Posts

Benazeer: Riyasat-e-Shahjahani

“Riyasat-e-Bhopal kinishaanihain char batua, chuneti, begum aurtaal”.

Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh was formerly a land locked Nawab kingdom known as Bhopal state. Bhopal; a city with royal blood line from Gond tribes to Nawabs. A city which holds a royal folklore, scenic beauty and modern urban planning. An epitome of ‘Ganga Jamunatehzeeb’ and amalgamation of past and present. Bhopal was the first garden city of Mughal India as reflected from its emblem “mahamaratib” representing 76 baagh and baghiya (big and small gardens). The transformed identity of the city comes with numerous manmade lakes built by the rulers giving it title “THE CITY OF LAKES”. Bhopal presents a multi- faceted profile-the glittering bazaars, the large and magnificent mosques, the palaces , the gardens and avenues; leaving behind an aristocratic imprint of its former rulers. All the functions of this city are man-made since it was formed with no river located near it. It is indubitably a very peaceful place with harmony and secularism.

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Guest Post: Muslim Figures by Mr. Arif Rahman Chughtai

Md. Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1897–1975) was a painter and intellectual from Pakistan, who created his own unique, distinctive painting style influenced by Mughal art, miniature painting, Art Nouveau and Islamic art traditions. He comes from a family which for generations has produced architects, engineers, painters and decorators. His work draws from a shared South Asian cultural heritage, and he was one of the few Pakistani artists to be recognized in India before and after the 1947 partition. He is considered ‘the first significant modern Muslim artist from South Asia’, and the national artist of Pakistan. He was given the title of Khan Bahadur in 1934, awarded Pakistan’s Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 1960, and the Presidential medal for Pride of Performance in 1968.

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Shettihalli’s Abandoned Church: Guest Post by Niyantha Shekar

In January, while backpacking in Karnataka, I chanced upon photographs of an abandoned church online. I was intrigued and wanted to see the structure for myself. So, I took a bus from the city of Hassan to the small village of Shettihalli. I then walked a kilometre down an idyllic countryside road, quiet but for the noise of the occasional motorbike. There were just enough people outside the handful of houses to point me in the right direction. An old woman finally gestured to head down a sandy path carved in between bushes and trees. And then all of a sudden, there it was....

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Artist Gallery: William Carpenter in Kashmir

William Carpenter Junior (1818-1899) was a water colour artist, born in London to a portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter who had come to India first time in 1850. William Carpenter spent several years in northern part of India between 1850 and 1857  painting scenes of India, its people and its life. In 1853, he came to Kashmir to stay possibly for an year. He produced some of his finest works during his stay.

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The Temples of Orissa by N. Srinivas Rao

“… in the words of Fergusson, ‘The picturesqueness of their forms, the character of sculptures and architectural details, combined with their antiquity, render them one of the most deserving of the careful survey.’ ”

This article was published in the Triveni Magazine, October 1955, Volume XXVI, No. 3, Triveni Publishers, Masulipatam, Andhra State. Find the full article as a PDF here.

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Artist Gallery: William Carpenter

William Carpenter Junior (1818-1899) was a water colour artist, born in London to a portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter who had come to India first time in 1850. William Carpenter spent several years in northern part of India between 1850 and 1857  painting scenes of India, its people and its life. The Victoria and Albert Museum bought over 280 of his paintings.  In 1856 he painted Prince Fakhr-ud Din Mirza, the eldest son of Bahadur Shah II, the last King of Delhi, five months before the Prince died.

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Shantinagar, Bangalore: In Conversation with Mr. Alan Machado

A series of major events in the history of Bangalore has lead to the origin of the present settlement. Bangalore, the cosmopolitan city has a deep layer of history buried under its surface. The shift in paradigm started after the fall of Tipu in 1799, when it was considered necessary to station British troops in Mysore. The Duke of Wellington, who was the Military Commander, decided upon Srirangapatna itself as the ideal place. 

