Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shaving the Indian Armpit

97,041 items / 590,527 views

satirizing the soul
of the quintessential
Indian man
a community close knit
on cyberspace a great hit
god gave him a clean chit
endowed him with brains
so others he could outwit
crafty as a fox
ferocious as a bandit
in the craziest outfit
speaks hinglish and sanskrit
so many qualities
you cannot omit
he has a few flaws
digging his nose
searching for gold
with determination and grit
scratching his family jewels
this kinky comic culprit
gets divine pleasure
in shaving his armpit
peeing against
the forbidden wall
if time will permit
shitting on the seaside
at juhu chowpatty
a moment
beautifully sky lit
on pristine white walls
he loves to spit
habits die hard
he will never quit
plays cricket
like an English man
but his soul
could not be colonized
by the Brit

Barbers of Banganga

96,974 items / 590,285 views

barbers of banganga
busy with their work
on the street
shot by a blogger
the removal
of body hair
pitru paksh
man victorious
even in defeat
holding the universe
in a single heart beat
like a child
holding a mothers teat
the earth
its goodness
we mistreat
on the soul of divinity
hate excrete
racism of religiosity
by a racist elite
humanity browbeat
mans story
from birth to death
spread on a
blood stained
winding sheet
iron in his soul
corroding the pillars
of concrete
the unborn child
in his mothers womb
on the threshold
ready to retreat

United Colors of Religious Peace

96,917 items / 590,029 views

hope harmony
mutual coexistence
as humans
we seek
the language of love
the language we speak
a language unique
blessed by god
the downtrodden
the meek
the poor the weak
also the pipsqueak
a bent back
poor physique
slapped on one side
give the other cheek
good relations
some technique
a thought to tweak
before you curse someone
into your own soul peek
adding to the soul
its mind blowing mystique
two messengers of mumbai
a barefeet blogger
a hindu sadhu
both antique
one spiritual sanctity
the other sartorial freak

to shivji master of the sand dunes ..

Dont Steal My Pictures

Marziya and Me at Good Luck Irani Restaurant

96,884 items / 589,918 views

We stayed on rent next to Mehboob Studios a few years back, much before Marziya was born, and Good Luck was my morning haunt for black tea , brun maska.

Their keema is delicious too.. I bought Marziya here to let her feel the flow of my memories.


No1, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.

The Garbhi

The Garbhi, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.

96,838 items / 589,881 views

The Garbhi is a symbol of fertility and you find these colorful pots with sprout growth at most of the local pandals.I am quite fascinated and have shot this extensively during Durga visarjan at Juhu beach a few years back.

Nutan Palli Sarbojanin Durgotsab Bandra

96,796 items / 589,682 views

This pandal is close to St Theresa Church and Patwardhan Park Bandra West, ..I dropped in today and work was going on for its inauguration tomorrow.I spoke to the member of the Pandal Mr Roy who told me that the Pandal was in its 38 year..

The workers went about their work, the heavy rains last night had made the ground soggy and muddy , this is one of my favorite Bengali Pandals.. the members are very cultured , highly educated and they recreate the atmosphere of their homeland Bengal in Mumbai...,

Around the pandal tomorrow will be shops selling relics artifacts, statues of Durga and Kali.

Bengali food stalls and lip smacking sweets..

The Bengalis love Durga Pandal hopping , visiting and paying darshan to the Great Mother .

About Durga Puja

Durga Puja (Bengali: দুর্গা পূজা, ‘Worship of Durga’), also referred as Durgotsab (Bengali: দুর্গোৎসব, ‘Festival of Durga’) is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates worship of Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi , Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Bijoya Dashami. The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to traditional Hindu calendar and the fortnight corresponding the festival is called Debi Pokkho (Bengali: দেবী পক্ষ, ‘Fortnight of the Goddess’). Debi Pokkho is preceded by Mahalaya (Bengali: মহালয়া), the last day of the previous fortnight Pitri Pokkho (Bengali: পিতৃ পক্ষ, ‘Fortnight of the Forefathers’), and is ended on Kojagori Lokkhi Puja (Bengali: কোজাগরী লক্ষ্মী পূজা, ‘Worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojagori Full Moon Night’)

Durga Puja is widely celebrated in West Bengal, Assam , Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura where it is a five-day annual holiday. Not only it is the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society. Apart from Eastern part of India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and Bangladesh. Nowadays, many non-residential Bengali cultural organizations arrange for Durgotsab in the countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Kuwait etc. In 2006, a grand Durga Puja ceremony was held in the Great Court of the British Museum. [1]

University of Minnesota is the only University in the World to have patronized and allowed Durga Puja in its premises.

