Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shravanam - Arunachalam - Kaddanuvariki

Collecting music is like the activity of a Honeybee!
It collects honey but rarely does it enjoy it!!

I want to listen to music.
I want others to listen to music.
I want people to talk about music.

It is with this intention that I am bringing another almost hour long performance as a single file.
This is a low bit rate file and can be haerd without breaks.
The track gets downloaded even before you listen half of it!
Even dialup users can enjoy this.

I want some feedback on this trial of mine.
I have a lot of good music to share.
All of us can enjoy it!!

Welcome to Shravanam, the listening platform!

Shravanam 2

Sri Karukuruchi Arunachalam - Nadaswaram - Kaddanuvariki - Todi


Let us enjoy good music!!
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Vipranarayana - Radio Drama - Songs

There is a famous film "Vipranarayana" in which A Nageswara Rao Excelled in the title role.
Many may not know that there is a radio drama written by Sri Devulapalli Krishna Sastry on the theme.
Music was by Sri Balantrapu Rajani Kanta Rao.
Dr Balamurali and Kum Srirangam Gopalaratnam play the lead roles here.
This drama was staged at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad long back.

The same script and music is used by Smt Ratna Papa for her Kuchipudi performance.
Smt Sobha Naidu also stages the drama with her troupe.
I was involved in some way in the latters first production.

I now bring you some songs from the drama sung by Balamurali and Ratnam Garu.
They are ever enjoyable!!

List:

01-Emi_Matale_Sari.mp3
02-Pandemu_Galada.mp3
03-Vedalenide.mp3
04-Tagana_Swamy_with_Padyam.mp3
05-Mundu_Telisena.mp3
06-Vadduvaddu_Suma.mp3
07-Tuluva_manasaye.mp3
08-Vanalona.mp3

Link:
 
http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=10f3f26dc390f408ab1eab3e9fa335caf800b012a63397db
 
Let us enjoy good music!
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Balamurali's Ramadasa Concert - Shravanam

The cassette containingg Ramadasa songs by Balamurali is a big hit and continues to be available even now in the market.
I have been listening to those songs for over decades.
The singers in chorus sometimes mar the quality of the songs at a couple of places.
This is my very personal impression.

Now, I found this 80 minutes concert recording, thanks to a musical soul.
This is ambrosia for music lovers.
The concert was performed on 8-4-1981.
It must be Sri Rama Navami Season.
Murali Garu chose to sing all Bhadradri Ramadasa items in this concert.
Only the opening Rama Ninu Vina (Tyagaraja) and the Tillana (Own) as also his grandfathers composition Ramaramayanarada are exceptions.

Main item Nanubrovamani is a veritable treat.
I uploaded the concert as usual to my folder in Sangeethamshare.
This happens to be my 150th upload there.

I found that even all the members of Sangeethapriya group are not downloading all the concerts.
I felt that there are many who would like to listen to the concert once.
So, I hosted a low bit rate version on the net and made the concert available for easy listening.
Those who want to download can always go to my folder in Sangeethamshare/Sangeethapriya.
Details of the concert

Team:


Dr Mangalampalli Balamurali krishna - Vocal
Sri Annavarapu Ramaswamy - Violin
Sri Mahadevu Lakshmi Narayana Raju - Midangam

List:


01-Ramaninunvina-Shankrabharanam-Tyagaraja.mp3
02-Trakamantaramu-Dhanyasi-Ramadasu.mp3
03-Nanubrovamani_Cheppave-Kalyani-Ramadasu.mp3
04-Palukebangaramayena-Anandabhairavi.mp3
05-Bhajare_Sreeramam-Vakulabharanam-Ramadasu.mp3
06-Ikshwakukulatilaka-Yadukulakambhoji-Ramadasu.mp3
07-E_Teerugananu-Nadanamakriya-Ramadasu.mp3
08-Ramaramayanarada-Sindhubhairavi-Prayaga_Rangadasu.mp3
09-Tillana-Brindavanasaranga_n_Mangalam.mp3

Duration: 01:18:46

The concert is available in a single track!




Let us enjoy good music!!
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Sand and Foam of Kahlil Gibran

I have translated almost the entire collection under the title.
You can read them in my web pages on tripod.
Link is available on the right of the blog page.

Now I am adding more lines from Sand and Foam.

I am thoroghly impressed by Gibran's style and thoughts!!

Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.
నమ్మకమన్నది మనసులోని ఒయాసిస్సు. ఆలోచనతో ప్రయాణికులు దాన్ని అందుకోలేరు.
When you reach your height you shall desire but only for desire; and you shall hunger, for hunger; and you shall thirst for greater thirst.
నీవా ఎత్తుకు ఎదిగిన తర్వాత, కేవలం కోరికలనే కోరుకుంటావు. ఆకలికై ఆకలిగా ఉంటావు. గొప్ప దాహానికై తపిస్తావు.

If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
నీ రహస్యాలను గాలికి చెప్పి, ఆ గాలి వాటిని చెట్లకు చెప్పిందని తప్పు పట్టలేవు.

The flowers of spring are winter's dreams related at the breakfast table of the angels.
వసంత పుష్పాలంటే, దేవతలు తమ భోజనం బల్ల దగ్గర చెప్పుకున్న చలిరాత్రి కథలు.

Said a skunk to a tube-rose, "See how swiftly I run, while you cannot walk nor even creep."
Said the tube-rose to the skunk, "Oh, most noble swift runner, please run swiftly!"
మురికి పంది కందమూలంతో అన్నది గదా, చూడూ నేనెంత వేగంగా పరుగెత్తగలనో, నీవేమో నడవడం కాదు, పాకనుకూడా లేవు అని, కంద ఓ వేగం గల మిత్రమా, వేగంగా పరుగెత్తి వెళ్లి పో అన్నది.

Turtles can tell more about roads than hares.
దారులను గురించి కుందేళ్లకన్నా తాబేళ్లే ఎక్కువ చెప్పగలవు.

Strange that creatures without backbones have the hardest shells.
వెన్నుపాము లేని ప్రాణులకు, అన్నిటికన్నా గట్టి పెంకులుండటం విచిత్రం.

The most talkative is the least intelligent, and there is hardly a difference between an orator and an auctioneer.
ఎక్కువగా మాట్లాడేవానికి తక్కువగా తెలివి ఉంటుంది. మహావక్తకూ వేలం పాటగానికీ తేడా తక్కువే.


Be grateful that you do not have to live down the renown of a father nor the wealth of an uncle.
But above all be grateful that no one will have to live down either your renown or your wealth.
తండ్రి కీర్తికీ పినతండ్రి ధనానికి తగినట్టు నీవు బతకనవసరం లేనందుకు కృతజ్ఞుడుగా ఉండు.
ఇక నీ కీర్తికీ, ధనానికి తగినట్టు ఎవరూ బతకనవసరం లేదని కూడా కృతజ్ఞుడుగా ఉండు.

Only when a juggler misses catching his ball does he appeal to me.
గారడీవాడు బంతిని పట్టుకోలేక పోయినప్పుడు నాకెంతో నచ్చుతాడు.

The envious praises me unknowingly.
అసూయగలవాడు తెలియకుండానే నన్ను పొగుడుతుంటాడు.


Long were you a dream in your mother's sleep, and then she woke to give you birth.
చాలా కాలం మీ అమ్మ కలలో నిద్రలో నీవు కలగా ఉన్నావు. అప్పుడామె నిన్ను కనడానికి మేలుకుంది.

The germ of the race is in your mother's longing.
మీ వంశానికి అంకురం మీ అమ్మ కోరికలో ఉంది.

