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The Saga of a Music Maestro: Pandit Tulsidas Borkar

The life journey of a Marathi music composer and harmonium maestro, Pt Tulsidas Borkar. He is known for his compositions in Marathi theatres.

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It is said that a ‘legend’ is born out of passion, determination and the miseries of life. To be one among thousands requires the will equivalent to the mountains. Pt Tulsidas Borkar is one such legend, who was shaped by dedication, adamance to fulfill the dreams and his incomparable genius for music.

This Thursday, introducing the journey of Padmashri Pt Tulsidas Borkar as a legendary harmonium and mouth organ maestro and equally wonderful Marathi music composer on his 87th birth anniversary.

His Journey!

The revered ‘guru’, Pt Tulsidas, was born on November 18th, 1934 in a small village of Goa, Bori. He then moved to Mumbai with his parents and spent a few years enacting minor roles in theatres. His inclination towards music and harmonium began from an early age. And with his mother being his first teacher, harmonium soon turned into his favorite instrument. He was trained in classical music and harmonium under Pt Vishnu Pant Vasht and Pt Chhota Gandharva in Pune.

On an astonishing note, he was only 11 when he started to accompany many renowned singers, composers and instrumentalists! He started his career as an accompanist in Marathi musical theatre at a remarkably young age and accompanied artists like Pt Ram Marathe, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Pt Kumar Gandharva, Pt Mallikarjun Mansur and many more renowned names of the Marathi musical theatres. Borkar became a famous image in the Marathi theatres, directing music in Marathi Sangeet Natak.

He was not only a harmonium accompanist but also played the mouth organ, equally wonderful as he was with harmonium. Starting from a young age, his unbelievable skills brought him fame in Marathi musical theatres. Borkar also authored a book titled “Samvadini Sadhana”, which is a guide and motivation for young students and music lovers to date.

Achievements and Awards

Pt Tulsidas was honored innumerable times with prestigious national awards in music, the highest being the Padma Shri award. He received the Padma Shri award in 2016 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2005. Not just these, his list of awards seems never-ending. He was also honoured with the Bal Gandharva Gaurav Puraskar at the age of 22. His comprehendible contributions in Marathi theatres and Marathi Sangeet Natak won him the Govindrao Tembe Sangatkar Puraskar, Pt Dinanath Mangeshkar and many more awards to name.

Pt Tulsidas passed away on 29th September 2018, suffering from tuberculosis, leaving the Marathi theatres in the grief of losing a legendary accompanist and composer. He was not only an artist but a revered teacher. Many of his disciples are carrying forward his teachings and techniques to the new generation even today. The journey of Pt Borkar is, indeed, a saga that needs to be sung to generations to come. It is the journey that has and will fill the young learners and artists to dream and believe in themselves.

Credits: YouTube (Swarmanttra (The Manttra Of Indian Classical Music)
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Editor's Pick

5 Hidden Gems: Lesser Known Literary Gem of a Writer From India

We bring to you a few literary gem of a writer who are either forgotten or not recognised on the occasion of World Book Day.

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World Book Day, writer, literary, gem, Indian writers

In this fast-paced world where thoughts travel faster than souls through the various realms, it has become hard to find writers who are truly exceptional in their field. With commercialisation as the goal, many writers have compromised their writing to reach out to the masses. Yet among them stands a few such literary gems who have stood the test of time but are either forgotten or not recognised. Today we shed light on these gems on the occasion of World Book Day.

Bama Faustina Soosairaj

Bama, otherwise known as Bama Faustina Soosairaj, was born in the year 1958. She is a Tamil Dalit feminist, educator and writer who has written multiple novels and short stories. Her book Karukku, an autobiographical novel published in 1992, details the various triumphs and tribulations that Dalit Christian women encounter in Tamil Nadu. Furthermore, Bama has authored two more novels, Sangati (1994) and Vanmam (2002), as well as three collections of short stories, namely Kusumbukkaran (1996), Oru Tattvum Erumaiyum (2003) and Kandattam (2009). Bama’s impressive bibliography includes twenty short stories making her a true literary gem of India.