The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Raj in Bengal. After the Hindu reformists resemble Durga with India, she had become an icon for the Indian independence movement. On the first quarter of the 20th century, the tradition of Baroyari or Community Puja was popularised due to this. After independence, Durga Puja became one of the largest celebrated festivals in the whole world.

Durga Puja includes the worships of Shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati and Kartikeya also. Modern tradition have come to include the display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted idols of Durga, exchange of Bijoya Greetings and publication of Puja Annuals.

In Bengal, Durga Puja is also called Akalbodhan (Bengali: অকালবোধন, 'untimely awakening of Durga'), Sharadiya Puja (Bengali: শারদীয়া পূজা, ‘autumnal worship’), Sharodotsab (Bengali: শারদোৎসব, ‘festival of autumn’), Maha Puja (Bengali: মহা পূজা, ‘grand puja’), Maayer Pujo (Bengali: মায়ের পুজো, ‘worship of the Mother) or only referred as Puja or Pujo. In East Bengal (now Bangladesh), Durga Puja used to be celebrated as Bhagabati Puja. It is also called Durga Puja in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. [2]

Durga Puja is called Navratri Puja in Gujarat, Punjab,Kerala and Maharashtra[3], Kullu Dussehra in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh[4], Mysore Dussehra in Mysore, Karnataka[5] and Bommai Kolu in Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh[6].
[edit] Bengal

The worship of Durga in the autumn (শরৎ Shôrot) is the year's largest Hindu festival of Bengal. Durga Puja is also celebrated in Nepal and Bhutan according to local traditions and variations. Puja means "worship," and Durga's Puja is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Ashwin (Bengali: আশ্বিন Ashshin), which is the sixth month in the Bengali calendar. Occasionally however, due to shifts in the lunar cycle relative to the solar months, it may also be held in the following month, Kartika (Bengali: কার্তিক Kartik). In the Gregorian calendar, these dates correspond to the months of September and October.

In the Krittibas Ramayana, Rama invokes the goddess Durga in his battle against Ravana. Although she was traditionally worshipped in the spring, due to contingencies of battle, Rama had to invoke her in the autumn akaal bodhan[1]. Today it is this Rama's date for the puja that has gained ascendancy, although the spring puja, known as Basanti Puja [One of the oldest 'sabeki' Basanti Puja is held every year at spring in Barddhaman Pal Bari], is also present in the Hindu almanac. Since the season of the puja is Bengali: শরৎ Shôrot, autumn, it is also known as Bengali: শরদিয়া Shôrodia.

The pujas are held over a ten-day period, which is traditionally viewed as the coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Himalaya's home. It is the most important festival in Bengal, and Bengalis celebrate with new clothes and other gifts, which are worn on the evenings when the family goes out to see the 'pandals' (temporary structures set up to venerate the goddess). Although it is a Hindu festival, religion takes a back seat on these five days: Durga Puja in Bengal is a carnival, where people from all backgrounds, regardless of their religious beliefs, participate and enjoy themselves to the hilt.
[edit] Kolkata

In Kolkata alone more than two thousand pandals are set up, all clamouring for the admiration and praise of the populace. The city is adorned with lights. People from all over the country visit the city at this time, and every night is one mad carnival where thousands of people go 'pandal-hopping' with their friends and family. Traffic comes to a standstill, and indeed, most people abandon their vehicles to travel by foot after a point. A special task force is deployed to control law and order. Durga Puja in Calcutta is often referred to as the Rio Carnival of the Eastern Hemisphere.
[edit] Siliguri

Hundreds of puja pandals are set up every year in the Siliguri Mahakuma area. Many attractive colourful pandal, glorious "Protima", and colorful lighting create joy for visitors. During the puja period, visitors come here from all over the world. The city is adorned with lights. Every day visitors come out on the roads with their family and friends. All pandals are decorated with lights and sounds. Saktigarh, Hakimpara, Rathkhola, Champashari, NJP Colony, Saktigarh Utjal Sangha are famous and the oldest durga puja from this area. They enjoy the festival through the night. The Best & one of the Oldest puja in Siliguri is of Swastika Yubak Sangha, Its one of the most crowd gathering puja of the region.The Puja Comitee just completed its 50th year of celebrations
[edit] Berhampore

