In an initiative to bring artists across the geographical boundaries under one roof, a seven-day long International puppet festival is currently being held at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
The organisers, Ishara Pupper Theatre Trust, feel that the festival will not only provide a chance to foreigners to show their art in India but render an opportunity for many puppet artists to exchange skills with people from abroad.
"The Ishara Puppet Festival has been running for four years now. Every year we create a platform for puppetry not just from across the world but also from India. Dadi who is the artistic director of the Ishara puppet festival is one of India's internationally known puppeteers. The idea is to give other people a platform to show as a new technique of communication in India," says Sanjay, the producer of the show.
The participants who have devoted their lives for this art opine that puppets are totally opposite from the present medium of entertainment available.
"Performance is like some sort of counter wait towards all these very fast and superficial mediums of entertainment like computer games and television where pictures move very fast and feelings don't have the time to sink in ones mind," says Atan, Director of the Swedish Puppet show.
Puppet lovers of all ages and different nationalities have thronged the venue of the international festival. Language is not a problem for the puppet lovers as they enjoy every show.
Puppets have been a versatile means of artistic expression, communication and instruction for about 2,000 years. In a fierce battle between entertainment and education, puppets have the potential to teach and persuade even in this modern time.
It is up to mankind to explore the latent potential of these lifeless creatures for educating and making the world more aware without books.
The international puppet festival will conclude this Friday. (ANI)
International Guitar Festival from February 19 in Goa
Panaji | January 18, 2006 5:30:09 AM IST
Goa, where every second household boasts of having a guitar that initiated people into music, is hosting a 5-day International Guitar Festival for the first time, combining national level western classical competitions in music from February 19.
More than 20 participants from Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and other places are expected to participate in the fiesta in which top rated maestros Piero Bonaguri from Italy, Roger Zimmermann and young Florian Moritz from Germany would render their concerts to enthrall the audience. Briefing reporters here yesterday, Guitar Guild of Goa's (GGG) founder Schubert Cotta said the festival features, apart from concerts, master classes, workshops, exhibitions showcasing various styles of guitar playing.
The selected competitors would be judged in musical sense, technique, stage presence and programme notes during the competitions by a jury consisting of at least two outstanding musicians, including one or more guitarists of international repute.
Three-day Urdu conference from Jan 20
Aurangabd Maharashtra | January 18, 2006 4:40:08 AM IST
Eminent Urdu scholars will attend a three-day Urdu conference, aimed at promoting the language. The conference, beginning from January 20, is being organised by Padmashri Sikandar Ali Wajd Memorial Trust and is the first time of this kind is being organised at this historical city, which has been known all over the world for the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves and 'Bibi Ka Maqbara,' a replica of Taj Mahal. Noted poet and journalist Hasan Kamal, will inaugurate the conference. It will be presided over by Chairaman of the third Finance Commission of Maharashtra Satish Tripathi. Literateurs Gangadhar Pantawane and Dr U M Pathan and noted film director Sanjay Khan, humourist Mujtaba Hussain and Sahitya Akadami award winning author Jilani would be among those attending the meet. An all India 'Mushaira,' to be presided over by noted poet Bashr Nawaz, will be a major attraction of the conference.
A separate Sesion will be held for women. Dr Shaista Begum, Nagma Javed, Vandana Sonalkar, Anuya Devi and Saraswati Devi are among those will present papers.
Mumbaikars throng heritage festival site to watch
mesmerizing musical performance
Mumbai | January 09, 2006 3:06:25 PM IST
Eminent flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia mesmerised hundreds of Mumbaikars with a scintillating musical performance at an illuminated heritage site over the weekend.
Scores of people thronged the Banganga Tank area, a heritage site in south Mumbai's Walkeshwar for the two-day long heritage festival.
An annual musical extravangza, the heritage festival is held to promote and attract crowds to landmark sites of the city, especially temples dating back to 6th century B.C., aims to create awareness about conserving heritage sites.
Classical music maestro Chaurasia who enthralled the audience with his captivating music said such events give a rare opportunity to people to realise the beauty of such sites.
"When such musical events are held, thousands of people throng heritage sites. They realise the significance of such places which can be visited regularly. They can meditate or spend time here," said Chaurasia.
