage were surfacing again into the reality, a devastation which she had faced many years back, Gandhari felt haunted.

“Gandhari, my brave daughter whirl your sword this way!” a loud and challenging voice of her father echoed in Gandhari’s mind and transported her to a life which was left behind many years ago. The visual of the father - daughter duo practicing the skill of the …