Hundreds of puja pandals are set up every year in the Berhampore, Cossimbazar, Khagra, Madhupur, Gorabazaar area. All pandal are decorated with lights and sounds. Swarnamoyee, Baganpara, Bishtupur, Ranibagan, Kadai, Swargadham, Ajana Sangha, Cossimbazar Choto Rajbari are famous and the oldest durga puja from this area. Cossimbazars Puja is the oldest puja which is about 300 years old. All visitors are coming through different part of Murshidabad [2]district. Specially the Astami and Nabami nights are filled with crowd from different part of the district. Visitors come out on the roads with their family and friends. They enjoy the festival through the night. Also the Bisorjon (immersion of idol) to Bhagarathi River is a beautiful scene. A huge number of visitors gather on the Bhagirathi Ghat to visit the last journey of Durga Pratima. Generally the pandals and idols of Madhupur area win the prizes. Lighting is done to a great extent to increase the beauty of the Puja nights. The best puja is in North Kolkata- Like Baghbazar Sarbojonin, Kumartuli, Ahiritola, Md. Ali Park, College Square etc. These pujas are also the oldest puja in Kolkata.
[edit] Origin of the autumnal ceremony 'Sharadiya'
Old painting of Durga Puja in Kolkata at Sovabazar Rajbari

The actual worship of the Goddess Durga as stipulated by the Hindu scriptures falls in the month of Chaitra, which roughly overlaps with March or April. This ceremony is however not observed by many and is restricted to a handful in the state of West Bengal.

The more popular form, which is also known as Sharadiya (Autumnal) Durga Puja, is celebrated later in the year with the dates falling either in September or October. Since the Goddess is invoked at the wrong time, it is called "Akaal Bodhon" in Bengali.

The first such Puja was organised by Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shobhabazar Rajbari of Calcutta in honour of Lord Clive in the year 1757. The puja was organised because Clive wished to pay thanks for his victory in the Battle of Plassey. He was unable to do so in a Church because the only church in Calcutta at that time was destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daulah. Indeed many wealthy mercantile and Zamindar families in Bengal made British Officers of the East India Company guests of honour in the Pujas. The hosts vied with one another in arranging the most sumptuous fares, decorations and entertainment for their guests. This was deemed necessary since the Company was in charge of a large part of India including Bengal after the battles of Plassey and Buxar.

A considerable literature exists around Durga in the Bengali language and its early forms, including avnirnaya (11th century), Durgabhaktitarangini by Vidyapati (14th century), etc. Durga Puja was popular in Bengal in the medieval period, and records exist of it being held in the courts of Rajshahi (16th century) and Nadia district (18th century). It was during the 18th century, however, that the worship of Durga became popular among the landed elite of Bengal, Zamindars. Prominent Pujas were conducted by the landed zamindars and jagirdars, enriched by British rule, including Raja Nabakrishna Deb, of Shobhabajar, who initiated an elaborate Puja at his residence. Many of these old pujas exist to this day. Interestingly the oldest such Puja to be conducted at the same venue is in Rameswarpur, Orissa, where it continues for the last four centuries since the Ghosh Mahashays from Kotarang near Howrah migrated as a part of Todarmal's contingent during Akbar's rule. Today, the culture of Durga Puja has shifted from the princely houses to Sarbojanin (literally, "involving all") forms. The first such puja was held Guptipara - it was called barowari (baro meaning twelve and yar meaning friends)

Durga puja mood starts off with the Mahishasuramardini – a two-hour radio programme that has been popular with the community since the 1950s. While earlier it used to be conducted live, later a recorded version began to be broadcast. Bengalis traditionally wake up at 4 in the morning on Mahalaya day to listen to the enchanting voice of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra and the late Pankaj Kumar Mullick on All India Radio as they recite hymns from the scriptures from the Devi Mahatmyam or Chandi. [7] , During the week of Durga Puja, in the entire state of West Bengal as well as in large enclaves of Bengalis everywhere, life comes to a complete standstill. In playgrounds, traffic circles, ponds—wherever space may be available—elaborate structures called pandals 'are set up, many with nearly a year's worth of planning behind them. The word pandal means a temporary structure, made of bamboo and cloth, which is used as a temporary temple for the purpose of the puja. While some of the pandals are simple structures, others are often elaborate works of art with themes that rely heavily on history, current affairs and sometimes pure imagination.

Somewhere inside these complex edifices is a stage on which Durga reigns, standing on her lion mount, wielding ten weapons in her ten hands. This is the religious center of the festivities, and the crowds gather to offer flower worship or pushpanjali on the mornings, of the sixth to ninth days of the waxing moon fortnight known as Devi Pakshya (lit. Devi = goddess; Pakshya = period; Devi Pakshya meaning the period of the goddess). Ritual drummers – dhakis, carrying large leather-strung dhak –– show off their skills during ritual dance worships called aarati. On the tenth day, Durga the mother returns to her husband, Shiva, ritualised through her immersion into the waters –– Bishorjon also known as Bhaashan and Niranjan
Image of Durga in an early 19th Century lithogragh.