Organised jointly by the Indian Heritage Society and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the festival also aims to pull foreign tourists apart from domestic crowd.
Those watching the performance said the inaugural show were a perfect synchronization of music and ambience.
"I really enjoyed the show. It was really very beautifully done and the surroundings were nice. When the flute accompanied 'tabla', it was really wonderful," said Neeta, a member in the audience.
"This programme is a very unique programme. The atmosphere created at Banganga is very nice. You get lost with music," said Rajiv, another local.
The festival, which began in 1992, has a fascinating legend behind the name "Banaganga" which says that Hindu Lord Rama shot a Bana (arrow) and the holy Ganges (Ganga) sent back fresh waters to quench the thirst of her followers. (ANI)
Devotees congregate temple for 'Vaikunta
Srirangam Tamil Nadu | January 09, 2006 1:38:54 PM IST
Thousands of devotees from various parts of the country today gathered at the historic Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, here to have the darshan of ''Lord Namperumal'', the festive deity adorned with the famous ''Mohini Alankaram'' also called as ''Nachiyar Thirukkolam'', as part of the ongoing 21-day ''Vaikunta Ekadasi'' festival.
The Mohini Alankaram was presented once in every year during the Vaikunda Ekadasi festival to commemorate Lord Vishnu's manifestation as a ''bewitching maiden'' (Mohini) to lure away the Asuras from the Amirt (Nectar) produced during the churning of the Milk Ocean.
Lord Namperumal, attired in Mohini Alankaram, was taken out in a procession from the sanctum sanctorum amidst chanting of Vedic hymns at 0600 hrs this morning and arrived at the Arjuna Mandapam for public darshan. The deity will be again taken to sanctum sanctorum at 2100 hrs, today.
The temple administration has made elaborate arrangements in view of the Mohini Alankaram, which usually attracts huge crowd during the festival season.
The Vaikunda Ekadasi falls tomorrow, in which the deity Namperumal, attired in ''Rathina Angi'' (dress made of Rubies and precious stones), would be taken out of the sanctum sanctorum during the small hours and pass through the ''Paramapada Vaasal'' (gateway to Heaven) followed by thousands of devotees.
Anticipating a huge crowd of devotees at the temple tomorrow, police have made elaborate arrangements in and around the temple complex. Over 1000 policemen were deployed for the security purposes. Anti-sabotage teams had been deployed at the South, East and North gates of the temple with door frame metal detectors to screen the devotees.
The district administration has declared a local holiday tomorrow, in view of the festival.
Eminent carnatic music theorist and specialist in Tamil Literature, John Ralton Marr of Surrey in England enthralled carnatic music enthusiasts of Bangalore last weekend with nearly 90 minute concert at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here.
Dr Marr, a Hon Secretary of the Bhavan's London office had given a similar performance in London about a fortnight ago. In his lifetime he would have given about 16 concerts.
The 79 year-old indologist handled with deft some of the tough ragas such as Nalinikanti, Kapikalyani, Hindolavasanta and Nagagandhari which are rare on regular concerts to the compositions of Muthuswamy dikshitar, Papanasam Sivan, saint Thyagaraja.
He started the performance with Saktisahita Ganapatim of Dikshitar in Shankarabaranam (European airs of Dikshitar) and sang 12 songs including three notes from European Airs, which are native rendition of English tunes.
An avid lover of Indian music right from the age of 16 had joined the Officers Training School (Now ASC training Centre) here and was commissioned on Feb. 15 1947 and posted in Jabalpur. A number of the Jawans and officers were from South India and helped him considerably over both South Indian music and Tamil.
For the first time he sang South Indian music on the independence day in August 15, 1947.
A Graduate in Tamil and Sanskrit from the University of London, Dr Marr had also carried out research in Early Tamil Sangam Literature in Annamalai and Madras Universities. He learnt music from renowned vocalist Chittoor Subramaniam and Mudikondan Venkatarama Iyer, then Principal of the Music Academy Madras's College.
He had been a lecturer in Tamil in the UK from 1955 to 1992.
