september 07 programmes

tuesday 11 september
6.30 pm - ‘9/11 Mysteries’, ‘The Great Conspiracy’, ‘911 Revisited’, ‘Why the official story can not be true’
4 Documentary films presented by Come Carpentier de Gourdon

It is 6 years to the day that 4 commercial airliners were hijacked and flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The official ‘9/11 Commission Report’ was released in July 2004. This should have put an end to the controversy and conspiracy theories that surround this event. It hasn’t. There is now an increasing body of scientific, technical and financial evidence that gives the lie to the official version.

Last year we showed the film ‘Loose Change’ which was also shown on television to up to 50 million people in 12 countries on September 11 2006,

including state outlets in Belgium, Ireland and Portugal and 100,000 DVDs of the film have been sold. According to one poll at least (Zogby's) 86% Americans believe that the Government is not telling the truth about 911.

Larry Silverstein gets a 99 year lease and a specific, unusual insurance policy against the risks of two terrorist attacks just 7 weeks before 9/11. ‘Tall buildings shatter in 10 seconds, steel beams buckle as if crushed by Superman. A volcano of ash darkens the sky. Can jet fuel perform such a feat?’ ‘A 757 dives into the Pentagon, penetrating to its core. Invisible Arabs hijack airplanes, passengers make history and untraceable phone calls.’ And questions about the integrity of television broadcasts over CNN, CBS and Fox News. These four documentaries raise doubts, answer questions and give detailed information on why the official 9/11 Commission Report should be treated with great skepticism.

Come Carpentier is currently the Convener of the Editorial Board of the World Affairs Journal, a quarterly publication dedicated to international issues. In 1999 he co founded the Telesis Academy in Switzerland dedicated to the study of the ancient wisdom of East and West in the contemporary scientific context. He has been associated with the Nuclear Disarmament Forum and the Foundation of Global Dialog in Switzerland, the Global Commission to Finance the United nations, the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Paris amongst many others.

thursday 13th september
6.30 pm ‘In Memoriam Rostropovich’ a Talk, CD & DVD
Presentation- by R.P.Jain

Mstislav Rostropovich is arguably one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century, a legend in his lifetime for his contribution to the repertoire for the cello. He played and recorded almost all the great classical compositions for his instrument. His musicality and command of the cello was such that several contemporary composers Britten, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Berio and Messiaen wrote works especially for him. He was born on 27 March 1927 in Baku. His parents were both accomplished musicians, his father a distinguished cellist who had studied with Pablo Casals. At the age of sixteen he entered the Moscow Conservatory where he studied composition with Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Thereafter, despite his continued battle with the Soviet authorities he became one of the central figures

of the musical life there, inspiring Soviet cellists, composers and audiences alike.

Rostropovich fought for art without borders, freedom of speech, and democratic values, resulting in harassment from the Soviet regime. At the age of 21 he resigned from the Moscow Conservatory after Shostakovich was dismissed from his professorships and his support for Solzhenitsyn and other dissidents led to official disgrace in the early 1970s. As a result, Rostropovich was restricted from foreign touring, as was his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, and he was sent on a recital tour of small towns in Siberia and ultimately left the Soviet Union in 1974 and settled in the United States. He was banned from several musical ensembles in his homeland, and his Soviet citizenship was revoked in 1978.

We in India were very fortunate in having him visit India and seeing and hearing him play at first hand. Those of us who were lucky enough to witness his concert in Delhi will always cherish the memory of that extraordinary performance. That has been one of the highlights of Western music in Delhi.

Rostropovich died on 27 April 2007 and is buried in Moscow alongside Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Boris Yeltsin, his friend who died just a week earlier.
This programme aims at paying tribute to this great artist with the help of excerpts from some of his concerts on DVD

saturday 15th september
11 am to 1 pm Khadi: Historical Context Contemporary Relevance – a workshop and presentation by Sunaina Suneja

From political statement in the early 20th century to fashion statement in the early 21st century khadi the ‘national fabric’ of India has come a long way. In 1920 Gandhi said
"I present the spinning wheel on which depends India's economic salvation".

In the early 2000’s khadi was worn by Mace Windu, the Jedi Master in the ‘Star Wars’ films. In the movement for India’s independence an extremely

important economic, emotional and political role was played by this humble fabric. All freedom fighters and

politicians wore khadi, spun cotton into yarn at political meetings, burnt British made fabric and clothing and the congress party flag and ultimately the Indian Flag was made of Khadi.

