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Welcome to the second issue of Etihas.in, an online video magazine of history, arts and culture of India and South Asia. We deliberately avoid writing a wordy editorial here as we believe our videos should speak for themselves.
Each month, Etihas.in carries short videos featuring interviews with experts, mini documentaries, audio podcasts, and recordings of performing arts among many other items that we hope will entertain and inspire you, and arouse your appetite for more about our rich and diverse pasts.
In our second issue, we bring you the following short stories and segments:
1. Indo Persian Culture - Meetings at the Crossroads
2. Ashok Vajpeyi: Challenges to Cultural Plurality in Contemporary India
3. Mela Basant Bahar - a documentary film about the Basant festival at Lahore, Pakistan
4. Basant - Spring festival celebrated at the shrine of Nizamuddin Aulia at Delhi
5. Oral history archives on the Internet - a select list
1. Indo Persian Culture - Meetings at the Crossroads (7:30 mins)
A short introduction to the Hind-Farsi or Indo Persian culture that evolved over centuries through the confluence of Central Asian and Indian civilizations at many geographical crossroads, resulting in cultural modes and trends that make Indian civilization rich and colourful.
2. Ashok Vajpeyi: Challenges to Cultural Plurality in Contemporary India (excerpts)
Ashok Vajpeyi is a Hindi poet, cultural activist and former Civil Servant who has been very vocal about the decline of India's local languages and syncretic culture. In this candid talk, he stirs us to abandon the present political system and think of an alternative where India’s cultural plurality can be sustained and appreciated. The above video (7 mins) contains highlights from a long talk. The complete lecture (about 44 mins) can be seen on the right, and is highly recommended.
3. Mela Basant Bahar - a documentary film from Lahore, Pakistan
Contrary to the popular, orthodox perceptions about Pakistan, Lahore's residents have been celebrating Basant, the colourful festival of spring with a passion probably not even seen in today's India. Though the festival has recently been frowned upon by many in Pakistan and its activities majorly curtailed, this film from the late 1990s shows us a Lahore many may have not seen before. As they say ‘Jis Lahore nai dekhya, ve janmai nai’ (the one who didn’t see Lahore hasn’t been born yet). Above is a short 6 mins version, while the complete 23 minutes film can be seen on the right.
Directed by Samina Aslam of Eveready Pictures
Basant: A short film made in 1997 about the festival of spring celebrated at the Sufi shrine of Nizamuddin Aulia at New Delhi. The film spends a day in the lives of qawwals and Sufis at the dargah. Sufi Basant is supposed to have its origins in 14th century when Nizamuddin Aulia's disciple and friend, Amir Khusrau, tried to please his guru (master) by composing and reciting poems of spring when the former was grieving on the demise of his favourite nephew.
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