A BRUSH WITH HISTORY

4 10 2008

A BRUSH WITH HISTORY
Jackie Pinto
Source: Deccan Herald
A miniature painting exhibition titled ‘A hero for Modern India: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’, is on till October 5 at gallery G, Lavelle Road…


Francois Gautier is a man on a mission. His Indian connection dates back to the 70s, when he came to Auroville as a young student. A writer and journalist based in India, he strongly believes that modern day leaders should learn from icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji, who was a great administrator and warrior. “Just as the French keep Napoloean’s memory alive and celebrate his life and achievements constantly, Shivaji can be a wonderful role model for present day politicians. He respected all faiths and was a just ruler.The chief of his navy and more than 25 per cent of his armed forces were Muslims. But not all know of his greatness. In fact some think of movie stars when I refer to Shivaji,” he said speaking at a miniature painting exhibition titled ‘A hero for Modern India: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’.

The exhibition has a collection of paintings done in the Mughal miniature style illustrating the life of Shivaji, his battles,wars,conquests and sieges.Although the canvases are large the fine detailing of the features, the designs on the garments worn, the ornaments and jewellry, the flowers and the weapons are all typical of the Mughal miniature style of work. “We have commissioned artists of very high calibre mostly from Rajasthan as this school of art is very popular there. Most of them like Dr Sumahendra, Dr Dharm Singh and Sri Kanhayyalal Varma have won several awards and their work is exhibited in galleries across the country.” said Gautier.

Extensive research culled from historical archives are reflected in the beautifully reproduced drawings of ancient maps, forts, battlefields, war camps and navy warships of Shivaji. “A walk around the exhibition gives me both an unforgettable history lesson and an insight into the life of one of the greatest kings of India and these beautifully painted pictures done in natural pigments are a must see for both students of history and anyone who can appreciate what a great icon Shivaji was,”said Avinash Bhat, a Christ College history student. The exhibition is on till the October 5 at gallery G, Lavelle Road.

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An inspiring historical journey
Jyothi Raghuram
First Published : 02 Oct 2008 05:42:00 AM IST Source: Express buzz
Titled ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: A Hero for Modern India’, the pictorial representation of Shivaji’s heroics, is a f a c t u a l a n d u n b i a s e d representation of the life and times of Shivaji, drawing its source of information from the archives, whose authenticity is thus undisputed. Perhaps it is not without reason that the title of the exhibition talks of Shivaji as the hero ‘for’, and not ‘of ’ modern India. Consigned to a mere mention in history text books, Shivaji was one historical figure who was fiercely patriotic, yet truly secular, and a pioneering spirit in the fight for swarajya, centuries before it made its entry into the collective consciousness of a people.

Got up by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), of which well-known French journalist and writer Francois Gautier is the trustee, the exhibition defies categorisation- paintings, line drawings and etchings are not only juxtaposed, but buttressed with contemporary documents to not only establish the unique role that Shivaji played in the history of India, but also in the preservation of her culture and spirituality. The exhibition does demand a degree of patience to go through the detailed texts, which are succinct, and as communicative as the paintings. Shivaji’s lofty ideals, his endearing traits, sense of justice, clarity of vision, and above all, his attempts to rouse the sleeping conscience of Indians against foreign domination, are depicted in flowing style. The exhibition gives much food for thought, and it is unapologetic about portraying Shivaji as one who fearlessly fought against the humiliation and oppression of Hindus.

Sumahendra, Dharm Singh, Bhanwarlal Kemawat, Kanhayyalal Varma and Jitender Singh Chandel are the artists, whose detailed work has lent artistic appeal to the theme. Gautier, considered an authority on religio-political history of the Indian subcontinet, has been a resident of India for three decades, dedicating his life to “restoring the lost glory of ancient Indian civilization”. Shivaji embodied all the qualities that an Indian leader needs today. The exhibition is also an attempt to create awareness among the youth regarding their country’s true heroes, he says. FACT has been organising exhibitions, conferences and dialogues on crucial public issues “that have been ignored by human rights agencies for whatever reasons”, and these exhibitions are a blend of history and art, and try to create human rights awareness, Veeren Chawdury, FACT all-India representative, told Expresso.

FACT has also created online exhibitions, some of which are www.aurangzeb.info , www.naxalism. info, www.bangladeshiminorities. info, www.ahilyabaiholkar.info and www.sufismexhibition.info. The current exhibition is on till October 5, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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PM’s daughter takes on Marxist view of history

27 06 2008

19 Jun 2008, 0128 hrs IST, Mohua Chatterjee,TNN

NEW DELHI: Just when PM Manmohan Singh has taken on his communist partners over the nuclear deal, his daughter, professor Upinder Singh, has come up with a book which challenges the Marxist version of ancient Indian history.