My father and mother desired a child and they begot me.
And I wanted a mother and a father and I begot night and the sea.
మా అమ్మా నాన్న ఓ పిల్లవాడిని కోరుకుని నన్ను కన్నారు.
నాకు అమ్మ, నాన్న కావాలనుకున్నాను, రాత్రీ, సముద్రం దొరికాయి.

Some of our children are our justifications and some are but our regrets.
మన పిల్లల్లో కొంతమంది మన సమర్థనలు, కొంతమంది మన క్షమాపణలు.

When night comes and you too are dark, lie down and be dark with a will.
And when morning comes and you are still dark stand up and say to the day with a will, "I am still dark."
It is stupid to play a role with the night and the day.
They would both laugh at you.
రాత్రి వచ్చి నీవూ నలుపై ఉంటే, కోరి నలుపుగాపడి ఉండు.
ఉదయమయ్యి ఇంకా నీవు నలుపుగా ఉంటే, లేచి కోరికతో దినానికి విషయం చెప్పు.
రాత్రి పగళ్లతో కలిసి నటించడం బుద్ధిలేని పని.
అవి రెండూ నిన్నుచూచి నవ్వుతాయి.

The mountain veiled in mist is not a hill; an oak tree in the rain is not a weeping willow.
పొగమంచువల్ల కనపడనంత మాత్రాన కొండ గుట్ట కాదు. వర్షంలో వంగినంత మాత్రాన మహా వృక్షం చిన్నది కాదు.

Behold here is a paradox; the deep and high are nearer to one another than the mid-level to either.
ఇదోక విరోధాభాసం. లోతు ఎత్తు రెండూ, మధ్యస్థానం కన్నా ఒకదానికొకటి దగ్గరగా ఉంటాయి.

When I stood a clear mirror before you, you gazed into me and saw your image.
Then you said, "I love you."
But in truth you loved yourself in me.
నేనొక శుభ్రమయిన అద్దాన్ని నీ ముందుంచితే, నీవు నాలోకి చూచావు, నీ బొమ్మే కనుపించింది.
అప్పుడు నీవు, నీవంటే నాకిష్టం అన్నావు.
కానీ నిజానికి , నీకు నాలోని నీవంటే ఇష్టం.

When you enjoy loving your neighbor it ceases to be a virtue.
నీ పొరుగింటి వానిని ప్రేమించడంలో నీకు ఆనందం దొరికితే, అది ఇక మంచి గుణంగా మిగలదు.

Let us enjoy some great works of thought!!
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Stream and the Desert

This is a story about the importance of change.
Ususally the first reaction to change is resistance.
But, without change we cannot expect much progress.
This is an ancient story.
It is interesting to note that wise people have identified the importance of change long back.

Read the story!

ప్రవాహం - ఎడారి


అది ఒక ప్రవాహం. దూరంగా ఉండే కొండలలో పుట్టింది.

అక్కడి నుంచి అందాలతో నిండిన రకరకాల ప్రాంతాల మీదుగా ప్రవహించింది.

చివరకొక ఎడారిని చేరింది.

అన్నిచోట్లా ఎన్నో అడ్డంకులను దాటుతూ ప్రవహించినట్లే, ఎడారిని కూడా దాటేయాలనుకున్నది ప్రవాహం. కానీ ఇసుకలోకి ప్రవేశించిందో లేదో, దాని నీరంతా మాయమయి పోతున్నది.

అయినా ఎడారిని దాటాలని ప్రవాహం పట్టుదలగా ఉంది. మరి ఏమిటి దారి

అంతట్లో ఎడారిలోనుంచి ఒక అదృశ్యవాణి వినిపించింది. “గాలి ఎడారిని దాటుతుంది. మరి ప్రవాహం కూడా ఎడారిని దాటగలగాలి” అన్నది ఆ గొంతు గుసగుసగా. ఆ గొంతు ఎడారి ఇసుకదే.

కానీ ఇసుకలోనేమో ప్రవాహం మాయమయి పోతున్నది. గాలి ఎగరగలుగుతుంది. అందుకే అది ఎడారిని దాటగలుగుతుంది. ప్రవాహానికి అనుమానంగా ఉంది.

“అవును! నీ పద్ధతిలో నీవు పరుగులు పెడితే, ఎడారిని దాటలేవు. లేకుండ పోతావు. లేదంటే మడుగవుతావు. నీవు గాలిని ఆశ్రయించాలి. గాలి నిన్ను ఎత్తుకుపోయి గమ్యం చేరుస్తుంది” అన్నది గొంతు.

“అదెట్లా?” అన్నది ప్రవాహం.

“గాలి నిన్ను తనలోకి పీల్చుకుంటుంది.”

అది ప్రవాహానికి నచ్చలేదు. ప్రవాహమంటే ఎదురు లేని పద్ధతి. స్వంత గుర్తింపు గల పద్ధతి. తన గుర్తింపును పోగొట్టుకుంటే, అది తిరిగి దొరికేనా, అనుమానం పుట్టింది.

“గాలి తనపని తాను చేస్తుంది. నీటిని గ్రహించి ఎడారిని దాటుతుంది. అక్కడ వదిలేస్తుంది. వర్షంగా కురిసిన నీరు తిరిగి ప్రవాహమవుతుంది!” అన్నది ఇసుక.

“నాకేమిటి నమ్మకం?”

“నమ్మకపోతే బురదగుంటగా మిగులుతావు. అదికూడా ఒకపూటలో జరిగే పనికాదు. అది ప్రవాహానికిపట్టవలసిన గతీకాదు.”

“నేను ప్రవాహంగా ఉన్నాను, ప్రవాహంగానే ఉండిపోలేనా?”

“ఏ రకంగానూ అది వీలయేట్టు లేదు. మారితే మళ్లీ ప్రవాహంగానూ మారే వీలుంది. అప్పుడూ నిన్ను ప్రవాహమనే అంటారు. ఇవాళటి ప్రవాహానికీ ఆ ప్రవాహానికీ తేడా ఏమిటి?”

ప్రవాహం తీవ్రంగా ఆలోచించింది. ఒకప్పటి తన స్థితి కళ్లముందు మెదిలింది. అంతా తానేనా? అంతా ఉండేదా? గాలిలోనుంచే పుట్టిందా ఏమిటి తాను? తాను తానేనా నిజంగా ?

ప్రవాహం గాలిని ఆశ్రయించింది. ఆవిరయింది. ఎత్తులకు ఎగిసింది. ఎడారిని దాటింది. కొండ మీద కురిసింది. ప్రవాహంగా మారింది. ప్రవాహానికిందంతా ఈసారి గుర్తుంది.

“అవును! నా అసలు రూపం సంగతి ఇప్పుడు అర్థమయింది.” అనుకున్నది ప్రవాహం. అది పాఠాలు నేర్చింది.

“అవును! ఇది కలకాలంగా జరుగుతున్న చక్రక్రమం. అంతటా వ్యాపించిన మాకది ఎప్పుడో తెలుసు!” అన్నది ఇసుక.

జీవన ప్రవాహం నడిచే తీరు కూడా ఇసుక మీద రాసి ఉందంటారు అందుకే.



A STREAM, from its source in far-off mountains, passing through every kind and description of countryside, at last reached the sands of the desert. Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.

It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way.

Now a hidden voice, coming from the desert itself, whispered: The Wind crosses the desert, and so can the stream.'

The stream objected that it was dashing itself against the sand, and only getting absorbed: that the wind could fly, and this was why it could cross a desert. 'By hurtling in your own accustomed way you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over, to your destination.' But how could this happen?

