Category: Tales of India


Tharoor-invitation

sridharan-lecture

exhibit of paintings.jpg

world war

 

 

 

ID 4545510 © Dbpetersen | Dreamstime

 

Listen, and hear

 

Within the moon the silent flight

 

Of white

 

Crane

 

Feathers,

 

While stars ring like bells in a sky of snow.

 

Did you know

 

That the moon is hollow

 

And it chimes?

 

Now, past clouds of bitter rain,

 

Of weathers

 

Sullen in the jagged wind,

 

At a sharp bend in the long road,

 

Shines the light of butterfilies beyond the shards of the dark,

 

The spark

 

Of grace, as yet unimagined,

 

A hand of tree bark

 

Offers peace, abhaya mudra: “Fear

 

Not,” a message,

 

Seek and ye

 

Shall find

 

All truth

 

Within the call

 

Of the star, cloaked in a misted shawl.

 

Soon, between the bones of yesteryear

 

Rise the rushing waters to the ridge

 

Of ending times.

 

There at the top of the narrow stair

 

Opens the rock-enchanted desert that will echo eternity,

 

Shimmering stones,

 

Who

 

Sing that the shadow

 

Has gone, though it is not that the shadow

 

Has gone, but just that the sun is real and the shadow not, after all,

 

And so

 

The holy one, unknown, will walk again on the straight path,

 

Will hold the innocent deer high in his hand

 

(In the land

 

Of the gold dragon who gnashes

 

Her emerald jaw,

 

Extending her five-toed

 

Paw)

 

There the brave one walks, placing the sun anew,

 

Engulfing the burning cities of the mind,

 

And – casting death at last behind,

 

Cleanses the earth of ashes.

 

 

Poem: © Sharon St Joan, 2017

Photo: © Dbpetersen | Dreamstime

 

 

 

 

Red_pottery,_IVC.jpg size 670pixels

Red pottery from the Indus/Saraswathi Civilization

 

By Sharon St Joan

 

There were no highways then and no paved roads. When the little girl went with her brothers to tend the cattle on top of the hillside, she could see a long way, out over sloping plains dotted with green trees. The sky was blue and the air was clear. When they returned at sunset, the small bricks of which their house was made shined gold in the rays of the setting sun, and there seemed to be magical beings dancing in the air. She watched as her grandmother took newly made, fired, ceramic vases out of the kiln, incised with red and white patterns, sometimes drawn in a row along with the horned head of a bull or a tree with outspread branches.

 

Nearby, the Saraswathi flowed, a vast, magnificent river, silver in the sunset, so wide that she could not see the other side. Her father had told her that it went all the way to the sea, and that the sea was much, much bigger than the lakes nearby – it was bigger even than the land on which they lived. No one they knew had ever seen the sea, but they had heard about it. On it sailed boats from other lands, and on these other lands, there lived people too. To the south, in the centuries to come, all along the river many other towns would grow up, possibly hundreds, and in the north among the hills, the river narrowed, and it sprang out of great rocks that lived near mountains, covered in snow year-round, that touched the sky, enormous high mountains where no one lived but only the Gods, and the Great God who brought into being – and would some day destroy – all the worlds.

 

Around seven thousand years passed, and during this immense span of time, the towns along the river, part of the Indus/Saraswathi Civilization, grew into enormous, well-planned metropolises, with great paved roads, two-story houses, indoor plumbing, great public buildings, amazing art work, and writing. Around three thousand BCE, they rivaled the cities of Sumer and may have been the largest, most highly developed, most populated cities in the world.

 

Mohenjodaro_-_view_of_the_stupa_mound

Mohenjodaro, one of the great Harappan cities

 

Over many centuries, the great Saraswathi River narrowed in width, growing thinner and thinner, like a ribbon. Eventually, around 2000 BCE, it went underground, and reappeared only seasonally, with the monsoons, when the water flowed again for a few months at a time; now it is called the Ghaggar. With the going underground of this river, the people were unable to make a living on a land with little water; they moved on, some to the west, and many to the east. A few stayed nearby, living on in the deserts of Rajasthan. The great cities fell into ruin.

 

Nearly ten thousand years after the little girl used to climb the hill to tend cattle with her brothers, her lost city was known by the name Bhirrana. Her family’s house and her neighbors’ houses were found and dug up out of the sand by archeologists. No one knew her name or even that she had lived there. At first, no one knew how long Bhirrana had lain asleep in the sands. Nearby village people had known that there was an old town there, buried by the winds, but no one knew its history or its age. Archeologists came and dug. The more they excavated, the clearer it became that Bhirrana was not only part of the Indus/Saraswathi civilization, but also that it was at least as old as the great cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Now it appears that it is, in fact, much, much older. Going back to the very beginnings of the Indus/Saraswathi civilization, to around 9,500 years before the present, Bhirrana is now believed to be the oldest city that has been found anywhere in India.