Easterine Kire

Easterine Kire, a writer and poet residing in the northern part of Norway, draws inspiration for her literary works from the real-life experiences of the people of Nagaland, situated in the northeastern region of India. In an interview, she expressed her compulsion to develop written literature in the Naga language, stating, “I sensed a need to generate a body of Naga literature. While we possess an extensive repertoire of oral narratives, they will all dissipate as the oral tradition fades away.” Kire’s artistic pursuits are not restricted to writing alone, as she collaborates with Jazzpoesi, a musical group, to deliver performances comprising Jazz poetry.

Jerry Pinto

Jerry Pinto, a luminary born in 1966 and based in Mumbai, is a Mumbai-based writer, poet, and journalist, known for his works that explore mental health, gender, and sexuality. He has a multitude of accomplishments to his name including his prowess as a poet, novelist, short story writer, translator and journalist. Pinto’s vast body of work comprises several notable pieces, namely Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (2006), Surviving Women (2000) and Asylum and Other Poems (2003). In 2012, his masterpiece Em and the Big Hoom was released, marking his debut as a novelist. The quality of his fiction was recognised when he was honoured with the distinguished Windham-Campbell Prize in 2016. Moreover, the celebrated wordsmith was conferred the highly coveted Sahitya Akademi Award in 2016 for his aforementioned magnum opus, Em and the Big Hoom, a true literary gem indeed.

Manoj Das

Hailing from Balasore, Odisha, Manoj Das is a bilingual Odia writer who writes in both Odia and English. A true master of dramatic expression, he believes that characters follow the theme of the story and words are merely added to represent their thoughts. A firm believer in letting his characters speak their stories, his characters hail from different backgrounds, adding new flavours to his fiction and different dimensions to human nature. Some of his famous works in Odia include Shesha basantara chithi (1966), Manoj Dasanka katha o kahani (1971), Dhumabha diganta (1971), etc. Some of his major works in English include The Crocodiles Lady: A Collection of Stories (1975), Farewell to a Ghost: Short Stories and a Novelette (1994), Cyclones (1987), A Tiger at Twilight (1991), etc.

Perumal Murugan

A man who remains true to his roots, Perumal Murugan is a writer who keeps the village that nourished him close to his heart. A chronicler of the ordinary man of India, Murugan is a writer for whom the village of India is his playground and their tales and the change of seasons are his background. The way he captures the intimate details of village life with a brutal tone is what is bound to make everyone think twice before dismissing his works. A true artist who is dedicated to his craft he decided to stop writing briefly around 2015 and declared, “Perumal Murugan the writer is dead. As he is no God, he is not going to resurrect himself. He also has no faith in rebirth. An ordinary teacher, he will live as P. Murugan. Leave him alone.” after being harassed by right-wing groups who objected to the portrayal of the characters and Hindu gods in his book, One Part Woman (2010). It was only after the Madras High Court supported his stance, dismissed the concerns of the opposition and further ordered the state government to provide appropriate protection when artistic or literary people are under attack, did Murugan picked up his writing pen once again. Some of his notable works include Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat (2017), Pyre (2013), One Part Woman (2010), etc.

This World Book Day we celebrate all the writers, especially the not-so-popular ones. The ones who create literary masterpieces, more for their soul than for the readers. It is such works that creates ripples in the minds of people and carve a niche for the future, beyond their times. Wishing all the readers and writers, a happy World Book Day!

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Editor's Pick

Stress Awareness Month

Exploring the Significance of Stress Awareness Month and Strategies for Coping in Today’s Stressful Environment

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Stress Awareness Month, Stress, Children, Teenagers, Symptoms , Disorders

Stress, a constant companion in our fast-paced world, often hides in the shadows, impacting our mental and physical health. Recognizing its profound influence on our well-being is crucial. Stress Awareness Month, observed annually in April since 1992, is a beacon of awareness, shedding light on the causes and cures of the modern-day stress epidemic, making it a significant event in our contemporary lives.

DISCLAIMER : THE INFORMATION GIVEN BELOW IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. FOR DIAGNOSIS PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL

Stress is a common psychological factor that can significantly impact our health. Chronic stress has been linked to a plethora of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, weakened immune function, and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. By managing stress through relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices and seeking social support, individuals can mitigate its adverse effects on their health.