'By allowing yourself to be absorbed in the wind.' This idea was not acceptable to the stream. After all, it had never been absorbed before. It did not want to lose its individuality. And, once having lost it, how was one to know that it could ever be regained?

'The wind', said the sand performs this function. It takes up water, carries it over the desert, and then lets it fall again. Falling as rain, the water again becomes a river.'

'How can I know that this is true?' 'It is so, and if you do not believe it, you cannot become more than a quagmire, and even that could take many, many years; and it certainly is not the same as a stream.'

'But can I not remain the same stream that I am today?'

You cannot in either case remain so,' the whisper said. ‘Your essential part is carried away and forms a stream again. You are called what you are even today because you do not know which part of you is the essential one.'

When he heard this, certain echoes began to arise in the thoughts of the stream. Dimly, he remembered a state in which he—or some part of him, was it?—had been held in the arms of a wind. He also remembered—or did he?—that this was the real thing, not necessarily the obvious thing, to do.

And the stream raised his vapour into the welcoming arms of the wind, which gently and easily bore it upwards and along, letting it fall softly as soon as they reached the roof of a mountain, many, many miles away. And because he had had his doubts, the stream was able to remember and record more strongly in his mind the details of the experience. He reflected, 'Yes, now I have learned my true identity.'

The stream was learning. But the sands whispered: 'We know, because we see it happen day after day: and because we, the sands, extend from the riverside all the way to the mountain.'

And that is why it is said that the way in which the Stream of Life is to continue on its journey is written in the Sands.

Let us enjoy change in life!!
$$$$$$$$

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Madurai Mani Iyer at Calcutta

Sri Thiagarajan has been and continues to be a musical soul.
In his late age Carnatic Music is his soul companion.
His music collection is as rich as his collection of experiences and anecdotes.
Sri Thiagarajan was reluctant in sharing the following with people.
He thinks that people may not take it in the right spirit.
Ultimately he left the decision to me!
So, here is his tribute to the friend and a top musician Sri Madurai Mani Iyer!!

Tribute to the late madurai mani iyer

By Sri Thiagarajan Rathakrishnan
 I have had the privilege and pleasure to get acquainted with the late Madurai Mani iyer . I wish to record my great respect and regards for him through your site.

My wife kamala thiagarajan and I were in Calcutta from 1952 to 1969. We had a friend and a well wisher the late n viswnathan of the Calcutta electric supply corporation, he and his wife were also a distant relation to us.

The late madurai mani iyer whenever he came to Calcutta for concerts, he was the honored guest of viswanathan. In one of his visits my wife and i were introduced to him. The first words mani iyer said was that nannu palimpa by my wife on veena in the all India radio concert was good. It was indeed a great complement. He said he keeps on the radio on throughout the day, and listens to the concerts, irrespective of the grade of the artistes.

He had come to Calcutta for a concert on 27.10.1962. We met him as usual. We were however very much disturbed to see him shivering in the cold. That was the beginning of the winter in the north. We suggested he must have a razaai and offered to get him one.. It was a Sunday. Most of the shops were closed. We went round bhowanipur and found a shop open. We got a razaai, though not a very good one, and gave it to mani iyer. I cannot express in words in words how he felt comfortable in the razaai. He thanked us so much. In the evening he was on the stage with his razaai on. He called it a razaai kachcheri. He did not stop with that. He sang kamalambike in thodi and thyagarajaya namaste in begada. A great tribute indeed to us. I had the recordings of the concert kindly presented to us by viswanathan. And I preserve them even to day..


We used to visit him often in Chennai. He was an excellent conversationalist. He narrated several of his experiences. We became good friends with his mother, sisters and the late vembu iyer. i am not competent to speak on his concerts, but the one I remember is his concert in the sai baba temple in alamelumangapuram, next to our house, during the navarathri festival. The entire place was full with no space to move about. What is more inportant was the people of the poorest section (from the slums if I may call it) had gathered to listen to him in pin drop silence. He sang a ragam tanam pallavi - gandhi mahan vazhi nadappom - in shanmukhapriya. A superb one. I believe this one is in sangeethapriya. In one of his concerts in calcutta I requested him to sing shanta muleka in sama. He said I must hear it from alattur but he did swaraprasthara in the pallavi..

I can write more. But I do not want to take your space. May his soul rest in peace.

Sri Thiagarajan sent me the recordings of the two above mentioned items from the Razaai concert.
I bring them here for your listening pleasure!
 
01) Kamalmbike - Todi

  Link:
http://www.4shared.com/audio/8DJoWGci/03-Kamalambike-Todi-MMI.html
 
02) Sri Tyagarajaya Namaste - Begada

 Link:
http://www.4shared.com/audio/V8Y0Oemg/04-Tyagarajaya-Begada-MMI.html
 
I also bring an excellent Jyotiswaroopini played on the Veena by Smt. Kamala Thiagarajan!

Link:
http://www.4shared.com/audio/Uocakp8T/03-KT-Jyotiswarupini26.html
 
Let us enjoy good music!!
@@@@@@

Sumati Padyam on Leadership

ఒక యూరికి నొక కరణము
నొక తీర్పరియైనగాక నొగి దరచైనన్
గకవికలు గాక యుండునె?
సకలంబును గొట్టువడక సహజము సుమతీ

Oka yUriki noka karaNamu
noka tIrpariyainagAka nogi daracainan
gakavikalu gAka yunDune?
sakalambunu gottuvadaka sahajamu sumatI


ఒక యూరికిన్ = For a village

ఒక కరణము = One accountant

ఒక తీర్పరియైనగాక = One Judge

ఒగి దరచైనన్ = If there are more

గకవికలు గాక యుండునె? = Would it not be confusion?

సకలంబును = Everything

గొట్టువడక = without becoming problematic

సహజము = It is natural

సుమతీ = Oh the Wise one

These days we talk of collective leadership.
The management may be good enough as long as there is harmony among the leaders .
We are witness to the problems of collective leadership at the top level.
Half the time the leaders spend their days in keeping the flock together.
Baddena identified this problem long ago.
He says there should be only one person looking after the money matters of the village.
Karanams were the revenue officers at the village level till recently.
There cannoot be more than one such officer for a village says the poet.
Similarly the one who discharges justice at the village also should be only one person.
This is a point for discussion now!
If there is only one person giving judgements would he become autocratic?
History has such examples.
The poets questions that if there are more people involved in the affairs of the village, would it not naturally lead the situation into chaos?
 
It is always told that too many cooks spoil the broth.
Poet thus recommends a solid leadership!
On th whole he means that we have to be conscious about the quality of teh leadership and think well before selecting a leader. 
 
The verses in the Satakams are based on the collective experiences.
With passing times some of these ideas may call for a review.
 
Classic wisdom makes us think!!
%%%%%%

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Page from my Diary

cannot see far enough when looking back.
I can see only as far as there is light.
Just because it is not visible, if said there is nothing beyond, it will be unjust.
To see the details there I have to have light in me.
I have got to have lot of patience to search.
The miner goes into the deep with a light on his head.
It looks someone arranged a lamp on his feet.
They can show a little way ahead.
To look into the abyss, to search the details of the infinite, these mini lamps would not suffice.
With the oil of curiousty to learn, we have to light the wick of mind.
Then we would feel as if understanding till the end.
As the vsison progresses the screens would melt away.
All people from past would walk into the present and greet you.
In the pages of books and the cupboards there is a lot of light.
Fold it and lock it, it would never venture out.
There is a lot of light at a place where people get together.
We also have the required paraphernalia to share it and fetch it along.
If you fold it and keep it safe in the mind, however much you turn back, nothing would be visible.
Even right before you theer would be darkness, screens and obscurity.
One who cannot peep into the past cannot see the present.
Cannot go further.
Look back. Is there light?
Light the wick of mind. Is there light?
*******




Creation

And God said "Let there be world!"
Thus started this world, says Christianity.

