november 06 programmes
- 8 pm The Attic Book
Launch' 'Alma Kabutari' by Maitreyi Pushpa and 'Second
Person Singular' by Udaya Narayana Singh
Organized by Katha Inauguration by renowned Hindi
author Prof Namwar Singh.
Translated from the Hindi by Raji Narasimhan
The saga of Alma Kabutari does not begin with Alma
herself. It has its roots in centuries of social
and sexual subjugation of the kabutaris by the upper-caste
kajjas. Like Chittor's Rani Padmini of yore, from
whom the kabutaris are descended, the onus of breaking
the vicious circle and reclaiming human status for
her people falls on young Alma. The engrossing story
of young Alma's evolution from victim to survivor
to tenacious rebel, Alma Kabutari opens a window
to the suffering and exploitation of a tribe that
teeters at the very fringes of society even today,
and that urgently needs our concern and understanding.
Maitreyi Pushpa has written consistently
about rural politics and has endeavoured to explore
the web of human relationships in a time of moral
ambivalence and social uncertainty. She is the recipient
of many accolades including the SAARC Literary Award
for Alma Kabutari, the Premchand Samman and the
Raji Narasimhan is a well-known
writer and translator who lives in New Delhi.
Second Person Singular
Udaya Narayana Singh
Second Person Singular is the poetic expression
of the epiphanic other-view of love and life that
language presents to each individual. Udaya Narayana
Singh's original Maithili poems in this translation
present the strange counterpoints that one gets
from an involvement with language. They bring out
the dialectical texture of the silent spaces in
Shot through with ardour for the art of poetry and
an exploration of the many moods of love in an unmistakably
Indian idiom, the poet's penchant for the miniature
image and the powerful word endure in this volume.
Udaya Narayana Singh is a poet,
playwright, translator and linguist. He writes both
in Maithili (under the pseudonym 'Nachiketa') and
Bengali. He has several colletions of poems and
essays, and many plays to his credit. Currently,
he is the Director of the Central Institute of Indian
6.30 pm Lecture Room IIC Annexe
'City Makers and City Breakers' by Dunu Roy
city of Delhi has been "made" many times,
from the mythological times of the Pandavas, to
the time of the "global world class" city.
Each of the nine locations of the urban settlements
has been associated with the rulers, the Chauhans,
the Lodis, the Tughlaks or the Mughals, Lutyens
or Jagmohan. These are the individuals and powers
who supposedly made the Qutb Minar ,the Red Fort,
India Gate, who made Vikas Minar, who created the
Metro and, now, the Commonwealth Games. But what
about the bricklayers and stonemasons, the pullers,
loaders, nannies, drivers, the repairmen and saleswomen?
What about the wastepickers, sweepers, delivery
boys and tailoring girls, the factory workers and
the artisans? Do they also not make the city? And
what do they get in return? Slums with little water,
erratic electricity, and no sanitation. Dismal education
and health. Those who service the city get no services
in exchange. And yet they are regarded as thieves
and pickpockets, a burden on the city. Over them
hangs the perpetual threat of "illegality"
and "demolition". The real "makers"
are confronted by the surreal "breakers".
All in the name of environment and sports and tourism.
Dunu Roy talks this evening about the crimes that
are being committed by the state against its most
productive and most vulnerable citizens. About how
the city is being sanitised and the poor made to
disappear so that it becomes playground for the
rich and beautiful. How much inhumanity and injustice
are we going to accept in the name of progress?
Dunu Roy is the Director, Hazards Centre, a unit
of the Sanchal Foundation, assisting urban and rural
communities in research and action programmes related
to shelter, livelihoods, services, and governance,
and in the struggle for justice by the urban poor.
He is also a consultant to multilateral and government
agencies on resource management, environment, biodiversity
and disaster preparedness in several States of India.
6.30 pm The Attic 'Wild
Asia: At the Edge' (A wildlife documentary film)
Director: Alan D'arcy Erson Scientific & Field
Advisors: Dr. R.S. Chundawat & Joanna Van Gruisen
by Natural History New Zealand, 'At the Edge' was
part of a 9-part TV series on Asian habitats and
their denizens; this episode explores the extreme
conditions of the high altitude transhimalayan region.