Khadi is handspun, hand woven fabric, cotton, wool or silk and theoretically each person can make himself a shirt starting with a ball of cotton. The ultimate in self reliance! It is ‘the’ fabric for our climate – cool in the summer, warm in the winter and also ‘really cool’.

Sunaina Suneja, a designer in constant search of her roots, initiates a dialogue, through a multi-tiered presentation - talk, demo, film and style collection on khadi. She has been passionate about language (French) and fabric (khadi). She has researched and delved into jute, indigo and the lives of craftspeople who create these beautiful textiles. She has presented “Khadi, the concept” for international groups in Delhi and Washington and has also participated in the launch of “Afrikhadi” in South Africa and India. She has recently returned from participation in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

monday 17th to wednesday 19th september
11 am to 6.30 pm ‘Khadi Naturally’ An Exhibition of photographs and quotations and sale of khadi clothing from the collection of Raj Creations

Exploring Personalities

The human mind always needs to put people into boxes and categories. But most people refuse to fit in just one category and by the very nature of what they do, refuse to be ‘boxed’. The aim of this series is to explore the wonderful multi faceted personalities who contribute in many different ways to make their work, their lives and the lives around them richer and more meaningful.

One such personality is Jasleen Dhamija, handicraft expert, an authority on woven textiles, connoisseur of the finest embroideries, prolific author, proficient raconteur, linguist and knowledgeable gourmet.

This month we explore her work with handicrafts in India, Iran and Africa. In the following months her work on textiles including Indian fashion followed by a workshop based on her two books on cooking.

saturday 15th september
6.30 pm – ‘Tradition, Culture & Craft’ an Illustrated Talk by Jasleen Dhamija

The cliché that is handicrafts today hides the fascinating story of a small group, mostly women who were given charge initially by Pandit Nehru in 1952 to revive and develop the production and marketing of Indian crafts. At the head of this group was the towering personality of Kamaladevi Chattopadhaya and others including Pupul Jayakar, Jasleen Dhamija, L.C. Jain and Kitty Shiva Rao. During the last 50 years this group and later many others including Martand Singh and Laila Tyabji have revived, institutionalized, marketed and brought economic prosperity to millions of craftspeople.
Intimately associated with this development is Jasleen Dhamija who is now one of the ‘living

treasures’ of Indian crafts. Whether one talks of embroideries or woven textiles or wooden crafts or tribal arts or traditional pottery or metal casting Jasleen has been there and written about or seen it all. And what she did in India she has done in Iran for 5 years on a UN assignment and later based in Addis Ababa in 13 African countries.

This evening she takes us on a journey in the wonderland of the most beautiful crafts of India,Iran and Africa. These crafts, she says “ are not only my work, they are my life.”

Jasleen Dhamija has an incredible zest for life that shows up in the variety of books that she has written, her friendships, her love for the art, culture and music of the world and her passion for food and cooking. She is the author of ‘Indian Arts & Crafts’, ‘Asian Embroidery’, ‘The Living Crafts of Iran’, A biography of Kamaladevi Chattopadhya, ‘Cooking for all Seasons’ and ‘The Joy of Vegetarian Cooking’.

friday 21st to sunday 30th september
11 am to 6.30 pm ‘An Ode to Krishna’ – Pichwai Exhibition by Sanghmitra & Siddhartha Singh

Pichwais are temple wall hangings painted on hand woven cloth using natural colours from plants and semi precious stones. The central theme of a pichwai is always Krishna and the paintings depict the story of his life as a miracle child, a fearless boy hero, a faultless lover, a matchless friend and philosopher. The legend of Krishna is part of a wider movement, the Bhakti cult that swept India from the 8th century.
This included almost all the art forms of India, poetry (the Gita Govinda), Indian classical dance, folk dance, devotional singing and especially painting (pichwais, ragmalika).
These Krishna leela paintings were hung in temples behind the images of Krishna or Krishna Radha and over time pichwais became more specialized for different

occasions, Diwali or govardhan puja or gopastmi. The ras or cosmic dance pichwai during the navratara festival are particularly beautiful.

The 10 days of this exhibition will also feature dance performances, talks and music exploring this very rich theme. All events in this festival are organized by The Culture Club, Panchsheel.