Holy Khuran tells about creation in Sura-e-Arrad.
It is also a quick work.

Bhagavatam of Vyasa details the creation elaborately.
The time taken for creation is longer here.

I found an interesting art work about creation as per the Chinese tradition.
It says that unlike the western creation theory, in which world was made in seven days, according to Chinese legend it took the mythological God, Pang Ku, eighteen years create order from chaos - earth as it is known today!!



What happens then, to the theories of Big Bang and Organic Evolution?
Can order be brought in in seven days or even in eighteen years?
The experience tells us that there is no order even today in this world?
What is order?
can it be achieved?
Would it be realised one day?

Let us think about it!
Let us not create any more disorder at least.

Can we?
$$$$$$$$$

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vijaya Siva - Old Album

On popular demand I am bringing here another album of Sri Vijaya Siva.
It is an old album from his younger days.
I really wonder how this gentleman has changed with the age!
He looks too old for his age!
Well! His music has also gained age and it is much more attractive now.
It has the element of maturity now.
Not that it was lacking at a point of time.
DK school of music is known for its weight and variety as it is!!

List of the items in the present album:

02 Chede Buddhi - Athana.mp3
03 Bilahari Ragam.mp3
04 Paridanamichite - Bilahari.mp3
05 Tulasamma - Devagandhari.mp3
06 Kharaharapriya Ragam.mp3
07 Janakipate - Kharaharapriya.mp3
08 Ehi Annapurne - Punnagavarali.mp3
09 Marubari - Khamas.mp3
10 Tillana - suruti.mp3
11 Pagaivanukku - Ragamalika.mp3

Sri R K Sriram Kumar on Violin and J Vaidyanathan on Mridangam are the accompaniments.
Item No.1 is missing and I will try to add it in a few days.
 
Link:
 
http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=10f3f26dc390f408ab1eab3e9fa335cabb18be9f9a9e80eb
 
Let us enjoy good music!!
@@@@@@

Asharaju - Ogaru

Asharaju is emerging as an exceptionally different poet with each collection.
I was yet to come out of the moods he created with "Ogaru" and he sent the next collection!!
Ogaru is an interesting collection with some offbeat kind of poetry.

You will agree that he is different even with one poem.
Here it is!!


I tried to translate the poem and ask for your forgiveness if I could not get the mood totally!!

Rajamani's dying declaration


Cutting my legs, I am proceeding with them on the shoulders.


Grass on the ground is burnt as the moonlight pured on it. Someone is selling human heads at midnight. A beauty poured petrol on me and set fire because I loved hard. Near the Masoleum she built, my ash heap melted in the rain.


There the house collapsed. The book remained half torn near the remains. She ate, cleaned the plate and threw the water on me. From then on by broken Saudamini, she left the lane itself. Eyeballs fell down while washing the face.


Took the ocean into the fist and kept pressed under the black gravel stone. Broken ships like the net, lifting the coast as it is. Two lovers stabbed each other, drank the blood, and fell asleep.

Someone burnt the hand and with the burning smell of the skin, was tracing the paces to the man. Right on the mid road, slashing the throats of wife and children, was begging flowers.

Perhaps it is here a woman delivered a babe. only hence the fort's entrabce fell down razed.

Dommari Rajamani! How long will you walk on the iron wire with only one foot? Jump on to the handicapped fellow standing below and watching teh beauty of your bony calves, then die! I will play the drums till the corpses come alive and dance!

(Hyderbad Mirror 6th April 2009)
I dare not translate this folk song like poem!!
I have written another poem in Telugu after reading this poem.
I will bring it to you at a later point in time.
Not now, surely!!
I know you understand!!

I will be failing if I don't mention that this is a wonderfully produced book!!
I wish every writer and poet takes equal interest in bringing out their works like this!



Let us enjoy good poetry!!
#####

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paintings

Usually we find only males as famous painters.
Smt Damerla Satyavani wife of Sri Rama Rao was an accomplished artist.
Here is another lady, Smt Kowtha Swarajya Lakshmi who made her mark as a painter.

Kolanu Vaddaku

Pada Dhwani


Kamalalu by Mokkapati Krishna Murthy

(These images are from Rasamayi magazine)

Let us enjoy good works of art!!
######

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Features on Music

Radio features are very educative!
When it comes to subjects like music, print medium is a no-no!
However much you write is not enough!

Radio has brought Indian classical music to the man on the street.
It is always interesting to listen to some of these features.

I have put up a collection of features here for those who have missed them.
Please listen to them not withstanding the langauge barriers.
Since you are interested in music, you will sure understand these ideas.
Music has a universal language.
That is what is made out in these features.


01) Raganubhavam - Telugu

This is about the common factors in various styles of muisc.
It also speaks about enjoying the classical muisc as it is!

02) Samvadi - Telugu

This feature talks about Harmonics and the principle of Vadi and Samvadi in Carnatic music.
It was much appreciated in teh music circles.

03) Music appreciation - English

This featue talks about the introductory aspects of Carnatic Music.
It was meant for youngsters who wanted to learn baout CM.
It also was appreciated a lot at that time.

04) Invisible Vision - Telugu Version

An award winning feature which talks about teh unique nature of Radio medium.
It explains the place of musical effects and real sounds in visualisng the scenes heard on the radio.
A Master piece!

Here are two more classics from AIR's archives.

01) Shiva Kshetra Yatra

A musical feature on the Saivaite places of pilgrimage in Andhra Pradesh.
Very popular songs of yester years were basically part of this feature.
Siva Siva Siva Yanarada, Endukaya Samba Siva, Harahara are some of them.

02) Kaliyuga Vaikuntham

A Vintage feature on describing the trek to Tirumala and teh contemporary details.
Compare Tirumala of teh present days, and you will be surprised to core.
This is a must liten feature for all.

Link to the folder:

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=10f3f26dc390f408ab1eab3e9fa335cad0c645331ac4e45a

Let us enjoy good music and musical ideas!
@@@@@@

Who is Jane Goodall?

జేన్ గుడాల్ ఎవరు?




టార్జాన్ అనే అడివి మనిషి గురించి కథల పుస్తకాలు సినిమాలు వచ్చాయి. టార్జాన్ కథానాయకుడయితే, కథానాయకురాలి పేరు జేన్. కథ అక్కడి వరకే. ఆమె పేరు జేన్ గుడాల్ కాదు. ఆ పేరుగలావిడ నిజంగా ఉన్నారు. ఆమె ప్రపంచం పట్టకుండా, ఆఫ్రికాలోను టాంగన్యీకా సరస్సు ప్రాంతంలో గోంబీ అనే చోట, చింపాంజీలను గురించి పరిశోధనలు చేస్తూ అడవుల్లో కాలం గడుపుతున్నారు.


ఈ ప్రపంచంలో రకరకాల జంతువులను గురించి రకరకాల పరిశోధనలు చేస్తున్నవారు లెక్కలేనంతమంది ఉన్నారు. కానీ అందరిలోకీ ఈ జేన్ ఎంతోప్రత్యేకత గల వ్యక్తి.


