Saturday, 21 October 2017

Naulakha Palace near Rajcot - an impressive royal residence


The Naulakha Palace,Gondal TripAdvisor
The Naulakha Palace situated in Gondal city,  is  about 38 kilometres (24 mi) away from Rajkot, Gujarat.The palace has an overview of the Gondal River. Considered as the  oldest extant palace in Gondal, India, dating back to the 18th century (1748), it name implies "nine lakhs" (Rs 900,000) which was the cost of building it at that time. The Naulakha Palace has a "sculpted facade" and is a part of the Darbargardh fort complex. It is famous for stone carvings with "jharokhas" (balconies), a pillared courtyard, delicately carved arches, and a unique spiral staircase. The big darbar hall is adorned with large chandelier, taxidermied (stuffed) panthers, gilt wooden furniture, and antique mirrors. The eaves above the stone fittings on the first floor have nicely made sculptures of real and mythical animals. The palace boasts of a small private museum  and here on display are a variety of  silver caskets that were used for carrying messages and gifts for the Maharajah Bhagwat Sinhji on his silver jubilee as ruler of Gondal. Also included are numerous artifacts,  toy cars, antiques, countless books, artwork, etc. The are different kinds of balances in the museum. They were used by the Maharajah  on the occasion of his birth day to weigh gold equal to his wight to be donated to the poor. 

The Naulakha Palace,Gondal TripAdvisor
 The ruling clan of Gondal was of a Jadeja Rajput decent. The three -storied palace is replete with rich architectural features and the well furnished durbar hall is still being used by the present rulers. The stone carved first floor is flanked by impressive towers on either sides. The beautifully decorated balconies offer a panoramic view of the Godal city. 

The Naulakha Palace,Gondal Traveljee
No palace is complete without zenana  and this palace is no exception. Th palace in the fort complex has additional structures built at different periods.
The palace has a curved arch way with a clock tower.
The palace being just away, rectangular forecourt adorns the front part.   

Interior, The Naulakha Palace,Gondal tripadvisor.com

Included within the palace complex are structures built subsequently such as the Huzoor Palace, a large building which is currently the residence of the royal family; the Orchard Palace, a wing of the Huzoor; and the Riverside Palace, which is 1.26 kilometres (0.78 mi) away from Naulakha. The near-by zenana is not well maintained. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naulakha_Palace

Green House, Cuddalore where Robert Clive lived briefly

Cuddalore a coastal town in Tamil Nadu  gained as an  an important centre of trade and military activity in the first half of the 18th Century and is close to Pondicherry, once a French settlement. During the governorship of Yale (Yale University fame), Ft. David became well fortified to  defend French advances. However , it was razed to the ground in 1756 and the English got it back in 1785.

Clive house, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.
Pinterest
 The Green House, a beautiful mansion built on a land of 7.5 acres in Manjakuppam, near Cuddalore is a historical place where Robert Clive lived in 1756 temporarily. Built in 1702 on the site of an earlier building, also called "Garden House", it is steeped in history.  In the 18th century, there were many clashes between the French and British forces over the control of land and trade. Decades later, this building became Collector's residence.

 This historical site was in a state of neglect for a pretty long time. The ground floor that was used as Collector's office became so weak,  the roof  fell in 1984.  Later a new Collector office building came up in 1993 adjacent to the Green House. The old building has four impressive stairways at the four corners, leading to the first floor and  a banquet hall for parties and dances. The PWD engineers took care of the restoration of the old structure. The wooden beams were beyond repair and were  replaced by concrete beams. The dinning rooms on the first floor were undergoing changes. The building does have a room made of concrete built in the 1980s and is in contrary to the heritage character of the building.

Garden House, Cuddalore www.exploremytrip.com

 Above image: The "Garden House" was the official residence of the Cuddalore District Collector, Robert Clive; an example of medieval architecture. The roof of the Garden House was built using just bricks and slaked lime and no steel and wood.................... 

The site was surrounded by backwaters and Clive had to use a boat to travel all the way to Devanampatnam, where the British business interests lay and then back to the Green House,  his official residence.  It is said that the restoration was done not according to old style and features, not matching the original features of the Green House. Engineers complained with limited funds, they had to carry on the major repair work, sticking to the old features as much as they could.