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German War Art

One of the most intriguing aspects of studying history is observing the overlaps. In this fabulous book called “German War Art” is a compilation of works by various German artists that recorded wartime scenes in Europe during the World War 2. It contains compelling imagery of the atrocities of war and Nazi propaganda; in addition a few of the sketches feature Indian soldiers that were captured and taken as prisoners by the third Reich during the Second World War.

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Guest Post: First Hindu Figures by Mr. Arif Rahman Chughtai

Md. Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1897–1975) was a painter and intellectual from Pakistan, who created his own unique, distinctive painting style influenced by Mughal art, miniature painting, Art Nouveau and Islamic art traditions. He comes from a family which for generations has produced architects, engineers, painters and decorators. His work draws from a shared South Asian cultural heritage, and he was one of the few Pakistani artists to be recognized in India before and after the 1947 partition. He is considered ‘the first significant modern Muslim artist from South Asia’, and the national artist of Pakistan. He was given the title of Khan Bahadur in 1934, awarded Pakistan’s Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 1960, and the Presidential medal for Pride of Performance in 1968.

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Artist Gallery: Mohammad Abdur Rahman Chughtai

Md. Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1897–1975) was a painter and intellectual from Pakistan, who created his own unique, distinctive painting style influenced by Mughal art, miniature painting, Art Nouveau and Islamic art traditions. He comes from a family which for generations has produced architects, engineers, painters and decorators. His work draws from a shared South Asian cultural heritage, and he was one of the few Pakistani artists to be recognized in India before and after the 1947 partition. He is considered ‘the first significant modern Muslim artist from South Asia’, and the national artist of Pakistan. He was given the title of Khan Bahadur in 1934, awarded Pakistan’s Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 1960, and the Presidential medal for Pride of Performance in 1968.

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Then and Now: Azad Maidan, Panjim

Azad Maidan is the square in the heart of Panjim, originally conceived by the Portuguese as the Largo Afonso de Albuquerque. A brass memorial to the great Goan freedom fighter Dr. Tristão de Braganza Cunha (1891-1958) now occupies its geometric centre.

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Hidden Mosque on a Hill Top

I was on a road trip when I passed by the western Assam town of Dhubri and stumbled upon an architectural marvel of not much magnificence, but of certainly high significance. As I approached the town, an old structure sitting next to the highway suddenly caught my eye and upon stopping and enquiring, I found out that it was an old mosque. The mosque in the Panbari/ Rangamati hillock on the outskirts of the small town encompasses a history so old and rarely told that it became a legend; a riveting story that compelled me to connect the dots through clues hidden away in lost books. Ten years later I am still trying to link broken pieces of history to paint a vivid picture of its origins.

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St. Francis Church, Kochi

St. Francis Church is one of the oldest European churches in Kerala. It is a major landmark on Fort Kochi which was built in the 16th Century A.D. The history of the church reflects the colonial struggle of the European powers in India from 15th to 20th Centuries. The flood in Periyar during 14th Century changed Kochi as a natural harbour and the marine trade became prolific here along with, in Kozhikode and Kannur.

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Artist Gallery: Vasily Vereshchagin

Vasily Vereshchagin was a Russian painter who specialized in war scenes. He came to the Hind (specifically to India) in late 1874 and again in 1882. He was one of the first Russian painters to achieve significant fame outside his home country. A number of Vereshchagin’s artworks were never shown in public during his lifetime because of the harsh realism of his style. He was often controversial in Britain, due to his depiction of that country’s sometimes brutal colonial rule in India.

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Currencies of Hind

Every layer of history has brought with it remnants and “metadata” defining our understanding of lost cultures. Currency is one such element in group of artifacts from daily life, that shed light on these past cultures. Being more than just an instrument of trade, currency adorns important people, insignia, creatures, relics and handiwork of the time.

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A Journey in Colours

The twentieth century was an elegy of extremes – it manifested new ideas and toppled old social orders. It heralded change that transformed the mindscape of the common man. India, poised on its adventure with modernity and freedom, had generated within itself many facets. It had opened windows to the new world and eagerly looked outwards for modernist ideas. 

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