మానవుల పరిణామం, చరిత్ర గురించి పరిశోధనలు జరిపిన ఎస్. బీ. లీకీ గారి బృందంలో జేన్ గుడాల్ కూడా చేరారు. ఈ రంగంవారికి ఆఫ్రికా అంటే స్వంత పరిశోధనశాల లాంటిది గనుక, గురువుగారితోబాటు ఆమెకూడా అక్కడికి వెళ్లారు. గురువుగారు, “నువ్వు ఇక్కడే ఉండి చింపాంజీల ప్రవర్తన, సమస్యల గురించి, పరిశోధన చేయవచ్చుగదా!’ అన్నారు. జేన్ “సరే”నన్నారు. అదెప్పుడో తెలుసా 1960 సంవత్సరంలో. ఆనాటినుంచి నేటి వరకు, జేన్ ఆ అడవులలోనే గడుపుతున్నారు. అదీ పట్టుదలంటే.


పదేళ్లపాటు ఆవిడ, చింపాజీల ప్రవర్తనను గురించి పరిశీలిస్తూ గడిపారు. పుట్టలోనుంచి చీమలను తీయడానికి చింపాంజీలు పుల్లలను వాడుకుంటాయని మొట్టమొదట ఆమే గమనించారు. ఆ చింపాంజీల మాంసాహారం, కుటుంబ వ్యవస్థ లాంటి మరెన్నో ఆసక్తికరమయిన అంశాలను గమనించి, పుస్తకాలుగా, పరిశోధన పత్రాలుగా ప్రకటించారు.


జేన్ గుడాల్ ప్రపంచ ప్రసిద్ధ పరిశోధకురాలు అని పేరు సంపాదించుకున్నారు. అక్కడే అడవిలోనే, తమ స్వంత పరిశోధన సంస్థను ప్రారంభించారు. అడవినే తమ ఇంటిగా గుర్తించుకున్నారు. ప్రజలకు చింపాంజీల రక్షణ అవసరం గురించి తెలియజేయాలని, ఆమె అమెరికా, బ్రిటన్, కెనడా దేశాల్లో తమ పరిశోధన సంస్థ శాఖలను ఏర్పాటు చేసి, ప్రచారం చేస్తున్నారు. “చింపాంజీలు చాలా మటుకు మనలాంటివే. మనుషులకూ ఇతర జంతుజాతులకూ మధ్య వారధిలాంటివి!” అని అంటారు జేన్.


ఇంకా పెద్ద వయసు రాని ఒక మగ చింపాంజీ, దిక్కులేని ఒక పిల్ల చింపాంజీని తెచ్చుకుని పెంచుకున్న తీరు, వాటి స్వభావానికి గుర్తింపుగా జేన్ గుడాల్ పరిశోధనల్లో తెలిసింది.


ఒక విషయానికి జీవితం అంకితం చేసిన వ్యక్తుల గురించి చెప్పడానికి జేన్ చక్కని ఉదాహరణ.

Who is Jane Goodall?

There are books and films about a character by name Tarzan. He lives in jungles. If the hero of the stories is Tarzan, heroine is Jane! The story ends there. This Jane is not a Goodall! There exists a lady with the name Jane Goodall in this world right now. Unmindful of the world, she lives in the Gombi forests in the Tanganyika area of Arica. She spends her time there researching Chimpanzees. There are many researchers researching many animals in this world. But, Jane is an exceptional researcher.


Jane joined the group of scientists under the leadership of S B Leaky, who studied human evolution and history extensively. Since Africa happens to be a place like the own laboratory for people in this line Jane also went there along the leader. The leader asked her to stay there and research the life of Chimpanzees. Jane accepted. Do you have any idea when all this happened? It was 1960. Till date Jane is still there in those forests. That is real dedication.


For ten years, Jane researched the behavioral patterns of chimps. She was the oen to notice for the first time that chimps use tools like a twig to pull out ants from a anthill. She also found out the meat eating chimps and the family hierarchy in the species and many more things. She published many such results as books and research papers.


Jane Goodall is now known as a reputed researcher. She has established her own research organization in the same forest. She chose the place as her home. With a view of educating the populace on the need of conservation of the chimps she has established branches of her institute in America, Canada and Britain and is working extensively. She says that Chimps are after all like us and they are the links between humans and the other animal races.


Jane noticed that an old chimpanzee taking a young orphan into its fold and rearing it jealously. She says that this is the identity of the race.

Science and life spent in science are always interesting!!
>>>>>>>>>

Friday, June 11, 2010

Silence!! - A Poem



I am Kamehameha of column five

Counting on the strings on your Lyre

That gave up much before the performance

Corridors of the Auditorium were stirringly slippery

The music slipped from the windows onto the

Slouching shoulders of the sulking old woman under the banyan tree

Tears roll down the grass and create Tsunamis in the hinterland

Sh… Shh….. Shhh….

Silence is much better than

The silken darks of Sanity!!

Music unheard is much forceful than the heard

Intentions are counter

Many years ago man waded in the mire of my thoughts

Do you?

Call back home and find out if cassava is growing well?

Tender man!

It is not your fault

Sun shone like this for eons on this greener land

Swords made it musty

Can’t take you further into the folds of sulcii and gyrii

Blood curdling bandit song it was!!

Forget it old man!

Go ahead with your performance even if the hall is overflowing!

I did that and I am here!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dr. N Ramani - Flute

Nadaswaram and Flute had been my choice instruments for ever.
Ramani Sir has always been brnging the best out of the flute.
Here is an old LP album of Sri Natesan Ramani!!
This is a favourite album with the class expressed as briefly as it could be.
I had this album with me for decades.
Good things are meant to be shared!
Here it is!

A write up:


Padmashri Nadesan Ramani (also known as Flute Ramani, b. 1934) is a renowned Indian Carnatic flautist from Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu. He is a disciple of the legendary T. R. Mahalingam, known more commonly as "Mali," who first popularised the Carnatic flute in Indian music. The birthplace of Ramani is symbolic in that Carnatic musicians consider Tiruvarur the sacred sanctuary of Carnatic music, being the birthplace of the "trinity" of Carnatic composers, Saint Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Shastri who laid the foundation for the tradition. Aside from the influence of his place of birth, Ramani was born into a musical family. Ramani's grandfather, Sri Aazhiyur Narayanaswami Iyer, was his first guru and was a well known flute artist and singer himself. Aware of young Ramani's keen interest in the Carnatic flute, Ramani's initiation to Carnatic music began at the age of five. Although Palladam Sanjeeva Rao was Sharaba Shastri's successor, it was "Mali" and N. Ramani, who brought international attention to the Carnatic flute both in their own distinct flute playing techniques, with the latter improving on the former's methods. The "Mali" bani encompassed facial expressions such as slight tilting of the head, varied movement of the lips which produced the vocal effect in the Carnatic never explored before by Sharaba Shastri or Palladam Sanjeeva Rao. Bringing out more of the tradition Mali introduced in the playing of the Carnatic flute, Ramani's distinctive style is the transformation of the Carnatic flute into the voice of a proficient Carnatic vocalist. Stressing such importance on the emphasis of vocal style of playing, he displayed characteristics of the human voice in his concerts often observed in his fast paced yet melodious performances. According to Ramani, "Mali's teaching methods were worth emulating. A good teacher should be open to learning from his students too. Mali learnt Aahiri raga from me, which I had learnt from T. Vishwanathan, Balasaraswathi's brother". In 1996, he gained the most prestigious title/award in Carnatic music, Sangeetha Kalanidhi. N. Ramani's performances in All India Radio (AIR) have received numerous praises from renonwned Hindustani and Carnatic musicians alike and his performances overseas had been recognised with numerous awards. Some of the highlights include the Sangeetha Kalanidhi, awarded by the Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, the Sangeetha Acharya award from Wasser College, U.S., the honorary citizenship status in Maryland, Ohio, U.S., and the Padma Shri Award from the President of India. He holds an honorary Cultural Doctorate from The World University of Arizona.