Tit-Bits:

01. It is said that while in Cuddalore  Robert Clive, on Sundays, used to visit a church on the premises of  St. David School. The headmaster's residence in this school, a nearly 300-year-old structure,  is wilting under age and negligence and needs urgent repairs.  The churchyard has tombstones of the officers of the East India Company and their wives

02. The building was constructed at a cost of Rs. 27,429.00 in 1702. An old   hospital built during those days still serves the town.

03. Robert Clive, being rebellious and unruly, never showed any promise as a bright child. But, destiny was kind to him when he grew up. He was destined to become the earliest British commander/ administrator  to lay the first layer of foundation stones of what was to become the most powerful and huge land in the globe  called British Empire that never saw the-sunset. As he grew up  in stature and eminence, equally he became too conceit and corrupt  that had cast a shadow on his good deeds and achievements.  Upon his final return to England, he had to face charges of corruption as the wealth he amassed in india  was not in proportion  with his salary, etc. At stake was his name and dignity.  Disgusted as he was, he ended his own life finally, having made a few futile attempts before. Why this depression? .  His life is a good example of Thomas Gray's poem, "Elegy written in a country churchyard"

 "The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
         And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
         The paths of glory lead but to the grave".


Clive's greed, over ambition  and craze for materialistic life led him to the grave when he was just  around 50 years old.

http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2005/02/13/stories/2005021300260700.html The house of Clive

Clive House, Chennai - the man who changed the political map of the world, lived here!!



Clive House, Ft.St.George, Chennai. ThenThisai

 Above image: The East India  Company, having obtained a charter from King Charles authorising the erection of Courts to deal with interlopers, established the Court of Admiralty in 1686 with Sir John Briggs as Judge-Advocate. Since then it had been called as the Admiralty House...............

Clive House, about 300 years old,  imposing brick and mortar structure. is a historical place right on the southern side of St. George Fort across the St. Mary's church, Madras (Chennai) and it was here Robert Clive lived with his wife  has had a history. Clive and his wife lived in the house owned by an an Armenian merchant. It was also known as Admiralty House., this being due to the fact that "The Courts of Admiralty, established in 1687 as a Court of Appeal — later sat in this building, according to Historian S. Muthiah whose special interest is monuments around Madras, His book, "Madras Discovered, a Historical Guide to Looking Around," first published in 1981 is useful to those interested in Madras and its colonial structures, in particular. Presently ASI is functioning here, way back in the past, the Court of Admiralty ceased to function and it became the town residence of the governor.  Nice wooden floors,  beautifully carved wooden staircases and high ceilings with ,  roof supported by "British steel" girders with Dorvan Long & Co. Ltd, Middlesbrough, England bring out the beauty of early colonial building  The highlight of Clive House is a huge hall on the first floor with Corinthian columns, obviously a banquet Hall that would have seen many lavish parties and balls  with the band playing numbers from Mozart, Beethoven, et al. The Clive house was heavily damaged with leaking roof, additions, etc., partly due to negligence and ageing.  

Clive Hose being restore, Chennai. The Hindu

Tablet inn Clive House, Chennai India Mike

In 2004, the ASI meticulously, removed the additions, repaired the damaged parts, replaced the wooden panels in the windows with glass and restored it back to old elegance and beauty without compromising on the its heritage values. Serious attention was paid to the leaking roof and ASI did  tight water-proofing. Pot-tiles with brick jelly and lime were being used.
Of particular interest was the restoration of  the majestic  banquet hall to its original charm.


Clive House, Ft. St.George, Chennai. Flickr
 Tit-Bits:

01. After India's Independence, the Pension office, the Pay and Accounts office, Internal Audit office, and even a part of the Accountant-General office, used to function from the building.

02. The main part of the building is the banquet/dining hall where many parties were held. He called it one of the oldest reception halls in Chennai.

03. The Admiralty House not the government building on the government estates. 


04. When Robert Clive joined the East India Company, Madras  as a writer in 1743, he was just 18 years old with no proper education.
 
Robert Clive. British Library blogs

 Above image: Robert Clive's wedding took place at St. Mary's Church, Ft. St. George, Chennai. Clive had a close link with Madras, the city that became his launching platform for grooming the greatest empire in the world...........

