Sunday, January 20, 2013

Khajuraho - some broken statues

It is generally believed that Khajuraho escaped vandalising and marauding Islamic invaders due to various reasons. The Chandela Rajputs were fierce warriors and during their heyday they were invincible. And by the time in the 13th century when their decline had set in, they wisely negotiated with those who laid a siege and paid off some ransom to ensure their retreat. These beautiful temples fell into obscurity and remained in a state of incognito close to four centuries before their chance 'rediscovery' by a British soldier in 1838. They say only a few people in close by villages knew about these magnificent structures but guarded the secret for obvious reasons. Naturally, you can't hide forever a giant towering more than thirty metres  like the Kandariya Mahadeo temple.
Though there are no major signs of destruction like the one visible at Hampi (the erstwhile kingdom of Vijayanagra, 16th century) yet vandalism on a low scale can be seen on the walls of nearly all the temples. Some of the statues have been disfigured and a few completely damaged.

Apart from broken figures there are some panels from which the statues are missing (empty spaces in the picture above). They appear to have been taken away. May be these precious pieces of stone art were stolen and smuggled out of the country. Civilised vandalism, perhaps.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Of some discontinued periodicals.

The demise was announced well in advance and the execution came with the end of year 2012. Newsweek ceased its print edition and came up in an all digital format with the first issue of 2013 dated 04 Jan. I have been a regular with Newsweek for many years alternating it with Time on subscription basis. In India Newsweek was handled by the Outlook group of publications while Time distribution continues from the India Today (Living media) stable. 

Publications come and go but to see a favourite going off the scene is somewhat uneasy to digest. Years back there used to be two good publications in the field of photography; Popular Photography and Modern Photography. I used to read both. Then suddenly Modern Photography merged with Popular Photography (or was taken over). Popular Photography is still there and I have an app on my tablet and ebook reader. South was another good periodical launched on the lines of Newsweek and Time. That too faltered and fell by the wayside (perhaps its thrust on the Third World affairs was the reason).

Of the Indian publications that got discontinued was Gentleman - a monthly published by Minhaz Merchant, now a blogger and free lancer. I enjoyed reading it regularly for some years. Then there was an editorial in one of the issues stating that Gentleman was not doing well. It ceased coming out soon after. Another favourite was The Book Review published from Madras (now Chennai). As the name suggested, the monthly painstakingly reviewed books and carried a glimpse of the book world helping readers with buying decisions. I picked up many after seeing those reviews. That one also failed to survive. The publishers graciously refunded the unused amounts on subscription.

Then there was Mirror, that small digest sort of monthly. It gelled very well with the youth and helped many youngsters of that era develop reading habits.

And finally, that wonderful Illustrated Weekly of India. Who can forget the issue carrying, sometime in 1972, the cover story 'Women who destroyed Pakistan'? 

All the named periodicals, sans the Weekly, carried my letters on a variety of topics spanning three decades or more. Those were the days of postal envelopes, inlands, and aerogrammes when I started expressing my opinion with ink and paper gradually moving on to a printer and then going digital with email. 

I have tucked in an almirah some issues of these magazines. They have a nostalgic value.