List:

01-Idi_Nyayama-Malavi.mp3
02-Govardhana_Gireesam-Hindolam.mp3
03-Smarasada-Bilahari.mp3
04-Muralidhara-Behag.mp3

Link:
 
http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=10f3f26dc390f408ab1eab3e9fa335ca912fc26eca449ca3
 
Let us enjoy good music!!
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Vijaya Siva - Vocal

Sri Vijaya Siva is the torch bearer of the DK school of music.
You can always look for the same novelty and class in his performances.
I am amazed at the family that has a full compliment of artists for a concerts.
Blessed are the parents who groomed the children so well.

A write up on Vijaya Siva with an interview!


N.Vijay Siva has evolved himself as a musician with pure values. His music makes a clear statement of his forthrightness and self-confidence. The message is even clearer when you notice the portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Tilak, Gokhale, V. O. Chidamabaram, Rajaji and Sardar Vallabhai Patel adorning the walls of his drawing room, Despite the busy December season, he settles down for an exchange…



My paternal grandmother, Meenakshi Ammal, first cousin of S. Balachander, was very mush into Fine Arts. She inspired me a lot. Good at vocal and veena, my father A.N.Siva, was also an amateur actor with the Sangeethanjali troupe.


‘Manthralaya Mahan’ is one of their famous plays. My mother is a gold medallist (1965) from Music College, Adyar, and had learnt music under stalwarts there. My uncle A.S.Siva was good at composing songs in classical music, and in staging plays.


My parents wanted us to be trained in music, though they did not intend making us professionals in the field. Yet my sister Poorna Vaidyanthan, brother Manoj and I are into music, full time. It’s His will. I firmly believe that more than the genes, it is the atmosphere you grow in that shapes you. To cite a couple of examples, D.K.Pattammal is the first musician in her family and so is P.Unnikrishnan.


I feel blessed to have been a student of PSBB School. The teachers, under the dynamic leadership of Mrs.YGP, have the acumen to identify the inherent talent in each student. In fact, it is their forte. They create an atmosphere where the student is allowed to open up. His strength is assessed and nurtured to blossom further.

Till date I receive the blessings of my teachers who keep tabs on my career and correct me when I am wrong. G.J.R. Krishnan, R.K.Sriramkumar, Mullaivasal Chandramouli and Anuradha Sriram were all my school mates. A similar atmosphere continued in Vivekananda College too, where I did my B.Com.


I was exposed to music from childhood because of my environment. Our family has always had an ear for good music. It was not a formal training under my mother, but a natural exposure, while she was teaching or practising.


I came under the tutelage of D.K. Jayaraman in 1977, and after his demise it has been under his sister D. K. Pattammal. My mother was his student. Since my talent was spotted at a very early age, to shape it up well, I was made his student. The Vedas speak of three types of Gurus. DKJ is my Uttama Guru. He was like Sage Narada, knowing every minute detail about his disciples and giving them what they needed. He would go out of the way to teach kritis.


So it is with DKP. Once, knowing that I was going to sing on Shyama Sastri Day, she summoned me over phone to come and learn the rare ‘Mangalam’ composed by him! Until then I never knew of its existence! DKP amma keeps track of my development. As she is aging there are no regular classes now, but it is Divine guidance I get from her.

You’d be surprised to know that I was trained by Kumbakonam Rajappaier in playing the mridangam. I even reached a performing level in it.

It is an eternal search. Through music you reach God. We are told that it has to go on and on till we realise it.

Earlier the country and God were seen as one. For Bharatiyar, Parasakti and Bharat Matha were the same. The freedom fighters underwent untold suffering to gain Independence for us.

Desa bhakti is very important. Sacrifice begins at home and slowly permeates into society. Sardar Vallabhai Patel was a great administrator and We are yet to see a person like him. Dr.Rajendra Pasad had great respect for ancient arts. A lot of fillip was given to cultural development and music during his tenure. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam largely emulated him.

At home we never allow ourselves to forget those who toiled for the country. That should explain the presence of pictures of great leaders in our house.


I take each concert as an experience and not a test. I enjoy the camaraderie with my colleagues in the profession. We share a good rapport. The large-heartedness of the seniors who are now past their fifties is a lesson for us youngsters to imbibe. Why should there be room for politics when there is space for every one? The talented and the industrious will win recognition, sooner or later. No one can come between the performer and the rasika. Our seniors have paved the way, let’s follow them.

Here is a gem of an album by Sri Vijaya Siva.
Sri R K Sriram Kumar on Violin and Sri Mnaoj Siva on Mridangam.

List: 

01-Saketanagaranatha-Harikambhoji.mp
02-Kausaleya-Gowrimanohari.mp3
03-Raghupate_Rama-Shahana.mp3
04-Devadevam_Bhaje-Dhanyasi.mp3
05-Kalyanarama-Hamsanadam.mp3
06-Mamava_Pattabhirama-Manirangu.mp3

Link:

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=10f3f26dc390f408ab1eab3e9fa335ca9c1c45ad527946b1

Let us enjoy good music!!
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rajamahendri Kshetra Patalu - A Book on Paintings

This is an interesting book.
I stumbled on it because I was asked to review it.
That was long ago.

The review is available on my site also.

రాజమహేంద్రి క్షేత్రపటాలు, సాదృశ్య పరిశీలన





దృశ్య కళా దీపిక - విశాఖపట్నం.

సుమారు రెండు వందల యాభయి సంవత్సరాల క్రితం రాజమహేంద్రి వాస్తవ్యులయిన నందిగం నాగేశం, కొమరౌతు వెంకటేశం అనే చిత్రకారులు వివిధ దేవతల చిత్రాలను రాశారు. వీటిలో 33 చిత్రాలు దేశంలో ఉన్న క్షేత్రాలకు సంబంధించినవి. మిగతావి రామాయణం బొమ్మలు. పటాలలోని విగ్రహాల గురించిన వివరణను కొలపల్లి బుచ్ని (బుచ్చి అయ్యుండాలి) రాశారు. మరో గుర్తు తెలియని వ్యక్తి పారశీకంలో వివరణ రాశాడు. ఈ చిత్రాలన్నీ జర్మనీ లోని హాంబుర్గ్ పట్టణ ప్రదర్శన శాలకు చేరుకున్నాయి.

స్వయంగా కళాకారుడు, కళాచరిత్ర పరిశోధకుడు శ్రీనివాస్‌ ఈ చిత్రాల గురించి తెలిసిన నాటి నుంచి లెక్కలేని కృషి చేసి ఇదుగో ఈ పుస్తకాన్ని తయారు చేసి మన ముందుంచారు. పుస్తకం పేరు, తీరు చూస్తే మనకవసరం లేదనిపిస్తుందేమో గానీ, అందరూ చదవదగిన గొప్ప పరిశోధన గ్రంధమిది. కళ గురించి, కళల చరిత్ర, తత్వం గురించి ఏ కొంచెమయినా ఆసక్తి ఉన్న వారయితే ఈ పుస్తకాన్ని తలకెత్తుకుంటారు.

శ్రీనివాస్‌ చిత్రప్రతి యొక్క ఫోటోగ్రాఫ్‌‌లను సంపాయించారు. వాటిలోని వివరాలు, వాటి వెనుకనుండే విశేషాల గురించి మంచి వివరాలు సేకరించారు. వాటన్నింటినీ ముందుగా సా`దృశ్య' పరిశీలన అనే పేరుతో వ్యాసాలుగా అందించారు. చిత్రాలలోని వివరాలను వాటి పూర్వాపరాలను విమర్శ చేసిన తీరు చాలా బాగుంది. ప్రతి పుటలోనూ ఆసక్తికరమయిన సంగతులు ఎన్నో మనముందుకు వచ్చి నిలబడతాయి.

