Archive for November, 2009



I was planning to comment on my botched attempts to walk the glitterati boulevard when I found myself reading about the ridiculous situation in Bandipur where the show of solidarity by wildlife conservationists and environmentalists is shamelessly being battered down by our bald-faced elected representatives.

But first, the glitterati.

I received, probably by mistake, an email invitation to attend a social-do. To be part of a ‘select’ crowd for a talk on “New Knowledge Frontiers of Tomorrow” by Mr. Sam Pitroda.

However, getting a pass to enter and then attend was tougher than renewing a driving license – and, the tougher it got the more resolute I became to check-out this gathering and to meet leaders and facilitators of this “Frontier of Tomorrow”.

The ‘Muah-muah’ crowd was there in full regalia – dressed to kill and overloaded with diamonds and other embellishments; suited-booted ethnofied glitterati – socialites with calculating departed eyes, heavily made-up principals, teachers and trustees of ‘good schools’ and academies, puffy-eyed doyens of other professions and similar species. All with benign expressions, measuring each other whilst nibbling designer pizzalets.

Continue reading ‘Fie!’


Musabhai and his Hindustan

Music has no boundaries – it most eloquently delivers the message of love, peace and harmony.

And so, in 2004, when Jat Musa Ghulam played the flute, it had some music from across the borders. For, Musabhai was playing a ‘Jodia Pawa’ that had been sent from folk music lovers in Pakistan.

The Jodia Pawa has a significant role in the rich cultural heritage of Kachchh. Those exposed for the first time, to the sounds only of the Jodia Pawa; are likely to confuse it with a Bansuri – a flute. However, this Kachchhi wind instrument is very different from the traditionally recognized flute.The Jodia Pawa is a pair of two flutes or double flutes (generally between 20 to 22 inches) and played together. One is called the Nar – the male and the other is known as the Madi/Mali/Mada – the female. The Nar has eight equi-distant holes for maintaining a ‘drone’ or ‘Sur’. The Madi is used to weave a melody over its twelve holes, out of which only the upper-six are used functionally to manipulate music while the lower-six are mostly left open and free. The player has to inhale and store the necessary air in his mouth through his nostrils and blow continuously and simultaneously through the two mouth pieces. Wax is fixed on various holes systematically to produce melodious notes. Laborious to play and requiring much strength of the lungs the Jodia Pawa remains on a high pitch but does not jar the sensibilities.

The Jodia Pawa is not made in Kachchh and requires special skill to prepare it. Worked on a lathe the wood is treated with oil and copper wires wrapped strategically to prevent breakage.

These double flutes are also known as the Alghoza or Alguza and are an instrument still found in Rajasthan, Punjab and the Sindh Province of Pakistan. The artists of this instrument mostly play the songs of the Sufi Saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai of Sindh. Mostly played by shepherds in the deserts of Sindh and Baluchistan, the Jodia Pawa came to Kachchh when a few groups migrated to graze their cattle and settled in some parts of Kachchh. However, over a period of time, the Jodia Pawa of Kachchh has developed its own unique style.

Continue reading ‘Musabhai and his Hindustan’

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November 2009