Sunday, October 28, 2007

view from the wing -3

I am very surprised that there is even a debate on sex education in schools. If they can be taught H2O is water, they should be taught what sex is all about. We are a billion and more and children should know what has caused it. One man says children are driven to crime when they learn about sex. Wonder how this man was born? It is also very surprising that it is the religious zealots who are opposed to sex education. Looks like they have never visited Hindu temples which were the place where everyone congregated including children and were witness to visual depiction of sex. All our literature all our sacred hymns talk about sex not just for procreation but also for devotion. Wonder if they have ever meaning of Soundhrya Lahari or Venkatesha Suprabhatham or Andal's verses.

I have taken this from the description of Pavan Varma's book "The literature of India, both religious and secular, is full of sexual allusions, sexual symbolisms and passages of such frank eroticism the likes of which are not to be found elsewhere in world literature. Sections of ancient texts like the Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics (the Mahabharata and the Ramayana), the Brahmanas, the Puranas and devotional hymns are studded with graphic sexual acts which were seen as integrated elements of human existence. Kalidasa and Jayadeva stand out a exemplars of this genre. It was basically the evangelical fervour of the Victorian era that imposed severe strictures on the so-called heathen amorous degradation and sought to cleanse the Indian people by propagating Western morality and values. And the Victorian hangover still persists. Think of erotic literature from India and what immediately comes to mind is Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra. This was indeed not the first study in erotology nor was it the last. Beginning with the Rg Veda (written some 5000 years ago) right up to the seventeenth century, Indian literature is marked by diverse genres replete with unabashed eroticism in which love, lust and life are explored to their fullest extent. Today, the philosophical acceptance of desire and the erotic sentiment has been asphyxiated by a hypocritical morality that has for much too long equated sex with sin and desire with guilt." Very right

Sunday, October 21, 2007

view from the wing - 2

It was a great compliment when a teacher from PSBB Millennium called me on October 4th. She said her daughter was studying in class 3 at Bala vidya mandir and she had attended the demonstration of charkha spinning at her school. "She was very thrilled with that and has not stopped talking about it and the stories of Gandhi that you told could you please come to our school tomorrow? can there be a better compliment than this?

I have never said thank you enough for getting a person like Vasantha parathasharathy to work with me. She is sincerity personified, hardworking and is full of joy and humour. We have a great time because we are opposites in taste and life style. I can not than enough that she came along when I needed some one most. I think we are a very good team. Ashwini Kasi who has come in now has also grown into the job and is enjoying herself. What more can one ask for?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

view from the wing -1

We have had a very gratifying time celebrating Gandhi Jayanthi on 2nd October. Mrs.Rajalakshmi of Avvai Home where we have been working on art and education projects asked me if we could do some workshop during the quarterly holidays for the school September 23rd through October 2nd with the core group of girls at the hostel who had nowhere to go. I told her I would be happy to do a spinning on the Charkha workshop with the girls so they can produce khadi yarn that can be used as garlands for school. I remembered Leela Samson, Director, Kalakshetra telling me that she wanted students of Kalakshetra to be involved in outreach programmes. So I decided that along with the spinning workshop we could have a dance workshop with students of Kalakshetra choreographing to a song that addressed Charkha sung by D.K.Pattammal in the pre independence days. I hunted for the song and finally Vasantha was able to track down a teacher Mrs.Padma who had hummed it while I had done a workshop for teachers at Akshara Vidyapeetha of Swami Suddhananda. We went to her house and recorded the song, brought it to Kalakshetra principal Mrs.Lalitha Rukmini who refined it, added some swaras to it and gave some Jathis. This was taught to kalakshetra students who came to Avvai Home everyday and lovingly taught the girls. They also lent their dance practice saris, lovingly did the costumes and decoration for the girls combing their hair, keeping flowers etc. It really was a beautiful collaboration. Leela Samson was gracious to a very great extant and really opened up Kalakshetra.

In the meanwhile, Sangeeta Isvaran one of our most intelligent and creative dancers offered to do a dance drama production with the younger girls. She did a workshop with them asking to tell stories of things that disturbed them, discussed peace and non violence and evolved a most interesting production with the students. Not only was it fun and joyful for the girls but also very educative and challenging. She had the girls work on a pinnal with saris.

On October 2nd, I decided to do demonstration of spinning at the Fabindia store in Besant Nagar, girls of Avvai Home hostel dressed themselves beautifully in skirt and dhavani and did the demonstration and taught it to the many young and old who came to try their hands at the spinning. The yarn spun by the girls were given as garlands to Justice Mohan and Leela Samson.

The programme at Kalakshetra started at 6 pm with the lighting of the lamp and speeches by Justice Mohan who had been asked to be the chief guest by Sarvodaya International under whose aegies we were doing the programme. The programme by the girls and the music that followed by kalakshetra were inspiring and naturally there were congrajulations galore from everyone who appreciated the spirit of the progrmame.