1

Karna’s wife – The Outcaste’s Queen By Kavita Kane

An Overview

Dr. Payal Trivedi

There are events in life we feel we have the RIGHT to change and there are those that make us powerless, Kavita Kane’s novel Karna’s wife – The Outcast’s Queen brings both these facets of life into prominence. As a primary subject matter, the audacity of princess Uruvi to choose Karna, the son of the sutaputra, the charioteer over the royal prince Arjuna as a valiant reformation and comes to the readers as a pleasant surprise. Nonetheless, her powerlessness as a wife to change her husband’s course of improper action is more than evident as Uruvi sees Karna meet the dire consequences of being susceptible to his dutiful adherence towards Duryodhana and his inherent disagreement with the Pandavas.

Despite all her wishful thinking that her husband would come to terms with the truth of being misguided by vengeance towards the Pandavas Uruvi is unable to deviate Karna from the path of his own destruction. This brings us to the acknowledgement of a woman’s opinion being of secondary or negligible importance in a man’s life in spite of it being true. At the same time, Uruvi’s strong denial to be subservient to her man’s choice of being indulgent in his decision of supporting the wrong is a defiance of the conformist notions that subject a woman to blindly consent to her man’s beliefs. When she leaves Karna and opts for a reclusive life away from all the obligations of being a dutiful wife, we see this as the author’s appreciable effort towards dethroning the regular assumptions of modernity towards traditional figures as essentially submissive.

The ending of novel does evoke a sense of resignation towards fate and undoubtedly seems to be a conventional approach towards understanding life. Krishna becomes a clairvoyant messenger in informing Uruvi that she cannot change the predestined fate of her son and cannot escape the massacre of war by just evading the truth of her being a warrior’s wife and her son being the posterity of a royal clan – Angaraj. Nonetheless, this very conventional approach exposes the unspoken or often avoided truth of life as a preordained karmic cycle which is inescapable. While we know for the fact that individual reaps the fruit of one’s own karma, the same fact leads us to acknowledge the fated destiny in case of Karna that brought him to his helpless death end. It is Karna’s own choice that brings his downfall but that same choice was made not out of his own choice to be with the wrong doers. His unfortunate destiny of being Kunti’s illegitimate child was instrumental in shaping up the course of events in his life; an undeniable truth. Kane adopts a more subtle but an effective mode of unravelling the fact of life being a perplexing arena of the constant feud between fate and deeds. This universally pertinent message makes this novel interesting, appealing and even mysteriously absorbing in its own regard.




Identity and Design & Identity in Design

Attributing Design Identity

Taking off from the previous talk on Design Thinking and Attributes of Identity (see Design Thinking – and the Idea of India) this talk is a continuation of the exploration of the relationship between design and identity.

Through a comparative analysis of the meanings of ‘modern’ and ‘Indian’, as seen in contemporary and earlier pieces of architecture and design in India, we see how culture, society and philosophy affect aesthetics and ethics – and thus, the appreciation or articulation of design.

Both these talks were prepared and recorded as part of an online set of public lectures for the students of the School of Architecture, World University of Design in February 2021. For more information on the rest of the talks in the series, please see http://anishashekhar.blogspot.com/p/talks-and-videos.html

https://youtu.be/u3i0y_QnZe0




Folk Arts of India: Madhubani

Image Credit : https://www.artzolo.com/traditional-art/sun-madhubani-painting?id=71024

Madhubani Art form, also referred to as the Mithila art form is a style of Indian paintings that finds its roots in the northern Bihar region of India and the lower regions of Nepal. The Madhubani art form is remarked and characterized by the complex geometrical patterns that these paintings employ to represent ritualistic content of occasions such as festivals etc.

Madhubani paintings find their origin in the Mithila region of Bihar. The tale of Madhubani paintings goes back to the times of Ramayana where it is said that when King Janaka, the father of Sita, had asked the painters of his kingdom to create paintings for his daughter’s wedding, the art form came into existence. From there the knowledge has been passed down to generations and the paintings have beautified the homes of people illustrating thoughts, hopes and dreams.