రంగనాధుని బొమ్మను రంగనాయకి, గోదాదేవిలతో గాక బీబీనాంచారమ్మతో రాయడంలో విశేషం ఏమిటన్న ప్రశ్న, దానికి జవాబు అవుననిపించేవిగా ఉన్నాయి. అసలు చిత్రాలు రాయడమేమిటనే వివరణకూడా ఒక చోట ఇచ్చారు. కుంభకోణంలోని ఇతర దేవుళ్ళను వదిలి చక్రపాణిని బొమ్మగీయడం, అది అసలు మూర్తిలా లేకుండడం మొదలయిన అంశాలు గమనించదగినవి. ప్రతి వ్యాసం చివర ఇచ్చిన పాద సూచికలు (ఫుట్ నోట్స్) పరిశోధకుని పట్టుదల గురించి చెప్పక చెపుతాయి.


చిత్రపటాలను, విచిత్రమయిన భాషలో కొనసాగిన వివరణలను యధాతధంగా ఒక విధంగా ముద్రించారు. ఈభాష, చిత్రకారులు, వివరణ రాసిన వారి పేర్లు తీరు చూస్తుంటే వీరెక్కడి వారయి ఉంటారని అనుమానం కలుగుతుంది. శ్రీనివాస్‌ ఈ విషయం గురించి, భాషాపరమయిన అంశాలను గురించి పారశీకం గురించి కూడా మరింత చర్చించినట్లయితే ఇంకా బాగుండేది.


చిత్రాలలోని తత్వాలకు సంబంధించిన విషయాలను మరికొన్ని వ్యాసాలుగా చివరగా అందించారు. కళ గురించి పట్టించుకోని వారు గూడా ఈరచన చదివితే, ఇక మీద అటువేపు ఆసక్తి చూపుతారనవచ్చు.

శ్రీనివాస్‌ ఈ కృషిని ఇంతటితో ఆపకుండా, ఈ కళాఖండాలను గురించి, మరెన్నింటినో గురించి రచనలు చేయాలి. ఈ రచనలు ఇంగ్లీషులో వస్తే మరింత బాగుంటుంది. పుస్తకం ధర మూడొందలకు అయిదు తక్కువ! అయినా తక్కువే!

Around 250 years ago Nagesham and Venkatesham (Very unlikely names for people from the area?) of Rajamundry made paintings of Gods and Goddesses. 33 of them are about various Gods and the rest are about Ramayanam. A person by name Buchni (Buchi as in my original name?) wrote legends for the paintings. The paintings now, are lodged in the Hamburg Museum in Germany.

Mr Srinivas, a researcher, collected the pictures and other details of these masterpieces. This book, a result of his efforts, is a collection of his writings and the visuals.

One may feel disinterested at the first glance at the book. Open the pages and read on! You perhaps cannot put it down.

All those interested in art, history and related things should be redaing this book.
I wish this was available in English!

A couple of sample illustrations and the notes for your pleasure!



This , the legend says, is a painting of Venkataeswara of Tirupati. Even people trekking the hills are depicted and written about here.





This is a painting of Mallikarjuna at Srisailam.

The book contains a lot of detail and related visuals about the paintings of the series.
It is really interesting for everyone!!

Let us enjoy good works of art!!
$$$$$$

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cartoon - Science

There is humor everywhere!
Only thing is that you should be able to laugh at such things!

Cartoons do not deserve any comments!



మేం బాగానే ఉన్నాం, మీ సంగతి చెప్పండి!!

How is that?
$$$$$

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Marcopolo and Asia - How much to believe?

The travellers in the history gave glimpses of many places that the people of the world could not see for themselves. We all thought that they have always told the truth. Whatif they have not told the truth?

It has become a fashion now to reenact their adventures with all the comforts of present day.

Such dramas are bringing out a lot of information and are testimonials to the original travellers.
The following account is really interesting and talks about the places near to us. Read on.....


Wonders and Whoppers

"I tell you," wrote Marco Polo, "that this palace is of... unmeasured wealth." Its roof is sheathed in gold "in such a way as we cover our house with lead." Even the floors are gold, "more indeed than two fingers thick. And all the other parts of the palace and the halls and windows are likewise adorned with gold." In this gilded domain, he declared, lived the ruler of an island kingdom called Cipangu (that is, Japan), whose waters yielded red pearls "very beautiful and round and large."

Scholars believe Europeans had never heard of Cipangu before Polo told them about it in The Description of the World, which he started writing about 1298, a few years after he returned home to Venice from a 24-year Asian odyssey. Though fascinated, Polo's readers, according to one account, concluded that his tales were "fabulous...mere dreams." But as decades passed, some began to take Polo seriously. In Christopher Columbus' copy of The Description, which survives, "gold in the greatest abundance" and "red pearls" are written in the margin beside the Cipangu reports. Although the handwriting may not be Columbus', he is said to have sought Cipangu among the Caribbean isles on his 1492 voyage.

Columbus never came anywhere near Japan, of course, but what would he have found? Red pearls? Experts say the oysters that produce them don't inhabit Japanese waters. A golden palace? Japan's Golden Pavilion, the gold-leaf-covered Kinkakuji, was built in 1397, a century after Polo published.

Truth to tell, many of Marco Polo's tales of treasure were just that—tales. Tall tales. Readers who persevere in Polo's often confusing, disjointed text will encounter preposterous supernatural events and an astonishing bestiary, including men with the features of dogs. Some readers have even concluded that the book is a total fake. If Marco Polo went to China, British Sinologist Frances Wood asked some years ago in a book titled, appropriately enough, Did Marco Polo Go to China?, why did he fail to mention chopsticks, tea and the binding of girls' feet?

At the British Library, where Wood curates the Chinese collections, the switchboard lit up with calls from journalists and scholars. After all, Polo's book has ornamented libraries the world over for centuries and is regarded, despite its flaws, as one of the world's greatest travel accounts. Wood had taken on a global icon. "I knew that Marco Polo was a household name," she told an interviewer, "but I was unaware that millions of people all over the world felt passionately about him and would be baying for blood."

Polo's fellow Italians have long assumed that he was a fibber; both he and his text are known in his homeland by the name Il Milione, and many think it's because the book includes a million tall tales. But didn't Polo enrich Italy by bringing home pasta and ice cream? Nope, those are myths. Still, Italians weren't about to tolerate a challenge to Polo's integrity by a foreigner, and many other people in the world are likewise invested in him. In China, historians staunchly defend the man who helped put their country on the map.

About ten years ago, a staff writer for National Geographic, followed Polo's journeys across Asia, from Iraq to China and homeward via Sumatra, India and Sri Lanka, using his book as guide. (There are about 120 versions of his narrative; the one carried, generally considered the most authentic, is translated from a 14th-century copy in the French National Library.) Like others who have examined his writings closely, this writer was dismayed by his omissions and floored by his whoppers. But ultimately convinced of his essential truthfulness. Why? For one thing, his itineraries, as laid out by the sequence of book chapters, are fundamentally accurate, whether he's crossing Central Asia or central China. Where did he acquire that geographical information if he didn't make these journeys himself? No skeptical investigator has ever proved that he copied from some Arab or Chinese source. And while it's true that Polo is guilty of curious omissions (those chopsticks, for example), he expanded medieval Europe's meager knowledge of Asia with such hitherto-unknown names as Cipangu, Java, Zanzibar and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), besides identifying China's great cities and describing such features as the Takla Makan Desert and the Yangtze River. Having followed Polo's tracks, this writer knew firsthand that he also got many things right, such as: both lapis lazuli and rubies are found in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan; in China's southwest a minority people eat raw flesh; people in Sumatra and Sri Lanka make a joy juice from fermented palm tree sap.