05. Circumstances forced Clive to take to the sword, instead of pen and fought a successful war with the French Commander/Administrator Joseph Dupleix, his capture of Ft.Davis Cuddalore and defence of Arcot in 1751 won him laurels. His ultimate success in the Black Hole incidence in Calcutta and finally the capture of Bengal from Nawab Siraj-ud-Dauala won him enormous name, power and pelf, establishing himself as the earliest founder of the British Empire. Lord Curzon considered him "one of the master-spirits of the English race."

http://www.thehindu.com/2004/03/25/stories/2004032504001500.htm


 http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2005/02/13/stories/2005021300260700.html

 












Friday, 20 October 2017

The Jinnah Tower, a popular landmark in Guntur, Andhra - needs restoration


Jinnah Tower, Guntur, Andhra state. en.wikipedia.org
With the exception of some people and Indian history freaks, many of u are not aware of the presence of jinnah Tower on Mahatma Gandhi Road, Guntur District, Andhra. By the same token, none of us is aware of  Chicago's main thoroughfare in Devon Avenue, part of it is named  Gandhi Marg after Mahatma Gandhi and its extension Jinnah Road, after the founder of Pakistan. This was done with approval from Chicago's city council; one part of the road dominated by Indian shops and the other part by Pakistani shops.  Jinnah Tower in Guntur is a popular landmark in this city and is considered a symbol of harmony and peace. That there has been no harmony and peace between these two nations since partition in August, 1947 is a well-known fact and the  revelry between these two nations  has not yet  shown any sign of  decline ever since the illegal invasion of the Princely state of Kashmir by Pakistan that lasted October 1947 and January 1949. 
   
Mr. Jinnah and Jinnah Tower,Guntur,Andhra Greatandhra.com

Jinnah Tower exhibits a typical Muslim architecture with a dome atop the tower supported by six well-built pillars. Like other monuments across India,  it is poorly being maintained and negligence is writ on this  historical structure and in some places it is crumbling. It is said that  efforts were made to repair and restore this tower dedicated to a man who was, in his early stages, worked hard for the Hindu-Muslim unity  and whose family came from Gujarat.


How the tower came into being is matter for 
discussion and there are two versions to it. During the pre-independence day,  Jinnah's representative one Judaliyaquat Ali Khan visited Gunter and as part of felicitation, Lal Jan Basha, grand father of Telugu Desam party leader S. M. Laljan Basha, had the tower built in honor of Mohd. Ali Jinnah. The other version being, two Municipal Chairman, Nadimpalli Narasimha Rao and Tellakula Jalayya , during their tenure, were instrumental in building this tower as a symbol of harmony and peace. But,it hangs in the thin air like LA fog and it is a reality we ought to face!!

 According to many people Gunter city has nothing to do with Mr. Jinnah, the man after whom the tower was named  and who split the subcontinent and, in the aftermath of independence,  several lakhs of innocent refugees  died in the name of religion during trans migration across the border. How can you consider this tower as a symbol of peace and harmony? Putting aside the past dark  days, some argue, that this monument  needs restoration to preserve its heritage.

Maps of India
Anyway, the central and state governments should preserve such monuments so that the vestiges of past history should not get lost in the melange of political opinions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinnah_Tower

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/Jinnah-Tower-in-a-state-of-neglect/article1






Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Connemara Hotel, a 125 year old heritage building steeped in history

Connemara htel, Chennai transworldtnt.com

The heritage building Taj Connemara (now Vivanta by Taj) located at the intersection of  Binny Road, off Anna Salai, abutting the Spencer Plaza, is  one of the most prominent landmarks of Chennai. Though it turns 127 years old come November 27, actually, Its history is 200 years old. That its hotel tradition goes as far back as 125 years bears testimony to the hotel's old charm, colonial ambiance and its outstanding hotel services to the visitors to the city.
 
Vivanta by Taj, Chennai ripAdvisor
Once it was the impressive House of the Arcot Nawab that was  sold to  John Binny who built a garden house there.  As to its name Connemara, the information is vague whether it was named
 after the Governor of Madras Residency Lord
Connemara (Robert Bruce, the Baron of Connemara in Ireland;1880-1890). Considering the facts that the Prince of Arcot Nawab Muhammud Munnawwar Khan Bhadur was close to the Governor and  used to throw lavish parties to Lord and lady Connemara suggest  the close relationship the Nawab had with Gov. Connemara. Yet another interesting fact is Mrs. Connemara (Lady Susan Georgiana Broun-Ramsay, eldest daughter of the 1st Marquess of Dalhousie (Doctrine of Lapse fame) who was the Governor-General of India)

Lord Connemara. madrasmusings.com/
is beloved to have stayed in the hotel for about a year before leaving for England where she sought divorce from her discreditable husband, citing infidelity.
Lord Connemara with the Nawab of Arcot  Dream Of A City
 According to Chennai's historian  S. Muthaiah, Lord Connemara had a particular  liking for pretty young girls and his sexual overtures went overboard that created a chasm between him and his wife.