Set in the Rumbak valley in Ladakh, it presents
a rich portrait of life and death at the vertical
limit of mammalian life on Earth. The area harbours
some of the world's hardiest creatures including
bharal, Tibetan Wolf and, most elusive of all, the
The film tells the story of bharal reproduction
and endurance, beginning with violent and spectacular
mating on sheer cliffs and ending with the killing
and eating of a bharal by the shadowy snow leopard.
On the way, Wild Asia: At the Edge reveals an intimate,
unique encounter with a breeding wild wolf family
and the dramatic golden eagle harvest of a Himalayan
marmot colony. The film's climax is an extensive
encounter with wild snow leopard, the first time
such detail had been captured on film.
Beautifully photographed across four seasons in
a spectacularly bleak landscape. The film is a fascinating
insight into the lives of the animals which dare
to breathe the Himalaya's thin air. At The Edge
has won many awards at international wildlife film
festivals for its wonderful images, animal behaviour
and low-impact filming.
Raghu Chundawat is a conservation biologist
who has specialised in carnivores. He did his PhD
on the ecology of the snow leopard and its prey
species in Ladakh; he has conducted a survey of
the wolf in the plains of India and he has just
completed a unique ten-year study on the ecology
of the tiger in a dry forest of Madhya Pradesh.
For ten years he was a member of the teaching faculty
of the Wildlife Institute of India and now works
independently through a small NGO 'Baavan' bagh,
aap aur van,'
Joanna Van Gruisen was born in the UK but has
lived in the subcontinent for over 25 years. She
is a wildlife photographer, writer and conservationist
and has lived in many of India's most beautiful
wild areas, including three years in the Ladakh
region. She has made and worked on films on various
wild topics in Sri Lanka, Assam, J & K and Rajasthan.
Her photographs are published in many magazines
and books both in India and abroad and she was the
editor of TigerLink News for several years.
Raghu Chundawat and Joanna Van Gruisen who introduced
the film crew to the Rumbak area and guided them
through the shoot, will be present to answer questions
on the filming and on the wildlife of the high altitude
10 am to 12 pm The Attic
Buddhist talk: 'Enlightenment through the practice
of the four incommensurables'
by Chamtrul Rinpoche (with Tibetan - English interpreter)
of Limitless Light
in rational numbers is a quantity that has no common
measure with another. In common speech it is the
practice of comparing apples to pears so as to exaggerate
differences rather than similarities. In philosophy
a structural reconciliation of incommensurables
occurs in O'henry's famous story about the Christmas
gift. The husband secretly sells his watch in order
to buy his wife a comb for her beautiful hair, while
she cuts and sells her hair in order to buy her
husband a watch. This is a win-win condition only
insofar as the couple is capable of recognizing
that their situation embodies the epitomy of love
- mutual surrender. In Buddhism Rinpoche explains
how one can train ones mind through the practice
of four incommensurables.
12 November is the waning of the crescent moon in
the Tibetan lunar calendar. It is Lha Bab Duechen
: Buddha Shakyamuni's descent from heaven. A very
auspicious day in which positive or negative actions
are multiplied 10 million times.
Rinpoche has been recognized as the reincarnation
of the 3rd Chamtrul Rinpoche, one of the heads of
the Tashi Choling monastery in Eastern Tibet. He
acquired his education in Tibetan Buddhism in Serta
Larhong one of the major monastic universities.
After receiving the title of 'Khenpo' (Doctor in
Buddhist Philosophy) from his root Teacher Kyabje
Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, he returned to his monastery,
where he assumed the function of Abbot and created
a 'Shedra' ' Institute of Buddhist Higher Studies.
For seven years, Rinpoche taught Buddhist Philosophy
in Tibet. During the last eight years, he has been
teaching Dharma in India to thousands of students
from all over the world; he is currently residing
6.30 pm The Attic "The
Kargil War" an illustrated talk by Gen. Lakhwinder
(in collaboration with Culture Club Panchsheel Enclave)
Gun at Tiger Hill
kargil war was an armed conflict between India and
Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999
in the Kargil district of Kashmir. The cause of
the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers
and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian
side of the Line of Control, which serves as the
de facto border between the two nations. The fighting
between the insurgents and Pakistani paramilitary
forces and The Indian Army, supported by the Air
Force in high altitude terrain led to a Pakistani
withdrawal by a combination of military defeat and
international diplomatic pressure.