Image Credit : http://mpcrafts.com/product/madhubani-painting-king-queen-perform-worship-big/

In its initial phases, the Madhubani art form was practised by different strata or sects of peoples which led to the categorization of the art form into five categories viz. Tantrik, Bharni, Godna, Katchni, Khobar. However, with the dissolution of sect and caste-based lines in contemporary times, these styles of Madhubani art form too have fused together. The theme of the Madhubani paintings is heavily focused on the Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Durga etc along with heavenly bodies like the sun and the moon. The paintings also illustrated the scenes of the royal courts and social events like weddings and festivals.

Image Credit :https://www.fizdi.com/madhubani-painting-art024-dulhan-in-doli-art_2168_24963-handpainted-art-painting-15in-x-11in/

The Madhubani paintings are the most famous for their use of complex geometrical figures complemented with the simplicity and the use of brush and the colours often sourced from natural resources. The paintings are predominantly made using powdered rice, along with colours that were extracted from pollen, pigments, turmeric, and leaves and flowers from an array of trees. The empty spaces in the paintings are often filled in with motifs of the flowers, animals and geometrical patterns.

The Madhubani art form is surviving and thriving due to the efforts of the artist who work day in day out to make the world aware of the Madhubani art form. Some notable artists in the domain are Sita Devi, Ganga Devi, Mahasundari Devi and Bharati Dyal. The Madhubani art form is kept alive by institutions such as Kalakriti in Darbhanga, Benipatti in the Madhubani district.

The Madhubani art form is the storehouse of aspiration of the common people illustrating everything from their beliefs to hopes and thoughts.

Independent Project by Abhinav Sharma
Guide ⇒ Prof. Manohar Khushalani

References :

  1. Madhubani Paintings – Cultural India
  2. Madhubani Paintings: People’s Living Cultural Heritage



Folk Arts of India: Gond

Painting By Jangarh Singh Shyam – Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr

Gond art form, as the name suggests is the art form that is practised by the largest one of the largest tribe in India, i.e. the Gond tribe which is housed in central India in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh etc. The word Gond derives its roots from the Dravidian expression, Kond which implies ‘the green mountain’. In the recent times, the importance and the value of the Gond art form has gained such zeinth that the Indian government has stepped in to preserve and profess the art form.

In the central regions of India, paintings have been flourishing since the 1400s. Paintings are an integral part of the Gond traditional practices. The Gonds were of the opinion that viewing images and paintings brought in good luck for them and helped them gain prosperity. The tribe also used the art form to pass on the knowledge of history down the generations. It is due to this very reason that the Gonds traditionally have been creating motifs, tattoos etc. on the floors, walls of their homes.

Muria people a part of Gondi Tribe – Collin Key via Flickr

For the Gonds, the art form is a means to illustrate the close connection the people share with the spirit of nature. The Gonds were of the strong faith that every natural element be it the mountains, the sun, the rivers had a spirit in them. For the people, recreating these acts in art was an act of worship and reverence to that spirit. The mighty Indian mythologies are some other sources of inspiration for the Gond art form.

The Gond art form has striking features in the way the lines are drawn in them in such way that pique the curiosity of the viewer into the subject instantly. A sense of movement and flow was established by the use of waving lines and curvy strokes. The spread of the dots and the dashes in the Gond paintings complement the geometric shapes and patterns employed. The art form regularly employed the shapes like that of fish, water droplets to etch out an expressive value and weight to the painting.

The Gond art form employed sharp, defined colours in the paintings with the canvas being dominated by bright hues of red, yellow and white background to highlight the contrast. The sources of the colours were all natural ranging from plant sap, coloured soil to charcoal.

The Gond art form in contemporary times has reached the global scale with the efforts of modern artists and the steps of the government to preserve the art form.

Independent Project by Abhinav Sharma

Guide ⇒ Prof. Manohar Khushalani

References :

  1. Gond Art : A Folk Art Form with Beautiful Tribal Colours, Themes, and Shapes
  2. Gond Paintings – Capturing the Life and Essence of One of India’s Largest Tribes



The Universe within the Womb / Gouri Nilakantan

Does the cold womb speak to the warm vagina,  are we meant to be bound  and knit into the body, so much so we do not seem to belong, not to have any identity ever?  The guess is not in the mystification nor in the pontification of the  “female” in the eyes of society. Nor it it amongst the peering eyes of manhood and by keeping them as some elusive or exclusive superior race.  It  lies in the individuality and the recognition of the self amongst all.  For once let us not see ourselves only through the wombs , the vaginas, or paling breasts but only as having separate yet same voices.  This through which we can declare strongly enough to be defined as all belonging to each other.