According to the DSM : acute stress disorder (ASD) can cause marked symptoms of anxiety or increased arousal, such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Motor restlessness
  • Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s)

Other symptoms of ASD include:

  • Restlessness
  • Avoidance symptoms, such as persistent avoidance of memories, feelings, or external reminders of the trauma
  • Negative effects on cognition and/or mood 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause symptoms such as:

  • Losing interest in enjoyable activities
  • Having feelings of social isolation
  • Having difficulty feeling positive emotions, such as happiness or satisfaction
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Feeling emotionally numb

How to Tackle It :

Recognizing the symptoms of stress is not just crucial, it’s empowering. Whether it’s physical ailments or emotional turmoil, stress can disrupt our lives. From disbelief and fear, to changes in appetite and sleep patterns, the signs of stress demand our attention, signaling the need for proactive intervention. By understanding these signs, we can take control of our well-being and steer ourselves towards a healthier, stress-free life.On account of Stress Awareness Month here are some tips to tackle stress effectively.

Stress is a physiological response to environmental or physical pressure that can affect adults and children. Some signs of stress in adults include:

  • Feeling irritable, angry, impatient, or wound up
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling anxious, nervous, or afraid
  • Having racing thoughts that you can’t switch off
  • Not being able to enjoy yourself
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling uninterested in life
  • Feeling like you’ve lost your sense of humor

Some physical symptoms of stress include:
Shallow breathing, Sweating, Racing heart, Headaches, Dizziness, Difficulty sleeping, Nausea, Indigestion, Digestive problems, Weight gain, Muscular aches and pains, and Chest pains.

By disconnecting from negative social media posts, prioritizing self-care, and cultivating mindfulness through meditation and deep breathing, we can manage stress more effectively. These practices are not just coping mechanisms, they are tools of hope and optimism. By nurturing our bodies and minds, we fortify ourselves against the ravages of stress, fostering resilience in the face of adversity and paving the way for a brighter, stress-free future.
Fostering connections with others is not just a way to relieve stress, it’s a lifeline. Whether through heartfelt conversations with loved ones or active participation in community-based initiatives, forging bonds of support can mitigate feelings of isolation and despair. By extending a helping hand to others, we not only allow ourselves to nurture our own well-being but also relieve them from their suffering in the process. In this journey, we are not alone. We are a community, supporting each other, and together, we can overcome stress.

For Children and Teenagers :

Some signs of stress in children and teenagers include:

  • Emotional outbursts or increased irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Worries and fears seem to come out during bedtime
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Struggles with school
  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches
  • Increased defiance

When it comes to children and teenagers, the impact of stress can be profound. Traumatic events, such as natural disasters or acts of violence, can destabilise their sense of security, leaving them vulnerable to emotional upheaval. Issues such as grades, peer validation and self-identity formation can also add to this feeling of stress. Parents, caregivers, and educators play a vital role in providing stability and support and offering reassurance and guidance to help young people cope with stress.

Stress Awareness Month is a beacon of hope in our collective journey toward mental wellness. By fostering awareness, dialogue and action, we can dismantle the barriers that inhibit access to mental health resources and support systems. As we navigate the labyrinth of modern life, let us be committed to prioritising mental well-being one conversation at a time.

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Editor's Pick

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio: Bengali Social Reformer

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio contributed to Indian education and the Bengal Renaissance. Let’s have a look at his life trajectory.

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Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, Indian, education, poetry, social reform

Born on 18 April 1809, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio remains a largely forgotten figure in Indian history. On his 215th birthday, let’s remember him for his contributions to Indian education and the Bengal Renaissance. Derozio, of Indian-Portuguese origin, is celebrated for his impactful work.  

Early Life

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was born in Entally-Padmapukur in Kolkata to Francis and Sophia Johnson Derozio. His family name was originally “do Rozário”. He went to the David Drummond Dharmatala Academy school from 6 to 14, where he admired the inclusive education that brought together Indian, Eurasian and European children of diverse social backgrounds. During his time at the school, he discovered and enjoyed reading poetry by contemporary Romantic writers such as John Keats, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Professional Life

Derozio dropped out of school at the age of 14 to start working. His first job was in his father’s office in Kolkata. He later moved to his uncle’s indigo factory in Bhagalpur. The serene beauty of the River Ganges inspired him to write poetry, and he began submitting his work to the India Gazette. Gradually, his poetry gained attention, and by 1825, numerous newspapers and magazines were publishing his poems.