Much of the Indian operation revolved around the
recapture of Tiger Hill, which witnessed fierce
hand to hand combat and the use of Bofors Gun at
Tiger Hill about 250 artillery guns. The commander
of the Indian artillery at Tiger Hill was Brig.
(now General) Lakhwinder Singh. He will talk to
us this evening about the fighting on Tiger Hill,
the other areas infiltrated and occupied by the
Pakistani forces (Batalic, Dras), fighting wars
at high altitudes and other fascinating insights
of the war in a first person account very rarely
given by military officers. No official secrets
will be discussed and no press will be permitted
to this talk.
Gen. Lakhwinder Singh is an officer of the Indian
Artillery. A graduate of the National Defence Academy
commissioned in 1967 he fought in the 1971 war on
the western front (which wasn't all that quiet)
at Dera Baba Nanak. He is known for his 'out of
the box' thinking and daring exploits that came
to the fore in Kargil, where his unusual use of
artillery forced the enemy to withdraw. He was awarded
the Yudhseva medal and even complimented by a Pakistani
General for his unconventional use of artillery.
friday 17th november
6.30 pm The Attic 'Conversation'
Neena Nehru - Artist, Peter Nagy - Nature
Morte Gallery owner
Kavita Singh - Professor of art history,
Gayatri Sinha - Curator and critic
Nehru writes 'My early work was strongly inspired
by Marxist ideas and social concerns; while I am
no longer a Marxist, I still express my personal
ideas and concerns through the medium of visual
The subject of the discussion this evening will
be a quote from 'Marxism and Art - An introduction
to Trotsky's writings on art' by Alan Woods.
'The chief weakness of bourgeois aesthetics is that
it rejects a priori the social influences that shape
the development of art. Thus, the development of
art is reduced to an essentially personal, i.e.,
psychological phenomenon…. In fact, the idea
that somehow art can stand outside or above society
is a self-evident contradiction. Although art, literature
and music have their own laws of development which
cannot be reduced to those of economics or sociology,
they are also not separated from society by a Chinese
Wall. Art is, after all, a form of communication…,
Despite all the prejudices about the lonely artist
communicating with himself, in practice, no artist
paints a picture that he does not intend to be seen,
and no writer writes a novel or poem just for their
personal consumption. And in order for art or literature
to act as communication, it must have something
to say. Art links the particular to the universal.
The characters of a novel must be concrete, they
must bear a sufficient resemblance to real men and
women to be believable. But this is not sufficient.
In order that these characters be interesting to
us, they must stand for something more than just
Peter Nagy is an artist, curator
and the director of Gallery Nature Morte in New
Delhi, which was established in 1997. He is originally
from New York and has been living in India since
Kavita Singh is Associate Professor
of Art History at the School of Arts and Aesthetics
at JNU. She has been Research Editor of the arts
journal, Marg, and Guest Curator at the San Diego
Museum of Art where she curated 'Power and Desire'.
Gayatri Sinha is an independent
curator and art critic an author of Expressions
and Evocations ' Contemporary Indian Women Artists
and Krishen Khanna A Critical Biography. Her work
as a curator includes work for the National Gallery
of Modern Art. She is currently co curator for the
exhibition of photographs at the Frankfurt Book
fair. She has lectured widely on Indian art around
the world. She writes a weekly column on visual
culture and art for The Hindu.
Neena Nehru trained as an architect
in London. She is a self taught artist and started
painting seriously only after returning to India
in 1974. She has been part of both solo and group
shows and is preparing for her next exhibition which
will be on a Feminist theme.