The time to be in categories of gender has long gone, it needs to be attacked and discarded as worthless.  These binaries and super binaries that do not see women as individuals first but use the safety net of phrases of gender are to be  shot down as  fallacies. We have been honoured enough by given powerful names by our ancestors.  We have been given recognition for sounding phrases strong.  Enough of gendering, enough and more than enough, it’s time to think ahead, as “you and me”, and “we all”, “as all of us” that belong entirely to each other.

This will allow us to love unconditionally, to let go unconditionally and remain forever within the societal definitions of a “ wife” “mother” “ daughter” or “sister”.  It will thus also not negate the man as a “ husband” “ father” “ son” or “ brother” and bondages will only only grow stronger and stronger.  Such singular terms of unity therefore allows one to outgrow force and coercion that often come within societal  relationships.  The urge here I see to all of us  only as me and you and forget the male, female, alpha male, alpha female etc.  The society will then accept unconditionality in loving and wanting to be loved.

For once live only for you and me and forget all expectations from each other, not because god says so, or you have enlightened and seen Buddhahood, or emerged victorious from the caves of inner meditation, but only because you truly and truly believe in the selfhood of each person. Wombs will then create the universe with its totality and spirit of mind.  Enjoy and embark in this unconditionality of living and letting to live.      




Tete-a-tete with the Sighting Shadows / Gouri Nilakantan

Firm structures are delusional, they are nothing but myths that we are constantly chasing in our closed mind doors and heavily curtained windows. We have grown to believe that we must adorn structures much like the daily practice of wearing our clothes, taking a shower or having our food. Do we even once care to stop and chase the sighting shadows of the passerby? By not giving authority to these shrouded imprints, we fail to notice the wondrous
sights that life has to offer to us, the miraculous forms and figures of the “much needed to define shadows”.

Shadows of course are hazy, difficult to pin as someone true, and further becomes even more not worth a glance, if it belongs to mere passerby. However, for once it is important to
gaze deeply and give the shadow its much needed worth and respect. The bystander needs to be witnessed thus to give it a valuable definition. It is foremost hence for once to believe
in the onlookers’ misty rooted figures and give it a much needed honorable name. Only then will we witness the miracles of life where these clouded shapes have the power to change…
to change your life.

Once we stop to talk, to think along, cry along the sorrow or laugh along the joys of the onlooker and embark on his journey, we are constructing the paths to universal living and
true harmony with all. One only has to believe that the paths to his story are golden and are the flights of the rainbow to the diamond crusted view of the universe. Each figure has the
potential to hold our attention to such an extent, that we come to realise and recognise the prodigy in each person. Our lives are only enriched by these sighting shadows that have voices and conversations we must not only hear, but hear to recollect to enrich our own ways.

We must therefore join in their sightings and believe in the sightings of clouded beings and discard our own fears to join in their tete-a- tete. Nothing then can be thrown clumsily out as worthless and the value of all is in the faithful spirit of all.




The General having crossed a Torii boundary – Drawing with a Torii and a figure

The trajectory of my art practice takes on a zigzag path sometimes; and at other times a circuitous one or a U-turn that I didn’t expect to take.
The work “The General” is one such. I started off with figure sculptures and then went on to study life drawing at Boston University.




Memories of the Recitative Past

Mind over Misery

All of us are born with memories that we wish to forget and discard like faded photographs having hazy blurry images or the thrown pennings of blue inland letters and creamy pages fading with endearing attachments. We would rather regurgitate the past than carry it within us. Are we in the real sense of failing to remember or do we wish not to hear the words of the recitative past and not get the truthful recollection of the echoing sights? To be called only as a witness is easier than to bear and pour out the visions we wish not to see. The ability to see things as they are, are so difficult to break, that to escape into the light hearted day seems much easier and much more uncomplicated.

No one wants to resound pain, express trauma or grieve for a loss. The identity of the self to happily live only within the confines of the day, going from hour to hour and knocking down the doors of the minutes that dissolves then into seconds, is true serenity and peace. However, many times we need to challenge the tranquillity we have falsely created and listen to the polyphonous sounds of the dead and buried. The graves of the bygone as much as you bury, as much as you decide the deepest depth the coffin should lay, needs the embalming, only and only to cleanse your soul.

