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Discovering the ethereal world of modern masters




New Delhi, May 6: Just a few steps inside the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in the capital and an entire potpourri of art works by sculptors throw up an enchanting world of visual imageries, dotted with all things artistic and displayed with utmost sensitivity.

It is a celebration of the 63-year-long journey of the NGMA and to truly reflect its purpose, an ongoing exhibition titled “Itihaas” showcases works of art by 22 sculptors from its in-house collection. The exhibition, which began on March 29, showcases these hidden treasures for the first time.

“In conceptualizing a show from the treasure trove of NGMA’s archives we are excavating the history of NGMA’S foundation. I want to show art lovers, friends, teachers and students of art that the NGMA has works that presents the history of modernism in Indian contemporary art. These works are like milestones in the history of contemporary art,” said NGMA Director General Adwaita Gadanayak.

“These artists have given us pathways of ingenuity and innovation. They have given us a new language when you think that all of them worked in metal in 1950’s. This show ‘Itihaas’ seeks to commemorate and rearticulate the debut of NGMA through the works of artists who were finding their own pathways,” he added.

Already stunned at the magnanimity of what I saw around and at a loss of words to comprehend the larger narratives of these masterpieces, the arrival of Uma Nair (a household name in the art fraternity) comes as a soothing balm. Nair, who has written extensive texts on the works that are on display, took IANS on a guided tour of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.

The first two rooms of the old building — a historical saga in itself — exhibits sculptures and paintings and drawings by modern masters Devi Prasad Roy Choudhury and Ram Kinkar Baij. One sculpture that grabs immediate attention and sort of compels you to pause and reflect on the genius of its creator is Chaudhury’s “When Winter Comes”.

Nair and I pause right before this masterpiece. The light is dim, except for a focus on the statue. It is an overwhelming experience, the silence and the overall impact of the ambience in itself seemed to speak volumes about the artistic heritage of NGMA.

Nair said that “When Winter Comes” is a compassionate yet coherent example of Chaudhury’s love for the human form.

“The image of a common labourer sitting huddled in the cold is an expressionist plaster that draws our attention to the sense of equipoise and humble rough-hewn posture. It is almost as if when he created this work he set about reorienting and rearranging the limbs, so as to gauge the position of sitting with feet pointed towards each other.

“His abandonment of the traditional vocabulary of allegorical symbols in favour of individual poses and gestures that reveal character were innovations that brought his work into their own ideations of ingenuity and prowess.There is intense pathos as well as a direct suggestion of the inherent struggle of toil and labour in this seated figure which reflects a face that holds more than a thousand emotions,” she added.

The next room is beautifully exhibited with the works of Ram Kinkar Baij. His works on Gandhi and Tagore is a haunting walk down memory lane and brings an altogether different narrative to the fore.

All the rooms that follow are as captivating as the one that you just step out of. You come across works of Prodosh Dasgupta and I.P. Gajjar, masters in their own right, and cannot help but fathom the depth of their passion as well as dedication.

“The NGMA archives are an endless contemplation of the human condition. This celebration of 63 years refines institutional foundations and defines the fountainhead of Indian contemporary art.

“These works seem to express the revelation that we are our architects of imagination — and that through art, liberated from the constraints of conventional academism, we can discover new possibilities of both mind and spirit,” Nair mentions in one of the texts, “Genesis of a Vision,” that accompanies the exhibition.

“Itihaas” is the brainchild of Gadanayak and Nair commended his efforts in bringing these treasures on public view.

By Saket Suman 

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])


Women, Sabarimala temple and right to equality

The Sabarimala issue is not just about entry right to the women but now has become Religion Vs Fundamental Rights. In India, there are numbers of such issues which are still keeping the females deprived of rights.



BJP rally Sabarimala

Ages back the women folks were exploited and the same is happening in modern times. Hinduism abolished Sati — a female was forced to be burnt alive in the pyre of her husband. Raja Ram Mohan Roy started a campaign against it and it came to an end. But has this changed brought much change in the lives of the women folk in the present times!

Sabarimala temple is Ayyappa temple situated in the Sabarimal region in Kerala. Here the females of age 10 to 50 are not allowed to enter due to the menstruation problem. There has been a lot of hues and cry over this issue.