From September 1973 he regularly visited India with groups of tourists as Guest lecturer for Swan Hellenic (a division of P & 0 Cruises), and also attended most of the International Tamil Conferences in India and elsewhere.
He had written a number of books with his principal publications being a thesis on Sangam literature, The Eight Anthologies, published in Madras in 1985, and long articles on Tamil texts used in royal ceremonies in Thailand and on the narrative frieze at Darasuraram.
Digambar Munis converge at
Shravanabelagola | January 09, 2006 12:35:45 PM IST
Acharya Sri Viraga Sagar Muni Maharaj reached Shravanabelagola yesterday with a group of 34 monks to participate in the new millenniumís first Mahamasthakabhisheka of Bhagwan Bahubali beginning on February Eight.
As many as 114 Digambar Munis have already converged at this Jain pilgrimage centre.
Acharya Viraga Sagar travelled nearly 200 km by foot from Moodbidri to reach Shravanabelagola. Before reaching Moodbidri for his Chaturmasa in September, the Acharya and his group of monks had traveled from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh and reached Karanja in Maharashtra, more than a 1500 kms, again by foot.
The Archarya, visiting Shravanabelagola for the first time, was ceremoniously welcomed near Vidyananda Nilaya and brought in a procession to Mangayi Jain Temple where he was received by Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji with poornakhumba even as devotees, acharyas, nuns and internees thronged the area, and devotional songs and music rent the air.
Later speaking at the occasion the Muni said it was his lifetime dream to have the darshan of Bhagawan Bahubali and now he considered himself truly blessed to have reached Shravanabelagola. ''I propose to climb the hill without wasting time and we travelled the entire distance seeing Bhagawan Bahubali in every stone we came across. It is true that if a believer thirsts for the Lord, he will see it in any object. Personally, reaching Shravanabelagola and seeing the gathering of monks here, I feel like a small child returning to the fold of his family,'' he said.
Host of VIPs at Shravanabelagola
Shravanabelagola | January 09, 2006 12:35:43 PM IST
With just weeks left for the Mahamasthabhisheka celebrations of lord Bahubali to commence, a host of VVIPS will descend on this jain pilgrimage centre with President A P J Abdul Kalam leading them.
The President will be here on January 22 to inaugurate the celebrations by opening a Children Hospital built at a cost of Rs 1.5 Crore. Following him would be the Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekawat who would participate in the Tapa Kalyana programme on February Six.
Railway Minister Laloo Prasad was scheduled to dedicate the Shravanabelagola Railway Station to the Nation on January 15. while Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh would open the upgraded hospitals of Shravanabelagola and Chennarayapattana on January 23.
A host of other activities are also planned as a build up to the mega event held once in 12 years with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia commissioning the drinking water supply scheme on January 24 and Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram would inaugurate the new blocks of accommodation built for pilgrims on January 25.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil was expected to participate in "Sarvadharma Sammelana" on January 27. Union Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh would inaugurate the Acharya Shanthi Sagar Memorial Building, Tyagi Nagar on February One.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will open the Yatri Nivas on February Two.
The Mahamasthakabhisheka with 108 kalashas would be performed on February Eight
Over 30,000 writers and intellectuals to attend Kannada Sammelana
Bidar | January 09, 2006 4:38:50 AM IST
More than 30,000 writers and intellectuals are expected to take part in the three-day 72nd Akhil Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana beginning here from January 27.
Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh will inaugurate the Sammelana on January 27. The State government has promised to release Rs 25 lakh soon.
Reception Committee General Secretary J Hebbale, in a release here, said the Parishat would launch a website, facilitating online registration of delegates.
The events would see discussions, special lectures, Poets Meet, interaction sessions, music programmes and felicitation to noted personalities, he said.
UNI BSR MSP DH RAI0419
The festival of Eid-ul Zuha will be celebrated on January 11, the Shahi Imam of the historic Fatehpuri mosque of Delhi announced today.
The new moon of Eid-ul Azha (Bakr Eid) was sighted today and the first day of the month Zilhij falls tomorrow, Mufti M Mukarram Ahmed said.
Bakra Eid, which celebrates the spirit of sacrifice in
Islam, is observed on the tenth day of the month.