While praising Marxist historians for uncovering the history of non-elite groups and other contributions, Singh disagrees with them for their reliance on unilinear historical models derived from western historical and anthropological works.

She also delves extensively into ancient India’s cultural past — art, literature, religion and philosophy — in sharp contrast to Marxist historians who focused on “social and economic interpretations”.

Singh, however, is not one to discard the Marxist approach altogether. “Being a student of history in the 1970s, I am a product of the shift from the nationalist to the Marxist view and so I have drawn from both,” the DU historian told TOI, identifying herself as “belonging to the liberal space which is so important”.

Singh’s 704-page A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century is targeted at graduate and post-graduate students and will be released on July 18.

With her keen interest in archaeology, Singh seeks to challenge Marxist historians like Romila Thapar, and provides, for those “writing the new NCERT school books,” more than one interpretation of ancient Indian history, and encouraging them to look for more.

Elaborating on her divergences with the Marxist school which have dominated the campuses since the 70s, Singh stressed the need for students of ancient Indian history to pay attention also to cultural aspects — art, literature religion and philosophy. “Religious doctrines, I feel, are important for students to understand things in context,” she said.

In the introductory chapter, Singh discusses the contributions and flaws of the various schools. “Marxist historiography also contributed towards uncovering the history of non-elite groups, many of whom had suffered centuries of subordination and marginalization. While making these valuable contributions, Marxist writing often tended to work with unilinear historical models derived from western historical and anthropological writings,” she writes.

Sketching out her differences with the Marxist school, Singh notes that shift of population from rural to urban areas did not take place as suggested in the model as “most people of the subcontinent continued to live in villages”.

Asked about likely controversies after the book’s release, she said, “Given that a controversy came up about a book that did not exist, I must say it can really vitiate the atmosphere. History always has a political element, it is always connected with power and power structures, with strong views on it even among ordinary people. But ultimately the book will be judged in the long run by students of history.”

Explaining the purpose in the preface, she said, “It is necessary to expose them to the complex details and textures of history… unresolved issues… have been presented as such, rather than conveying a false sense of certainty. Where there are debates, the different perspectives have been presented, along with my own assessment of which arguments are convincing and which ones are not.”





PM’s daughter takes on Marxist view of history

27 06 2008


19 Jun 2008, 0128 hrs IST, Mohua Chatterjee,TNN

NEW DELHI: Just when PM Manmohan Singh has taken on his communist partners over the nuclear deal, his daughter, professor Upinder Singh, has come up with a book which challenges the Marxist version of ancient Indian history.

While praising Marxist historians for uncovering the history of non-elite groups and other contributions, Singh disagrees with them for their reliance on unilinear historical models derived from western historical and anthropological works.

She also delves extensively into ancient India’s cultural past — art, literature, religion and philosophy — in sharp contrast to Marxist historians who focused on “social and economic interpretations”.

Singh, however, is not one to discard the Marxist approach altogether. “Being a student of history in the 1970s, I am a product of the shift from the nationalist to the Marxist view and so I have drawn from both,” the DU historian told TOI, identifying herself as “belonging to the liberal space which is so important”.

Singh’s 704-page A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century is targeted at graduate and post-graduate students and will be released on July 18.

With her keen interest in archaeology, Singh seeks to challenge Marxist historians like Romila Thapar, and provides, for those “writing the new NCERT school books,” more than one interpretation of ancient Indian history, and encouraging them to look for more.

Elaborating on her divergences with the Marxist school which have dominated the campuses since the 70s, Singh stressed the need for students of ancient Indian history to pay attention also to cultural aspects — art, literature religion and philosophy. “Religious doctrines, I feel, are important for students to understand things in context,” she said.

In the introductory chapter, Singh discusses the contributions and flaws of the various schools. “Marxist historiography also contributed towards uncovering the history of non-elite groups, many of whom had suffered centuries of subordination and marginalization. While making these valuable contributions, Marxist writing often tended to work with unilinear historical models derived from western historical and anthropological writings,” she writes.

Sketching out her differences with the Marxist school, Singh notes that shift of population from rural to urban areas did not take place as suggested in the model as “most people of the subcontinent continued to live in villages”.

Asked about likely controversies after the book’s release, she said, “Given that a controversy came up about a book that did not exist, I must say it can really vitiate the atmosphere. History always has a political element, it is always connected with power and power structures, with strong views on it even among ordinary people. But ultimately the book will be judged in the long run by students of history.”

Explaining the purpose in the preface, she said, “It is necessary to expose them to the complex details and textures of history… unresolved issues… have been presented as such, rather than conveying a false sense of certainty. Where there are debates, the different perspectives have been presented, along with my own assessment of which arguments are convincing and which ones are not.”