At 18 years old in 1827, Derozio’s poetry caught the attention of editor John Grant. Impressed by his work, Grant offered to publish a book of his poems and encouraged him to come back to Kolkata. Following this, Derozio worked as an assistant editor for Grant and began contributing writings to various other publications. In addition, he took on the initiative of starting his own newspaper called the “Calcutta Gazette”, where he continued to showcase his literary talent.

Social Contributions of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio

At the age of 17, in 1826, Derozio started working as a teacher at Hindu College. He taught English Literature and History with great passion and introduced innovative teaching methods that caused a sensation at the college. Derozio organized debates where students freely exchanged ideas about societal norms, reforms, and social concepts. In 1828, he inspired students to establish a literary and debating club called the Academic Association. This period also witnessed significant upheaval within Bengali Hindu society, leading to further changes in education and culture. 

In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahmo Samaj, which upheld Hindu beliefs but rejected idol worship. This sparked opposition from traditional Hindu society. Derozio played a role in discussing emerging ideas for social change at that time. Despite his young age, he was highly regarded as a scholar and thinker. He quickly gathered a group of bright students at college around him and consistently urged them to think independently, question everything, and not accept things without scrutiny. His teachings inspired the growth of concepts such as freedom, equality, and liberty. They also worked towards eliminating societal issues and improving conditions for women and peasants while advocating for freedoms like press freedom and trial by jury, etc. His activities led to an intellectual revolution in Bengal known as the Young Bengal Movement; his pupils were termed “Derozians” who were passionate nationalists too.

As a result of criticism from traditional parents who disapproved of his extensive and candid conversation about religious matters, Derozio was let go from his position in April 1831, shortly before he passed away. After Derozio passed away from cholera, his impact continued to resonate with his former students. They were later recognized as Young Bengal and many of them went on to make significant contributions in social reform, law, and journalism.

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio made a big impact by supporting education, literature, and social reform during the Bengal Renaissance. His ideas have had a lasting influence on critical thinking and progressive values in Indian society. Despite facing challenges, his legacy lives on through the Young Bengal Movement. It continues to inspire generations of thinkers and activists. Derozio’s determination to challenge norms and drive change remains an enduring example of how individual courage and intellectual pursuit can shape a better tomorrow.

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Editor's Pick

Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali

Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali : A Journey Through Colonial India Enter the Heart of Delhi and Witness the Trials of Love, Loss, and Change

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Twilight in Delhi, Ahmed Ali, Colonial, Delhi, Mr Nihal

Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali casts a spell that sends readers back to the heart of colonial India, where the blazing summer heat mirrors the simmering tensions within the Nihal family. Set in British-occupied Delhi in the early 20th century, the novel paints a vivid picture of a city caught between tradition and modernity, struggling to retain its identity amidst the overpowering shadows of colonial rule.

A Short Glimpse

At its heart, Twilight in Delhi is a tale of familial bonds tested by the tides of change. Mr Nihal, the house patriarch, stands as a symbol of tradition, grappling with the shifting sands of a fast-changing world. While his son Asghar navigates the nuances of love and marriage, we, as readers, are drawn into a web of emotions that go beyond time and culture.

Ali’s prose is rich with sensory detail, evoking the sights, sounds and smells of old Delhi with remarkable clarity. From the bustling markets to the quiet corners of the Nihal household, each scene comes alive with a tangible sense of atmosphere, immersing the reader in a world that is just as enchanting as it is unforgiving.

Themes and Characters:

The characters are finely drawn, each bearing the weight of their hopes, fears and desires. Asghar’s journey from passion to heartbreak is simultaneously embedded with a rawness that is cathartic and heartbreaking, while Mr Nihal’s inner turmoil reflects the struggles of a nation in transition.

Themes of colonialism, identity and the passage of time weave through the narrative, inviting readers to ponder the broader implications of history upon individual lives. Through the lens of the Nihal family, Ali explores the multifaceted nature of power and privilege, illuminating the complexities of class, gender and religion in a society on the brink of transformation.

The TakeAway

While Twilight in Delhi is undeniably a product of its time, its resonance is timeless. In an age marked by political upheaval and social change, Ali’s exploration of love, loss and the quest for identity feels as relevant today as it nearly did a century ago.

