Has heritage been revived by the annual festivals, asks Jangveer Singh
THE present Patiala heritage festival is the third one to be held, after the previous two extravaganzas in the past two years. The best in the field of music and dance are expected to perform over a week. Add to this the crafts mela to be held over a fortnight. One needs to ask what is the state of artisans, including the traditional makers of jutti and parandi as well as phulkari’ embroiderers. Have they all benefitted? What about its hoteliers and restauranters or taxi owners or even rickshaw pullers? The answer to all these questions is no.
Despite nearly three years of planning, work on the conservation of the Quila Mubarak is still to be initiated. The restoration of the Quila Mubarak is the cornerstone of all heritage plans drawn up for the city. Alongwith this fort complex, the revival of the traditional ‘bazaars’ selling juttis, parandis and nalas besides embroidered phulkari and traditional wedding finery were expected to give a fillip to not only tourism activity but also ensure the advantages of the entire exercise reached the target group.
It is apparently too early to even talk about the benefit percolating to the common man, be a taxi driver, rickshaw puller or an STD operator because Patiala has failed to come up as even a regional tourist site what to talk about it being noted at the national level.
No effort has been made to get visitors to see the Quila or the old city despite the "inauguration’ of a Heritage Walk initiated by an expert last year. It was to be continued after training postgraduate students as part-time guides. This scheme remained on paper only with not even a single walk being conducted after the last Heritage Festival. Another earmarked walk from the ‘Shahi Samadan’ (royal cremation ground) to Mohindra College, Old Moti Bagh Palace and Sheesh Mahal has also been a non-starter.
Traders and artisans were invited for a workshop during the Heritage Festival last year with the aim of bringing back purity to the old designs and incorporating the same in league with modern demands. Even this initiative was not followed up and the local artisans are still none the wiser about the gains of these extravaganzas.
Still not a happening haveli
The Rajindra Kothi was to do for Patiala what a host of havelis have done for Rajasthan. The marketing of the kothi of Maharaja Rajindra Singh—who established it amidst a beautiful garden in the 1860s after shifting out of the Quila Mubarak—was to herald the advent of heritage tourism in Punjab. This dream has also not been realised even though the ‘kothi’ was cleared in a tearing hurry more than two years back by shifting the archival records of the former princely states stored in it to other buildings. Transferred to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) since then, it could not be leased out to a private party despite advertisements inviting expressions of interest in the property. The Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, summed up the state of affairs at a meeting of the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) recently by asking officials to stop planning and ensure implementation of the proposals in hand. Conversion of the Rajindra Kothi into a heritage hotel tops the list.
Constructed during the post -mutiny period when the royals of Patiala were in the process of moving out of their constricted residences in the Quila Mubarak, it has neither the beauty of architecture of say the Rajasthani style—on which other monuments in the city are based—nor the grandeur and space of European buildings. However, it has one of the most beautiful gardens surrounding it which when restored to their original condition under an ongoing project, will make the site breathtaking. The government will have to take a decision on it soon as earlier too the Neemrana group had asked for garden land adjoining the Kothi, which makes many locals uncomfortable.
The Baradari success
"The festivals are important because hey have generated awareness amongst the people about their heritage, says Vishal Chopra, a chest specialist whose family lived in the oldest part of the city, Chopra Mohalla, before shifting out. The festivals have also managed to improve the living conditions in the city with successive facelifts adding the much-needed infrastructure. There is also awareness about the need to tackle heritage buildings. For instance, when the massive wooden gate of the Samania Gate in the old city came apart, a few months back, the PDA stepped in not only to reinstall it but also give a facelift to the entire structure. The effort may be small but it signals a shift in focus from earlier times when historic gates were left to crumble down.
The most spectacular success story is
that of the Baradari gardens. These gardens have been rescued by the
PDA. The PDA has been helped by the State Bank of Patiala which has
matched the government grant of Rs 1crore for the reorientation work.
The work, started more than six months back, first saw the creation of
footpaths along the roads criss-crossing the gardens. After this came
aesthetic lighting. The central garden were then provided with a ‘heritage’
wall and also grills. The gates are also being refurbished following
which the old water channels would be revived. There is a proposal to
install a musical fountain in the gardens. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer
Singh, who is also Secretary of the PDA, says tourism development is a
gradual process. "Things are looking up with more budget hotels
coming up in the city." Some institutions have even committed an
annual grant for the Heritage Festival which could make it
self-sustaining in the long run..
THE SON of the Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas, and a multiple Oscar-winning actor in his own right, Douglas met Catherine Zeta-Jones, the Swansea actress who rose to fame in the British TV drama, The Darling Buds of May, at the Deauville Film Festival in France in August 1998. He was 54, she was 29.
At dinner, they found they had a lot in common in spite of the age gap, including the same birthday. They began dating in March 1999 and got engaged on New Year's Eve 1999, marrying in November 2000, four months after their son was born. On their first date, Douglas reportedly told Zeta-Jones he wanted to father her children. Some sceptics saw the union as a canny career move for Zeta-Jones, while others were critical of the age gap. But four years after their wedding and two children later, they are proving the doubters wrong.