Today's Puja, however, goes far beyond religion. In fact, visiting the pandals recent years, one can only say that Durgapuja is the largest outdoor art festival on earth. In the 1990s, a preponderance of architectural models came up on the pandal exteriors, but today the art motif extends to elaborate interiors, executed by trained artists, with consistent stylistic elements, carefully executed and bearing the name of the artist.

The sculpture of the idol itself has evolved. The worship always depicts Durga with her four children, and occasionally two attendant deities and some banana-tree figures. In the olden days, all five idols would be depicted in a single frame, traditionally called pata. Since the 1980s however, the trend is to depict each idol separately.

At the end of six days, the idol is taken for immersion in a procession amid loud chants of 'Bolo Durga mai-ki jai' (glory be to Mother Durga') and 'aashchhe bochhor abar hobe' ('it will happen again next year') and drumbeats to the river or other water body. It is cast in the waters symbolic of the departure of the deity to her home with her husband in the Himalayas. After this, in a tradition called Vijaya Dashami, families visit each other and sweetmeats are offered to visitors (Dashami is literally "tenth day" and Vijay is "victory").

Durga Puja is also a festivity of Good (Ma Durga) winning over the evil (Maheshasoora the demon). It is a worship of power of Good which always wins over the bad.
[edit] Evolution of the Community or Sarbajanin puja
Celebrations inside a house, during Durga puja, Calcutta, 1890.

Initially the Puja was organised by affluent families since they had the money to organize the festival. During the late 19th and early 20th century, a burgeoning middle class, primarily in Calcutta, wished to observe the Puja. They created the community or Sarbojanin Pujas.

These Pujas are organized by a committee which represents a locality or neighbourhood. They collect funds called "chaanda" through door-to-door subscriptions, lotteries, concerts etc. These funds are pooled and used for the expenses of pandal construction, idol construction, ceremonies etc. The balance of the fund is generally donated to a charitable cause, as decided by the committee. Corporate sponsorships of the Pujas have gained momentum since the late 1990s. Major Pujas in Calcutta and in major metro areas such as Delhi and Chennai now derive almost all of their funds from corporate sponsorships. Community fund drives have become a formality.

Despite the resources used to organise a Puja, entry of visitors into the Pandal is generally free. Pujas in Calcutta and elsewhere experiment with innovative concepts every year. Communities have created prizes for Best Pandal, Best Puja, and other categories.
[edit] Creation of the idols
Durga Puja Idol in the making at Kumortuli, Kolkata

The entire process of creation of the idols from the collection of clay to the ornamentation is a holy process, supervised by rites and other rituals. On the Hindu date of Akshaya Tritiya when the Ratha Yatra is held, clay for the idols is collected from the banks of a river, preferably the Ganges. After the required rites, the clay is transported from which the idols are fashioned. An important event is 'Chakkhu Daan', literally donation of the eyes. Starting with Devi Durga, the eyes of the idols are painted on Mahalaya or the first day of the Pujas. Before painting on the eyes, the artisans fast for a day and eat only vegetarian food.

Many Pujas in and around Calcutta buy their idols from Kumartuli (also Kumortuli), an artisans' town in north Calcutta. In 1610, the first Durga puja in Kolkata was supposedly celebrated by the Roychowdhuri family of Barisha. Though this was a private affair, community or ‘Baroyari’ Durga puja was started in Guptipara, in Hooghly by 12 young men when they were barred from participating in a family Durga puja in 1761. They formed a committee which accepted subscriptions for organising the puja. Since then, community pujas in Bengal came to be known as ‘Baroyari – ‘baro’ meaning 12 and ‘yar’ meaning friends.In Kolkata, the first ‘Baroyari’ Durga Puja was organized in 1910 by the ‘SanatanDharmotsahini Sabha’ at Balaram Bosu Ghat Road, Bhawanipur. At the same time, similar Baroyari Pujas were held at Ramdhan Mitra Lane and Sikdar Bagan. The Indian freedom struggle also had an influence on Durga puja in Kolkata. In 1926, Atindranath Bose initiated the first ‘Sarbojanin’ Durga puja in which anybody, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, could participate in the festivities. This was consciously done to instill a feeling of unity.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

96,779 items / 589,619 views

two sides
of the same coin
a shia muslim a hindu
both made in india
a blogger
without shoes
the other
a pandit
brahma vishnu
mahadeo his due
in a land that
gave birth to a sardar
gandhi nehru
non violent means
the British vampire
in a land
on the dead body of
a poor man
a white elephant
builds statues
politics and power
kill you much before
you are killed
by swine flu
for the am admi
who really
cares a screw
a sleepless world
within a world
a spiders web
that snatches
human souls like you
to blog or not to blog
vice or virtue
faceless marauders
on the internet
the hate that they spew
cyberspace the flip
side of a human zoo