 

The ceramic ware that the little girl and her grandmother made and fired in their kiln was similar to the ware fired in villages further west in what is today Pakistan and also in the other Indian towns along the Saraswathi River; it is called Hakra ware. Bhirrana represents the earliest phase of what became the great Indus/Saraswathi Civilization.

 

The true age of this little town was revealed quite recently – by work done in 2015 and 2016. A scientific team examined animal remains found buried in the riverbed, testing the bones and the teeth of Bhirrana’s cattle and goats to determine phosphorous isotopes and date the remains. (Please see the link below.) The dates they found go back to over 9,000 years ago.

 

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The Yamuna River, which flows to the east of the Ghaggar

 

Renowned archeologist B.B. Lal, in his 2002 article, The Homeland of Indo-European Languages And Culture: Some Thoughts (please see the link below) also traces the Neolithic stage in the northwest Indian sub-continent back to 9,000 years ago.

 

This is far older than anyone had imagined until recently and extends the age of the Indus/Saraswathi Civilization – and the age of Indian civilization — back to nearly 10,000 years. India has some of the earliest cities ever found and, arguably, the oldest continuing civilization in the world.

 

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The Ghaggar River today

 

The life of the little girl is, on one level, imaginary, but not really, because surely there was actually such a little girl among the residents of Bhirrana. The continuity of India as one of the oldest, unbroken, ongoing cultures in the world cannot really be disputed. The threads of the other great early cultures of the world have been strained and broken, some recently, some long ago – ancient Egypt, China, and Sumer. Like many cultures in the Middle East and beyond, India too was invaded by foreign armies, but India survived. Her culture and her traditions were never extinguished by conquering armies, and they live on today.

 

This though may be just the beginning of all there is to discover about the story of India. On nearly every continent, there are hints, remaining to be followed up – of the profound influence of ancient India on the history of the world.

 

© Text, Sharon St Joan, 2017

 

Photos:

Top photo:

Author: Thorsten Vieth

“This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.” Wikipedia.

The Yamuna River, near the Haryana border, as it crosses the Taj Mahal, flows to the east of the Ghaggar River.

 

Second photo:

Author: Amy Dreher

“This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.” Wikipedia.

Red pottery with red and black slip-painted decoration from Harappa , around 2500 BCE.

 

Third photo:

Author: Saqib Qayyum

“This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” Wikipedia.

A view of Mohenjo-Daro, existing around 2500 BCE.

 

Fourth photo:

Author: NoiSe84

“This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.” Wikipedia.

The Ghaggar River today.

 

Sources:

 

One: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep26555

Oxygen isotope in archaeological bioapatites from India: Implications to climate change and decline of Bronze Age Harappan civilization

  • Authors: Anindya Sarkar, Arati Deshpande Mukherjee, M. K. Bera, B. Das, Navin Juyal, P.Morthekai, R. D. Deshpande, V. S. Shinde & L. S. Rao
  • Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 26555 (2016)
  • doi:10.1038/srep26555

 

Two: http://www.hvk.org/2002/0302/200.html

The Homeland of Indo-European Languages And Culture: Some Thoughts

Author: Prof. B. B. Lal

Publication: Bharatiya Pragna

Date: March 2002

Re-published in Hindu Vivek Kendra

 

Three: http://indiafacts.org/aryan-invasion-myth-21st-century-science-debunks-19th-century-indology/

Aryan Invasion Myth: How 21st Century Science Debunks 19th Century Indology

A.L.Chavda

Site: Indiafacts

5/05/2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kolu-mail

1 TSUNAMI ONE EDITED

 

By Sharon St Joan

 

In 2004, on the day before Christmas, a catastrophe swept across the Indian Ocean, a tsunami that killed around 250,000 people. Countless animals also lost their lives.

 

Thanks to the immense dedication of animal groups in India and in other countries, thousands of animals were saved.

 

On December 26, 2004, four ambulances from Blue Cross of India headed south along the coast to save as many animals as they could. Each ambulance brought 2,000 liters of water and was equipped as a mobile vet clinic to treat injured animals in the devastated villages of the Kanchipuram, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts.

 

Public officials in these districts, Gagandeep Singh Bedi and J. Radhakrishnan, were grateful that someone was thinking of the animals, and they offered all the help they could. Mrs. Bhargavi Devendra, Honorary Secretary of the South India Red Cross instructed her chapters all along the coast to be on the lookout for animals in need of help. They did so, letting Blue Cross coordinator, Shanti Shankar – who during those hectic days lived and worked fulltime at the Blue Cross shelter – know where to pick up stranded animals – and in this way, rescue teams were able to reach thousands of cows, goats, chickens, and dogs.

 

People working with Red Cross and the Indian Bank opened their homes for Blue Cross rescuers to stay in and helped in many other ways.