6.30 pm The Attic
Dance Festival 'To be in the world, but not of it'
This dance festival spread over four months
will feature 8 dancers using this Sufi saying as
explained broadly by Robert Graves - 'The natural
Sufi may be as common in the West as in the East,
and may come dressed as a general, a merchant, a
lawyer, a schoolmaster, a housewife, anything. To
be - in the world, but not of it, 'free from ambition,
greed, intellectual pride, blind obedience to custom,
or awe of persons higher in rank; that is the Sufi
ideal' For the purposes of this festival and for
Indian classical dance, in particular, the dancers
who have been trained in different styles in the
classical dance tradition and therefore being 'in'
it will interpret their forms, whether in music,
costume, literary background, style or gesture as
being not entirely 'of' it
Odissi Dance by Radhika Jha
great Gurus of the early 1950's formalized what
we know as Odissi today. Based on ancient literary
texts, medieval temple sculpture and the surviving
Mahari tradition, these Gurus recreated this great
classical tradition. However not all the gurus teaching
Odissi agreed with or followed this style.
Radhiks is a student of Guru Surendranath Jena who
taught at Triveni Kala Sangam in Delhi for about
30 years.. Guru Jena's choreography departs from
the tradition transforming the poses of Odissi into
sequences of movements rather than using them as
full stops. At the same time he meshes bhav (emotion)
and bhangi (body movement). This form is slower
and requires an extraordinary degree of balance
and control expressing the philosophy that movement
is not abstract, it is born out of and gives form
to human emotion.
Radhika is the daughter of the late Usha Chettur,
the first disciple of Guru Surendranath Jena
(Radhika being the last before he retired). She
has also studied Hindustani classical vocal music
under Uday Debanshi of Kolkata and the pakhavaj
with Shashi Shekhar Dass. She is the author of two
books 'Smell' and 'The Elephant and the Maruti"
a book of short stories. She has performed in Europe,
the US and in India.
6.30 pm The Attic 'Impressionism
and Music' a talk by
at the Piano'
history, art and music have developed in parallel
with each other. Impressionism in art began in France
near the end of the 19th century. It freed painting
from the bounds of strong lines and literal representation,
seeking instead to "suggest" scenes from
everyday life using patches of colour, fuzzy textures,
visible brushstrokes and plays of light. The capturing
of mood and transience epitomized in the paintings
of Monet, Manet, Degas, Morissot, Pissarro and Renoir,
found parallels in literature and music as well.
Much in the same way, musical Impressionism aims
to create descriptive impressions, rather than draw
well-defined sonic structures. The music is not
designed to explicitly describe anything, but rather
to create a mood or atmosphere. This is done through
almost every aspect of music melody, harmony, color,
rhythm, and form. Melodies tend to be short in nature,
often repeated in different contexts to give different
In this talk, Dr Punita Singh will focus on the
musical legacy of Impressionism. The use of multi
tonality, chord complexes, alternative melodic scales
and modes and 'exotic' rhythms and orchestration
to create the mood, atmosphere, imagery and impression
in sound will be illustrated by examples from the
works of Debussy, Ravel and other composers. The
context in which musical Impressionism developed
and the trajectories that branched off as reactions
to it will be discussed and contrastive examples
Punita is a musicologist, linguist, psychoacoustician,
editor and educator based in New Delhi. Special
areas of interest and expertise include Christian
sacred music, music of the Renaissance, twentieth-century
music, Flamenco and contrastive aspects of Indian
and Western classical music.
6.30 pm Lecture Room IIC Annex 'Delhi's Kots and Sarais
- history as reflected in toponymy' by
quick way of deriving political clout is by naming
or renaming places 'thus Alipur Road becomes Shamnath
Marg and Connaught Place is Rajiv Chowk. There is
a real danger of Delhi becoming a chain of Nehru
Nagars and Stadii, and of Veer Savarkar Margs.
And at every point a little bit of history disappears.
Place-names (toponymy) have a meaning in the language
and in local history. The music of a name becomes
part of the cultural fabric of the city. The talk
this evening is an account of the way Delhi has
been seen in the past and in the present - how each
generation constructed a Delhi of the imagination,
which became part of the historical memory of the
city. Narayani attempts to recreate some aspects
of Delhi's history as reflected in its toponymy,
and we hope that Dilliwalas will share a sense of
concern about the erasing of their city's history.
Narayani Gupta taught history at Indraprastha College
and at Jamia Millia Islamia. She was a founder member
of the Conservation Society of Delhi and is at present
a consultant with INTACH. She is the author of "Delhi
between two Empires" (OUP 1990) co authored
" Beato's Delhi'' and has been an advisor for
"Delhi: the Built Heritage:a Listing"(