Polo also produced an extensive report on Hindu customs in India, a country that clearly fascinated him. But his great love was Catai, as he called China. No kingdom ever had a better PR person. Time and again Polo wrote of Catai's wealth in silk and spices (no exaggeration) and declared that people had "all things in great abundance." So far, so good. But soon he was claiming that Hangzhou had 12,000 bridges arcing over its canals, a ludicrous inflation, even though Hangzhou was the world's largest city at the time; he even accorded the much smaller Suzhou 6,000 bridges. "Take that, Venice!" he seemed to be saying to his canal-rich hometown. (A later traveler could find only 347 bridges in Hangzhou, including those in its suburbs, and just 290 in Suzhou.)

Polo practically bubbled with enthusiasm as he described the palace of Kublai Khan, the Mongol ruler of Catai, in what is today Beijing. (He called the capital Cambaluc, a corruption of its Turkish name, Khanbalikh, "Khan's city.") The palace was "the greatest that ever was seen," with a hall large enough to accommodate 6,000 diners, and was encompassed by a wall four miles around. In some versions of his book, the wall grew even longer, in one case to 32 miles. Mangling his claims according to their own whims, The Description's translators, scribes and finally printers (beginning in 1477) often took his inconstant veracity down a further peg or two.

Whenever Polo mentioned Kublai, he laid it on thick. His hunting retinue, we are told, included 20,000 dog handlers; 10,000 falconers carrying gyrfalcons, peregrines, saker falcons and goshawks (Polo showed himself to be an avid birder); and unstated numbers of lions, leopards and lynxes to go after wild boars and other big animals. Still extolling his overlord—he claimed to have been a trusted servant of Kublai's regime—Polo wrote that the new year was celebrated in Cambaluc with a parade of Kublai's elephants, "which are quite five thousand, all covered with beautiful cloths," and with gifts to the ruler of "more than 100,000 white horses very beautiful and fine."

It's true that Mongol lords reveled in the royal hunt, a huge spectacle, and that they celebrated holidays grandly. And no doubt Kublai, like many Asian potentates, kept stables of elephants as a mark of power—but nothing like 5,000. And historians are confident that he didn't hunt with any 20,000 dog handlers or 10,000 falconers. "The numbers are staggering—they're obviously exaggerated," says Professor Morris Rossabi of the City University of New York, author of the definitive study of Kublai's reign. It is difficult to imagine his people maintaining, for example, a royal herd of 100,000 steeds in the region of Beijing. "People in the north didn't grow enough food to sustain themselves," Rossabi says. "Most of it had to be brought from the south. I can't believe they devoted tremendous amounts of pastureland to having 100,000 horses." Some scribes who copied Polo's text shrank the elephant herd to 500 or omitted it altogether, probably smelling excess, while one version raised it to 105,000.

Still, Polo had plenty of authentic marvels with which to astonish his countrymen—black stones that burned better than wood; money made of paper, porcelain, asbestos; huge oceangoing ships. And he documented China's wealth in silk and spices as well as its commerce with India, Java and other parts of Asia—valuable information for a trading state like Venice.

So why all the hyperbole? We'll never know for sure, but exaggeration is sometimes a character defect in adventurers—Walter Raleigh's gold-strewn El Dorado comes to mind. And in 13th-century Europe, even outright lies were a literary conceit. Grotesque beasts and magical doings were routine in the modest libraries available to even the most educated Europeans. The Histories of Herodotus, for example, told of gold-digging ants in India and winged snakes in Egypt.

I believe Polo kept a journal during his travels; if not, how did he manage, when at last home in Venice, to set down the wealth of detail that he had accumulated during his two dozen years of travel? Polo's diary: what a sensational discovery that would be! He doesn't say he kept one, but a version of The Description that appeared in Venice in the 1500s, supposedly based on authentic manuscripts, declares that he brought home "writings and memoranda." And these, it is said, were shared with a writer who helped him produce his book. That person is identified at the beginning of the text as Rustichello of Pisa, who'd been reworking some of the romantic stories of King Arthur, and whose writings had found their way into European libraries. According to Polo, he met Rustichello in a Genoa prison, into which Polo had been thrown after being captured in a sea battle between Venice and rival Genoa about 1298. Sounds like another tall Polo tale, but so far as scholars know, it's true.

Scholars see the hand of Rustichello in the book's account of a battle between Genghis Khan and Prester John, a Christian ruler in Asia, early in the 13th century. With its huge loss of life—although no body count was recorded—the engagement made a good story. Too bad there was no such person as Prester John; as historians know today, he was entirely a European invention. The legend was no doubt well known to Rustichello, while less so to Polo.

It is suspected that Rustichello concocted the tale of robbers able to "make the whole day become dark" as they swept down upon travelers. Polo described such an attack on his caravan in the desert of Iran. The passage continues, suspiciously, in the third person: "Moreover I tell you that Master Marc himself was as good as taken by that people in that darkness."

Then there are the mangonels, or catapults, Polo writes about. According to the author, Polo, his father and uncle helped build huge rock-hurling machines that inflicted terrible damage on the city of Xiangyang as Kublai pressed his conquest of the southern Chinese dynasty, the Song. Chinese as well as Persian sources describe the destruction, but credit Syrians employed in Kublai's army for the catapults. In any case, the siege occurred in 1273, and almost all authorities believe the Polos didn't reach China until two years later. Polo probably heard of the siege and took note of it. It may be that Rustichello, always attracted to stories of battle, came across it somewhere in his reading and decided to make the Polos military engineers.

Starting home by ship in 1291 or 1292, Polo was forced to spend five months on "Java the Less"—Sumatra—waiting for monsoon winds to shift so that he and his shipmates could sail northwestward toward Ceylon and India. Polo reported, accurately, that cannibals dwelled on Sumatra and, less accurately, that the island was home to some strange beasts, including enormous unicorns, in size "not at all by any means less than an elephant."

"I tell you quite truly," Polo continued about Sumatra, "that there are men who have tails more than a palm in size." And on an island that he called Angaman—probably referring to the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal—"all the men...have the crown of the head like a dog and teeth and eyes like dogs." Tales of strange creatures abounded in Asia as well, and Polo (who apparently never set foot on the Andamans) may have heard about them from sailors. It's also possible that he—or Rustichello—simply drew on the elaborate mythical bestiary of Europe's Middle Ages. (Or perhaps, as John Larner argues in Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World, Polo was simply describing the islanders metaphorically.)

Even as he served up these wild reports, Polo methodically cataloged a South Asian cornucopia, about which Europe knew almost nothing: the nutmeg and aromatic roots of Java, the camphor and coconuts of Sumatra, the pearls, diamonds and pepper of India, ivory from several places—these and many other goods, all tantalizing to European merchants, were commingled with the beasts and fantasies. It's as if the world, as Europeans viewed it, were a mix of real and unreal.

Some readers took notice of things "which are reckoned past all credence," as a Dominican friar recorded. When Polo was dying, in 1324, friends urged him to remove "everything that went beyond the facts," presumably to cleanse his soul.

Polo refused, saying he had not written half of what he had seen. He might have added: "And only half of what Rustichello and I invented."