Ahmed Ali’s work is a masterful historical fiction that transports readers to a bygone era while offering timeless insights into the human condition. As the sun sets on Mr Nihal’s world, the reader is left with a deep sense of wonder and longing, ready to traverse their journey through the twilight of colonial India.

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Editor's Pick

The Stray Dogs Tales: Rescue For A Cause

Rescuing strays is not a compulsion but a choice. Let’s understand the importance of rescuing better with the tales of Blacky and Biki.

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Strays, dogs, blacky, biki

Dogs are a man’s best friend. But sadly for many in India, this best friend comes with a price tag, because of the societal compulsion to get a pedigree dog to show one’s social status. According to the report titled, “State of Pet Homelessness Project”, released by pet food company Mars Petcare India, over 60 million homeless pets such as dogs and cats in India are living on the streets. With other socio-political human issues taking up the entirety of the newspaper, our best friends hardly get any recognition. Let’s try to understand the condition of today’s stray dogs through two case studies, i.e., Blacky and Biki.

The Tale of Blacky

Blacky’s day starts at around 9-10 am casually looking at the streets and staring at the passersby. At times he changes his spot from lazing in front of his favourite shop called ROG to the hardware store called, Mtech Services; which is right in front of ROG. He is not like your average dog who would accept pets and treats from every Tom, Dick and Harry. His days on the streets have taught him better than that. He doesn’t appreciate being touched, he won’t accept your treats when you’re staring at him. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t notice your affection, he just doesn’t like to look easy. A dog is almost always expected to be warm and friendly but Blacky is anything but that. But you know the weirdest thing? He never bites. He growls to let you know that he doesn’t appreciate the petting or the staring but he means no harm. 

Blacky, strays, dogs, Indian street dog
Credits: Alisha Das (Blacky lounging at his favourite place).

Normally many people ignore him for his not-so-typical friendly dog-like behaviour but the owner of ROG and a few other people who have managed to gain his trust adore him. Given his uncharacteristic behaviour, one can only speculate what hardships he must have endured to make him lose faith in all humanity. Yet he refuses to give up on living. Showing up one day out of the blue in 2012, Blacky continued to live his life in the best way he can on the streets of Taverekere, Bengaluru. Neglected, diseased but never beaten up by life, Blacky trudged on till 2024 probably never finding the comfort of a home.

The Tale of Biki

On the streets of Taverekere, Bengaluru there thrives another paw spirit, Biki. Unlike Blacky Biki is a laidback friendly dog. He doesn’t exactly jump on you or wag his tail when you meet but he enjoys your company which is evident by the way he doesn’t mind you petting his head or showering him with rubs. He graciously accepts all the food you give him, but there are days when he just walks around without having even a grain of rice to quench his hunger. 

Biki, strays, dogs
Credits: Alisha Das (A very hungry Biki).

With puppy eyes and a golden heart, Biki roams around the streets hoping to one day be showered with all the love and affection that he deserves. Yet all he gets are a few pets here and there. Some leftovers in the trash or some biscuits left by passersby. 

Biki, strays, dogs
Credits: Alisha Das (Biki staring intently for more food).

The Middlepoint

The similarity between the tales of Biki and Blacky are many but the one that stands out the most is the fact that they are creatures who deserve as much love as any other pet in the world. But sadly all they get are biscuits and passing pets as strays. It hurts to see them in this state, but it hurts your bank balance when you buy a dog instead of giving one a home. Sure they both are highly neglected, smelly and probably carry some germs, but choosing someone furry with a price tag, not only deprives a needy stray of a home but also leads to the vicious cycle of breeding. Sure there are many ethical breeders but backyard breeding is still highly prevalent in our country.

Putting these innocent pups through that life of illegal breeding seems like a nightmare but is the reality in many places. Buying from ethical breeders is not bad but you must first check how they are breeding the dogs and taking care of them before going ahead with them. But instead of getting a dog who might be unsuitable for Indian climates or not resistant to the diseases commonly found in dogs in India, consider adopting local dogs who are resistant to many of the diseases in India, are perfectly suitable for Indian climates and desperately need a home.

Rescuing strays is not a compulsion but a choice that truly could help many furry paws that need a home.

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