Legal battle:

In 1991, this boycott to temple section for ladies was tested under the steady gaze of the Kerala High Court in S. Mahendran Vs The Secretary, Travancore case. Kerala High court decided for the preclusion of ladies entering the temple and asserted that these confinements have existed since time immemorial and not unfair to the Constitution. This request of the High Court was executed and pursued for the following 15 years. In 2006, the boycott was tested by the Public Interest Litigation recorded by the Young Lawyers Association with the Supreme Court, asserting that rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu places of Public worship (Authorisation of entry) Rules 1965 that states, “women who are not by custom and usage allowed to enter a place of public worship shall not be entitled to enter or offer worship in any place of public worship” is infringement of established standards of equality, non-discrimination and religious opportunity. On April 25, 2016, the representative lawyer of the Devaswom, K.K Venugopal stated: “There is a sensible grouping by which certain classes of women are excluded”. Supreme Court was concerned regarding the statement if menstruation was associated with purity of women. The case was then assigned to the Constitution Bench by the Supreme Court.

In 2018, Justice Dipak Misra, The Chief Justice of India, while addressing to the PIL, put a query to the temple’s management over denying passage to women. The case was heard by a constitution bench headed by Justice Misra alongside Justices Rohinton Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra. The court held that Sabarimala pilgrims couldn’t be a different group or religious division. The traditions are subjected to sacred legitimacy and preclusion of ladies passage to temple infringing upon the Fundamental Rights. Justice Chandrachud claimed, “Your entitlement to implore as a lady isn’t subject to any law, it is a constitutional right”. He additionally included that notice issued under the standards recommending the age restrictions on ladies entry as “discretionary on its essence”.

In the year 2012, a similar campaign like that of Sabarimala temple was launched by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) & Bhumata Brigade to offer prayers at the Haji Ali Dargah. It is the resting place of Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari on the islet of Mumbai coast. This shrine is 585 years old. The Haji Ali Dargah is administered by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust a public charitable trust enrolled under the Maharashtra Public Trust Act. The trustees of the Dargah had chosen to deny ladies access to the grave area in 2011, calling the un-Islamic. It had expressed that it was redressing it’s earlier misstep of enabling ladies to touch the actual grave. The argument by the petitioner was that the Muslims deprive their women to equal rights, they keep them suppressed and the women folks don’t have a right to raise their voice in Islam.

On 26 August 2016, Bombay High Court decided that women to be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum. Even the Supreme Court sealed the verdict of Bombay High Court and the women were allowed to enter the shrine sacred area on 29 November 2016. This was welcomed by all the people across India. It was stated that now the Muslim women have got their rights which were deprived of them since the advent of Islam.

Similarly, the Supreme Court has ordered that the women should be allowed in the Sabarimala temple and the old practice should be done away with.

In the case of Sabarimala temple, various Hindu groups are not accepting the decision of the Supreme Court and want a revision of the judgment. The present day’s ruling party Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is backing the agitation against the judgment.

Are the women not suppressed now by going against their right to enter the temple? It is not an insult to the highest court of law in India? The law of the land is above the ruling class or any religion but the BJP and other Hindu organizations are adamant for rather they are trying to show strength through mass gathering against the judgment.

Is this the respect to the law of the land?

Declaimer: The views are the sole discretion of the author...
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BJP Minister caught urinating in public near campaign poster, Calls it ‘Old-age Tradition’



Ajmer, Oct 8: A picture of Bhartiya Janata Party minister urinating near a wall, next to a campaign poster featuring chief minister Vasundhara Raje is making rounds on social media.

The minister, Shambhu Singh Khatesar, justified himself by saying that urinating publicly was “an age-old tradition” and he had done nothing wrong.

Speaking to media Khatesar said, “There was a wall and some posters stuck at some distance on it. I hadn’t paid attention. It isn’t right to urinate in open but it’s a natural call. Urinating in a crowded area, is wrong”.

On the Narendra Modi government cleanness drive the minister stated “As far as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is concerned, urination alone doesn’t contribute to uncleanliness. That place did not have urinals for kilometers at a stretch”.


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IMD issues cyclone alert for Odisha



Representative Image

Bhubneshwar, Oct 8:  The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday said a depression over the Bay of Bengal is likely to concentrate into a cyclonic storm during the next 48 hours.

Under its impact, several parts of Odisha will receive heavy rainfall starting from October 9.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into deep sea areas of the Bay of Bengal from October 9 to 12 as the sea condition would be rough.

While rainfall at many places with heavy downpour at isolated places over south coastal Odisha is likely to occur on Tuesday, heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places over coastal Odisha is likely to occur on Wednesday.

It further predicted rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy downpours at a few places and extremely heavy downpour at isolated places over coastal and adjoining interior Odisha on Thursday.

The IMD said squally winds with speeds reaching 45-55 kmph to 65 kmph are very likely along and off north Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal coasts from October 9.

It is very likely to increase gradually, reaching 70-80 kmph to 90 kmph from October 10 evening onwards along and off south Odisha and adjoining districts of north Andhra Pradesh coasts, said H.R. Biswas, Bhubaneswar Met centre Director.


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