To gain the convincing reincarnation of this lost spirit, is only possible if we allow ourselves to cry, lament and mourn for the forgotten memories. Just by dismissing the bygone and not evoking the emotions of sorrow, by not shedding the salty reservoir, we are creating only adulterated personifications of what we term as today. Its reason is enough to moisten the sodden earth of the buried past, so that the watering down can reach the submerged coffins. One has to sometimes open to see the enclosed skeletons and beat one’s breast to lament for the faded photographs or tethered inland letters or torn creamy papers that are screaming to be heard.

So, hear the cries within, grieve for the past, sob along with the beats of your heart and let your tears become the pulse. It will only allow the recitative past to become beautiful, melodious verses of songs of your life you will want to hear again and again.




The Exodus Needs a Companion / Gouri Nilakantan

A home is without any doubt a safe space, an extant that has the infinite capacities to being ourselves; where our clothes need not be washed or ironed and made to be presentable all the time; our unkempt unshaven looks draws no contempt from the gazing mirrors; cutlery can be limited to eating straight out of the pizza box  with greasy tissues thrown carelessly all over the floor; and leisure is our pass time and idyllic conversations the only competing games. The debate arises then, if  we choose to keep this space out of bounds for others, however familial or close.  It is the truth that only when we get this free entitlement to closing these doors of our room, shutting  out those as being totally  non transgerressable, barring these latitudes out of anyone’s reach, do we get a veracious sense of belonging.  The arguments arise loud and the cacophony grows louder  only when we keep these augmented heavens exclusive  for our winged flights, leaving others alone and far behind in what they see as their black earth.

Adoring such realities, one, is discerned to be “ unconventional” or can I say “ odd” to the normal public eye.  However, if we all sieve through the thoughts running in our minds, we  come to this realization, that all of us wish for an exclusive home, that only belongs to us and only to us.  This hearth does not see the privilege only of the “single status” fancy holding few, but to all, men, women or children.  All, I see as wanting to  create an expanse of an unparalleled area that echoes our only headrooms.  We  then come to conclude that we are faithfully heard.  Our tete-a tete might be  limited to the capacity of recording random intramural thoughts, however, inner, however wordless, or however out of tune for others,  it forever plays as a  beautiful melody for our ears.

We, unfortunately, are created as social byproducts and often have to assume suggestive capacity giving roles, inundated with responsibility and risk.  The risk that we can carve out then, for our own employment seems much easier and much more responsible. If created exclusively  for us,  they are results of accurate victories as  being free of failure in the eyes of others. As the endeavours seeked  are for our own purview; and we are un-mockingly forgiving towards ourselves, we sense a literal liberty.  Thus  being unrestrained from scorn, and disdain, we seek everlasting joy in solitude, and  despite being born into a home,  I see the human mind seeking and wandering eternally in the search of this unerring habitat. If our birth homes can define and allow such unconfined liberties, uncontested un-contemptuous ways,  will only then, this never ending sojourns of seeking of ours to belong, cease and stop to identify the true borders of a hinterland.  Let’s become companions to the exodus of the few and return thus to our realistic homes.




Abstractionist Prabhakar Kolte’s Exhibition,’The Mind’s Eye’ opens 9th Oct

Prabhakar Kolte

Prabhakar Kolte was born in 1946 and received his Diploma from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1968. He also taught there between 1972 and 1974. His early works show a strong influence of Paul Klee, the Swiss artist and teacher whose child like figures belie the sophistication of his richly textured surfaces.

Treasure Art Gallery
cordially invites you to the Preview of this

Veteran Abstractionist, Prabhakar Kolte’s
the seminal exhibition The Mind’s Eye

Curated by Uma Nair
Inauguration by Ritu Beri

The other dignitaries who will be a part of the exhibition opening and inauguration are Shri. Adwaita Gadanayak, Director General, NGMA; Shri. Dinesh K Patnaik, Director General, ICCR; Diplomats; Eminent Artists; Prominent Gallerists & Art Collectors.

The Mind’s Eye by Prabhakar Kolte
Treasure Art Gallery
9th October, 2021, 6pm onwards
D/24, Defence Colony, New Delhi – 110024

The Preview will be followed by wine and cheese
The exhibition will be on view until 10th December, 2021. Monday-Saturday, 11am-7pm

R.S.V.P.
Anuj Kumar Boruah/ Shakti Raj Vidyarthi
Conversations Unbound
+91 9958372662 / 9711118189
[email protected]