Sanghmitra & Siddhartha Singh have tried to revive this art commercially on a national and international scale. They employ 40 artists, each creating his own unique original work of art. They have worked with the festivals of India in various countries, the khamb exhibition and the textiles of Japan exhibition organized by IGNCA. As also in Bloomingdales in New York, Selfridges in England and Galleries Lafayette in France.

friday 21st September
6.30 pm Opening and preview of exhibition.

saturday 22nd september
7.00 pm ‘Bhakti in Bharatanatyam & Folk Dance’ by Divya Rakyan

Both Indian classical and folk dance has been heavily influenced by the Gita Govinda, the 24 stanza love poem of Jayadeva in the 12th century. Odissi, Kathak, Manipuri and the Bharatnatyam that Divya will do express the different styles of conveying the same emotions of love, anger, jealousy and devotion. She will also show a few of the folk forms that express ‘ras’ aspects of Krishna worship.

Divya first started learning folk dance from the new Shakuntulam Centre of Dance & culture under Smt. Rekha Chowdhary and has performed in many ballets choreographed at the Institute. She learnt Bharatanatyam from Smt. Manjari Chandrashekhar Rajendran and later from Leela Samson.
She joined SPANDA dance company launched by Leela Samson and has evolved significantly as a dancer during this time.

tuesday 25th september
7.00 pm ‘Krishna, The Gita Govinda and Bhakti’ – A talk by Shovana Narayan and a short talk on Pichwais & other Indian art as investment.

The Bhakti movement starting in South India around the 7th century had
unified India by the 16th century with its essential belief of the devotee ‘bhakt’, harbouring within himself the doctrine of ‘One Creator of the Cosmos, One Source of Life In All Existence‘ – the quintessence of monotheism that pervades the Vedas and other ancient scriptures of Indian Civilization.Lord Krishna, the mythological character of The Mahabharata imparts this truth to his disciple Arjuna in the sacred text of the Bhagvad Gita. This gift of Bhakti or Path of Devotion leads one to the desired destination Nirvana and is the foundation of all spiritual pursuit.

Starting with the Nayanars and the Alvars of South India to the Virashaiva and Haridasa movements and the Madhavacharaya philosophy the Bhakti movement inspired poetry, literature and Carnatic music. Bhakti sentiments in the North were inspired by the idea of Rama and Krishna as incarnations of Vishnu. Chaitanya, Vallabha, Meera Bai, Kabir, Tulsidas, Tukaram and other mystics propagated this intense love of Krishna and selfless devotion and Bhakti was as intensely preached in other forms including the sufi teachings of Kabir and the Sikhism of Guru Nanak.

But above all in modern India it is the various forms of Krishnaism that dominate many aspects of Indian life. Music, art, poetry, classical and folk dance, painting, sculpture and religious ritual are dedicated to ‘Gopala’ the dark flute playing youth whose clandestine amours with the milkmaids are the symbol of the love of god and the soul and to the modern, educated Hindu,the adult hero who imparts the ultimate truth to Arjuna in the Gita.

Shovana Narayan is a celebrated Kathak dancer, choreographer and teacher. A student of Pandit Birju Maharaj she has successfully combined the grace and elegance of the Kathak dance form and the scholarship of the theory of Indian dance forms in her book ‘Indian Classical Dances’, as well as her latest book on Krishna. She speaks this evening of Krishna, The Gita Govinda and the vast influence of Krishna worship on Indian music,dance and painting.

saturday 29th september
7.00 pm ‘From Braj to Bollywood’ – a music recital by Babli Moitra Saraf

India has an ancient and complex tradition of folk, classical and popular music. A rich source of both classical and folk music was the Bhakti movement which began in South India in the Epic period and achieved a renaissance from about the 11th century. The main spiritual practice is the fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti and it emphasizes the intense emotional attitude of a devotee to his God. It has inspired superb religious poetry and art and the development of Hindustani art music using elements of Ashtachap, Pushti and Haveli sangeet.
This music was ‘regionalized’ by many saints using local languages, as well as

in Hindustani popular music as reflected in Bombay’s film industry.

This evening, Babli Moitra Saraf will present Krishna as perceived in the popular imagination and articulated in the popular art form of the Hindi film geet. The Hindi film song is not only an amazing amalgam of classical and folk traditions of music, but also a symbolic and structural space which permits the merging of the secular and the divine, the spiritual and the carnal, and the perfect medium which reflects the paradox of the man-god that is Krishna.

Dr. Babli Moitra Saraf is a Reader in the department of English in Delhi University, is fluent in 7 languages and has translated Mahasweta Devi,s works from Bengali to Italian . The family’s musical traditions particularly her late aunt Ira Roshan, herself a talented singer and composer was largely instrumental in shaping her persona as a mehfil singer.