John Binny bought the building in 1799 and later sold it to Somasundara Mudaliar. in 1854 Rathnavaloo Mudaliar established the Imperial Hotel and later Mudaliar brothers (Kumaraguru Mudelly and Chokkalinga Mudelly) became the owners who renamed it as Albany in 1886 and in 1890, it became Connemara Hotel. The 9 acre property changed hands and now the owner of Spencer & Co Oakshatt in 1891 took over the property. Out of 9 acres, 4.37 acres were allotted for the construction of the most popular department store with a built-up area of 18000 sq. feet, the largest one in Asia then. No body could miss this impressive European-styled building on Mount Road. Connemara in 1919 came under 
the control of Spencer & Co. In the early 1930s, 
it underwent major renovation work and in 
1937 it sported an art deco look and fitted with  air-conditioning apparatus, delivering cool refreshing air. In those days in the late 1930s, the tariff  for single occupancy with breakfast is just Rs.10.00 and Rs, 17.00 for room plus full day meals, much lower than today's cup of coffee or tea. Since 1974, the Connemara Hotel had been managed by  the Spencer & Co. After the fire mishap in 1981 the hotel along with two other hotels came under the management of the Tata group's subsidiary Indian Hotels Co. Ltd in 1984. The name changed to Taj Connemara. Again after yet another long  major renovation work, with better look, the oldest hotel in Chennai emerged as Vivanta Taj, a stylish name with a spirited appeal, 

The Taj Group renovated the heritage hotel without disturbing its heritage values or marring the good old charm.

 01. Retention of a huge portrait of Lord Connemara with  IV Prince of Arcot Munnawwar Khan Bhadur.


02. The lounge in the heritage building carries the name of Lady Connemara.


03. Retention of  stone pillars in the hotel's Raintree pathway and the wooden carvings in the grand staircase wall. They   date back to the 16th 
and 17th centuries and are from old temples of Mahabalipuram.

04. A grand piano in the lobby made in 1922.  In the post-war period it was  played in the ballroom in the evenings.  Still it is in good condition.
    
04. The Nagavelli well located in the hotel, never goes dry even during hot  summer season, unlike other wells in the city!!

This heritage hotel still charms the visitors with old world elegance and  modern-day services.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_Connemara

Deepavali - quotes from Bhagavan Ramanar


Askideas.com

Happy Diwali 
comments.funmunch.com

Quotes from Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi:

Bhagavan Ramanar. The Hindu com.
"He is the king of hell who says that he is  
the body which is hell itself. He is Narayana who ascertains who Naraka is, and destroys
him with his vision of wisdom- Gnana Drishti
That is the auspicious day of Narakachathurdasi".


"The false belief that this hell-like house called body is me, is Naraka himself. To destroy that false belief and let the self shine as Self, is Deepavali".


                       .............Bhagavan Ramanar

Anshu Jamsenpa,- a double ascent in one season on Everest, a world world record

Anshu Jamsenpa,reviewNE
An Indian woman climber made history on Sunday 21 May 2017 by reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the second time in less than a week, a  challenging feat never achieved before. She had set a women's record for a double ascent of the world's highest peak  in a single season.

Mt. Everest. Medium.com

On May 16, Mrs. Anshu Jamsenpa, 37, returned from the 8,848-metre (29,028-feet) peak and  then she took a short break for relaxation and rest. Instead of taking  a long deserved  rest  again she was on her feet to repeat the assault on the mountain  with more determination and vigor than before. For a woman of that age, it is not that easy to venture outdoor adventure like mountaineering. Besides physical well being, mental preparation is very important for the success of such adventure. Above all a favorable weather condition on the higher mountains makes all the difference between success or failure or delayed ascent on the peak.

"Anshu reached the summit of Everest at 8:00 am (0215 GMT) on 21 May, 2017  for the second time this season, setting a new record," according to Dawa Lama of Dream Himalaya Adventures. Jamsenpa, a mother of two, was blessed by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama before leaving for the expedition.