Michael and Shakira Caine
The film star tracked down his wife Shakira after seeing her in a TV advert for Maxwell House coffee in 1971 shot in Brazil. Caine, divorced from actress Patricia Haines, was so struck by her he was prepared to go to Brazil to meet her. Luckily, she was living on Fulham Road in west London. Then, Caine was - and still is - among Britain's most celebrated actors, starring in classics such as Zulu, Get Carter and The Italian Job, and Shakira Baksh was relatively unknown. She had become Miss Guyana at 19 and started modelling. When they married in 1973, she was 25 and he was 40, and some questioned how much they had in common. But the marriage is said to be one of the strongest in showbusiness. She gave up modelling and they have a grown daughter, Natasha. The actor Roger Moore said: "Shakira understands Michael more than anybody. They're completely compatible."
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
The actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward met in the 1953 Broadway production of Picnic, but it took five years and a divorce for him (from his nine-year marriage to Jackie Witte) before they became man and wife.
Over the next few decades, Newman became an international sex symbol, starring in Hollywood classics Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Woodward's career remained successful, though less stellar. Contrary to some predictions, differences in their professional standing did not cause friction, although Woodward did once confess that the uneven status left her feeling uneasy. "I was always uncomfortable that Paul was so much bigger than I was," she said. The couple ce\ lebrated their 47th wedding anniversary this year. Their relationship is renowned in Hollywood circles as "unshakeable".
Pete Doherty and Kate Moss
She is a millionaire model who shot to fame after being discovered at JFK airport at the age of 14. He is a singer formerly of the band, The Libertines, with an expensive heroin and crack cocaine addiction and a prison record, after he broke into a fellow band member's house to steal electrical equipment to sell for drugs.
Their social scene may be worlds apart but they bridged the gap when they met at Moss's 31st birthday party in the Cotswolds, and their relationship has become one of the most talked about in the media. Doherty, 25, lives in an East End flat and his addiction is believed to cost (pounds sterling)1,000 a day. Moss has homes in the Cotswolds and in Primrose Hill, North London, where she lives with her two-year-old daughter, Lily Grace, from her former partner, the publisher Jefferson Hack.
Moss is obviously aware of Doherty's drug-taking but is too infatuated to care.
She reportedly told a friend: "I know people are saying he's no good for me, but I can't help myself. There's just something about him. He's really good-looking and really dangerous." But sceptics have been quick to sound moral judgement over the budding relationship. Ulrika Jonsson yesterday reminded the model of her maternal duties in her column in the News of the World, saying: "Kate may delight in her combustion of emotion for grubby Pete Doherty, but it's quite another thing to burden your child with such a man's scary baggage. I understand the lure of 'dangerous'. And I also understand that 'dangerous' doesn't mix with kids." Moss has always been known to enjoy 'partying hard' but even close friends are said to be worried by her latest choice of partner.
Sadie Frost is understood to be
perturbed by the relationship. "Pete's not the sort of guy you wish
for your best friend. Kate has a history of partying hard and the idea
of the two together would be a terrible idea," she reportedly said.
Hack is said to have told her "You're insane", and warned her
he would fight for sole custody of their daughter if Doherty goes near
her. But the pair have managed to weather the negative media and harsh
judgements from their circle of friends. Early last week, Moss sent
Doherty a text to say she would not be seeing him again but the couple
quickly patched things up last Wednesday...
Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricket captain and one-time playboy, surprised the world when he announced he was to wed Jemima Goldsmith, 21-year-old daughter of the billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, in May 1995. At the time, Khan was forging a political career in Pakistan and some thought that marrying a foreigner could jeopardise that. Weeks before the announcement, Khan had reportedly told newspapers he wanted to marry a Muslim woman. The pair are believed to have first met at a champagne party thrown by Goldsmith's father.
She had just finished her English literature degree from Bristol University, and dated Khan, who was twice her age, for less than a year. On her engagement, she changed her name to Haiqa and converted to Islam. After a secret wedding ceremony in London, they moved to Lahore.
At the time, she said: "The media present me as a naive 21-year-old who has made a hasty decision without considering the consequences. " More than nine years later, after years of press speculation on their marriage, the couple, who have two sons, announced their separation.
Khan claimed his wife had found it difficult living in his homeland of Pakistan, and gave his blessings to her subsequent relationship with actor Hugh Grant.
Liza Minnelli and David Gest
They met in September 2001 at a Michael Jackson tribute concert, which Gest, a concert promoter, had produced and in which Minnelli had appeared. A whirlwind romance led to marriage the following year in March, with a wedding that had all the fanfare of Hollywood royalty, with more than 1,000 guests, Michael Jackson as best man and Elizabeth Taylor as maid of honour.
"I'm so happy," said Minnelli, as she showed the world her diamond ring, while commentators cast doubt over the longevity of her fourth marriage. An unnamed friend said: "They're so in love, always smooching and dancing the night away - they're a really sexual combustible couple." A little over a year later, they were heading for the divorce courts as well as filing lawsuits against one another.
He claimed she physically abused him in vodka-fuelled rages. She sued him, claiming he stole from her and publicly humiliated her.
— The Independent