 

Temporary fencing was set up for rescued cows near where they were found, and they were given food and water until their owners could come for them.

 

In the town of Vailankanni, right beyond the beautiful cathedral there, three one-week old puppies, their eyes still closed, were handed to a Blue Cross worker. Sadly, their mother, who had been tethered, did not survive, nor did their human family who had lived in a house quite close to the beach. The three puppies were swept inland on the waves, landing on top of a tall hedge and, amazingly, were still alive when a kind villager spotted them. He took care of them until Blue Cross rescuers arrived.

 

Dr. Chinny Krishna, one of the Founders of Blue Cross, recalls seeing the three tiny puppies right after they were turned over to Blue Cross in Vailankanni. A week later they had arrived back in Madras, and were taken first to the very large Blue Cross shelter. Because of the magnitude of the emergency, the shelter was at that time critically understaffed and overcrowded. So the three little puppies, who needed special feeding and care, were moved to Dr. Krishna’s factory, Aspick – a specialized factory with a global reputation. There, the three puppies were not alone, since Dr. Krishna has always invited street dogs to live on the grounds of his factory (his family house is also home to a dozen rescued dogs).

 

The three puppies were handfed by Mani, a longtime employee, and the other factory workers, who all love the dogs.

 

Two of the puppies were quickly adopted by Mr. Shashi Nair, then Editor of the magazine Buisness Line.

 

That left one puppy who the factory workers called Tsunami. Her name stuck and she grew up in the factory – much loved and well cared for. In fact, she ran the factory, or at least the dog brigade. She was the alpha dog of the whole team and kept everyone in line.

 

3 Tsunami and friend

 

Now, thirteen years later, Tsunami has slowed down a bit. Having stepped down from her post as alpha dog – another dog is now in charge – Tsunami enjoys napping a bit more – sometimes .

 

Tsunami’s eyesight isn’t quite as good as it was, but her hearing seems fine. She’s had a tumor on her chest that’s been treated twice, but she seems to be doing okay. She spends time hanging out with Tyag, the CEO of one of the group companies of Aspick.

 

A lot of her time is spent inside in the conference room – attending important meetings. At noon, she joins the workers for lunch, and then goes up to Dr. Krishna’s office to have a chapatti (Indian bread).

 

Her job now is giving a happy greeting to all the factory visitors – and at night, she still keeps a protective, wary eye out for any intruders who shouldn’t be there.

 

Soon, Tsunami will need a bit more shelter and some extra care, so Blue Cross is building her a house at their big shelter at Guindy. There she’ll have lots of company – community dogs who live on the streets can live a long time, and there are others who need a house too, as they slow down and get a bit older. (Blue Cross has run a spay-neuter program for street dogs – the oldest such continuing program in the world – since 1964.)

 

Tsunami is looking forward to a lot of delightful naps in the shade during her retirement.

 

To help give Tsunami and her friends their new house, click here to donate!

 

Tsunami and her friends will send you lots of grateful hugs!

 

Many thanks!

 

Photos:

Top photo: Tsunami

Second photo: Tsunami with a friend

© text and photos, Sharon St Joan, 2017

 

 

 

Mahadeva

© Jsuspence7cc | Dreamstime

 

Ender of worlds, you who are

 

The moon-winged light

 

Glimpsed through silver clouds that recall only

 

The music

 

Of the rain

 

That hums

 

On the dry branches of the scrub oak,

 

You who are the soul

 

Of the juniper trees and the wind-waving sage,

 

Re-awaken now your lands of magic,

 

And so,

 

Unmask the deeper, greener forest

 

Of long ago,

 

Abode of the forgotten fairy folk.

 

Young Ganesha watches from among the red-encircled blossoms

 

To hear anew

 

The clear

 

Ringing chimes

 

Sound, that the dust of a crumbled age

 

Is gone,

 

Swept away and cast

 

Asunder

 

On the gusts of the great

 

Gale,

 

That peace may settle ever after

 

On the blue-

 

Belled petals

 

That gather in an opalescent bowl,

 

A glimmering, crystal grail,

 

Far

 

Beyond where the ragged hulls of iron ships

 

Were set adrift on a tired sea.

 

Soon the haloed star

 

May bless the night,

 

And the coyote

 

Sing her laughing song again

 

In the darkness, beside the shimmering gate

 

Of a time beyond times

 

When

 

At last

 

The long-toed crane

 

Dips his beak

 

Into the cold waters of the creek.

 

Then,

 

Mahadeva, Shining One, Dispeller of fear,

 

May the swans, who know, and have always known, all things, sail

 

Ever near

 

Before the bright, sky-clad boat of the dawn

 

Climbs

 

On through the echoing waters of a many lilied mist.

 

© Sharon St Joan, August 2017

Photo: © Jsuspence7cc | Dreamstime

 

 

 

 

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