Anshu with Dalai Lama. economictimes.indiatimes.com
As to the  current female record, certified by Guinness World Records, one Nepali climber Chhurim Sherpa holds the record.  In 2012  she become the first woman to scale the peak twice in a season. Jamsenpa is an experienced mountain climber and she scaled Everest five times. She wanted to attempt double assault on Everest in 2014 season, A tragedy had happened as a result of an avalanche that resulted in the death of 16 Nepali guides. So, the climbing season was cancelled to avoid further untoward incidents. Following year her attempt ended in the dark, following an earthquake-triggered avalanche, resulting in the death of 18 people at Base Camp. The earthquake caused widespread damages in Nepal, leaving several swathes.
Pinterest
Jamsenpa, a mother of two, before embarking on her expedition to Everest, received the blessings from   Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Jamsenpa' husband, president of All Arunachal Pradesh Mountaineering and Adventure Sports Association, Tsering Wange told  Hindustan Times: “God has answered the prayers of her admirers in Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere in India and beyond.” She is from  Bomdilla, headquarters of West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, NE India. Her name was Deepa Kalita.
 

Tit-Bits:

01.  In this season more than 120 climbers have made the summit with the first ascents delayed by high winds, fresh snowfall and unusually cold temperatures.

02. In May 2017, Nepali climber Lhakpa Sherpa set a new record. She  broke her own record for the greatest number o03. This year the casualty was far less than normal. Two people died this year,  one happened to be an ace mountain climber from Switzerland - Ueli Steck, who was killed during a preparatory climb before attempting the Himalayan peak.

04. Every year, hundreds of people attempt to climb to the top of the world’s highest mountain  during the short window of favourable weather before the monsoon season sets in June.  The short season normally sees traffic jams” on the high mountains and sometimes, the over-crowded mountains become dangerous. Highly respected mountaineers and others are concerned about the  a high number of summit permits being issued by Nepal that will make the  assault on Everest more dangerous and challenging than before. More people on the high mountain means more junks on the mountains that would mar their majesty and purity.

 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/indian-woman-tops-everest-twice-in-week-breaks-record/articleshow/58773763.cms

world/asia/indian-climber-anshu-jamsenpa-breaks-world-record-tops-mount-everest-twice-in-week-a7747781.htmlsenpa-breaks-world-record-tops-mount-everest-twice-in-week-a7747781.html

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Agnes Smedley --Unsung American-born Indian nationalist!


Indian freedom fighter Agnes Smedle,en.wikipedia.org
Agnes Smedley was not only an American born Indian nationalist, a journalist of repute and a social activist but also a secret  triple agent working  for the Soviets, the Chinese Communists, and the Indian nationalists. She got herself clandestinely engaged in the last activity with courage and commitments. Considered as one of the most prolific female spies of the 20th century, she was not well-educated. Nor did she have the luxury of  formal education in a posh school and fairly good  family background. A battered woman, she surmounted every road-block in her life with aplomb. Her semi-autobiographical novel Daughter of Earth as well as  her sympathetic chronicling of the Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War won her international fame. Her 125th birth anniversary was celebrated in February 2017.  Smedley wrote six books, including a novel, reportage, and a biography of the Chinese general Zhu De, Her reports / contributions  appeared in newspapers such as New York Call, Frankfurter Zeitung and Manchester Guardian, All these were well received and credited.
Her deep involvement in India's struggle for freedom, unfortunately, did not  hog the limelight it deserved, unlike her works on China. In this regard, she was an unsung Indian freedom fighter from abroad. A noteworthy moment  during World War I was, she worked in the United States for the independence of India from Britain by receiving financial support from the government of Germany.

Agnes Smedley,,China, 1985 Smithsonian National Postal Museum
Born on 23 February 1892 in Osgood, Missouri -the second of five children, in a working class background, the  family suffered untold miseries in the small town of Trinidad, Colorado that in 1903 and 1904 witnessed  coal miner's strike and lack of jobs. She was just 13 then. When she was 14 years old. her father walked out on his wife  and to supplement the family income, she became a domestic help.  Valiant as she was, to make up for her basic education, she qualified herself as a teacher and began teaching in Torico, New Mexico. In early 1910, her mother Sarah died (she was barely 38) and  from 1911 to 1912 Smedley enrolled in Tempe Normal School, Arizona and got a name as an activist. Her stint at Teacher's college gave her a chance to come closer with Emma Goldman. She became a socialist and in 1917 her marriage with Earnest Brundin ended in divorce and the relationship lasted barely for five years. Later, she moved over to New York where she stayed with her sister-in-law Thornburg Brundin, Smedley got a chance to work with Margret Sanders, a birth control activist.  

