Archive for the 'History & Heritage' Category


Just yesterday?


आज सारे कोदंडधारी राम, सबके सब,

स्वर्णमृगों के पीछे गए, और लौटे नहीं,

सारे के सारे लक्ष्मण रावण से मिल

गए, और रेखा खींची नहीं।

सारे जटायु सीताओं की रक्षा में,

अनगिनत रावणों के हाथों

शहीद हो गए कट-कट कर ध्वस्त हो गये।

शेष रह गए हैं अब

बेशुमार सम्पाती

जो सूर्य की ओर, चार वर्षों में

केवल, चार कदम चल पाये, और

सत्य पर लगे स्वर्ण के ढक्कन से

अभिभूत होकर, उसी से चिपक गए,

फिर उन्होंने अपने चमचों से

अपनी चार-कदमी उड़ान के गीत गावये।

Continue reading ‘Just yesterday?’


The Jakhs

“If you take myth and folklore, and these things that speak in symbols, they can be interpreted in so many ways that although the actual image is clear enough, the interpretation is infinitely blurred, a sort of enormous rainbow of every possible colour you could imagine.” – Diana Wynne Jones

Kachchh is so wrapped in legends and folklore that one can continue to peel layer after layer of a story and still remain transcendent with a yen for more! And, one of the most fascinating legends found in Kachchh is that of the Jakhs.

Folklore has it, that a ship-wreck close to the Jakhau port brought 72 persons possibly of Iranian origin to Kachchh. These people were good Samaritans. Travelling with a lantern they went around treating people with medicines they carried in boxes. They rode horses to go around the region. This is said to have happened nearly 800 years ago.

According to some historians these people got the name of Jakh because they came to the Jakhau port of Kachchh. Others say that their name is derived from the word “Yaksh” which means divine persons.

* Continue reading ‘The Jakhs’


Israeli Kabristan

“The past is the past but sometimes it leaves a fingerprint on the future” – CSI, Felonious Monk

History fascinates me and old cemeteries are on my list of favourite haunts. But it is strange how one can live in a town for years and still not be familiar or aware of its past. When and how do we become immune to and ignorant of our surroundings? Why are we unable to widen our horizons? Why do we always take people, places and things for granted? When does a species or group of people silently disappear…occasionally remembered but generally forgotten, whilst we carry on without a hiccup!


Recently a local daily ran an intrusion report concerning the Jewish Cemetery in the residential area where I have managed to find a dodgy concrete roof over my head. My ignorance about this cemetery came as a rude surprise to me. When in Baroda (still prefer the old name), I pass-by this place at least twice, daily. Never realised that behind the garbage dumper, sundry hoardings, broken wall, small roadside temple (illegal?), tabela, eatery carts, two-wheeler mechanic workshop, istri shack, Baroda Dairy outlet, rusting shell of a car, housing societies, hoardings and a few trees are the graves of the Bene Israeli community of Baroda.

Continue reading ‘Israeli Kabristan’


…almost gone!

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The beady-eyed clerk/flunky/official of the Archives Department looked at me with great suspicion. His mouth with protruding paan-stained teeth was more offensive than the open grave I had seen in Pratapgunj.

Continue reading ‘…almost gone!’

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February 2019
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