Agnes Smedley .gettyimages.com

Above image : Agnes Smedley, Bernard Shaw, Soong Ching-ling, Tsai Yuan Pei, and Lu Hsun in Shanghai in 1933

At New York University- 1912, Smedley had a close contact with a group of Bengali students from India who supported their country's  freedom movement. She in 1918 took a decisive step and  joined the "Friends of Freedom for India", a secretive organization under close surveillance  by the U.S. Her close interaction with some of the Bengali nationalists in New York such as M.N. Roy,Sailen Ghose, etc. drew the attention of the US government
Smedley's intention was to espouse  India's cause to the world through her writings and contacts. She had contact with Lala Lajpat Rai (1865 - 1928;  Indian writer, politician and an advocate of a militant anti-British nationalism in the Indian National Congress). World War I provided an opportunity and the nationalists based in the US wanted to distract England from European battlefront. It was called the Hindu German conspiracy because they received funds from Germany.  Smedley's activities along with Bengali revolutionaries invited  serious trouble  and 
she  was arrested and jailed for two years  in New  York under the Espionage Act for supporting Indian freedom struggle against the British.  After release from the prison, she moved over to Germany in 1918 to carry on her activities against the British. There she married V. chatoupadyaya, brother of woman freedom fighter and poet Sarojini Naidu  and carried on her other social activities and ran birth control clinic in Berlin. She taught English at the university of Berlin and  did graduate work in Asian Studies. It was here in 1929, she published her first naval "Daughter Of Earth".

Later, she moved over to China in 1928 where in the 1930s she helped Soviet super spy Richard Sorge in Shanghai  establish himself as a master spy in Tokyo. She also befriended Chinese writer  Lu Xun.
While reporting for news papers such as Frankfurter Zeitung and Manchester Guardian, etc., As usual, she continued her social work on birth control, children's welfare and women's rights, etc. So to say, she did a pioneering work in these areas that had received least attention in those days.

She wrote numerous reports on China. She made a daring trip along with  8th Route Army (the Red Army) during the Sino-Japanese War and in 1938 published China Fights Back: An American Woman with the Eighth Route Army, on her experiences in Shanxi province. In Hankou  she worked with the Chinese Red Cross Medical Corps, collected supplies for the Red Army, and served as a publicist for the communists until the city fell in 1938. 

Back in the USA,  she lived in Writers' Colony, 
New York and wrote many books on China  and became an advocate for China in the west. During the McCarthy Era (period  marked by  making of accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence by the government), Smedley had troubled time  with the American government because of her sympathy for Communists and she  left for England where  she died  on 6 May 1950. Her  ashes were interred in the National Revolutionary Martyrs Memorial Park in Beijing. In England she completed her work before her death - The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh, her biography of the Chinese communist military leader Zhu De, published posthumously in 1956.

Her  famous novel Daughter of Earth was out of tune with Women's novels of 1930s that mostly focused on unhappy marriages, women's education, etc. However, Smedley's works concentrated on such serious issues like birth-control, motherhood, women sexuality, women's rights, etc. In this respect, she was one of early trailblazers in the above subjects, breaking away from traditions and asking radical questions.  A battered woman who never gave up and compromised on her ideals till her death.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnes

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Agnes-Smedley

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Mall, Shimla - once Indians were not allowed to enter - British India

The Mall, Shimla. en.wikipedia.org

 During the colonial period in India  racial discrimination was visible in many parts of the land, in particular, in cities and in cantonments. People of all faiths were affected by this British assertion of power, pelf and superior race.  At one point of time, the discrimination and repression reached the summit and ultimately it led to a big rebellion in 1857. With barely 80,000 British soldiers in India, it took a while for them to put down the mutiny. When the Indian administration came directly under the  Crown, the British, smart as they were, continued their divide and rule policy in a subtle way. Earlier, the divide and rule maxim in collusion with the powerful Indians did not succeed. This time, they planned the laws as a ruse and smartly  passed them in the British parliament to divide, break and fragment the Indian society. For example the Rowlatt Act-1919, Indian  Police Act-1861, Land  acquisition act-1894, etc. With respect to higher appointments on the civil and administrative sides, they were occupied by British civilians and in some places army officers. Though there were many capable Indians to hold such positions, the highest positions they could reach in the early 19th century colonial India were of a subaltern in character. So, subtle discrimination against the natives in the subcontinent continued unabated as before 1857.  In the summer capital of Shimla, the Mall was a famous place and the British officials of the municipality introduced some nobnoxious laws to keep up their superiority. and insult the natives, in particular poor people.

 The Mall Road is an important landmark of  Shimla, now the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, India. During the colonial period, it was the summer capital of the Raj and countless European families used to make a beeline to this hill town (now a city) nestled in a quiet mountainous area to beat the heat waves  and hot sun on the plains.  Constructed during British colonial rule, the Mall road is located a level below the ridge and here are located the offices of municipal corporation, fire service, and police headquarters, etc. It is a heaven for tourists and locals who can comfortably walk on the wall and go shopping because except  emergency vehicles, other  vehicles are prohibited. No air pollution, no din and noise from passing vehicles.

On the Mall road are available native handicrafts items, woolen clothes, etc., in addition, there are department stores, shops, restaurants and cafes.


Though British India was governed from Shimla during the summer months, Shimla itself was governed by the Municipal Board. Established in December 1851, the Board  was  a powerful body that  oversaw everything from water-supply, sanitation, taxation, road-building, lighting and traffic regulation..




 The Board  did something that was unpalatable, disgusting  and racially discriminatory. The infamous traffic by-laws which came into force targeted against the Indians. They prevented Indians from using the major thoroughfares in Shimla, thereby preserving the Britishness or English 'feel' to the town. The "Shimla Municipality By-Law for the Regulation and Prohibition of Traffic" reads:-

By-law"1. No person shall take, keep, or use an elephant or camel in any place within Municipal limits without the previous sanction of the President or Secretary of the Municipal Committee.

By-law 3. No cattle, sheep, goats or pigs and no mules or other animals used for draught or burden shall be permitted in the roads and streets specified as prohibited in the second schedule annexed to these rules.

By-law 5. From the 15th March to the 15th October, both days inclusive, and between the hours of 4pm and 8pm, no job porter or coolie shall solicit employment, loiter, or carry any load in any street mentioned in the first schedule annexed to these rules.

By-law 6. No person shall solicit alms, or expose or exhibit any sore, wound, bodily ailment or deformity in any street with the object of exciting charity or obtaining alms."

It caused indignation and anger among some  Committee members. 


The following are the important landmarks on The Mall or near the Mall:


Shimla: Sandal point view from the ridge en.wikipedia.org.
Above image: Scandal point is where the Mall road joins Ridge road on the west side. The name arose from the sensational news of the elopement of a British lady,  the daughter of the  highest official - British Viceroy, with an Indian Maharajah of Patiala (Punjab).  Later, the Maharajah was denied entry into Shimla by the British authorities. In a retaliatory  move, the rich Maharajah built a new summer capital with residence – now the famous hill resort of Chail, 45 km from Shimla.  The most prominent feature of the point today is a statue of the Indian freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai  Next to Scandal Point is the General Post Office, Shimla.

he Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex,Shimla


Above image: Gaiety Theater, located on the Mall, was opened on 30 May 1887. Many popular film personalities have performed on its stage.In the colonial days, many English dramas were staged here

Kali Bari Hindu temple shimla.TripAdvisor
Above image: Kali Bari Temple, a famous hilltop pilgrimage site and one of the oldest temples in Shimla, was built in 1845. It is dedicated to the goddess Kali. It is believed earlier  it was dedicated to goddess Shyamala (the name Shimla is derived from this name). Bengali pilgrims  in the 19th century converted this place of worship into a Kali temple.  Painted in intense red, orange, and white colors, the temple houses a blue wooden image of the goddess Kali whose grace attracts lots of pilgrims.

Shimla: Municipal corp. building ,en.wikipedia
Above image: Municipal corporation building..  Constructed in 1908 in the half-timbered Tudor style-all-wooden frames and shingled eaves, currently houses the Shimla Municipal Corporation. It is a typical Raj-era  building, highlighting the essence of Tudor elements

Restoration work was going on Its exteriors and interiors would be refurbished by polishing and repairing the stonework. The windows and rooftops would be replaced and the Gothic facade would be improved.

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